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Old 06-22-2018, 07:18 PM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
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BTT maybe a new chapter in the next day or two
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:15 PM
bugbor bugbor is offline
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Sure would be nice to see some more. Then again, it's almost been so long that I might have to go back and start from the beginning.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:47 PM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
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Default The Things We Do - Chapter 2

Better late than never I guess. MOAR hounds feed from another source. Hope you enjoy and comments are appreciated bt the author.

The duo of Big and Jimmy had completed their long term environmental remediation project on Friday sending the equipment and crew back home to the shop. They stayed over the weekend for the final punch list walk through on Monday, getting the sign off from their client and final approval for completion. The project had been a long and hard one with many delays and change orders, it had been a very profitable time for their company in southern Mississippi a long way from home.

Tuesday morning bright and early just as the sun was rising in the east right before Thanksgiving Big and Jimmy got in the F-350 and prepared for a long ride east and their South Carolina home. The pair had said their good byes the night before. Big to Jessica and her family, along with a quick trip to the ‘Job Site’ to bid his farewells to Jane and Jennifer the sisters had been great friends during his stay in Picayune. His farewell gift a half-gallon of Jim Bean Black and another of Maker’s 46 to the two sisters. The ladies both loved their whiskey and Big didn’t think it fair to get just one bottle. The sisters were a lot alike but not completely thus the Jim Bean Black for Jane and the Maker’s 46 for Jennifer. He had told them they could trade if they didn’t care for one or the other. The two sisters had given him big hugs and quite kisses on the cheek and Jennifer a pat on the backside. Jane said, “If Jessica hadn’t made claim to you Big, I might have to throw my name in the hat. You are a definitely a keeper.”

The farewell to Jessica Mars and her Dad and brother had been both tortuous and spell bounding to Big. The night had started with a delicious meal prepared by Jessica. Big had tried to get her to let him order in from the local diner. Jessica told him in no uncertain terms that she would not let him leave her without a farewell supper to remember her and her family. The Chicken Pot Pie was delicious and so was the freshly baked Apple pie and homemade vanilla ice cream for topping.

After supper Big excused himself and walked out to his truck and came back in with two bags of gifts. When Jessica walked into the den where Big and her Dad and Brother was sitting, Big stood up and said, “The three of you have become like the family that I missed. My sister and I lost our parents early. I was a Senior in high school and my sister a Sophomore in college. We don’t really have the family thing like the three of you have, even though my sister and I live in the same town. My sister is more like a dependent than a sister. She would probably move away if I would just send her and the kids the money.”

“I have present for the three of you, they are not much so don’t go on about how I shouldn’t have and all that stuff. Mr. Mars, I know how much you like the radios we have for work and how we can talk all over the country on them. I am giving you a base station and a hand held for your personal use. That way you can talk with me if you like. Kevin, I am giving you one also. That way you and your Dad when you are out on a call can talk to each other anytime you need. Especially when you are out in the back looking for parts and he wants you to get something else while you are looking. That way you want tear up so many phones. These things are almost indestructible and you can even drop them in a mud puddle and they will survive. Jessica, I have one for you also. Of course, they all have the chargers for them. If you lose them please let me know, so I can have them turned off and get you another one. My license only has two more open slots after these four.”

“I also got the three of you, knives, because you both have used and liked my belt folder I got you both one just like it. They are the Xio Alpha Mark I Silvers, they don’t come with a very good belt carrier so I got you one like mine from Maxpedition in black, didn’t know if you would want the olive drab that I wear. Jessica, I got you the smaller Teyuknives Talisman and a Swiss Army Knife Ranger Grip 58 Hunter, for working on hooves and such. These are just some small gifts I wanted to get the three of you to help you in your daily walk, since you already have Jesus, these are the best I could think of to help you through the day.”

Jessica, reached over and gave him a big hug and a quick kiss saying, “Thank you that was very considerate of you Melvin. It wasn’t necessary, you are part of the family now.”

Mr. Mars said, “Thanks son, but Jess is right. We don’t need these to remember you by. The radios and the knife will be used on a daily basis I am almost assured. Again thanks.”

Kevin said, “Cool man. I have been lusting after that blade since the first time I saw you pull it out of the case. Now I know why you told me, you couldn’t remember the name of the site you found the Xio. Thanks bro. I will be the envy of all my good old boy buddies.”

Big said, “Now I have one more gift for the family.” Big reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a small box. Dropped to one knee in front of Jessica and said, “Jessica Mars will you do me the pleasure of marrying me. I know it hasn’t been long that we have been dating. I want to know your intentions before I leave Mississippi in the morning.”

The “Yes” answer from Jessica could have been heard back in South Carolina if anyone had of been listening. “I will marry you Melvin Cudd, a hundred times over. You have made my day and I thought it would be a sad night. You have made it great one.”

Big reached out the open box and said, “I hope you like it and it is the right size. Jane and Jennifer helped me with the size. I picked the ring out myself.”

Looking at the big shiny rock that she new must be at least three carats she said, “Melvin, where did you find a diamond like this, surely not in Picayune. It is absolutely beautiful and what three maybe four carats?”

Big replied, “You have a good eye, it is a hair over three and a third carat. The diamond is a round cut that graded excellent, the color is G borderline H or near colorless, and the clarity is VVS1 which is a pretty good clarity, I was told. I asked the sisters what type cut you liked or wanted and they told me, they had no clue. So, I went with the one that is most common and gives the look. I hope you will like it, the diamond is set in Platinum, the jeweler said for that color you didn’t want yellow gold.”

Mr. Mars walked over and said, “Son, looks like you are going to be a full-fledged member of the Mars family. You can now quit calling me Mr. Mars and call me Jack like everyone else in these parts or Dad that is if you want.”

“That would be my pleasure Mr. Mars, I mean Jack. Maybe later we can get to Dad, no offense, meant.” said Big. The two shaking hands and Kevin jumping up from the couch to go over and greet his new future brother-in-law to the family.

Jessica said, “Leave him alone fellows he is mine for the rest of the night. Go work on a truck or something, any other night you would have left straight from the table back to the garage and one of your projects. Now go and don’t come back till you see that F-350 leave.”

Kevin said, “No can-do Sis. Your future hubby is not the only one with presents to give out tonight before Big leaves.” Kevin walked out of the den and was gone only a few seconds returning with a large rifle case. A Pelican 1740 Double rifle case to be exact and a second case more along the size of a very large pistol case.

Kevin sat the two cases down and said, “Dad and I decided that if you were going to be part of the family. A family that shoots 3-gun matches, you needed a shotgun, since you had the pistols and the rifle you bought from me. Here my future Brother-in-law is your presents.”

Big stooped over and picked up the two heavy cases and started opening the larger of the two, anxious to see his new toys, as a kid at Christmas. While Jessica moved over beside him in the Love seat, a small couch that right now had the perfect name for what Jess was feeling towards one Melvin ‘Big’ Cudd. While he was busy opening the Pelican case with some instructions from Kevin on how to release the locks and the codes to do so. Jessica just sat in amazement at how lucky she had been to ask this great guy to dance.

Jane and Jennifer had been telling her since the first time she had asked about the big guy with the Fedora and gray hair, to ask him about dancing and possibly a date. Jane had even offered to ask for her, if she couldn’t get up the nerve. It had taken her about six weeks to actually make it happen. The first time she was going to ask, Melvin had gotten up right after him and his friend had eaten and left. The second time she had told herself that this was going to be the night. Jimmy had showed up a little later than usual with some young thing on his arm and no Melvin. The third time had been the night she left in an embarrassed huff thinking that the two of them were making fun of her and thought they were too good or uppity to talk with her. It had been the worst thing to start and the best thing to finish in her life. Melvin was the blessing and answer to many nightly prayers.

Finally getting the small and large cases opened, the larger case had not one but two shotguns. In Big’s mind on first thought there was the Daddy shotgun and the toddler shotgun. Or the big gun and the shrunk one. Melvin said, “There are two, but what happened to the small one? Is that what they call a sawed-off shotgun?”

Jack said, “Son, the answer to your question is no it is not what they call a sawed-off. We actually got you a shotgun and all the trappings, actually two shotguns. Kevin didn’t actually say it right probably trying to keep it a surprise. Technically it is a shotgun and a firearm.”

“The shotgun is a Fostech Origin 12 with an eighteen-inch barrel and the firearm is a Fostech Origin SBV, the little brother of sorts. It is one of those new deals that is classified as a firearm with a ten-inch barrel a twelve-gauge with folding stock and everything. We bought an assortment of magazines, a couple five rounders, a dozen eight rounders and a dozen ten round magazines. They both feed two and three-quarter or three-inch shells and have a variable gas setting where you can shoot bird shot or high velocity buck shot.”

“We liked them so much we bought Jessica, Kevin and myself the Origin SBVs and you both weapons. Got a deal on-line and we couldn’t resist, the SBV is the perfect coach platform for your truck. Take them out of the cases and take a look and hope you like’em. While you and the future Mrs. Cudd make kissy face remember she is my Daughter. Kevin and I will go and put the center console mount in your truck for the Fostech SBV. Welcome to the family Melvin and congratulations.”

Big threw the keys to his truck to Jack and said, “Here’s the keys to the truck and all I can say is Thank You for everything, including the hand of your daughter in marriage. Sir, I would never do anything to harm your Daughter or her and my relationship. She means too much to me, to ever let that happen in any fashion.”

Early the next morning as the duo pulled onto the Interstate 59 heading north and east home, Jimmy said, “Big, did you propose to that girl or not and if you did what was her answer? Don’t hold back, I really want to hear all the details and we have over five hundred miles to get home. So, spill it now.”

“Yeah, I proposed and she said yes. I gave her the ring and she and her family seemed genuinely happy about the proposal and her acceptance. End of story,” replied Melvin leaving almost all of the details and infuriating his best friend and partner.

“You are a pain in the butt. You do that stupid stuff every time. You can talk bout the specifications on some proposal that no body cares about for hours in a meeting without ever looking at your notes. Something as important as your future wife and her acceptance of your proposal you give, what… ten words maybe. What gives Big,” asked Jimmy?

The rest of the eleven plus hour ride back to the shop in South Carolina was spent with Jimmy having to pull each and every word out of Melvin. Except for his explanation of the new covered addition to the trucks console and the large rifle case laying in the back floorboard of the truck. Which Melvin spent a good hour and a half explaining about the two new shotguns and the various magazines that Kevin and Jack had bought him as presents.

Arriving back in South Carolina Big took them straight to the office pulling up in front of the sixty by one-hundred Butler type building with the brick front and parked the F-350 in his parking spot. Melvin had been parking in the same spot since day one. After a while it was just left vacant even if the Boss was out of town for extended stays, which was often. Jumping out of the passenger side of the truck, Jimmy said, “Big hit the remote and open the bay doors. I am out of here.” Big reached and hit the remote box attached to his window visor and the last of four doors on the far side of the building started slowly opening. Shutting down his truck and starting to get out, he noticed the front door to the office opening. Elizabeth came walking out with her two daughters in tow. Elizabeth said, “Melvin glad to see you, but get right back in the truck and leave right now. April is on the way here and she wants money. I don’t know how she knows when yawl are through and on the way home, she always does. I told her I didn’t know when you would be arriving, didn’t faze her one bit. She said you would be home right about now and she would be here waiting to get her fair share. She had been doing without for too long while you have been away. Go now Melvin run like the wind.”

Melvin shook his head, threw his hands up and said, “What can I do, she is blood?”

“What you can do is cut her off at the knees. She is bleeding you dry, Melvin. Far as I know she hasn’t worked a day since you gave her that chunk of money after your last big project and that was almost what fifteen months ago. She had that guy living with her till about a month ago. I think that is when the money ran out and he left her,” said Elizabeth in disgust.

“Didn’t know she had a live-in friend, she failed to mention that. I guess that is what Sandy was alluding too a couple of times when we talked on the phone about having no privacy. I thought it was just a teenage thing. Guess, you are right as always. I do it as much for Sandy and Patrick as I do for her, feel for them not having a Dad and all,” replied Melvin.

Elizabeth said, “Too late.” As Melvin heard the ten-year-old Taurus come screeching into the parking lot. The same car Melvin had given her when he bought Elizabeth a new company truck and replaced the Taurus, so she could bring parts to job sites.

Pulling up right beside Melvin and Elizabeth a little too close for comfort; April bailed out of the car with it still running and said, “I need money and I need it now. We need to hurry the bank will be closing in less than fifteen minutes.”

Melvin replied, “Not now Sis, I have things to do here at the office. I will come by this weekend. I have some present for Sandy and Patrick anyway.”

As big as the smile was on Elizabeth’s face for Melvin standing up to his Sister, the frown and outright rage that showed on April’s was clearly bigger. The rage came out immediately with April saying, “What did you just say to me? Am I hearing you right little Brother that you are not going to take me to the bank and get my share of the profits from your last job. I know it was a big profit maker, Jimmy told me all about how many change orders you got. I know that means big money. I am expecting at least fifty grand today and then we can figure out how much more I am going to get for my share.”

Melvin almost in shock finally asked, “April, what makes you think you have a share in the profits of the company. I know I have offered you a job numerous times and you always were to busy or had something a lot better working for you. You have turned me down flat every time. What would make you think you get a share of the profits?”

Elizabeth jumped into the middle of the family business saying, “I would like to hear the answer to this one myself. Being that I am one of the owners of the company. If I find out that Melvin has been giving you profits out of the company I will have you both put in jail for embezzlement.” Winking at Melvin and hoping to get his chin up off the ground at her accusations and hurting words.

As this was happening the thundering sound of over five hundred horses of Selene Mustang power was heard revving up and being unleashed coming out of the back of the shop. The tires hollering in response to the throttled being not so gently applied by Jimmy as he sped out of the drive heading for parts unknown but definitely in a hurry to get there. The uproar of Jimmy speeding out of the parking lot had granted Melvin a temporary reprieve from his attack by April. Hoping that she had spent all her energy and would now be civil was too much to ask it turned out.

Pointing at Jimmy as he left April said, “There goes a perfect example of why you owe me money. You gave Jimmy that high dollar vehicle and even do the upkeep on it and pay the taxes. You give me this piece of crap that was five years old and had seventy thousand miles on it when you gave it to me. Besides I even have to pay the taxes and put tags on the car, not like your pretty boyfriend.”

Melvin said, “A couple of points for correction Sis. First, Jimmy earned that car as a bonus for his hard work and long hours. He offered me a way to save money and pay him more in his eyes. That high dollar car belongs to the corporation and is listed as one of the company’s assets to this day. Jimmy doesn’t own it I do or at least fifty-two percent of the car. We use that car as collateral on some of our loans. With the improvements that Jimmy has put onto the car, I am told by our accountant and the bank that it is actually worth more today than the day we bought the Mustang. I don’t know what he has done to it, but I know he made it faster and handle even better than the stock Selene, if one can call a Selene Mustang stock.”

“The second point Sis is Jimmy is a part owner of the company and works probably over three hundred days a year like me. He earned the car, any money he makes and any royalties and bonuses the company chooses to pay him.”

“The third point is anything Jimmy, Elizabeth or myself make in this business is our profits and you have no share in any of the profits. If you want a job, not a handout you can start tomorrow working for Elizabeth. I know she needs some more help around the office and I will pay you and extra five dollars and hour out of my pocket over whatever our standard pay for the gofer position usually pays.”

Elizabeth replies, “It pays thirteen fifty and hour forty hours per week. With the extra five dollars and hour you will be making more than a couple of the other girls that have been here a few years.”

In an outrage April screams, “You expect me to work forty hours a week for a measly thirteen hundred and fifty dollars a week are you nuts. Melvin you have been giving me that much almost for doing nothing?”

Elizabeth said, “That is thirteen dollars and fifty cents per hour or five hundred and forty dollars a week plus another two hundred from your brother. Not thirteen hundred and fifty dollars a week and you must be nuts to think someone with no skills and a bad attitude can get paid that much money to do very little. Heck I don’t make much more than that and I am a partner and work over sixty hours every single week.”

Elizabeth and April were almost ready to fight when Melvin said, “Sis, here is the deal. I am going to be getting married soon and my money will become our money. I was going to tell you this when I came by on the weekend. You will not be getting anymore money from me. Sandy and Patrick will still get their allowance till they finish college of fifty dollars a week. I will still put the money in their Annuity that I promised and their college funds are already paid up in full. The offer of a job still stands.”

Reaching into his front left pocket of his Wranglers Melvin removed his money clip and removed what folding money he had on the clip. He guessed it was a little over three hundred dollars holding it out to April and said, “Here take this Sis. It is all the cash I have and tell the kids I will be by Saturday afternoon with their presents from Mississippi and we will go to the mall to a movie and get some food either before or afterwards whichever they want to do.”
Hearing Melvin’s words of rejection on the money and little else April knocked the money out of his hand. She started to turn away back towards the Taurus but quickly turned back and spit into the face of her younger brother saying, “I should have known that an adopted brother would not be a true brother. Mom and Dad should have never brought you home, they regretted it till the day they died. Don’t bother ever coming to my house or to see the kids. I will explain to them how you are not really their uncle and they will not ever be able or want to see you again for treating me this way.” Starting to walk away she stopped and bent over and picked up the money off the ground, then proceeded to the car giving her brother and Elizabeth the universal you are number one sign as she opened her car door and got into the driver’s seat of the Taurus and like Jimmy sped out of the parking lot.

Melvin said, “I hate that you had to witness that, Eli. I don’t know what comes into her sometimes. In most cases it is the younger sibling that has entitlement issues. Just for the record, I am not adopted. My sister had me convinced I was when I was younger. She even went so far as to throw away all of my baby pictures. At least that is what Mom thought probably happened to them.”

Elizabeth replied, “Melvin I have never said anything of this before, now I feel I must. Do you know that your sister has a drug problem? It is pretty much common knowledge around the town. Jimmy confirmed it to me, saying he tried to get her into a facility when he was protecting her from her ex-husband. He had caught her red-handed and she swore she would quit and did for a little while maybe a couple of months. That is why she is so desperate for money.”

“Rumor is she owes Jack Stephenson a lot of money he fronted her for her habit. She has promised him he would be paid as soon as you got home. Her drug problem was the real reason her ex-husband left her and the kids. She was running around with any man that would give her and eight-ball and that is the truth for a fact.”

“Eli, why did you and Jimmy keep that away from me? I would have done something to help her or at least got the kids away from that situation. You know me, I would do anything for those two munchkins. My sister has always been my sister and we mostly didn’t get along. I always thought it was just a sibling rivalry or something. How could I have not seen the truth,” asked Melvin to his business partner and friend?

“I guess it really doesn’t matter, but for me I was afraid you would think I was lying, get mad and fire me or something. I got obligations to my kids too, you know. I was wrong and that is evident now…,” she replied while looking down at her feet obviously very upset and dejected about the whole deal.

“Water over the dam. What can I do to get the kids out of this horrible environment,” he asked deep in thought on fixing the problem?

“Sandy and Patrick are old enough to be emancipated. That is something you could help them do. They have to apply and will have to convince a family court Judge that they really want to be separated from their Mom. The money part you could handle for Lawyers, turning kids against your sister is probably something you should think long and hard about. The other avenue is Department of Social Services. She doesn’t have any drug convictions, at least none that I am aware have happened. Might be a cop or someone that protects her for favors if you know what I mean. Maybe even a local Judge or something. Your guess is good as mine. That makes the DSS thing a harder angle. My best friend Celeste that lives in the State capital is a big time Lawyer for the biggest firm in the state. Can’t remember the name but the founders were both governors, one in South and the other in North Carolina. Maybe she could help, I can give her a call tonight and see, if you want me too,” replied Elizabeth.

“I think it is probably time for drastic action. Give her a call and set up a meeting, tomorrow if she can work me into her schedule. Thanks Elizabeth for being a good friend. There is stuff in the back seat for your brats, in the big blue bag. Now I want to go into my office and put my paperwork on your desk and go get some supper. You want to get your kids and meet me at the Ranch Drive-Inn for a great Hamburger Steak and some of their Onion Rings,” asked Melvin hoping Eli would say yes. He just didn’t feel like going home to an empty house.

As Elizabeth was telling him he would meet him there in an hour, his phone rang and it was just the person he needed to speak with at this time. “Hello beautiful,” he answered the phone. Kevin who was calling for Jessica on her phone replied, “I think you are gorgeous, too future Brother -in-law.” Busting out laughing at the picture that came into his head of the face Melvin must be making right now, in reply to his answer.

Big was making a face that made Eli laugh too. He replied, “I was hoping for the good-looking member of the Mars family, not the ugly duckling. Especially the one that didn’t turn into a Swan when it grew up, just got uglier with age. Why are you calling on Jessica’s phone, Kevin? She is alright, there hasn’t been an accident or something?”

Kevin replied, “No, Sis is cooking dinner and has been cutting onions for the Fish Stew and didn’t want to touch her phone and get the smell all over it. I am going to put her phone on speaker. She was anxious to know if you had made it home, on your long drive. Talk to you later, Big.”

Jessica said, “Hey Baby are you home yet? I miss you already and you haven’t been gone any longer than when you were working every day. It just seems different, somehow.”

Big answered, “I miss you too, Jess. I am back in town, actually I am standing in my parking lot at work with Eli and her munchkins. Haven’t even made it in to the office to drop off my paperwork. Just had a knock down drag out with my Sister about me giving her money. I will tell you later but the bad news is she is a drug addict and probably owes the local drug dealer and meanest dude around money.”

Jessica said, “What do you mean, you just found out your Sister is an addict? How does that happen? Did it just happen while you were down here in Mississippi?”

Big answered, “No, I guess I was just gone too much and wasn’t paying enough attention. Eli, just told me that the money I have been giving her was supporting her lifestyle. I thought I was helping and I guess I was facilitating her problems. Guess her ex-husband probably had a right to want his kids taken away from her.”

“Eli, is going to talk with one of her friends and I am going to see about getting them emancipated from her. You may want to re-think our situation, because I will take Sandy and Patrick in to live with me. At least till they go off to College. That will be next year for Sandy and the year after that for Patrick.”

Eli said, “I am going to get your paperwork and all sorted out, give me your keys Big.” As he threw the keys to his partner, she gathered up her girls Fran and Beth and headed to the truck. Opening the door and getting Big’s backpack with his computer and paperwork inside. She saw two big wrapped packages and she hollered, “These for the girls or for Sandy and Patrick?”

“Eli, you know that Sandy and Patrick have not got anything from me that was wrapped in years. Be careful they have stuff that will break and they are heavy. Pull your truck around here and I will help put them in the backseat of your F-250. They can open them tonight after they get home. Look in the side pocket there is something for you. Two rolls of 1964 half-dollars, don’t think they have ever been out of the sleeves, know they have never been circulated. Thought about you and your quest for un-circulated Silver coins when I bought a bunch of Silver at a good price in Mississippi. You owe me big time now.” She palmed the two rolls and nodded in appreciation to her partner boss and life saver. She would definitely help him get his niece and nephew out of the Hell that had to be their lives and gladly give his Sister the butt whoopin’ she surely deserved for being a tramp and Crackwhore.

Jessica asked, “Are you talking to Elizabeth? Why is she still there at work? I know it is past quitting time there, it is here.”

Big answered, “Eli, is just like Jimmy and myself. She works the hours that are required for our firm to be successful and get the jobs completed on-time and the client happy. That is why she was given a piece of the company. I can’t afford to pay her what she is worth to me personally and the firm. Heck, lots of the time, like now she has to go pick up her kids from daycare and comeback to finish up her work. That is why the office adjoining hers has a big screen television and video games and all of the cable channels. Along with the biggest Barbie Doll house on the market and all the trimmings for the girls.”

Eli walking by and hearing Big added, “Yeah, he is right about all that. He didn’t mention the big couch, the gaming chairs and every sports channel known to man, so Jimmy and him can slip out of the office to catch, the big game, match, of race of the day. Those two are hard workers, no doubt about that. But if Man City, the Atlanta Braves, NASCAR or their beloved Gamecocks are on the tube, they are going to be found in front of the TV. Sometimes that means with their laptops in their laps and trying to work. Question, am I talking to the future Mrs. Melvin Cudd?”

Jessica said, “Yes Eli, I am Jessica Mars Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Soon hopefully to be Jessica Cudd DVM. I look forward to meeting the famous Ms. Elizabeth Snow saver of the firm and Melvin on numerous occasions, along with being a general all around great person. That is the definition of you by my big old man.”

With a big smile and an infectious laugh, Eli replied, “Sounds like he finally got something right for a change and did a two for one. He described me to a tee and sounds like he found him a good one on his travels. Girl we have to talk. I will give you all the 411 on one Melvin Cudd. He is really not a good guy as he seems… He is even a better man than he lets most people see that have known him for years. Gotta run, need to get this stuff put up. Your man has promised me and the girls a big meal from the Ranch and we ain’t going to let him skip out on that promise. No other reason than I won’t have to cook tonight. Talk to you later, Big already gave me your contact information in an email.”

“Looking forward to that conversation and meeting you also Elizabeth. Take good care of my man and beat off any would-be takers,” said Jessica.

An hour or so later after a fine specimen of Hamburger Steak and the best Onion rings on the planet, Big had walked Eli and her two girls to her truck and sent them home. As he walked back to his Ford deep in thought about how much his life had changed just in the last couple of days. He almost stepped out in front of a car apparently leaving the parking lot in a big hurry. Jumping back from the big Lincoln Town car before it struck him brought him out of his mind cluttered haze. The car pulled past and slammed on the breaks screeching the tires on the parking lot pavement. With his mind clear and tracking he watched all four doors of the Town Car swing open and out came three large dudes he did not know and one he did at least in passing. Jack Stephenson getting out of the back-seat passenger side was that one. Jack strolled over in front of Melvin with his muscle fanned out on either side and said, “I hear you have something of mine and I am here to retrieve it at this time.”

Big replied, “I am sure you are mistaken, as we have never met. Could I at least ask what it is that I am supposed to have that belongs to you? With more information, I could possibly have a better answer to your hypothesis.”
Melvin tried his best not to laugh at the bewildered expressions on the faces of the three thugs and that also of Jack. It was readily apparent to any and all that the four had no idea what the word hypothesis meant or were they use to answering questions from people that should be shaking in their boots. Melvin tried again saying, “My mistake. I will rephrase the question. I would like to know why you think I have something of yours and what specifically it is that you think I am in the possession. Now does that make the light bulbs come on or should I give it another try?” Waiting for the answer or possibly action on the part of the three thugs, he turned ever so slightly and separated his feet into a better defensive stance.

Jack smiled and his gold grill shined in the night light from the parking lot lights. Jack then replied, “Boys we got us a smart one here. I bet he got a degree and everything. I heard this old boy had done good for himself. That skank, I mean saint of a Sister of his done told me that after I quit giving her a score for trade.”
The three thugs laughed on que and in unison as if Pavlov programmed to respond to their master’s command. Jack continued after his boys had quit laughing, saying, “What you have smart boy is twenty-five large of mine plus the vig for almost three months. We will just call it an even hundred large payable tonight or that pretty daughter of your skank Sister will be turning tricks and be on Crack like her Mother by the weekend. Don’t tell me you don’t have the money your Sister told me she would get it today from you when you got back in town. She said you had just finished another of those large jobs like she got the money from last time to pay me off.”

Thinking quickly Melvin said, “I don’t have that kind of money on me. I do have a few thousand in AMEX travelers checks in my truck. I think it is a little over five grand and I can write you a check for another ten-grand maybe on my personal check book. I will need to get them out of my truck, it is right over there.” Pointing to the truck and trying to look scared out of his mind, he followed his finger towards his truck. Quickly taking the ten steps to his vehicle he hit the button on his keys to open the door.

Jack Stephenson was saying stop and trying to get his thugs moving as the big man reached and opened the door on the Ford truck. Jack was thinking he would jump into the truck and run away. He was utterly surprised when Melvin reached into his truck like reaching for his checkbook as advertised and came back out holding the biggest and deadliest shotgun he had ever seen in his life. The shotgun was pointing right at Jack’s mid-section when Melvin announced, “Now Jack, I think I have your undivided attention. Here is my side of the story. First, I want thug number one, the one with the pretty red tennis shoes and the Mr. T started set of gold chains.”
Pointing his left index finger at the grossly overweight but heavily muscled latino thug. “You are to call 911 on that phone in your right hand and explain to the dispatcher that the four of you have just assaulted me with deadly weapons and would they please send the Police to take yawl into Custody as I have made a Citizen’s arrest.”

Caesar looked to Jack for direction. Melvin said, “Go ahead and tell him to do as I say Jack. The results of the four of you not following orders tonight will result in the Morgue having four people to autopsy. Nod your head if you understand and then tell your man to do as he was told and not to question me again.”

Jack nodded his head in agreement and Said, “Caesar please do as the nice man with the shotgun pointed at me has instructed and none of the rest of you get any crazy ideas in your heads, yawl understand. Just nod and no sudden movements.” As the three thugs were nodding in agreement Caesar dialed 911 and got the county dispatcher.

Melvin said, “You just might live to sell some more Crack again after all Jack. I really had my doubts earlier tonight. Thought I might have seen a hint of I can get this back under control in your eyes there for a moment. Glad to see it has went away at least for now. I know a person like you will make bail by morning and you will have bad thoughts about me and my kin. Here is the deal Jack. If I so much as think you are going to do something stupid like come after those children, me or my friends. I will hunt you down and feed you to the pigs down at the slaughter house and I will do it while you are still alive.”
“Jack, I don’t know why you would let someone with no visible means of support borrow twenty-five large as you called it with no collateral, that is a very bad business decision on your part. People who make bad decisions in business lose money every day. I don’t guess in your line of work, you get to write of loses to the IRS, that is a shame. Righting of loses is about the only thing that the IRS is good for that I can justify.”

“I digress, it would seem that I hear the local Police siren they will be here in just a minute. I am going to ask this question only once, be careful how you answer as I could stumble and fall and pull the trigger on this Fostech, that would be a real-life tragedy for you. I am guessing the locals may even give me the keys to the city on that one. The question is, am I ever going to see you, your guys or someone you hire around my family or friends, ever again as long as you live? That as long as you live part being key in case you missed it.”

Jack slowly trying to keep his temper in check said, “I have people that I have to answer to about this money and their response is not up to me. Do you understand, what I am saying?”

Melvin replied,” I understand completely your dilemma and your mistake. It however, does not change my thinking on the matter and the fact that I will most definitely do you as much or more harm as your partners. That is if anything happens to anyone I love. Understand my point and answer, here comes the Sheriff just nod.” Jack Stephenson nodded knowing that unlike his Sister this one had a backbone and could tell from years of pushing people around this one didn’t get pushed, he did the pushing and even the shoving if it came down to a need.

The same moment the first of two Sheriff cars pulled into the parking lot. Two Sherriff officers popped out of the car like jack in the boxe clowns and the first hollered, “Drop your weapon and get down on the ground, face down and interlock your fingers on the back of your head. Do it now.”

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Default The Things We Do - Chapter 2 Segment 2

Melvin slowly laid the shotgun down and laid down on the ground and put his hands on the back of his head interlacing his fingers. The second Officer raced up and moved the shotgun away from Melvin and started handcuffing Melvin. As he did the Senior county Sherriff patrol Officer got out of his car and said, “Danny, you are cuffing the wrong person the other four are the ones under arrest. Mr. Cudd the one you just assured a large settlement on the lawsuit is the one who made a Citizens arrest of these four upstanding citizens. Danny and Glenn if I didn’t know better I might think that you may be on Jack’s payroll. This isn’t even your side of the county. You are supposed to be working the north side of the county up near the line. How is it that you beat me here and I was just two blocks away when the call came in from dispatch?”
“That falls under those things to be looked into another day. Danny, now be a good Officer and please take your cuffs off of Mr. Cudd and get these other four cuffed and sitting in four separate locations. You know where they can’t be getting their stories worked out.”

Danny replied, “Yes, Sergeant Crowe. I am helping Mr. Cudd up and removing the hand cuffs. Glen get those other guys cuffed and sitting.” Glenn looked like a deer caught in headlights, frozen. The thoughts of cuffing the man who he took money from to handle situations like tonight had his brain locked out and in neutral. Danny hollered, “Dang it Glenn get your stupid butt in gear and do as the Sergeant ordered!”

Sergeant Crowe and his partner walked up and Sean McIver started applying cuffs to the local loan shark and drug dealer and his crew. Eddie Crowe said, “Hello Melvin, didn’t know you were back in town. Last time I talked with Elizabeth she told me it might be Christmas before you were back in town.”

Melvin seeing and hearing and old friend that he had grew up with and went to school with in his little town from first grade through high school graduation, literally re-started his heart. Melvin said, “Good to see you my friend, seems I owe you for saving my bacon again for about the millionth time. Glad you happened to be in the neighborhood, must be supper time.”

Eddie smiled at his old friend and leaned over and picked up the Fostech that Eddie had seen in a magazine just the month before, knowing the price of the weapon was a good month of pay for some people. Eddie said, “Very nice piece of weaponry, Melvin. I didn’t know you were into this type tactical shotguns. They are an acquired taste especially one of this variety.”

Melvin said, “It was a going away present from my future Father in Law and Brother in Law, when I left Mississippi. My future wife and her family are big into three-gun shooting and I didn’t have a shotgun. They gave me that one and its full-sized brother, as a matched pair. On another note, what do you know about my Sister and her choices to run with these low life’s. They were here to collect a hundred grand she owes them for her drug habit.”

Eddie said, “I will come by on Saturday and we will go to the races at Cherokee like old times and we will talk where no one will be listening.”

As the pair was still talking a third Police car rolled into the parking lot from the Sherriff’s office in response to the request from Sean McIver to take the other two thugs to the County jail for booking. The two officers got out and as directed by Sean put the two lowest on the ladder of Jack’s men in their car and with instructions to have them separate for interrogation and during booking.

Eddie said, “You will not have to come down to the station to fill out the complaint. Come over to my car and I can take your statement on my patrol car video system. Makes my life a lot easier the reports are recorded and videoed for the permanent record. No more, I didn’t say that or the Officer did this. Heck the whole thing has been recorded from the start by each Officer and their patrol vehicle. It will be interesting to see the video of Danny and Glen’s car for the last hour. I am betting there are some computer difficulties with their personal cameras and the patrol car. Now, wouldn’t that be interesting.”

Big replied, “You think they are involved with Stephenson. What is the world coming to, my friend? One would never expect corruption at the small-town level. Washington is enough.”

Eddie replied, “Can’t say one way or the other, would be slanderous you know.” Winking at his friend with a big I ate the Canary, Cat grin.

“Let’s definitely plan on heading to Gaffney this week. The WOO is going to be here for the big race. I need to see Smoke Maddox anyway and see if he needs to have my motor freshened. I am sure it has to be over five hundred laps by now and is just sitting at his garage or on his hauler, waiting to go back to Crawford’s for a rebuild. He has been running really well the last month and has taken over the points lead from the Rocket house car. I think three wins and a couple of three, second place finishes, and one fourth over the last four weeks. I follow them on the net, DirtonDirt is a good one for us folks that aren’t able to go much, their videos and writeups keep me in the loop,” explained Big changing the subject.

Early the next morning after his hectic night Big was sitting at his desk when Elizabeth came walking through the office turning on the lights and heading straight to the break room to start the large coffee pot. She hollered over her shoulder, “And before you say anything there is Ice Tea unsweet homemade and Diet Dews in the refrigerator. I just put them in the box myself. They are the twenty-four-ounce ones you don’t like. They were on sale and cheaper than the twenty ounce and you do love a good deal.”

“Thanks, Eli. You are too good to me and know me too well. On that note you can’t be bad mounting me to my future wife. I really want this to work. I feel about her like no other, not even BethAnn. I need you to promise me.”
Elizabeth replied as she walked int his office, “Big first off, I don’t have any bad things to say about you. You are a good and decent man, maybe too good. If that is possible, and everyone but you know that. Secondly what the heck happened last night after I left the Ranch with the kids.”

“What…, How do you even know about that? It happened after you left, I saw you leave from the parking lot before it happened,” asked and incredulous Big.

As the two early risers and owners were finishing their discussions, the office began to come to life. All of the office staff having seen Big’s truck in it’s accustomed parking place coming by his office and sticking their head in the door to just say hi and tell the Boss they were glad to have him back. Jimmy one of the last ones to arrive came into the office and slumped into the leather backed chair and said two words, “Spill it!”

“Spill what,” asked Big.

“The big news about Big and Bad I might add now Melvin Cudd taking out the local drug kingpin, single handedly. Heck, it even made the local Eleven O’clock news on CBS. Seems you made a Citizen’s arrest on Jack and his thugs for assault and they found ten kilos of heroin in the trunk of his Lincoln Town Car that had his finger prints all over it and a couple hundred thousand dollars of cash, was seized too. That’s what. Now pill it,” said Jimmy.

“Eli looked at Jimmy and then at Big and said, “Yeah, spill it. That is even more information than I had heard over the gossip channel.”

“Don’t know anything about the drugs. Jack and his goons did corner me in the parking lot at the Ranch right after you left Eli. Jack wanted a hundred thousand dollars cash money for what Sis owed him. Told me he gave her twenty-five large and the interest, was the rest of what she or I as he told me was owed. I got him to let me go to the truck to get some Travelers Checks and my check book and came out with the Fostech getting the drop on him and his goons.”

“Got one of his muscle men to call 911 about the Citizen’s arrest for assault and a Police car shows up with two cops in like ten seconds. They have me drop the shotgun and put me in cuffs. Then Eddie Crowe shows up I guess he is like a big wheel with the Sheriff’s department now and got it straightened out and me uncuffed and the others cuffed. He recorded my statement on his car and his personal device and had me electronically sign the file and that was that. A couple of other squad cars showed up and took Jack and his associates away. Eddie and I agreed to go ton the races tomorrow at Cherokee and I went home. Called Jessica talked with her, watched some Sports Center, checked my machine for messages, and went to bed and slept like a rock. End of story,” replied Big.

Jimmy said, “They said on the news that it was the third strike for three of the people in the arrest and would be in jail for a minimum of twenty years and because it was assault with a deadly weapon, they found pistols on all four, there would be no parole. But who knows with the MSM covering the deal. Probably be out by this morning.”

As Jimmy was finishing talking the intercom on Big’s phone came on with one of the office ladies saying it was Eddie Crowe and he needed to talk with Mr. Cudd right now. Big said, “Cynthia, put him through to my phone.” Hitting the call button, he put it on speaker and said, “Melvin Cudd how may I be of service to the Sheriff’s department. Yawl wanting more donations,” and laughed at the faces of his two partners.

Eddie replied, “No, but if you have some laying around that needs to be spent, there is a racer out of upstate South Carolina that is looking for some money for a new engine, I am told. That however, is not why I called. The county ambulance service found April this morning after getting an anonymous call. She was found in the parking lot of a local motel in her car with an Overdose and rushed to the hospital. They suspect foul play, in response to last night. She is alive right now and stable but critical. You need to get to her kids before they here this at school, my friend. Tried to get you earlier at home but I guess you had already left for work. Just got through passed the electronic watch dog on your system to talk with someone.”

Big took over saying, “Thanks Eddie give me one second and I will be back with you.”

Turning to face Elizabeth he said, “Get me an appointment with your friend today and I don’t care what it cost to get her here. I need her here this morning. Jimmy you make sure we have everything covered with work and let Eli do her thing.”

Turning back to the phone, Big said, “Eddie thanks for calling. Do you have my Sister guarded at the hospital, in case someone comes back to finish the job?”

Eddie replied, “No. we do not. With the money situation at our office, the Governor would have to order it and pay the overtime on a Mutual Aide agreement or something. We haven’t had any protective duty in over five years that I know happened.”

“Eddie what would be the going rate for a Sherriff’s Officer doing it on their spare time and can you get me a couple of guys to do that for me that you trust completely, asked Big?”

Eddie answered, “Probably twenty-five and hour maybe less since we aren’t getting any overtime and I can have a guy there in fifteen minutes if you want that I trust with my life. Do you want me to make it happen, my friend?”

“Eddie, do it and tell them I am good for the money and it will be in cash. I am gone, get my cell phone number form Jimmy. I am heading to school to get Sandy and Pat call me if you hear anything else,” said Big as he headed out the door leaving his partners in his wake.

Heading out to his truck, Big was realizing that Jess and her family was correct about having their Concealed Weapons Carry permits. They had all told him he needed to get one while he was in Mississippi, the out of state one, the Virginia and the Utah like they all had acquired and used them to carry concealed daily. Jess’s Dad had said with Mississippi having thirty-four states for reciprocity, and Virginia / Utah having thirty-six each it covered most of the United States. Exceptions being the northeast and the left coast. Jess’s Dad had told him that he wasn’t going to any of those Socialist states and spend his hard-earned money anyway. Her brother Kevin had added, “Dad hasn’t left Mississippi, and the surrounding states of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas in his whole life.”

Jack had added, “And for that matter, I don’t plan on doing it now. Smarty pants I have been to Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma. Don’t remember the trip to Georgia and Florida happened when I was a young tyke. The trip to Oklahoma was to buy a truck and a tandem axle trailer back years ago, when I first got in the car business. I was only there in the state for less than twelve hours and most of that was driving in the state and back home.”

Kevin had said, “Dad, you never spoke of that before. I guess you learn something everyday and that was definitely new news to me.”

Jack shrugging his shoulders just replied, “Really hadn’t ever thought about it till just now. You bringing up that I had never been anywhere, got me thinking about where I had been in my life. I guess we will need to check our permits for South Carolina as Jessica says we are coming to visit her Big over the Christmas holidays. We are going to shoot in a big three-gun match in Fayetteville, South Carolina while we visit.”

Big grinned and said, “Fayetteville is four hours or better from me and in North Carolina, not South Carolina. But it is not a bad drive almost all Interstate.”

Thinking of the conversation and his future wife’s Dad and brother had been a nice diversion as he races towards the Town high school to get his niece and nephew. Pulling into the high school parking lot, he noticed that there had been many additions and upgrades since the last time he had been at the school. His thoughts were that it had probably been ten years at least since he came for the Upper State football championship game, which the team had won by a landslide. Thirty-five to six if he remembered correctly and could have been much more. The home town team taking a knee three times on the one-foot line as time ran out. Coming back to the here and now, Big shuts down his Ford F-350, gets out of the truck and heads toward the front entrance to his former high school.

Seeing the American, South Carolina and school flags he gives them a nod of appreciation, but he also sees the disrepair of the three flags and mentally decides they are a living testimony to the state of affairs throughout a once great nation, state and school. Thinking where, did it all go wrong with my country and my big sister, he barrels through the front door like the linebacker he was many moons ago filling a hole, making the tackle and stopping the other team short. Turning the corner and heading into the front office, the first face he saw was Mrs. Swofford, she had been the head man’s assistant at the school when he arrived as a Freshman twenty-five or so years before. She had been the one smiling face that made his life at school passable.

Mrs. Swofford said, “May I help you, sir?” With that same pick me up smile from twenty-five years ago. The one that always told you it was going to get better and any minute. Big thought to himself, I hope that smile is telling the truth this morning.

As Big was answering the school administrator Eli was talking with one of her best friends in the world Celeste Melton. The very same Celeste she had mentioned to Big about getting to help with the emancipation of his Sisters children. After a few minutes of small talk mostly gossip and Eli finding out that Celeste had just become a junior partner and still did not have a man in her life unless it was the senior partners in her firm. Eli got down to business explaining what her boss and one of the only two men in her life wanted and according to Eli really needed.

Celeste said, “Eli, I was coming back home to see Mom and Dad this weekend anyway. I will just leave a little early. I have a deposition at ten o’clock probably last and hour maybe less then I can be on the road. Could probably be at your office by lunch time, I still need to pack. I hate to say this Eli can your boss afford my firm. My rate is $300.00 per hour and it isn’t negotiable, now that I am a junior partner. I can do today like free and get him someone cheaper from our firm that will do a good job for him.”

Eli laughed and replied, “I was hoping an old friend would do this on the cheap for me. However, he can afford the cost, no problem and if he couldn’t he would find a way for those kids. Their Annuities he set up for the kids are each a quarter million and their 529 Funds for College are over a hundred grand each.”

“The truth is Celeste if we need to setup a retainer, I will have a check for you for ten thousand dollars when you get here if that is not enough I will need to get Jimmy to sign the check. I can only sign up to that amount without someone else approving or Jimmy signing. Do I make the check out to your firm or you?”

A whistle came over the phone from Celeste and then a deep breath then she said, “Just how much is your Boss worth. I new you said the company did pretty well even during the bad economy years of Obama, but my lord three quarters of a million on his niece and nephew. And my second question is, that hunk of a man you call a boss, why you haven’t married him. He is the one that throws the small but nice Christmas party that I have been to out at the lake with you a couple of times, right?”

Laughing Eli replied, “Calm down Celeste, he just got engaged to a Vet from down in Mississippi. I can hear your hormones raging over the phone girl. He is pretty well off for sure that place on the lake is his house. Well actually it belongs to his company and it is paid off. He only obtained a Contractors loan when he built it five or six years ago. Owns it free and clear, that and our office and warehouse buildings and property. Heck, he even owns all the trucks and equipment and leases it back to the firm. Somehow, he says the depreciation helps him manage his personal tax bill.”

Celeste replied, “I will give him a rate for this work. Do you have a corporate attorney to handle your Workman’s Comp, contracts and litigation cases? If not I would like to talk with him about being that person for the company. That way it is a win, win situation for me and my firm. My Senior partners would love for me to bring in a big corporate account, a big feather in my cap so to speak.”

“Girl, you are always playing an angle. I will get you the check for ten thousand and if you get him the kids. I will guarantee our corporate account for you and your Senior Partners. You are throwing that Partner card around pretty hard you know. If I hadn’t been a Senior partner for a few years I might be envious of your partnership,” retorted Eli.

“Girl, you never told me you were a partner, just always talked about your big owner and how great he is to you and the girls,” replied Celeste.

“For the hundredth time, even though he is a big guy, the Big part is what everyone calls him. Melvin ‘Big’ Cudd is his name. He gave me ten percent to start and one percent more every year we make a profit over a half million till it gets to fifteen percent. Which it has already maxed out at fifteen percent,” said Eli.

“Whoa…, now let me get this straight. You own fifteen percent of a company that has profits in excess of a half million after taxes each year. That is at least a seventy-five thousand dollar pay out per year for you on profits. Now tell me why I have been buying the drinks when we go out and helping pay for the sitter,” Celeste asked almost hurt sounding?

“Because you offered and it made you fill good. The other reason is ‘Big” says that the way to get rich is not to spend what you make to re-invest the money and make more. It is also why, I haven’t been looking for a man. I have been afraid they would be after my money and I struggled so much after Mitch left financially. This job has been a gift from God and I don’t plan on wasting the gift,” said Celeste.

After a little more chit chat the two broke the connection and went back to their separate lives and jobs. One very happy that she had set up help for her boss and the other inquisitive enough to have her Administrative assistant start checking out a future client and his assets, one Melvin Cudd. The information on the net worth of Melvin Cudd and his firms’ holdings were impressive enough that one of the Seniors over hearing the data transfer from the Assistant as he walked by. Made it a point to stop and find out the details on the prospective new client and how Celeste came to know about the client and wanted to know if she needed any help to close the account the firm would be behind it one hundred percent. Telling Celeste as he started to leave her office that he saw a bright future for her in the firm and that was why he had voted to make her a junior partner.

As the partner left her office she thought, yeah that and from what I hear from the other ladies around the office, you thought it might help you score. Fat chance of that, you old blow hard, stuffed shirt. With a big smile on her face she went to the conference room with her Administrative Assistant and her legal transcriber to take a deposition in a Workman’s Compensation case in which the employee had lost a leg in a Forklift accident due to faulty and stuck accelerator on the machine. Her client was arguing that the Forklift operator was at fault, as he could have dropped the load and stopped the machine from running into the other Forklift in the warehouse. All the witnesses said he had did just that, they were just to close when it happened.

Back at the high school after finally remembering Melvin Cudd and commenting on how large his muscles were compared to him as a high school student, Mrs. Swofford had finally located Sandy and Patrick and gotten them out of class. After first confirming that the students in questioned records showed that Melvin Cudd their uncle was on the list as a person who could sign them out of class. Sandy was the first to arrive at the office and said, “Is this about Mom, she didn’t come home again last night. Oh, Uncle Mel, tell me she didn’t overdose again…, or is she dead?”

Running into the large arms of her Uncle and being enveloped by Big in a hug. Holding his niece and trying to soothe her hurt, Melvin saw his nephew coming down the hallway through the large windows in the office. Whispering into Sandy’s ear, Big said, “Here comes Patrick. Let’s get him and head to my office. I will explain everything in private, the best I can. Now try not to cry anymore, be the strong-willed girl I know and am so proud to be her Uncle.”

Putting up a brave face as Patrick walked in, Big said, “Come on big fella’, Uncle Mel is home and come to get you out of school for the day.”

Not really noticing his Sister and her display of grief, Patrick said, “I knew Mom was lying when she told us that you never wanted to see us again and that you hated us. Didn’t I tell you that Sandy, didn’t I…, last night before Momma left to go do her thing as she calls getting high as a Georgia pine everyday of her life. Can we go to the lake house and maybe go fishing off the dock? We haven’t gotten to do that in some time and I would love to catch some Bream or Catfish for supper.”

“We’ll talk about it on the way home and make a decision. How about that, cool,” asked Melvin putting on his best face but dying a little hearing both his Niece and his Nephew talking about his Sisters problems with drugs like everybody in the world knew about them but her own Brother. Now that was a great sibling he thought, as the trio walked out the front of the building heading towards the parking lot and his truck.

As the trio were getting in the truck, back at his company headquarters, Jimmy and Elizabeth were trying to decide the best course of action for the company. Both had agreed that they needed to let Tomcat and his team complete the job in Pickens and at most just send up Donnie and Jerome to help out. Jerome for Safety and Donnie to manage the client for their company. Jimmy said, “Yeah, that will get them some billable time and some overtime to keep them happy. The rest of the operators and labor we will send them home with their bonuses, till the first of the year. They been gone a good while and they will love being off during white-tail deer hunting season.”

Eli laughed and said, “That was the first thing I was asked by a few of them when they got in with the equipment. They questioned me if there was any reason in them going to get a hunting license or were they being sent right to the Pickens job on Monday after Thanksgiving, week after next. A couple even wanted to ask if they could be off to after the first of the year, it will make them happy for sure…, bonus or not. That was the other question, that was the hot topic of the crew. Especially one Mr. Donnie Ricks, as he hasn’t been around long enough to know the stock answer, to that question. If the job can afford the cost.”

Jimmy laughed and replied, “Yeah, it is always something with our guys. They are either getting too many hours and the government is getting too much, or they are not getting enough hours and they can’t live off what’s left after the court takes their child support and / or alimony. They would be upset as Big says ‘if you hung them with a gold rope’.”

Elizabeth replies, “He does say that and that is not ‘according to Hoyle’. I really don’t get either one of those sayings. Is it something he just made up and stuck with to mystify people and put them on the defensive, because it works with me.”

Grinning Jimmy replied, “No, I think they are both universal sayings. ‘According to Hoyle’ for sure. You ever play poker or Spades, Hoyle is one of the leading Poker cards manufacturer’s in the world and each deck has a set of rules or ‘According to Hoyle’. The other just means they are never happy, no matter what, and I have heard a hundred people besides Big use that one.”

“Well, that makes me feel a little better, at least now I will have a clue when he tells me either one of those sayings. I just usually nod and agree with him when he uses them, knowing he is probably right and definitely the Boss,” Eli expounded.
Jimmy said, “That being settled, I’ll tell our guys and you call Tomcat and tell him that Donny and Jerome will be at the site some time Monday morning after the Thanksgiving weekend. Tomcat and his team are probably taking that weekend off anyway. Find out where they are staying and get the boys a room. Will ya?’

Elizabeth replied, “We are handling the rooms and the per diem out of here. That way Tomcat doesn’t have to pay his guys up front and we don’t have to eat his mark up. Tomcat even made the recommendation to handle it that way to help him out, before you start. I see it in your eyes, Jimmy. So, I will get them rooms set up at the Hampton Inn like usual.”

As the apir of owners were squabbling, down at the county seat hospital one April Manning, older sister of Melvin Cudd was going into Cardiac arrest before Sheriff Sergeant Eddie Crowe could get an Officer down to the hospital to guard her room for his best friend. Both of his first picks were hunting on their day off and were out of town in the lower part of the state on a Plantation hunting Hogs and deer. His third choice was on his way from the gym heading home to get his gear when Eddie got the call from the hospital after informing them that the patient was going to be under protective custody. Eddie replied to the lady from the hospital, “Is she dead Ma’am or just in arrest?”

The Hospital Administrator deftly handled the question saying, “Sergeant she is in arrest at this time and being resuscitated by our highly trained and professional staff. I would however Sergeant, notify her next of kin and get them down to the hospital as quick as possible, for their sake. These things can go many ways and only one of them is an optimum choice, Sergeant as you may already understand in your line of work. Thanks for your time and my name is Beverly and this number is a direct line if you need any more information.”

About twenty miles away from the hospital the way the crow flies, Big and his Niece and Nephew were pulling into his parking space at his office. They got out and headed inside to see Elizabeth and see about meeting their new attorney or going to the hospital and sitting in the ICU waiting room. Big had been informed by the hospital that they could not get into visit their Mom and his Sister till visiting hours at two pm and then for only a total of ten minutes for the three of them, one at a time. Both Sandy and Patrick, wanted to see the Lawyer and discuss being Emancipated from their Mother and living with their Uncle Mel. Going to see their Mother not so much, as Sandy had put it, she already had caused to much pain in their lives.

Trying to explain to the kids, young adults he had to admit to himself, that they needed to go and support their Mom was met by stoic and strong rebuttals that she never supported them when they needed it. Even spending their allowance money and not letting them have it once in the last eight or ten months. Telling them that the family needed the money for groceries and rent money. Sandy said, “That was a fat lie, there was never any food in the house. If we didn’t qualify for breakfast and lunch on the free program at school we would have probably starved. That and the gifts from the church of food cards and stuff.”

Looking like he had just been kicked in the stomach by a mule, Big had no response for the kids. Heck, he thought, how could I have let my own kin sink so far when I have so much to give. Finally, he said, “Sandy, why didn’t you call me and tell me about this mess with your Mom. You know that I would have moved the Moon for yawl?”

“Mom always monitored our calls to you from home, that and she sold our phones after they cut off the service for her not paying the bill. I actually tried a couple of times with a friend’s phone at school, you never picked up. You actually told me that you couldn’t have your phone on the job site because of the possibility of sparks and explosions, due to the nature of the contaminate in places. After a while you just get so beat down that you are used to it and think it is normal, or you don’t think you deserve better or something, Uncle Mel.” Sandy answered.

“Oh, my heavens, what have I allowed to happen…,” Big was saying as his cell phone begin to ring. He was about to hit decline when he saw it was the Sherriff’s Office on the line, and probably his friend Eddie, with news that he had found someone to guard his Sister. Answering he said, “Eddie is that you? Did you get someone down there to watch after April?” All said in the blink of an eye and threw Eddie off guard.

Finally regaining some control of his thoughts Eddie answered, “Yes, it is me and yes, I found someone to guard your Sister. That is not why I am calling. The hospital just called and said your Sister has went into Cardiac arrest and the family needs to get to the hospital ASAP. That is the reason for the call, my friend.”

Stunned by the news of his Sister, Big asks, “Is she alive…?”

Eddie quickly replied, “Melvin, she was a few minutes ago when I talked with the hospital representative. Quite frankly, now I would have to say if it God’s will then she is still alive and doing better. You need to get the kids and get on to the hospital now, though I think for your and their sake and do it in a hurry.”

After ending the call with Eddie, Uncle Melvin gave the news to Sandy and Patrick, who took the news a lot better than he had. Patrick even saying, “Uncle Mel, no use to get in a hurry and worry. Only the good die young and Momma hasn’t been accused of being good since…, Well since long as I can remember.” The saddest part about that whole situation was that Sandy was nodding her head in silent affirmation with her brothers’ words. The two in total agreement it would seem about their Mom and his Sister.

Melvin put the big truck in gear and said, “We are going to see your Mom and my Sister. Two wrongs have never made a right. Kids, I promise, we are going to get you out of this mess if it is in my capabilities. Now buckle back up and we are going. No back talk. Okay, at least for me, if not her.” The two nodded their agreement and thought, maybe we should have told him years ago and just trusted him, like Dad had told us to do before the left and not let Mom talk us out of doing that very thing.

The ride to the hospital had been anti-climactic as April had been resuscitated by the hospital staff three times only to pass away and couldn’t be brought back to life the final time, her heart muscle to far impacted by the trauma and drugs. Eddie working in the county seat was actually waiting for the trio when they came in the door of the hospital the bearer of the bad news about Mother and Sister and hating every minute of the ordeal for his friend and his kin.

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Old 06-24-2018, 08:10 PM
shadetree 1944 shadetree 1944 is online now
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another good one in the making, thanks Shade
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Old 06-24-2018, 08:39 PM
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Well done, as usual. Look forward to more of the story. Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:32 PM
bugbor bugbor is offline
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Another good chapter, 223shooter. I don't know how you're gonna keep this up for another 50 chapters or so. (Hint, hint) Or maybe you're lookin' at 75 chapters?
Thank you very much.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:20 PM
Jungle Work Jungle Work is offline
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This is a fun story and I love fun stories.
The fact that you're a excellent writer just makes it better. I don't know what
you do for a living, but it must be exciting. Thanks for sharing this story
with us.

Jungle Work
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:32 AM
shooter90 shooter90 is offline
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need more please. good story,
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Old 07-21-2018, 06:41 PM
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First time I've had a chance to dive into a story, in some time.

Great start.

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Old 07-24-2018, 08:54 PM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
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Default The Things We Do - Chapter 3 Segment 1

A little taste of the new book . Hope you enjoy and comments are appreciated!!

It was the Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving and the last few days had been a blur to Big and the kids. April had died on Friday and had been cremated the next day. The family had received friends at the lake house of Melvin’s on Saturday night and they had a quite ceremony at the family Baptist on Sunday afternoon. Most of the people that came to the receiving of friends were there for Melvin and the children. To a person both Jimmy and Elizabeth thought that there was not one person that they knew who had come that wasn’t connected to either Melvin or friends of Sandy and Patrick and their parents. The funereal had been even more of a time for Melvin and the kids as most of the people at the funeral didn’t even know April and it showed in their faces and attitudes. The people were there for support of the living and not the memory of the dead. The family Preacher spoke of the living and how they had been good stewards and would be a legacy for the family and community. April not so much was the unspoken message from all in attendance.

Monday had seen Big and the kids meeting with Elizabeth and her friend Celeste Melton the Lawyer and getting all the information on how Melvin could become their guardian. She told Melvin that their Father would have to be dealt with on some level as he was still their only living parent. The second issue would be that the children would qualify for Social Security benefits at least until they were eighteen years of age. For Sandy that would only be about four months with her birthday being in March.

After asking to speak with Melvin by himself and getting Elizabeth to take the kids to the game room for a few minutes, Celeste said, “I expect the Father to want custody for no other reason than the money the kids will be receiving. That is if he is anything like what Elizabeth and you have said about him. Seems he is not much better a person than the Mother, except he is a drunk and not a doper. At least he had sense enough to leave the Mother when she started running with the wrong crowd and doing illegal things to support her habit.”

“Celeste, may I call you Celeste, or should we stay with Ms. Melton?” asked Melvin. Continuing after she nodded her head in ascension to the question, “Can we cut right to the chase. What do you think it will take to get their Dad to agree to let me have the kids? That is in your professional opinion, Celeste. I won’t hold you to the estimate.”

Celeste said, “Elizabeth had told me you were a bottom line type of guy and didn’t like to beat around the bush. I am guessing not much especially when we tell him that there is no money left in the estate, that Sandy will only get four, maybe five Social Security checks at best and Patrick not but a little over a years’ worth of funds. That and the fact that his name is still on the original loan and paperwork for the house and April has borrowed against the equity to the max. We will assure him that if he comes after the money, the bank will want to push it and come after him for the delinquent monies owed on his house.”

“You play hard ball Celeste. I like it. What should I offer him to sign the papers you said you could draw up to get him out of the picture,” Big asked finally smiling for the first time in what seemed like a month?

Celeste said, “We will put a lump sum cash payment of five thousand dollars for his signature of his rights to the kids and any monies they may obtain from you as their Guardian. We will also close both of the Annuities and the 529 accounts before we make the offer and place them in a Blind Trust that I will administer for you and your company. I think he will jump at the offer. The only thing I ask is you let me meet with him alone to make the deal. That way you will not get a chance to hear his sob story and feel like you owe him more for the deal. I know you are a strong business man. I can also see you have a big heart especially for those kids and will do anything to make sure they have the best situation they can. That as they say is non-negotiable and why you pay me the big bucks.” The last part she had said with a large country grin and not the look of a big city Shark of a Lawyer, which she actually more closely fit the billing.

“I can live with those stipulations and will pay more if it is required. I will not be held hostage and will take him to court and fight. Knowing I will win because I can afford better Lawyers and there is nothing in the Estate for any lawyer to work for half the settlement. Thanks again for seeing me and the family on such short notice. If there is anything I can ever do for you please just holler and I will come running, I promise and my word is my bond,” said Melvin and reached out to shake the Lawyers hand.

Celeste said, “If you put it that way. How about you fixing’ me up with your protégé Jimmy for a date. Elizabeth told me not for all the diamonds in Africa, I think that was what she said with all the swearing she was doing also.”

Laughing at the lawyer and her description of Elizabeth on Jimmy, Melvin said, “She does love my boy Jimmy. She just knows him too well. He is a confirmed bachelor and ladies man. His motto is a different one in every city and every night and he stays true to his motto if nobody else. If you get my drift? So, that being said, I will do it but don’t expect much other than a good night out on the town, because he is not cheap and never a call back. I mean not ever, not two weeks later, two months, two years, never again in your life time and that is the truth. Unless you are both into it not being anything more than what it is so to speak. I hope I haven’t offended you with what I have said. Just thought I owed you the truth on this matter. I am a man of my word and will set up a date and even a double date if you want to wait until my future wife gets here in about three weeks.”

Celeste replied, “That would be great, but I was thinking this coming weekend or tonight before I go back to Columbia to work in the morning.”

Laughing so hard it hurt, Big said, “Another raging case of the JimmyFlu. Those blue eyes and good looks have struck again. I would have thought a beautiful and smart lady Lawyer would have been immune to the JimmyFlu. The truth is you my lady have all the symptoms and I have seen it many times through the years.”

Eli added, “I would have to agree, full-fledged early on-set JimmyFlu,” smiling at Big and nodding in agreement with his diagnosis of the situation.

With a look that said I don’t understand at all, Celeste asked, “How is it that Elizabeth and you have a partner that neither of you like very much? Most people in business, especially small privately-owned businesses usually are partners with someone that they like and respect very much.”

Big answered, “You have misinterpreted the truth about someone with dislike. I can safely say that Jimmy is my right hand in business and we would both do anything for the other personally. I am almost one hundred percent sure Eli would say and do the same. He is a great friend and partner, with us. We just don’t think he will ever be husband or Father material, at least not without someone lassoing his heart or God showing him the way.”

The conversation went on for about thirty minutes part on Jimmy and the other on the settlement to obtain the kids and how they were going to close the money accounts and get them transferred to a Trust held and managed by her and her Law firm. As they were finishing up one of the Administrative assistants knocked on the conference room door and stuck her head in the room. She said, “Sorry, to bother you Mr. Cudd, but Sergeant Eddie Crowe of the County Sherriff Department is here to see you. He said it could wait but that was about thirty minutes ago and he seems antsy.”

“That’s just his way. That boy has had ants in pants as long as I have known him. Please tell Eddie that I am finishing up and will be out and we can go get some lunch in a moment. I will even let him buy, that is if hasn’t been eating donuts all morning for free at Momma Jeans with all the other cops in the county. I swear, I don’t know how she stays in business as many donuts she gives away to the local policemen,” said Big laughing at the looks of bafflement on the aides and Lawyers face. Both wondering how much of what they had just heard was true and how much was Big giving his friend a hard time.

The truth was Melvin Cudd was right, Eddie this morning like most mornings had been by Momma Jean’s earlier in the morning about six thirty for coffee and a Crueller or maybe three. They were his favorite and he left a five-dollar tip for Jean, who wouldn’t take his money for the great donuts and coffee. Hearing what his friend said from down the hall, Eddie replied, “Melvin, don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

Got up from the couch he was sitting on reading a Shooting Times magazine that had a nice article about the new Seekins Precision Havak Pro Hunter PH1with a 26-inch fluted barrel and Timney 510 Trigger in 300 Win Mag with a threaded muzzle (5/8 x 24) with thread protector and flush mounted detachable magazine. The writer of the article had gotten almost 0.5 MOA with three different precision factory rounds and Ballistic tip bullets. Making his way down the hallway after rolling the magazine up and sticking it in his back right pocket for completion of the article later.

Walking into the conference room Eddie addressed the occupants by name, he knew them all personally but the Assistant who had gracefully and professionally left the conference room doorway and went back to her work station. Eddie continued, “Melvin, I need a few minutes of your time.”

Melvin replied, “Alone or is present company admitted?” Looking at Eddie expecting him to say in private if at all possible, assuming it had something to do with Jack Stephenson.

Eddie said, “If it is alright with you then it is fine with me. I have two things to talk with you about. The first is about Jack Stephenson you will have nothing to worry about from him or his guys. The three stooges are going away for a long time and Jack is going to turn states evidence for the Feds and going into a Witness Protection program. Seems his boss is way more important to the Feds than anyone around here would have ever thought. Seems he worked for the Columbians with management out of Miami that he has the goods on for his own protection. I guess the Feds already had him on the hook for some other crime or something.”

“The second thing is I talked with Smoke Maddox, Saturday at Cherokee and he invited us down to East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, Alabama for the big race this weekend. Seems they are paying ten grand on Friday, ten grand on Saturday and twenty-five on Sunday afternoon. He also wanted to talk with you about your motor and getting it refreshed.”

Big started to say that he couldn’t with the kids and all and the eyes he got from both Eli and Celeste had him stopped in his tracks. Eli said, “I got the kids and you boys can go play in Alabama with your friends. We will have Thanksgiving dinner at your house tomorrow and all you need to do is cook the Turkey and Ham as Big you do that every year anyway. The Turkey and the ham are already in the refrigerator and will need to be taken out tonight and cooked. Jimmy is bringing the deserts and I have the rest including the dressing and the Macaroni and Cheese. I guess the only question is Eddie and Celeste do you have plans for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and if not do you want to join us out at Big’s at the lake. If that is alright with you Big.”

Big threw up his hand in mock surrender and replied, “Whatever you say, Boss. The more the merrier and Sandy and Patrick need tis to be a good one.”

Eddie with a big grateful smile said, “I am sure that will beat the heck out of the Cracker Barrel and that big eight-five-inch Sony 4K Ultra will have a lot better picture than my little ten-year-old forty-inch for the football games. How can I say no Elizabeth when you twist my arm like that? By all means my answer to Thanksgiving dinner on the lake with friends is yes.”

Celeste thinking that she had planned on going to Cracker Barrel or Lizard’s Thicket back in Columbia was fixing to join in and say yes, when Jimmy came walking in through the office door and she completely lost her train of thought. Her mind suddenly overloaded with pictures of the Adonis Jimmy Harris that was now speaking to the room. “Hey guys I heard you all talking about lunch tomorrow and wanted to know what type deserts you wanted. I ordered the standards Pumpkin, Pecan and Apple pie from the bakery. Do we need a cake or something, seems like I am getting off pretty easy? Is there something else I can bring and what time are we eating?”
Looking too Big for an answer. The Boss shrugged his shoulders and replied, “This is Eli’s show, all I have to do is take orders cut the turkey and Ham and open the front door. That and get the two sleepy heads up and showered before time to eat.

Finally getting her senses back, Celeste replied, “I would love to be there. Is there anything I can pick up? I don’t have any place to do any cooking here. I will be staying at the hotel downtown and it doesn’t even have a microwave.”

The next day’s lunch plans made and Celeste given a room at the Cudd homestead for the night and her promising to be no trouble and to help with the cooking of the Turkey and Ham. The group broke up and headed to handle other projects. All except Eli with a big frown and her hands on her hips looked at her Boss, partner and friend and told him in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to marry that Doctor from Mississippi he couldn’t be offering to let beautiful lawyers stay over for the night at his house.

Eli said, “Big, I know that you would never do anything. I also, know that my friend Celeste is an honorable lady who is smitten by our friend and partner Jimmy. I also, know women as I am one and the last thing you need to happen for you and those kids is for that Lady of your s to call and Celeste answer the phone at your house. Worse than that she decides to surprise you and flies in from Picayune, Mississippi and meets Celeste in your home. Boy you are almost too stupid about women to be so smart about most things. Now, as soon as I quit talking you call that women and tell her what you did and how stupid you are to have done that and I will back you up and explain the situation.”

Big said, “Do you really think I need to do that? I have done nothing wrong and I am not going to do anything to upset Jessica and ruin my chances. If what you just said is true, isn’t that what calling her is going to do?”

The call to Jessica went well and she was in fact was thinking of flying into Greenville-Spartanburg International tonight or the next morning depending on the flight schedules to surprise him for Thanksgiving. A close call with Elizabeth explaining about Big’s plans to be in Alabama for the whole weekend with his friends at the race track. The Doctor had decided to cook for her Father and Brother like they were expecting and be in South Carolina to see her big old man the next Thursday night. Her mind made up not wanting to be over zealous of Melvin’s time and run him away. Her Father and Brother told her when she explained that she would be home for the Holiday and not with Melvin, that she couldn’t run that big old boy from South Carolina away with an Elephant gun pointed at his abdomen. Thinking that she hoped they were right and she had made the right choice, she got on her laptop computer and changed her plane tickets to fly out of New Orleans on Thursday right after lunch with a layover in Memphis and one in Charlotte before flying into GSP and the arms of one Melvin Cudd about 8:30 pm EST if all was well and the flights on time. After completing the rearrangement of her flight plans she sent an email with her itinerary to Melvin and copied her new friend Elizabeth, who had already showed she had her back along with Melvin’s with having him make the call about her friend Celeste spending the night at Melvin’s house and not with him. A smile coming over her face knowing that only one completely innocent could have made the decision to let a young, single and according to all accounts stunning looking female sleep at his home just after becoming engaged to be married to a lucky lady three states distance away.

As Big and Elizabeth were talking with Jessica, Celeste was on the phone with her mentor in the business and senior partner explaining what she was working on and telling her she wouldn’t be back in the office till Monday morning. She would be available by phone if needed but, would take a personal day if needed. The Senior partner in the firm that saw a lot of herself in Celeste replied go ahead and get the Father out of the picture and then land the big fish, the man’s corporate lawyer deal. Explaining that the landing of big fish like the environmental firm’s business was how you made Senior Partner. Celeste told her mentor thanks for the information and guidance on the matter and hung up the phone. Immediately going to her I-phone app page and looking for the closest place to but some casual clothes. She had noticed that Elizabeth, Melvin, Jimmy and Eddie wore very casual and comfortable work attire. Her thoughts were that they would definitely not be wearing business suits or heels for Thanksgiving dinner and she definitely didn’t want to come off wrong for Jimmy.

Jimmy came walking back into Big’s office just as he started back to look at some of the papers that Elizabeth had left for him on his to do file folder stack. Jimmy said, “Eli tells me that you are going to Phenix City for the Alabama State Championships that got rained out back in October. Were you going to go without me, or like usual you want me to beg,” with a large grin from ear to ear.

The two went back and forth for a few minutes before deciding that they would go down on Friday morning, the drive usually took about four hours plus they figured on Black Friday and having to go through Atlanta it would be five hours minimum and probably more. With the track opening at 4:30 pm CDT they needed to be in town and checked into the Hampton by 2:30 at the latest. They still had about a twenty-five-minute ride to the race track and knowing that the race rigs would be pulling in the time they wanted plenty of time to talk with Smoke and see what he had on his mind about the engine. Jimmy had already decided to put the money up for the tires for the weekend, something Melvin had tried to get him to do for years.

Melvin asked, “Man, why the change of heart? You have told me a million times that putting money into dirt race cars was like piling it up in a pile and setting fire to the money. Don’t get me wrong, I know that Smoke will appreciate the gesture. I only have one question do you have any idea how much money we are talking about for tires for the three races?”

Jimmy replied, “You have told me they are like a hundred and fifty to a hundred and seventy-five apiece, so like six- seven hundred dollars for all four tires a complete set.”

“Kinda, now that Smoke is on the national circuit he gets a little sponsorship from Hoosier and now the Hoosier tires are like ninety-five to a hundred depending on the compound soft or hard. The only problem with that and your math is he will need at least a dozen and probably fourteen for the weekend. They are running two, separate fifty lap races and a hundred lapper all three will wear out a set of tires and that doesn’t include practice, qualifying and heat races for the races. You still game for tires for the weekend,” asked Big? Grinning at his tight friend who looked like he was about to swallow his tongue.

Finally regaining some sense of composure, Jimmy looked straight at his friend and said, “Just like I said, like piling money up and burning it. No possible way to make a return with fifty thousand-dollar motors that only last what maybe ten races and tires that cost a fortune no way to make money. I said, I would buy the tires and I am a man of my word. I guess I will need cash, no checks or credit.”
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:02 PM
bugbor bugbor is offline
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Thanks for Segment 1. Even better than expected.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:04 PM
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Default The Things We Do - Chapter 3 Segment 2

MOAR hounds food, hope you enjoy!

Finally regaining some sense of composure, Jimmy looked straight at his friend and said, “Just like I said, like piling money up and burning it. No possible way to make a return with fifty thousand-dollar motors that only last what maybe ten races and tires that cost a fortune no way to make money. I said, I would buy the tires and I am a man of my word. I guess I will need cash, no checks or credit.”

“Nah, this is big business the tire truck will definitely take a credit card even the American Express. Just don’t use the business one. Eli, gets all over me for using mine at the race track even. I keep telling her we are entertaining prospective clients and it is a business expense. She just won’t buy it even from me and I end up having to write a check to the company anyway,” answered Melvin.

“What time do you want to leave and are we getting two or three rooms on the reservation,” asked Jimmy?

“Get three and tell Elizabeth to use my points of the card. I think I have about a million Marriot points from my stays at Hampton Inn, might as well use them. I usually just end up giving Eli a week of points for her and the girls vacation every year anyway. Now get out of my office and do some work. I need to pick the kids up at school and I going to the Ford dealership and get Sandy a vehicle. Saw a nice low mileage 2015 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Crew cab, I called Tony this morning and he told me I could get it for twenty grand all in and not a penny less he had it listed at twenty-seven and it would probably sell for twenty-five before the end of the weekend. Got new tires and a factory skid kit installed by the previous owners after the fact. I told him to have it cleaned and gassed up and ready for a test drive by three thirty today. The paper work for a cash sale is supposed to be ready when we get there to look,” said Melvin.

Jimmy said, “You know that Patrick has his license too, don’t ya? You need to either be buying two vehicles or none at all.”

“One will have to do till Sandy goes off to college. Till then they will have to share and play nice or go back to riding the bus, like they had to with their Momma. Before you say anything, I know that was wrong. Call your buddies and see if they have anything sitting around that is a good deal and yes they are both getting trucks and no sports cars,” said Big to his friend who was about to start laughing every minute at the man who could negotiate million dollar deals down to the last nickel but wouldn’t be able to deny his niece and nephew anything that he could swing.

Jimmy said, “Just for that Bossman, I will pay for the freshening for your engine and the tires along with the race fuel for the weekend.”

“What has come over you all of a sudden, have you been inhabited by aliens or what,” asked Melvin in total disbelief he knew the guy talking to him in his office.

“Two things, I guess. I hit a scratch off ticket for thirty thousand last night and I think I am in love. Before you start, I didn’t even buy the dang card. Was buying gas at the QT and the thing was laying there beside the pump. Picked it up was going to throw in trash and noticed it wasn’t scratched off. Got in the Mustang and scratched it off and as they say the rest is history,” replied Jimmy.

“Forget that I have paid you enough money for you to do anything you want. What is this about being in love? Am I hearing that right and who is the unlucky victim. Anyone, I know and when did you have time to do this we just got back in town,” asked Big in disbelief waiting for Jimmy to say April Fools or some such thing.

“Just met her today and we haven’t even been formally introduced but I am pretty sure she is the firm’s new attorney and her name is Celeste. That is the totality of what I know about her except she is one very beautiful lady and I will know more before we leave to go to Alabama on Friday on that you can make book,” answered Jimmy as serious about what he had just proclaimed to his best friend on the planet.

Jimmy walked out of Big’s office heading towards the shop to check with Donny Hicks on the status of preventive maintenance on the company’s fleet of equipment. It seemed that when both Big and he were gone on projects that the heavy equipment routine maintenance always suffered. He thought to himself that he would bet the whole winnings from the scratch off ticket that maintenance was severely behind schedule and some had been skipped completely. Donny would tell him that his hunch to have the records pulled and to actually look at the tickets, was a good one. Some were just left out and it seemed maybe some had been pencil whipped by the mechanics.

A few hours later Melvin was sitting in line at the high school with the other soccer Mom vans and looking about as out of place in his big Ford Diesel truck as an Ostrich at a debutant ball. As he was sitting in his truck, he opened his center console and pulled out a can of Kodiak and put in a big dip, all the while staring at a sign that said this is a tobacco free facility. With the tobacco firmly in his right cheek he thought, this is probably a gun free zone also as he looked down to the Fostech Origin SBV gift from his future Father and Brother -in-laws. I guess I am breaking a lot of school rules right now. Good thing the windows are tented so no busy bodies can look in and see the truth. Finding himself laughing at his own thoughts as he listened to the local FM country music station he liked.

Seeing the big Truck of their Uncle sitting in line and on-time was a great sight to the brother and sister. The pair both thinking that half the time they had spent in high school they had to catch the bus home when their Mom failed to show up to take them home. Both siblings got another gear in their step and headed for the truck with Patrick saying, “I got front seat, Dibbs. Besides you road in it this morning,” to his sister who was beginning to lag a little behind her younger brother.

Sensing that her brother was about to look over his shoulder to see where she was, Sandy made her move and took off at a dead run to the truck. Getting there first with her brain. She knew that her younger brother would blister her in a fair race. Thinking like their Uncle had told them many times, there is no such thing as a fair fight. There is winning and there is losing and winning is better, always. Opening the door, she turned back to Patrick and said, “Get in the back and I don’t care that you called Dibbs. I won, deal with it,” and hoped up into the front passenger seat beside her Uncle Melvin with a big grin on her face.

As Patrick got into the back seat he smacked his Sister on the back of the head just hard enough to let her know she may have won a battle but not the war, Melvin said, “Easy you two, your Mom may have allowed that kind of behavior, however the two of you are both almost adults and need to treat each other better. It is you two against the world, remember. Now we have an errand to run before heading home. Do the two of you want to stop and get a drink and a snack at the QT or the Dairy Queen before or after? I vote for before, so it doesn’t push supper late. I can live with either way.”
Both siblings answered yes to the snack and chose the QT. Patrick for a large fountain forty-four-ounce Mountain Dew, a slice of Pepperoni pizza and a Honey Bun. Sandy opted for unsweet ice tea and added Splenda with and a granola bar, with their Uncle getting two packs of the hot peanuts and a large size Little Debbie Oatmeal Cake and an unsweet ice tea without any additions the large size like Patrick with a large extra sip and refill before putting on the lid, as he always did when on the road. It was now more of a habit than anything else.

Getting back into the truck the trio headed for the local Ford place with the Brother and Sister pair thinking it would be like usual that their Uncle would have to stop somewhere for a time and talk with someone about business while they waited in the truck and enjoyed their snacks. As the big truck pulled into the Ford dealership, Patrick asked, “Can I go and look around the lot while you are talking to the Manager or whoever about work?”

“You could I guess but I thought you would want to go on the test drive for the two of yours new truck. My thinking must have been in error,” said Melvin in as monotone a voice as he could manage. Opening his door and heading towards his friend Tony the Vice-President of Sales for the Ford dealership that had three lots in various cities around the area. Tony was standing outside the big glassed area in the front of the dealership and had the charcoal gray Frontier sitting right beside where he was standing.

Sandy and Patrick both bailed out of the truck following their Uncle and trying to catch up, with Patrick asking, “What did you just say…?”

As Melvin reached out his strong right hand to his life long friend and nemesis in the sports world, when they were kids. Tony having been almost a year older and held back from starting school by his parents. The extra year of maturity keeping Tony ahead of his classmates in size, speed and coordination until they were in high school and after for some of the late bloomers. Melvin having caught up with his friend and passed him in size, and strength about their Ninth grade of school. Coordination would take another year or so and then natural ability would pass the advantage of father time that had kept Tony ahead and winning the race till then.

The pair shook hand and then it turned into a manly hug of rivals and peers. The pair could have easily been rivals they ended up friends, one with a body built for basketball and Melvin with a body built for football and the strength events in track and weight lifting. Both playing on football, basketball and track teams all four years for the small local high school. Melvin making the first team as Freshmen on the football team and Tony the varsity basketball team. They both started for the teams from then till they graduated together three years later. The pair on many Conference and Regional championship teams and one State Championship their Junior year in Football the sport their town was known for in athletics. Playing for the State Championship their Senior year and losing late on a long touchdown run by a kid that ended up starting at running back for a National Championship team at Auburn University.

Tony after breaking the hug with his friend asked, “What do you need this little Frontier for with your big Diesel. I figured when you called it was about time for you another truck for your company’s fleet. This surely doesn’t meet your specifications for your work trucks. No diesel, no long bed and definitely not a three-quarter ton or better truck. Don’t get me wrong, a sale is a sale, just asking out of curiosity.”

Pointing to Sandy and Patrick he replied, “It is for my Niece and Nephew and they are covered on my insurance as of this morning. Can we get a test drive for them and see if they approve of the truck?”

After a very exciting pair of test drives by Sandy and Patrick and the trio of them and their Uncle getting the Nissan truck back to the Ford dealership in one piece, Melvin asked, “What do you think?” Looking at his future wards in all earnest for their opinion and waiting patiently for the answer for a few moments until he finally added, “Well, give…”

Patrick taking the lead replied, “What do you want us to say? It is great and has lots of power. What I don’t get and I think I can speak for Sandy also is what does it matter what we think? If you are getting a new truck, I think I like the Ford Diesel a lot better. It has a bigger engine, with more torque and payload. It has four-wheel drive and four doors and a lot more room in the back seat. I say stay with the Ford and diesel engine.”

Melvin dumbfounded by the answer Patrick gave he looked to Sandy and she was nodding her head in total agreement with her Brothers opinion. Finally, Melvin said, “The truck is for the two of you, not for me. Like you said, I have a good truck already. The two of you will have to share it till Sandy goes off to college or I can talk Tony into finding me another good deal.”

The two teenagers looked like they had been poleaxed or clubbed and were completely gone from earth’s reality. Melvin not understanding their dilemma asked, “If you don’t like it just say so and we will quit wasting my friends time.”

Tony stepped forward and put his hand on Big’s shoulder and said, “I think you are misinterpreting your teenage Niece and Nephews reaction, Melvin. I think they are in shock that the vehicle is for them.”

Looking to Sandy and Patrick and they were both nodding in agreement with the Car salesman’s words. Sandy replied, “Uncle Melvin, do you mean you are going to buy us this Truck for our very own. Momma always talked about how you would never help us and that the allowance actually came from your parents. She even told us that the reason you brought us gifts was because you felt bad about stealing the family company from her and Dad.”

About to explode, Melvin felt his friend hugging him harder and whispering, “I got this old friend, stay cool, like ice when the game is on the line…” Tony continuing in a voice that could be heard by the siblings replied, “Bull crap! Hate to say anything bad about the dead, however if your Mom told you that it is the biggest lie told since President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty Speech’. I guess maybe a better example for someone your age would be that Obama was a good president. Your Uncle, built his company from the ground up with no help from your Mother or his family. Not only that but everybody in this town knows that he has supported your Mother and in turn you all for the last five or six years at a minimum and maybe more. I don’t know why your Mom would say these things about Melvin her brother, but I can assure you they are not true.”

Sandy looking hurt to the core asked, “Are you sure? She made it seem so real, with Melvin having to run off here and their and not staying here in town. She told us he traveled so he wouldn’t have to face her or the town. He was to ashamed of stealing from the family.”

Sandy ran the few steps to her Uncle crying the whole way and said, “Don’t leave us for being stupid, we didn’t know.” Melvin holding Sandy tightly with one arm he reached out his other arm to Patrick and waved for him to come to him. Hesitantly Patrick came and was enveloped into his Uncle’s arms and loving warmth. The feeling that the two teenagers felt being held and hugged by their Uncle was a feeling that was new to the pair, though welcomed and appreciated.

Melvin spoke to the pair while holding them, “Don’t worry, I am here for you as long as you want me to be. I want for us to be a family. I am not your Dad or your Mom, that does not mean that I can’t be a loving parent to the two of you if you will let me be. Either way, I love you and you are welcome to live in my home and share my love for as long as you want. I am new to this, I promise to be there for the two of you to the best of my abilities and together we can heal these wounds that are so deeply inbred into your cores. Your parents but took an easy way out of life and threw you away in the process. For that I am sorry and should have been there for you more and better. Now do you want the truck or not?”

The two teenagers both said, “Yes.” Standing up but not letting go of the pair, Melvin looked to his friend Tony and said, “Where do I sign? Elizabeth will have a Certified check to your office by ten in the morning. She has already sent my insurance over and added the two of them to the policy. Can you have someone deliver it to my house, I will pay the fee when they deliver it in the morning. I want the oil changed to synthetic and all the belts and filters changed. Replace the windshield wipers and check all the fluids.”

Tony smiled and said, “Already done, I talked with Elizabeth and she told me to prep it just like the company was buying the vehicle. I already have the seat covers being sent over from the Nissan dealership and the replacement higher lumen bulbs for the headlights. It will be there at your place by six pm tonight and the deliver is on the dealership for a VIP client.”

Melvin reached out his hand to his friend and said, “Thanks my friend for everything, I owe you one Tony and you know I am good for it.” Turning he guided his new family back towards his truck and the ride to the lake.

As Melvin and his new family were pulling out of the Ford Dealership at the small mall Celeste was talking to Elizabeth on the phone. Celeste asked, “Are you really sure that women wear Carhartt clothing? It looks like something that a construction worker would wear not a lawyer much less a woman.”

Elizabeth laughing at her friend over the phone replied, “I guess, I know what you think about the way I dress. I wear Carhartt, Wrangler and Duluth clothing almost exclusively, even the underwear. It is just more comfortable. The Duluth Women’s Buck Naked Boyshort Underwear and the Hellrassiere bras are the bomb. I will let you have a set if you come by the house tonight before heading over to the lake. I promised a certain special lady Doctor in Mississippi I was chaperoning her husband to be and you tonight. I am taking my stuff and I am going to do my cooking at Melvin’s. He will be doing the Turkey and Ham out on the patio and outdoor kitchen with a big fire in the fire pit if I don’t miss my guess anyway. Listening to music, chewing tobacco, and probably telling stories about the crazy happenings in the field of our field crew. Most of them are unbelievable if you weren’t there and tying to help them out of trouble or clean up the mess.”

“On another note, I am guessing that one Jimmy Harris will be there in his beautiful flesh and that is the only reason that the Doctor does not have a hit out on you right now my dear friend. She played it cool with Melvin because she knows he is just naïve and doesn’t think like the rest of the world. That man only offered you a bed and shower because it was the right thing to do and he is all about doing the right thing. Get the jeans, a couple or three pairs, a couple of under shirts long sleeve, a hooded sweat shirt and a vest or coat. On second thought with your money get the coat and the vest and a nice pair of boots or hikers and come to the house. Maybe even with your money get one of their very cool leather hand bags. Probably last you the rest of your life and if you don’t like, I would love to have your hand me downs.” Ending, her end of the telephone conversation with a big laugh.

“Okay, I get it. You want me to look like ragged Andy and give you a chance with the good-looking Sheriff I caught you making goo, goo eyes at this morning in the Office of your Boss. On another note, I talked with the Father on the phone and explained life to him and he will take the five grand and sign the paperwork Friday morning. We are going to meet at the Magistrates Office downtown so we can have impartial witnesses and a Court reporter. I will have the Magistrate stamp the document that same morning in her quarters. Already talked with her and have a time slot at ten am, by lunch the kids should be the wards of Uncle Melvin Cudd,” said Celeste proud of her Lawyer efficiency on the matter.

“Celeste, I knew you would be the right person for the job and I will make sure you get the firm as your personal client. Melvin will want you and not some junior Lawyer to do his bidding, I can tell you that right now. I want to make sure you know that up front and don’t even think of churning the contract or billing him for some bull crap. That man looks at every invoice and will argue over a dollar on a hundred thousand.”

“And on the comment about Eddie, a girl could do a lot worse. He is a lot older than me, I am guessing what ten years or better. Seems him and Melvin are close in age and he is I think ten years older than me. If he is as good with my girls as Melvin, then age wouldn’t matter to me, if it didn’t to him. What about you, Jimmy is older than me and you by a couple of years?”

“He told me one time that an old man he worked for told him that if you watch the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves and it is a creed by which he built the business. Quite frankly, watching it work had changed the way I do business, personally also. The system really works for me on the job and at home on my personal budget. Now get to shopping I need to finish up a couple of things and then run by the Food Lion and pick up a few things for supper and for tomorrow, before I pick up the girls. See ya in a little bit, got to go,” said Elizabeth hanging up her cell phone and looking at the two contracts on her desk and the bonding issue for the project in Picayune, that for some reason hadn’t been closed out.

As the two friends were continuing their work, Eddie was talking with Smoke Maddox and explaining that Big, Jimmy and he were coming to Phenix City on Friday and expected to see him before the races and spend some time catching up on the season and his plans for next year on the dirt track racing scene. Maddox told Eddie that he would make sure to have time for Melvin and the crew. He had some great news about the motor that Melvin had given him to use this year. It definitely needed freshening as it had over a thousand laps on it but he would be running it on the short track down at Phenix City. Smoke telling him that the motor had been a life saver as both his Pro P Motor and his other smaller Crawford motor had already had to be freshened this year the Pro P Motor twice. Both motors still having less laps than the big Crawford motor of Melvin’s before needing to be freshened.

Eddie replied, “I am sure, Melvin will be glad to hear that his motor has been a work horse. He knows that it needs to be rebuilt, he even said he didn’t know why you hadn’t sent it to Crawford to have it done and have Crawford send him the bill.”

Smoke said, “I will explain it to him when I see him on Friday. I hope he will understand, why I have put so many hours on the engine. We have yet to see any metal in the trap or loss of power or performance and Crawford just told me to run it after he replaced the valve springs the second time. He actually said something about the rebuild being on him for the QC data on one of his engines with that many actual racing laps. Crawford was very pleased to see that we were still running strong with the engine, told me that the PR would be great. This being the last weekend of the year, I will send it to him as soon as we get back home for the rebuild of this beast. I will be taking both Crawford motors for rebuilds and putting the Pro P Motor up for sale. I will have all Crawford motors from now on, if possible.”

“We are leaving early Friday morning and should be in the area long before the four thirty opening of the pit gates if you want to holler at me on the cell when yawl get to the hotel to see where we are located in the pits. The track always lets the Super Late Models in beforehand, to get the best spots so people can see them from the stands.”

Eddie replied, “Talk to you and see ya on Friday. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.”

At the same time Melvin, Sandy and Patrick were arriving at the lake. Melvin pulled the Ford F-350 under his carport and not into the garage knowing that the new Nissan would need to be parked in one bay of the two-car garage and the other bay was already occupied by the RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Polaris side by side ATV. Melvin thought that Patrick would probably be going for a ride in the RZR before the weekend was over having already asked twice. The problem being that none of the three helmets were big enough for Patrick big melon of a head. The one bought for him when he bought the RZR back in the summer already to small for the rapidly growing young man.

The same one who had started at linebacker for the high school this last season that ended with them losing out in the Regional finals of the state playoffs. Already a little over six feet tall and two hundred and five pounds. Melvin had told him if his body grew to match his hat size he was going to be Andre the Giant.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:22 AM
hardtrailz hardtrailz is offline
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Thanks for the work!!! good stuff
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:14 AM
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Thanks. Nice treat to find this mornin'.
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:59 PM
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Thank you, very well done.
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Old 08-04-2018, 08:36 AM
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Default The Things We Do - Chapter 3 Segment 3

Weekend MOAR hounds feed. Hope you enjoy and comments are appreciated by the author.

At the same time Melvin, Sandy and Patrick were arriving at the lake. Melvin pulled the Ford F-350 under his carport and not into the garage knowing that the new Nissan would need to be parked in one bay of the two-car garage and the other bay was already occupied by the RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Polaris side by side ATV. Melvin thought that Patrick would probably be going for a ride in the RZR before the weekend was over having already asked twice. The problem being that none of the three helmets were big enough for Patrick big melon of a head. The one bought for him when he bought the RZR back in the summer already too small for the rapidly growing young man. The same one who had started at linebacker for the high school this last season that ended with them losing out in the Regional finals of the state playoffs. Already a little over six feet tall and two hundred and five pounds. Melvin had told him if his body grew to match his hat size he was going to be Andre the Giant.

Getting out of the truck Melvin said, “Come on you two, we need to bring some more wood up to the patio for the fire pit. I know that I want to have a fire tonight while I cook and watch the college football game that is on while fixing the fresh ham and turkey.”

The two started to protest and then thought better of it and followed their Uncle to the back of the house and too the large pile of wood stored by his small mechanical shop. Sandy and Patrick started to grab an armload of wood each, when Melvin whistled at them and was bringing out an overly large wagon with expanded metal sides. The wagon was about five feet long by two and half feet wide with two-foot-high side rails on the sides, front and back. Melvin pointed at his latest creation to save him some work and said, “Put it in here, old Betsy here can carry more than the three of us can and with half the work. That way we will only have to make a couple or three trips to be finished.”

The trio filled Betsy to the brim and Patrick reached and grabbed the pair of handles and started pulling the cart, noting that it pulled very easily with the large amount of weight and the handle design was such that they would work on a variety of people sizes. The handles made to fit a tall person or a short one, just the same. Arriving at the patio and the wood storage rack for the fire pit first he started to unload the quarter split red oak logs.

Melvin called to him as he walked up and said, “Pull it up beside the log ring and drop the side rail, that way it will be easier to off-load and stack the wood.”

Following his Uncle’s advice and seeing the advantages of it he replied, “This works great. I am glad I thought of it. I think I will put a patent on this baby,” grinning and laughing at his jest he continued off-loading the wood.

Melvin said, “Probably a waste of time to try and patent, to many other little garden wagons already out there on the market. I have applied for a Trade mark for the design and should have it back shortly. Probably never use it but someone might want to build them and give me a dollar or two for the rights. One can only hope!”

Sandy said, “Uncle Melvin, just how rich or you. I have a friend whose parents live on the lake and they only have a real small lot not like you with your own little cove and their house is probably only like two thousand square feet, if my calculations are right this house is close to double that size. She told me that their house was like three hundred thousand, she may have lied though, she likes to brag…., ughhhh.” Making an ugly face to go along with her gag after completing her thoughts.

Melvin replied, “My house has a lot of sweat equity in the place. I bought this lot real cheap after finding it by way of the lake and a boat. Found the cove and marked it on my GPS then looked it up on the tax map. Found out that it was a part of a great big tract that was for sale and there was no road access to the lake for over a mile at the closest point, almost a mile and half long the way the road had to be cut into the property. Bought three hundred and twenty acres, the smallest portion the corporate owners would sell. I had to give them rights to the road if I put one in to the lake. Made sure when I built the road that if anyone wanted to get to the other side of the cove they would have to build there on road. The road I laid out and built was brought in such that they could use the entrance but they would really get no closer to their own property by using my road.”

“No advantage for them to use my road. That is also why the first quarter of mile of my road is just gravel. It is built well with a layer of four-inch stone, then 57 stone and then the top four inches is finished with crush and run. It will be there as long as the asphalt just not as pretty or smooth, but completely functional. Did all the grading, clearing and grubbing myself along with a little help from my guys at work. The gravel was hauled from the quarry just up the road only cost me the diesel for the trucks and the cost of the stone. The road would probably cost over a hundred and fifty thousand or better if done by a contractor. I actually got a quote for almost two hundred thousand for the rock and the asphalt after I did the clearing.”

“The house is forty-feet by forty-foot square and a two story that gives me thirty-two hundred square feet with a three-quarter plus basement it is only thirty-two feet by forty-feet and opens out to the lake, as you know and the patio. I used the slope of the land to make the basement for what it would cost for grading it flat. Then decided to use the dirt I removed to make the big patio and outdoor kitchen area. That makes my house forty-four hundred and eighty square feet of living space not county the room above the detached garage that I have never finished on the right side of the house and the carport on the other side makes the house look a lot bigger than the real size. Some would think it over five thousand without the basement. They would be counting the room over the garage though and it really doesn’t exist. No flooring and the sheetrock has never been finished mudding in even. It has been put up but not finished. It is a good bit of floor space at twenty-four by thirty-two with a full bath that is plumbed but has never been finished either. I think they call those things a Mother-in-law suite or something. I just like the use of the space and the way it balanced the house and kept it form looking like a box.”

“The truth is with getting contractors that owed me a favor and using labor from work for people that we had to pay anyway, I have less than the three hundred thousand dollars your friend has in the whole deal maybe a little more counting the road, the well and the tile field for septic that I pump to the top of the hill. I wish I had more Solar, but I have the fire places on all three levels and all the wood I will ever need just from the dead falls around the property. I have the Solar for the well and all the outside lighting is Solar. The furnace, hot water heater and stove ae all propane, wish it was natural gas but I had the big tank from the demo job and the gas company wanted way too much to run a line just for me.”

Patrick came walking back up the hill pulling the wagon and asked, “Are you two finished talking. I am about done here and I am ready to eat.”

Sandy laughed and Melvin replied, “My bad, we have snacks in the kitchen and I was planning on getting Pizza delivered when Celeste, Eli and the girls show up and probably Jimmy. For the hard work we will run back into town and see if they have a helmet for you. That way you can drive the Razor this weekend and Friday while I am gone. I have had this planned for sometime and it is both business and pleasure. I would take you with me but I know you both distaste dirt track racing. Eli and Celeste are going to stay and keep an eye out for you.”

Holding his hand up he said, “I know, you are both old enough to stay by yourselves and have been doing it for years. I have my own set of rules and they don’t involve minors staying for three days by themselves no matter how capable.”

“Pizza sounds good, Pizza Hut or Papa John’s,” asked Patrick?

“How about Domino’s they are my favorite and they are the only one who will deliver way out here anyway. the only reason they do, is they know I don’t complain about them being late and give them a good tip, every time. I am thinking we need at least five large pizza’s what do you think, guys,” asked Melvin?

“Five the only time we have ever gotten two is when Little Caesars had that two for eight dollars special for a while and that was one large Pepperoni and one Cheese pizza. Can we get something besides cheese or pepperoni? I really like the all meat pizza,” asked Pat?

“I will pay for whatever except all vegetable and anything with pineapple on it. Pizza is supposed to have meat and not supposed to have Pineapple or barbeque sauce for that matter. Nah, if you want that junk, I will get it but don’t be lusting after my Supreme with double toppings and extra cheese. If you order that California grapenut pizza,” Melvin finished and started heading into the house and upstairs. All of Patrick’s work had made him hungry and definitely thirsty.

As he was walking up the stairs his phone was ringing, he answered and explained to the driver bringing the Nissan for delivery that she had passed the turn off and needed to turn around and drive back about two miles. Telling her to look for a big outcropping of granite on the right side of the road and then about two hundred meters past the boulders would be the driveway on the left side of the road. There is no mailbox or markers for the drive just a turnoff into the woods. If about a quarter of mile in the woods the drive turns to pavement you are on the right drive. You still have to follow it back to the house another mile plus to a circular drive in front of a two-story house that is dark tan brick with green shutters and a metal roof.

The driver replied, “I saw the granite outcropping a mile or so back, I know exactly what to look foe. We will be there in a few minutes, thanks for the directions.”

The driver called her chase car and told him of the problem and then drove to the next driveway pulled in and turned around heading back to the house for delivery and was happy that Tony had insisted they come out to deliver the truck before dark.

Celeste had pulled into the small but nice sub-division where her friend Elizabeth lived expecting to see here friends truck in the drive when she arrived at her home. Quickly noticing that Elizabeth had replaced the shingle roof on her ranch with one of the metal roofs that everyone seemed to be going to now.
As she was waiting in Moscow the first part of their plan was being set in motion it was two-fold the first step was that they were going to quietly and by proxy sell off a quarter of their T-bill treasury notes on Friday morning. The second stage would be a global announcement of the first war games in the Atlantic along the coast of Cuba and Venezuela with their allies of those two countries. The war games to start the day after Christmas with the troops celebrating the Holiday in Cuba and Venezuelan ports of Guantanamo Bay and Puerto Cabebello. The war games to be the largest in the history of Russian Navy deployments and staged to look more like a public relations ploy than an actual war games between the three counties with the Russian propaganda machine being the star of the show. They had already been assured by CNN that they would have twenty-four-hour coverage of the fleet moving across the Atlantic and heading for the ports of call.

Jimmy at his condominium was trying to decide whether he wanted to drive the Mustang out to Big’s place or leave it at the shop for the weekend and drive his second car the 2016 Volkswagon Touareg TDI he had purchased for a song from a snowflake who had taken the suit money from the settlement but hadn’t had the car fixed. The TDI got forty plus miles per gallon on low sulfur diesel and drove like a German engineered touring car. Deciding on the Touareg to gauge how Celeste reacted on the whole global warming and environmental issues. That was one area that he had found that no matter how he sliced it, that issues was a deal breaker if they were Enviro-Nazis. Hoping for the best he threw his LL Bean three-day soft leather bag in the car along with his toilet kit. After traveling for years knowing an extra pair of pants, three shirts and three sets of underwear would get him through the long weekend in style. Throwing on his hooded sweatshirt and putting the 5.11 First Responder jacket in the car with his bag. Cranking the diesel after letting the glow plugs warm up he headed for the lake and his friends house, with two stops to make one at the local bakery for sweets and the second at the ABC store for some adult beverages. Picking up his cell phone he hit the number three and send for Elizabeth.

Elizabeth answered on the third ring with one word, “What…”

Jimmy without missing a beat said, “I am glad to speak with you too, Elizabeth. I need to ask you a question if it isn’t too much trouble.”

Eli replied, “My bad Jimmy, picked up the girls from the sitter early and they are driving me wild wanting to be at the lake and see their Uncle Melvin and Jimmy. What can I do to help?” With the phone balanced on her shoulder while she tried to get Fran away from the cookies long enough for her to pick up some graham crackers and marshmallows for the fire tonight and Smores.

“Eli, what does your friend drink? I was going by the ABC store on my way out to the lake. I know Melvin has a complete bar but he doesn’t even drink, not fair for him to pay the tab for the three of us tonight and tomorrow,” stated Jimmy.

“Get a good bottle of white wine, no junk, a good Californian Chardonnay preferably a dry wine. IF they don’t have a good one, get a bottle Sauvignon blanc. Ask the person at the store don’t just grab anything, it is for diner tomorrow not tonight. Celeste likes bourbon like the two of us, so some Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack or Single Barrel and a case of Miller Light, or something like that,” said Elizabeth.

“Thanks Elizabeth, I will see you later tonight. Drive careful you know that road is like a sidewinder out there,” said Jimmy and continued on his drive to the bakery and sweets delight.

As Jimmy got to the bakery and Elizabeth was checking out at the grocery store a very worried young lady from the Ford dealership was handing the keys to the Nissan Frontier to Melvin Cudd. She said, “Hope it is to your satisfaction Mr. Cudd. Mr. Rice told me to tell you that it has been prepared to your specifications and he filled it up with fuel. Elizabeth has already delivered had the check delivered and the Bill of Sale and Title have been locked away at the Office with the other titles.”

Melvin reached into his front left Wrangler jean pocket and pulled out a pair of fifty-dollar bills and handed them to the nice young lady and said, “Thanks for bringing it out on a day when you are probably starting a long weekend. Here is a little extra for your efforts. Please drive careful in getting back to the main road. My drive way has a few reflectors on trees but it can still be a little unsettling for a first timer at night. Just go slow and easy and remember they are all left hand turns on the way out and there are five turns before the main road. Each turn is almost a quarter mile from the next like a set stair steps, they are not all at the same angle of turn some are sharper than others. Hope you have a great weekend.”

The lady replied, “Thanks Mr. Cudd, I am working all weekend after tomorrow. This is a big car sales weekend believe it or not, always one of the biggest sales weekends of the year. This is a dang good start and this will help with next semesters tuition.”

At about seven o’clock the whole gang had made it out to the lake house and Melvin had a big fire going in the fire pit and the Smoker for the ham and turkey beginning to get the temperature right and the smoke ready to put the meat in the smoker. Fran and Beth were both sitting on the lap of Uncle Melvin telling him how much they liked the electric motorized skateboards and helmets he had gotten them for their surprises from Mississippi. Fran the oldest at eleven and a half as she told him said, “I haven’t wrecked mine yet. Beth fell the first time she tried to ride hers.”

Melvin said, “That is what big Sisters are far to help their little Sister get better by sharing your wealth of experience with her. You know how I helped you when you fell trying to learn how to ride a skateboard the first time. Remember how I showed you how to center your weight and to ride with one foot forward and one to the side to better control the board.” With Fran reluctantly agreeing and Beth eating it up, Elizabeth took a couple of pictures of her three-favorite people on the planet and sent copies of them to Jessica in Mississippi with the caption Melvin is cheating on you with two young beautiful blonds tonight and not thinking about you at all. Got ya, have a good Thanksgiving and your man is in good hands, my lovely daughters Fran and Beth.

Melvin said, “Girls it is about time for the pizza to get here are you ready to eat and do you want to eat out here or in the house?” Fran and Beth both giggled and replied, “Outside of course. You always ask the same question, Uncle Melvin.”

Pizza was a hit with the girls, the teenagers and the grown-ups, with Melvin and Patrick both finishing off a whole large pizza by themselves. Melvin was making sure the smoker was keeping the right temperature and thinking about Jessica while Sandy was on her phone texting and Patrick was watching the game. Elizabeth was trying not to be a third wheel and Jimmy and Celeste were in their own little world of each other. Elizabeth said, “I am going to help the girls make Smores do you want a couple. I think everybody else is too busy doing their own thing to be bothered.”

Melvin replied, “Yeah, I will eat a couple with the girls then I am going to call Jessica. I am planning on getting up early in the morning and going to sit my stand. Do you think we can trust the other grown ups to watch the girls till about eight thirty, or will you be too busy with cooking?”

“Better take a rain check Bossman. The girls will be wide open in the morning and I will need to get the meal cooked. In fact, I am going to put the girls down in a little bit and get started on the cooking tonight. What are you going to do if you kill one,” she asked?

Shrugging his shoulders, “Like always I guess, gut’em, skin’em and take the deer to the meat packers over in Laurens and come on back and eat lunch.”

Shaking her head with a laugh, Elizabeth said, “And who said, Melvin Cudd wasn’t a new age type Renaissance Man and intellectual.” The words breaking up Melvin and he couldn’t help but bust out laughing at his partners description of him.

After the Smores, Melvin took the girls up to their rooms on the second floor for Elizabeth and told them a story about fair Princess and ugly trolls. Telling the girls, he would see them in the morning and maybe they could go for a ride in the ATV after lunch if they were good and didn’t get up out of their beds. The girls would do anything for their Mom’s Boss and went right to sleep after a long day. Walking back down the stairs he found Elizabeth in the kitchen cooking just like it was her own. Elizabeth had arranged all the dishes, pots and pans, silverware, the pantry and the separate unit side by side freezer and refrigerator to meet her taste as the way Melvin had it organized was he put stuff wherever he felt like sticking it at the time. A complete Bachelor mess is the way Elizabeth described the kitchen the first time she had came over to Melvin’s home and tried to cook a meal.

Elizabeth was enjoying the time in the kitchen and had gotten herself a Miller Light from the frig to sip as she cooked. Seeing Melvin walking into the open floorplan kitchen and living room from putting the girls to bed, she handed him a freshly brews glass of unsweet ice tea and said, “There is a whole gallon in the refrigerator and one of sweet. I marked the sweet gallon jug with a Sharpie. Did the girls lie down after your bedtime story?”

“They always do if I promise them a ride in the Razor. I don’t know how many more holidays that is going to work they are growing up in a hurry. Fran even told me about a boy that liked her at school. Guess, I am going to have to worry about that with Sandy and your girls soon,” lamented Melvin about the loss of innocence for the girls.

Grinning at her Boss, partner and friend, Eli said, “I think you already have that problem with Sandy. She was texting back and forth with a boy all night tonight. She couldn’t tell that I could see her screen when she was sitting on the patio brick wall beside me most of the night and I caught a few of her texts snippets. Yes, I was being nosy, it is my job as a Mother you know. I have to hone my craft for when my girls get ready for that day. It was pretty innocuous but I will keep an eye on her this weekend and make sure she doesn’t slip out to see that boy.”

“Do I need to say something to her and Patrick and should I give them the keys to the truck or wait till I get back in town. This was a lot easier when all I had to do was bring them gifts and show them love. Being the bad guy was always the job of their Mom,” said Big.

“Actually, my first thought was that you shouldn’t say anything and let them make their own decisions. The reality is they probably need to have limits and regulations in their lives set by a loving parent and adult. I don’t think they have had any of that type direction in their lives for a long time. Please give them that direction and I would say they have to have the truck back in the garage by dark, on second thought make them earn the keys over the next few weeks of school. They drive it to school and have to be home by dark with the truck and they both have to be home at the same time together. That way they can and will have to watch out for each other,” said Elizabeth as she took the boiler full of eggs off the stove, some for Deviled eggs and the other for potato salad and giblet gravy.

“I like. When did you get so smart? Like I said I am going hunting in the morning. I am going into my room now that the girls are in bed and get out my stuff for the hunt. I will lock the door because I am going to check my rifle and make sure it is clean and ready to go in the morning. I am going to be up by five thirty and in the woods by six fifteen. I checked sunrise is like five after seven in the morning. I hope to have one on the ground by seven thirty. I put out some attractant last Friday night and again Monday and yesterday morning. They had been in it both times I went back. See ya about ten or earlier if I get one, goodnight and thanks for being a good friend and partner,” said Melvin meaning all the words he had spoken.

Walking into his bedroom, he closed the door and bolted it from the inside not chancing the door locking mechanism. Going to his Fort Knox Legend series safe that he had gotten for a steal at a Sporting goods business auction, he had actually bought two safes at the auction as no one was bidding on the heavy items that had to be moved within two days of the sale. He had bought both one for him and the other for the office for half of what one of the models cost normally. The dark gray steel standing foreboding and hidden in the back of his closet half hidden by a pile of suit cases and his winter coats hanging in front.

Melvin pushed the coats over to the side and typed in the six numbered code, that was the bid price of his first project for his company, $9,865.72. The project had taken him all of about twelve hours to complete and a one-day rental on a small excavator was his total outlay as the client had paid the sample analysis, transportation and disposal direct to the laboratory and landfill. The UST tank pull also netted him about six hundred dollars for the steel as scrap. The Friday that he had taken off from his regular job to complete the project netting him almost nine thousand dollars of startup capital for his new company that he started that next morning by sending in his papers and fees to start a South Carolina based S-Corporation with him owning all one hundred percent of the company.

Opening the safe he reached in and pulled out his hunting rifle a Ruger Model 77 MK II stainless steel 26-inch heavy barrel in 300 Winchester Magnum. The rifle had been his hunting rifle for over twenty years. The glass on the rifle had improved over the years going form an original Tasco World Class in 3-9 X40mm to the Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16X50mm Mil-Dot reticle that road on a set of Ruger medium height rings for clearance now. Looking at the rifle that had been bought off the rack and would outshoot many of his friends’ high dollar bean field custom rifles many that cost more than ten to twelve times what he had paid for his rifle. Not being an avid shooter, Melvin had always just figured that all rifles made by good firearm manufacturing firms would shoot under three quarters of and inch with precision bullets. He learned from many of his hunting buddies that his rifle was an anomaly not the norm. The type of consistent accuracy that his rack rifle display usually cost thousands of dollars not less than three hundred with tax on sale.

Bringing his old friend up to his shoulder he quickly mounted the rifle to his shoulder and even though the scope still had the covers in place he could see that big buck walking out of the tree line, in his mind’s eye. With a big grin he laid the rifle down on his work table in his bedroom and started getting out ammunition and his hunting clothing and various paraphernalia. All of the things he would need for the next morning’s hunt.

Laying out his polypropylene long johns and his Thorlo wool blend socks from his chester drawers (dresser). He went to his closet and picked up a zippered vacuum-packed bag that held his hunting clothes. The bag contained a pair of NOMAD DUNN Permaloft pants and a NOMAD quarter zip pullover along with a Kryptek Aegis Jacket to complete the package he had a set of thin leather shooting gloves and a pair of cloth camouflaged over gloves with a set of half-fingered wool over gloves if his hands really got cold sitting in the tree stand. He had copied this gloves combination from a friend of his who did lots of hunting. The friend had shown him how to cut a small hole around the inside part of the leather gloves on his trigger finger so the glove could be worn complete or with the top of the finger exposed to feel the trigger better when shooting. Seeing that he had all of his clothing he went back into the closet and removed his Rocky Stratum mid-length boots.

After making sure he had all of his gear assembled he went back to his table and disassembled the Ruger pulling the bolt and shining a light down the barrel to make sure the bore was clean and no foreign objects had it obstructed. He then took the bolt apart and made sure it was cleaned and well lubed and then reassembled the rifle. He took twelve rounds out of the box of twenty hundred and sixty-five grain ballistic tip projectiles and placed them one by one in the rifle cheek rest ammo carrier attached to the rifle and zipped it back up till the morning. The rifle and his gear ready for the next morning’s hunt. He went to the door and unbolted the lock and went out of his bedroom, locking the door behind him as he walked out.

Making the trip out side to check on his turkey and ham that should be about ready to be removed form the smoker. Walking out the doors of the basement Celeste and Jimmy were now a little closer on the chaise lounge together and Jimmy was still watching the game. Sandy was nowhere to be seen. Walking over and checking the temperature on his smoker he raised the lid to take a look and a quick feel of the meat. After completing his checks on the food and deciding he had a few more minutes he asked, “Hey, where is Sandy?”

Patrick shrugged his shoulders and threw up his hands to the side as if in surrender and said, “Don’t know she left right after you and Elizabeth went inside. I thought she was in the house with the two of you. Let me call her.” Reaching in his pocket for his new phone that Uncle Melvin had purchased for them by way of Elizabeth. Hitting her number on the index and waiting for a connection that never happened. The phone rang four times and went directly to her voicemail.

Looking up from the phone Patrick replied, “No answer, but she might just not be wanting to get off the phone with that beau of hers to answer my call. Wouldn’t be the first time she didn’t answer my call. You might want to call her Uncle Melvin. She will probable answer your call, if not mine.”’

Reaching into his jacket pocket he pulled out his phone and hit recent calls, finding her number he hit send. The results were the same as with Patrick four rings and straight to voice mail. Hanging up Melvin said, “I’ll be right back.”

Heading back into the house and up the stairs through the kitchen, stopping long enough to ask Elizabeth if she had seen Sandy. Her reply was, ‘Nope, haven’t seen her since we came in from the patio. Is there anything wrong?”

“Don’t think so, just wanted to tell and Patrick what we talked about tonight before it got to hectic tomorrow. She is not answering her phone. I am on my way up to her room to get her to come down, that way only have to do it once and they both hear the exact same message,” Melvin answered.

“Good idea, that way they can’t say he said, she said. Now you are learning, Grasshopper,” with a big smile and the wave of her hand as Melvin went up the stairs to the bedrooms on the second floor of the house.
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Old 08-04-2018, 06:49 PM
bugbor bugbor is offline
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And where might this be leading? I shouldn't even try to guess.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:15 PM
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Srchdawg Srchdawg is offline
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I predict some young stud is about to learn some valuable lessons.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:23 PM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
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Probably some MOAR hounds food tomorrow!
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