The author reserves copyright privileges. This work may not be reproduced except for personal use without the permission of the author.
Dedication” To Ry and Don who inspired the story, to Bill H., who helps make it better, and to Dan, who brings me happiness.
If you’d like to comment or say “Hi”, I’m at JETjt@aol.com John
RON AND BRYAN
“Hiya Johnny! “ Tony said excitedly, as Parker handed the phone to the youth. “How ya be, muh fren?
“Purty good, I reckon, Gramaw and Grampaw bin doin’ rsght porly though. Ah’ve had muh handsful tryin’ t’ keep the place a runnin’. ‘Fraid we’s gonna hafta put Gramaw in a home, purty soon, if’n she don’t git better ‘n’ Grampaw ain’t much better. His ol’ ticker’s ‘bout wor’ out ‘n’ he cain’t hardly take care o’ Gramaw. Course Ma ain’t no hep, neither. She run off wi’ some feller and we ain’t seen hide ner hair o’ her fer damn near a year. She jes’ ne’er giv’ a shit fer us. Where ya at? Ya jes’ disappeart, ‘n’ nobudy knowed where ya was gone to. When ya left, yer Ma come over askin’ if’n Ah seen ya. Ah tol’ her Ah had no idée wher ya culd be at.
“Man, ya woun’t bulieve all Ah bin thru!” Tony replied. “I hahtel’d it ta thet ther’ New York place ‘n’ thet took m’three days o’ hitchin’ ‘n’ awalkin’. Purty soon Ah run outta money, ‘n’ got musef mixed up wi’ sum ril bad fellers. They brung me way out wes’ ta Las Vegas. After some ril bad shit, whur Ah’m in trouble wi’ th’ law, Ah got muh ass hepped by a ril nahce feller name o’ Ron. Him and his frens ‘r’ hepin’ me ‘n’ e’en brung Ma ‘n’ th’ boys out here. I’s fuckin’ unbuliev’ble whut ‘e’s dun fer us.
“How come ‘e’s hepin’ ya?” Johnny asked.
“I dunno. Him ‘n’ ‘is boyfren ‘n’ ‘is bubba, they jes’ the nahsest folks. Ya woun’t bulieve this castle wer we alivin’, neither. Wow! I’s th’ fanciest damn place Ah e’er see’d. Ol’ Ron ‘e acts lak all this ain’t nuthin’. ‘e’s jes’ lak reg’lar folk. Course we stick out here lak a sore thumb too. Ron ‘e’s agittin’ us some guy t’come ‘n’ hep us talk lak all these here city folks, s’ we don’ git picked on ‘r nuthin’.
“Who was thet feller thet cum t’ th’ farm in sech a hurry?
Thet ‘ar Ron’s bubba, Tyler. ‘e’s one great feller. ‘e cum back thar ‘n’ snatched Ma, Petey ‘n’ Georgey, ‘way frum thet ol’ Luke. Wen ol’ Tommy showt up, Tyler wrasselt ‘im down ‘n’ cuf’d ‘im t’a post. Then ol’ Luke went after ‘im ‘n’ thet Tyler punched ‘is fuckin’ lahts out. I wulda giv’ eve’thin’ jis’ t’see’t.
“Hey bubba,” Johnny said. “Ah hate ta say’t but, Ah gotta git. We cain’t hardly ‘ford this ol’ phone. Grampaw’s afeer’d we’r gonna lose th’ place ‘ere ‘n’ Ah had t’beg im ta lemme call.”
“Ya shoulda tol’ me. Ol’ Ron would lemme call ya, Ah think. Ah’m agonna ask. Gimme yer number ‘n’ Ah’ll call ya ‘n a week. Anyway, I wanna tell ya sumpin’. If’n it gits real bad thar. Y’all jis’ call me. This ol’ Ron, ‘e kin fix anythin’! ‘e’s the nahsest feller, Ah e’er knowt. Ah jis’ know he’d love ya too lak Ah do.
Johnny gave Tyler the phone number at the farm and after a long moment of whispered messages of love, the young friends said goodbye.
* * *
The phone was ringing when Jack stepped inside the door. He hurried to the device, lifted the handset and spoke into the receiver. “Jack Smith,” he said.
“Jack! Glad I caught you at home. This is detective Sunderson. I have good news!”
“Great! Tell me.”
“With your positive identification and the driver’s confession, those boys that attacked you cracked open like a nut. They spent all afternoon spilling their guts. Their lawyer and the County prosecutor spent the last hour working out a plea bargain. Looks like the driver will get off easy with aiding and abetting, but the rest of ‘em are gonna get long terms, probably life for the hood that killed Ted and quite a few years for those that attacked you.”
“What a damned waste of lives,” Jack said shaking his head. “I’ll never understand how hate can drive men to do that. It’s beyond my comprehension.”
“I know what you mean,” the Detective said. “The best news is that you are well, and won’t have to even testify.”
“That is a relief. I’d like to put this all behind me and get on with my life. I’ve just been offered a chance of a lifetime job in New York still working for Ron Turner.”
“That’s wonderful Jack. I wish you the best. If I need to reach you I can still call you through Turner’s offices.”
“Thanks Detective.” Jack replied. “You don’t know how much your call has meant to me.”
“You’re welcome Jack. I’m glad it all worked out for you. Good bye”
“Good bye,” Jack said.
Jack hung up the receiver and picked up a small phone book lying nearby. He looked up Ron’s home phone number, punched it into the device and looked up Lonnie’s number while he waited for Ron to answer the call.
* * *
Ron stepped out of the shower and after drying himself off, walked into the bedroom. Matt was lying on the bed watching TV.
“Whatcha watchin’ babe?” Ron asked.
“Just a program called ‘America’s Palaces.’ They were showing Teddy Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore on Long Island.”
“Darn, I’m sorry I missed it. I’m a T.R. fan. He was a real pioneer in the Presidency. You know his place is not far from Bryan and Alan’s.
“Maybe we can see it when we go back. I lived in New York for years and never went there. Speaking of that we need talk.”
“Yep, we do. I love you being here with me and I never want to be separated again. We need to talk about that, and what we’re going to do.”
“I feel the same way Ron. I want to be here no matter what I do. I love you and the thought of being away from you for days or weeks at a time, is far too much for me. I love your house, I love your friends, but most of all I’m in love with you with all my heart.”
Ron turned to his love and moved close.
“I love you the same way, Matt. You need to call the Waldorf and give notice. Also you need to call about your apartment. I thought we could go to New York on Thursday, after I go to the Doctor. We need to take Jack with us too. We have decided to start up a branch of Turner Consulting in New York and I have asked Jack to run it.
“Oh Ron, that’s great! I’m sure Lonnie will be pleased.”
“Yep. Jack called Lonnie this afternoon. Lonnie is going to leave the Friendship Trust, and join Jack in Turner Consulting. They make quite a team. Jack knows the ropes, so it will be mostly setting up an organization, which Charlie Parker, the head of Turner Consulting and Jan, my organization guru can handle. It would be great if we could have them in the same location as the Friendship Trust. I know that Alan is looking for a building for them.”
“Have you thought about opening an office for Aztec-Turner Security there too?” Matt asked. “ It seems like a natural fit.”
“Yes, we talked about that.” Ron answered. “Tyler is going to have his hands full for a few weeks though. I’ve already asked him to think about moving their headquarters to Las Vegas. In fact, I directed Will to purchase the piece of land next to our headquarters building here. I should have bought it sooner. I’m sure we’re going to need to expand, especially if Tyler moves here.”
“Is Jack taking anyone from here with him?” Matt asked.
“He talked to Charlie Parker about taking a couple of guys from this office, but hasn’t asked them yet, so I’m not sure. We’re rather maxed out for space here anyway, and the workload should be less because of the New York operation. That all will help, but it won’t help that much or be a permanent fix. Even so it will take the better part of a year to build a new building so we need to get crackin’.’”
“I am pleased that Jack has been relieved of the headaches that the trial of his assailants would have caused.” Ron said with his own expression of relief.
“Yes, that’s a load off his mind for sure.” Matt said. “Speaking of loads, I’ve got one here that’s just itchin’ to get out. Know anyone interested?”
“Heh, heh.” Ron chuckled with a leer suddenly appearing on his face. “Great minds think alike! ‘I got me a weapon here whut needs shootin’ off sumpin’ feersom’ as Tony would say.” Ron replied grinning.
His smile quickly disappeared and was replaced with a look of pent up desire as he turned and leaned toward his partner depositing a warm kiss on Matt’s waiting lips. The kiss was only the prelude to the loving they both had in mind.
* * *
It was early morning when Tyler and Tim sat in the breakfast room, drinking coffee and juice and munching on sweet rolls.
“Well, I wonder how the lessons for Mabel and the guys will go today?” Tim asked Tyler.
“Oh, I think they’ll do fine.” Tyler answered.
“I kinda wish I didn’t have to start school today,” Tim said. “I’d like to sit in on those lessons myself. I don’t speak English too good either.”
“Oh, you do OK. Your speech is a little rough around the edges but you will pick up correct speech habits quickly. Mabel, Tony, and the boys have it a bit tougher. Their speech has a real ‘Hillbilly’ sound, and unfortunately, that is associated with the lack of education, even if it’s not true. All Ron is trying to have the speech therapist do is to get them to hear the differences, so that they can speed up the process a bit. I doubt that Ron has much concern about your speech; the rough edges will wear away with time.”
“Well, I hope they are successful,” Tim said, “those guys are really nice, even if they do sound like hicks. I’d hate to have to beat up somebody for making fun of the way they talk.”
“I’d hate to see that too, Tim. Violence solves very little.”
“You didn’t seem to mind with Luke and Tommy,” Tim observed.
“That was different,” Tyler said. “That was self defense. Even though I’ve been trained to fight, I only use it as a last resort. I don’t go around beating people up because I’m bigger, stronger or better trained. That is a bully’s tactic. I will always defend myself and those I care about because I can, not because I want to use force to make people do what I want. That’s the difference.”
“Would you teach me some of that self defense stuff?” Tim asked.
“Sure I’d be glad to. I’d be glad to teach the other boys too. Nevertheless, if I do it and catch any of you misusing what I teach you to intimidate other guys, or girls, I will teach you what real intimidation means, if you get my drift.”
“Yeah, I understand. I’d still like to learn though.”
“OK. This afternoon, when you get out of school, we’ll start. If you see the other boys invite them too. Let’s say, at 4 o’clock in Ron’s gym. We’ll do weight training too. It helps if you are in shape.”
“Super, I’ll tell ‘em. Thanks, Tyler.
“Sure,” Tyler said, “No prob.”
James Callester arrived at the Turner Estate at 10 A.M. as planned. Parker greeted the speech therapist at the door and ushered him to Ron’s library, where Mabel, Tony, and the boys waited. All the family members rose as he entered the room and was announced.
Mabel approached the man who appeared to be in his 40’s and looked quite distinguished. He carried himself with considerable dignity, and his bearing would have been almost intimidating except for the smile that he carried with ease.
“Howdy James,” Mabel said as she extended her hand, and taking his gave it a robust shake. “I’m Mabel and these’re muh youngun’s Tony, Georgey and Petey.”
“I’m pleased to meet you all,” James said. “You will notice I didn’t say y’all. You-all please have a seat and we’ll chat for a minute before we start.”
Everyone took their places, and James began.
“I’d like to say this before we start. There is no “correct” way to speak English. The English, Scots, Irish, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Indians, Canadians and those of us in the U.S. all speak English, yet we all speak it a bit differently. In our country, those from the Midwest speak it differently from those in the New England states, and in the South. Even in the South many people can distinguish the differences between someone from Texas and someone from, say, Georgia. All I’m trying to say is that there is no “proper” way to speak English. The Midwestern “version” is probably the most common and we will work toward that. I am not trying to make you into a Midwesterner, but rather to remove some of the “hills” sound from your speech to make it easier for you here socially. I don’t expect to be entirely successful, and if you would practice with each other what we will learn, it will go much faster. Do you have any questions, or have any comments?”
“I hope ya don’ git mad at us, if’n we don’ do too gud,” Georgie said.
“Don’t worry, Georgie. When you speak I will correct you, of course, but I’m not making fun of you nor will I be angry. I will repeat what you just said correctly, but you should not take it personally. I am here to help you, not make you feel bad.”
“ That how ya gonna learn us? Jis by talkin’?” Tony asked.
“Is that how you’re going to teach us? Just by talking?” James mimicked. “No Tony, when we get together like we are doing now, I will have a lesson about things in our speech that are different. That way you can recognize words that are spoken differently, even if we haven’t used them in our conversation.”
“Whin kin we git ta goin?” Mabel asked.
“We’ve already started, Mabel. You just heard me correct Tony’s question. I will do that often. You should listen to what is said by you, then by me. The lesson will then make you aware of the differences. We’ll continue now,” James paused, then began, “One of the characteristics of speech in many parts of the country, but particularly the south, is to leave the endings off of words. Most common of these are words ending in a “g”. We say ending, you say endin’, we say going, you say goin’. There are many words like that so it is a big difference.” Repeat after me, “There is something funny about going ice skating.”
“Yep, Thar sher would be here’,” Petey quipped. “Thar ain’t no ice nowhar.”
Everyone laughed, including James.
“That’s very true Petey, but let’s say it anyway. Now after me, ‘There is something…..”
* * *
Ron, Tyler and Will, the RET Executive V.P sat in Ron’s office talking about the Aztec-Turner Security deal.
Will was speaking. “…and so I am taking a transition team over to Beverly Hills on Friday to close the sale. Will you be able to attend Ron?”
“No, I’m afraid not. Matt and I are going to New York on Thursday to wind up his affairs and I want to visit Richard Adams at Construction Leasing too. Naturally we’ll meet with Alan and the gang from Friendship Trust too. “I’ll send back the G-V if you want it for your trip to California.”
“No, I don’t think that will be necessary. We can take the Cessna, but I’ll check with Jan to be sure that it’s available. Where will you be, Tyler?” Will asked.
“Actually, I will be there in California. I want to get back there as soon as I can; I have a lot to do. Ron, has there been any announcement about my taking over the management?”
“No Tyler. I thought that it might be better to wait for the closing of the sale. It will be nice to have you in place over there ahead of time though. You can be our insider, to make sure there is no hanky panky going on.”
“My thoughts exactly,” Will said in concurrence. “Do you have any problem with that Tyler?”
“Nope, I think it will be for the best too. I’ll plan on catching a plane in the morning.”
“You can take the Cessna, “ Ron offered.
“You tryin’ to blow my cover?” Tyler said laughing.
“I guess you’re right. You’d better fly economy then, and really keep up the image.”
“I think that’s all that Southwest Airlines has anyway,” Tyler answered.
“Yeah, I didn’t think of that,” Ron commented with honesty.
“I’d be very surprised if they try any fast moves, Ron,” Tyler said. “They’re a pretty honest and straightforward bunch. I think it will be a great honor to lead them.”
“Will, are you going to use the whiz kids for the transition?” Ron asked.
“Yes, and I think it would be good for Tyler to spend some time with them today and fill them in on the organizational structure, and tell them how he wants to proceed. That is important, especially if Tyler moves here after some time. The L.A. office has to be guided by someone trustworthy and capable and has to operate as a fairly independent office. It’s foolish for Tyler to move here until that’s done. I’m taking some accounting types too. We have to review the current books in detail and make sure there aren’t any hidden problems.”
“How does that sound to you, Tyler? It’s your show once the purchase is consummated.”
“I think it would be great, guys. I’m always open to suggestions and can use all the help I can get. I met Jeff Davis and Phil Thompson earlier today. They strike me as being very capable.”
“I think they will prove out your good impressions, Tyler,” Will agreed. “As Ron said, it’s your show, but I want you to know that we’re here to help. If you need anything just ask.”
“You can be sure of it, Will. I’m not shy or proud. Ron, I think that Will and I should go see Jeff and Phil now. We have a lot of work to do. “
“Sure, Tyler. I’ve got quite a pile on my desk too. See you guys later.”
Everyone stood, and Will led Tyler from the office. Ron looked at his watch, walked to his desk and sat down. Picking up the phone, he dialed a number.
“Hello?” said the voice on the other end.
“Hi Bryan, this is Ron.”
“Hi my friend,” Bryan said. “What’s up?’
“Just wanted to make sure that you got home O.K. and to tell you that we’re coming to New York on Thursday. Matt is going to move to Las Vegas, and we’re coming back to take care of the arrangements. I also want to meet with your dad at Construction Leasing. Have you heard from him since you got back?”
“That’s great Ron! I’m sure that Matt will be very happy there with you. I’ll miss him though. We have become good friends. Dad called last evening from home. I talked to my mom when he and I were finished. He’s truly a changed man. My mother is so happy. It’s hard to believe that his attitude was the root of all their problems. She’s been going to see Dad’s counselor too, and the help and understanding she’s learned has helped Dad a lot as well. It’s hard to believe that he’s the same guy. His old hard shell has broken, and inside is a man that we all love.”
“I’m really pleased, Bryan. I also wanted to tell you that Jack is moving to New York to open an office of Turner Consulting. I talked to Alan a while ago. It would be nice to have him housed near the Friendship Trust. Lonnie will be moving from the Friendship Trust to Turner Consulting too.”
“Wow! That’s great for Lonnie and Jack. What did Alan think of the idea?”
“Well he wasn’t delighted with the thought of Lonnie leaving the Trust, but if the two operations are housed near each other, he can use Lonnie to help until he finds someone to take his place. He, of course, is happy for the two guys. He and I are going to meet on Friday too, I’m anxious to talk about how the Trust operation is progressing and the search for offices.”
“Yeah, I’m sure he’s happy for both those guys. I’m happy for them too.” Bryan said wistfully. “Maybe we can talk them into living on Long Island near us, where we can see them easily on a social basis. Lonnie lives here now and if they become more than business partners, it would be a natural.”
“That’s up to them, of course,” Ron said. “I don’t know whether Jack will be at the hotel, or with Lonnie this weekend. I’d better ask so we can get the reservations straight. Matt and I will be at his place. He’s got to make arrangements to pack and move his things while I’m busy with your dad at Construction Leasing and Alan at Friendship Trust.”
“Alan has been really busy with the Trust’s business. I’m spending time with him too. He’s determined that I carry whatever weight I can and still go to school. Will you have time to come over for dinner one night while you’re here?”
“Sure, we can do that, or we can go out. It doesn’t matter. I’m sure that Lonnie and Jack would like to join us to. Heck, invite your brother and your folks too if you’d like. It might be too many to cook for so I’d be happy to spring for the dinner.”
“Ok, Alan and I will talk about it and decide,” Bryan said.
“Good! Oh… another thing. Your rings arrived from the Bahamas. They are beautiful. I’ll bring them with us on Thursday. Have you made any plans for the ceremony yet?”
“Nah, not yet, but I’m sure glad they arrived. I’ve got to find out what Alan’s schedule is. He wants just the two of us to go away between Christmas and New Years for a few days. I have no idea how that will work out yet.”
“Boy, that will be great! He’s providing the honeymoon, and doesn’t even know it yet!” Ron said laughing.
“It should be fun,” Bryan said agreeably. “Would you consider being in the ceremony?”
“I really think it should be your families,” Ron suggested. “Matt and I will feel better just being guests. We can arrive unannounced since we don’t want to tip off Alan, if you’re going to surprise him.”
“Well, you know we consider you part or our family now, don’t ya?”
“Sure, and you guys are part of Matt’s and mine too. I still think it would be better to keep it simple, with you guys and maybe your brother Dick, and Rich and Brandt. I do appreciate the thought though.”
“You may be right, Ron. If we keep the whole thing simple, it will be easier to pull off. I just love Alan so much. I want to tell the whole world that he’s mine and I’m his.”
“Your friends already know that, but the public commitment is a wonderful idea. Matt would like it for us too, as would I, but it can wait for another time. We have some living to do. I’m not the easiest guy to get along with. It is getting more natural to include Matt in the things I do and decide, but sometimes even now I forget.”
“Nobody said living together is easy, Ron,” Bryan said, “but I can tell you it’s wonderful to live each day with the one you love.”
“I’m just beginning to find that out, Bryan. I’m sure you’re right. Well, I’d better get going, I have a ton to do. Give Alan and the boys a hug for me.”
“Sure Ron, we’ll see you guys this weekend. Give Matt a hug from us too. Bye and hugs, my friend.”
“Bye Bryan, hugs to you too.”
Ron replaced the phone in its cradle, then after a pause, he left his office heading for Will’s just down the hallway.
“Hi Margie,” he said to Will’s secretary. “Is Will available?”
“I think so Ron, he just walked into his office a minute ago,” she replied. “I’ll buzz him.”
After a quick conversation with Will, she said, “He’s free Ron. Go on in.”
“Thanks. Would you please call Mr. Peterson and see if he could join us? If he’s busy ask if I could see him later.”
“Sure Ron, consider it done,” she said smiling.
“Thanks,” Ron said as he reached for the handle of the door leading to Will’s office.”
As he entered the office, he headed for Will’s desk where the executive was reading a letter.
“Hi Ron,” Will said. “Get yourself a cup and have a seat. I’m proofing this letter that needs to get out so I’ll be just a moment.”
“Sounds great. Take your time. Mr. Peterson is going to join us in a few minutes, I hope.”
Ron stood, walked to the coffee bar and poured himself a cup of coffee adding a shot of half and half, his favorite way to drink the brew. Returning to the desk he saw that Will had finished the letter and put it into his ‘out’ tray. No sooner had Will returned from pouring himself a fresh cup, than the phone rang announcing the arrival of Mr. Peterson. The older gentleman soon joined them and Ron began.
“I know you both are busy, and what I’m going to request of you is not an emergency, but I’d like to get started on it.”
“Sure Ron, what’s on your mind?” Will said.
Ron explained to the two men what he had discussed with Tyler. He asked them both to have the figures worked up for his review, for both the assets in his personal holdings and for the Turner Trusts. He also asked Will to assess what kind of salary and benefit package would be appropriate for Tyler as President of Aztec-Turner. After receiving their assurance that the process would start right away he turned to his next subject.
“The next item I’d like to bring up is Matt. I don’t ever want Matt to think that he has to come to me for money. I would like to set up a blind trust for Matt. Will, I’d like you to manage it. I don’t want to even know about it. I just want him to be able to not ever have to worry if he wants to buy something. I’d like him to have a credit card of his own that is unlimited and a checking account. If the earnings from the trust are not large enough to handle his expenditures, increase the principle until it is. If he wants to reinvest the earnings either of us can offer him advice, but other than that, I don’t need to be informed. He can be as involved in the management of his money as he wants to be. If he really develops an interest in managing his money you can advise him if he wants or he can ask me. If he simply wants to ignore the process, then I’d like you to take care of it for him. ”
“Could you give me a hint at how much principle you’d like to start him with?” Will asked.
“I’d think about $20 million would be adequate, but it could be adjusted if not. I’m not sure what his plans are. I’d love to have him in the company, but if he’s not interested and wants to be a chef or garbage man, it’s all right with me. I’m sure that we’ll be talking about his career plans in the next week or so when he moves here permanently from New York. I’m going to encourage him to finish school, but what his profession will be is really up to him. I just don’t want him to worry about money. Oh, one last item. I want his money to come from my personal accounts. All of our employees’ bonuses are predicated on our performance. I don’t want to dilute that by taking the money from the company. ”
“Ok, Ron,” Will said. “We’ll take care of this. Could you ask Matt to come in tomorrow? He’s going to have to sign signature cards and the like. I’ll set up a bank account and credit card for Tyler too. He may need some money until everything is set up with his ‘inheritance’.
“Thanks guys, let me know if there are any hiccups.”
The guys stood and headed for the door. Before they could exit the room Ron
“Oh Will, could you come and see me tomorrow sometime? I’d like to set up a little business for Mabel.”
“Who in the hell is Mabel?” Will asked.
Ron laughed then answered, “I’ll tell ya tomorrow.”
* * * * *