We Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus
By E. Walk
(Copyrighted by the Author)
Edited by Radio Rancher
Chapter 9 - The Plot Thickens
I had scheduled a staff meeting of the production teams at 10:30 at their request. I wasn't sure what they wanted to meet with me about, but I had a good idea it was about the actions of Janet and her boy, Joey. Boy was I right. They unloaded on me and made it very clear that if there weren't some changes, they were all going to resign.
I took a deep breath, "Ladies and gentlemen, I am well aware of the problem. Mrs. Clark tore into me this morning. I am looking at possible ways to get this company back on track. Please give me until next week. As far as I am aware, we are still going to be getting our paychecks on Thursday before we shut down for the long weekend. If for some reason we don't get paid, I will personally pay you. Now if you will excuse me, I have an appointment."
I stopped by my secretary's desk, "Cynthia, I have a business luncheon. I'll take my cell phone in case someone needs to talk to me."
I drove to the shopping center where The Bread Basket was located and parked. I looked around to see if I could see Hank's truck. I guess he wasn't there yet. I walked in and most of the clientele seemed to be older and there was a significant number of women eating. I thought to myself, `This doesn't seem like a place where Cowboy would eat.'
The hostess approached me, "May I help you sir? Will that be a table for one?"
I looked around, "I was to meet a friend here for lunch. We have some business to discuss."
I felt something poking me in the back, "Get those hands up mister and give me all the money ya got."
The hostess was laughing, "Hey, Mr. Rodgers, your usual table is ready. Flo, is waiting to serve you and your business associate."
When we were seated, I had to ask, "Do you know, everyone in this town? Why would you choose a restaurant like this?"
Hank looked confused, "Why not come here? It's the closest restaurant to my office and I can walk here. Besides, I like the people here and the food is good. Now tell me about what's going on at your office."
We were interrupted by the waitress, "Hey, Cowboy, you're dressed rather formal today aren't you. This is Wednesday, so I guess you'll be having the Custer sandwich with homemade fries and spiced tea. How about you, Sir?"
Since I hadn't had a chance to look at the menu, "Flo, I'll have what the cowboy is having and if I don't like it, I'll sue him."
Flo started to laugh, "I think we have trouble here in River City with two clowns at the same table."
As we were eating our lunches, I told Hank what had happened that morning. I explained that I owned 48% of the company and could well afford to buy Janet's share, but she disliked me so much that there was no way she would ever consider selling her share to me. Her husband who founded the company had left all his assets to Janet when he died. Her husband had been a very shrewd and a good businessman. It was as if everything took a nose dive when Janet took control three years ago.
Hank put his hand on my thigh and moved dangerously close to where there was some merchandise that was starting to respond. I pushed it away. He looked at me, "Steve, let me think about this for a while. I guess we need to be getting back to the offices. I have several appointments this afternoon with distributors."
We were walking out of the restaurant after Hank paid the bill and my cell phone rang. "Hey Kev, what's up?"
"Dad, this is not about what is up. It's about what is out. Hey You had her baby. Jacob and I are now official midwives. You have a beautiful new filly. You really need to give your two horses real names. If you talk to Dad R., tell him that Dr. Mansfield has already been here and checked the new filly."
I started to laugh, "Kev, I'm with Mr. Rodgers. We just finished lunch, and no we weren't at the house. I'll see you after work."
I told Hank what Kevin had said, and he started to laugh. He walked me to my car, "Stevie, I'd like to give you a kiss, but we might get in trouble because I might be accused of raping a grown man. I'll see you after choir practice and don't jack off before then."
I turned to him and bowed, "Yes, Cowboy, I'll try to be good."
As I was driving back to the office, I was thinking how much fun lunch had been, but that feeling of euphoria was to be completely shattered when I walked into the office. Cynthia just nodded and put a thumb down and I knew that meant Janet was waiting for me.
I walked into the office and she was sitting behind my desk. She looked at me and started, "Well, it's about time you got back. Did you enjoy meeting your lover for lunch? Joey said that the two of you seemed awfully chummy. So that's the reason you wouldn't go to bed with me?"
She didn't even take a breath. "What was the meeting about this morning that I wasn't invited to?"
I had all the crap I could take, "Look Mrs. Clark, the Production Staff came to me and asked me to get rid of you and your little do nothing, Joey. They are tired of the two of you badgering them about not doing their jobs when it's you and your sales staff that aren't doing your jobs."
"As far as who I had lunch with it, it is really none of your business, but for your information my sons were working at his ranch and called to tell us that one of his horses had delivered a new baby."
"Lest you forget Mrs. Clark, I own forty eight per cent of this company. When your husband and I formed the company, there was a stipulation that said as long as the company existed, we both were to have jobs. I would gladly buy your interest in the company before you take us into bankruptcy."
"Now I have a question for you. Why was Joey at the Bread Basket without you? Was he raking in a little nookie and moola on the side? I guess you aren't satisfying him anymore."
Janet was absolutely livid. Fortunately Cynthia came in, "Mrs. Clark, your secretary called and said that there was a Mr. Rodgers in your office wanting to talk to you."
Janet glared at me, "I'll get back to you after I meet with this Mr. Rodgers whoever he is."
Janet left the office in a huff. Cynthia smiled, "I hope you pasted her good. By the way, Mr. Rodgers said that you should go home to the ranch because one of your sons isn't feeling well. He said to tell you that he was going to come home for dinner and expected some gourmet hot sausages, whatever that meant."
I started to laugh and Cynthia said, "Steve, it's so good to see you laugh again. I get the feeling that things are going to get better around here. Call me if I can do anything for you. After all Kevin is dating my daughter."
"Cynthia, I'll have my cell phone with me. Call me if there is something I need to know or do, but please, don't give the witch my number."
As I was leaving the parking lot, I was thinking, `So Hank wants hot sausages does he, then that's what he's going to get.'
I stopped at Stoyover's Meat Market and an older gentleman came to wait on me, "Hey Steve, haven't seen you for a while. What can I do for you?"
"Hi, Mr. Stoyover, I have been tasked with fixing dinner for a friend and my two sons. My friend suggested that I fix hot sausages. What would you recommend?"
Mr. Stoyover laughed, "Steve, since I don't know your friend, I have no idea what he or she might have been asking for. We have two very highly seasoned polish sausages left, but I must warn you they are extremely spicy. I would recommend that maybe you buy some mild Italian sausage, bratwurst and knackwurst for the rest of you. You could always grill them and serve them with sauerkraut and warm tangy potato salad to cut through the spices and grease. I like to have a nice salad with a sweet wine vinegar dressing with my sausages."
I left the store with the two hot Polish sausages, four mild Italian sausages, four bratwursts and four knackwursts. I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some German potato salad, rolls, two cans of Bavarian sauerkraut, some fresh vegetables to make a salad and some wine vinegar since I had no idea what was available at the ranch. At the last minute I picked up some mustard and some German beer."
When I got to the house, I was greeted by four jumping dogs. I guess they were lonely. They followed me into the house and I started to look to see where everything was. I felt like I was prying into someone else's world, but I was just doing what I was told. I had everything put away when the phone started to ring.
I wasn't going to answer it decided it might be important, "This is the Rodgers ranch. How may I help you?"
The voice challenged me, "Who are you? You're not Granddad."
I shook my head, "This is Steve Michaels and Mr. Rodgers is still at work. How can I help you?"
"Mr. Michaels, tell Granddad that David called. Tell him I miss him and will see him tomorrow."
"Okay, David, how's Danny?"
"He's fine. He's playing with some of his friends at the pool. My friends have all gone home and I'm bored. Please tell Granddad that I called and that I love him."
David hung up and my cell phone started to ring, I answered, "This is Steve Rodgers."
"Hey boss, the bitch was just in here gloating. She told me that my boss would be gone by tomorrow. She was livid that you weren't here. I don't know where you are but don't go anywhere where she might see you. The prospective buyer is bringing in an auditing team in the morning since she is claiming that you have been bilking the company of billions. The Production Staff is about ready to strangle her."
"Cynthia, please pass the word that Mrs. Clark is sending up a smoke screen. Cowboy will see through her in a minute. I'll call you at home after I find out what the Cowboy recommends that I do. He must have something up his sleeve. I haven't known him very long, but it is apparent that he does everything with a purpose. Talk to you later. I need to start dinner. The boys are pulling up."
Kevin and Jacob came rushing into the kitchen. "Dad, have you seen your new daughter yet. She's absolutely beautiful."
I looked at the guys and they were dressed in their cowboy clothes, "Guys, I was just getting ready to start dinner. Can't it wait?"
Jacob looked at me, "Dad, Dad R. isn't home yet. Please come see the horses. You really do need to name your horses."
I was still dressed in my business clothes when I walked into the barn and the horses all responded to the presence of the two guys. Kevin and Jacob led me to Hey You's luxury box and the little filly got up and came over and started to sniff my hand. I looked at the guys, "Okay guys, Hey You is going to be called Queen Anastasia and her daughter is going to called Princess Natasha. We'll call her Tasha for short."
The three of us were surprised when Hey You stood there braying and shaking her head up and down. Jacob said, "Fine, we'll call them Queenie and Tasha."
Hey You raised up and shook her as if saying no. I looked at Jacob, "Jake, I don't think Queen Anastasia likes that idea very much."
I opened the gate to their stall and suggested, "Let's go for a walk ladies."
The other horses especially Alhambra and KJ were upset and wanted out of their stalls too. Kevin looked at me, "Dad, now see what you have done? The other horses are mutinying."
"Well, bring them along for a short walk before I go fix dinner. But it is your responsibility to make sure they behave themselves."
We had just started to walk around the corral when Hank pulled in and was standing on the fence. "Well what do we have here, the parade of the wooden horses?"
Alhambra started to break away but Kevin calmly said, "Alhambra, knock it off, or you aren't going to get your treat from Dad R. Now get back in line. Mr. Rodgers, why don't you come meet Queen Anastasia and Princess Natasha while Dad fixes dinner. It's a good thing you have flood lights out here. On second thought, why don't you go help Dad and we'll get the horses squared away since you need to go to choir practice."
Hank and I watched as the horses and the dogs followed the boys back to the stable. The two boys came in just as I finished grilling the sausages. They quickly washed their hands and everything was ready to eat. I carefully made sure that Hank got one of the hot Polish sausages. "Hank, I'm sorry but this is the hottest sausage I could find."
He took one bite and the food flew out of his mouth, He quickly grabbed the glass of water in front of him and drank the entire glass. After he finished blowing off the steam he glared at me. "Michaels, for that, you are going to pay. When I said I wanted hot sausage this was not what I was implying."
I pleaded innocent, "Well, I didn't know. I was just trying to please you. Now be quiet and eat, do you want a bratwurst, knackwurst or Italian sausage?"
Kevin and Jacob were almost doubled up. Kevin was finally able to mutter out, "You two are worse than teenagers. When are you going to start acting like grownups? Poor Jacob and me are going to grow up thinking that life is just a bowlful of hot sausages."
Hank threw down his napkin, "That does it. You have told me I can't trust you guys alone. You need to go to choir practice with me. You two will sit in the back of the Avalon and be quiet while I tell your Dad what is happening because it affects you also."
Kevin and Jacob took care of the clean up and we were on our way to town. On the way, Hank explained, "I met with Mrs. Clark today and she is desperate for money, and, Steve, I hate to tell you this but she really hates you. I would suggest that you call in and not be there in the morning because the boys are feeling ill. I'll feed them one of those hot sausage things when we get home and they will be throwing up for two days."
"I have an accounting team arriving in the morning and if what I suspect is true, Mrs. Clark and her boy Joey will be out of town before this time tomorrow night. Guys, I don't choose to say anymore right now because I really don't want any of you involved in what I'm doing, and please believe me, I am not doing anything illegal. Please trust me. You people have stolen my heart."
We walked into the church and there were only a few people present. The Choir director looked at Hank, "I guess you are the special music for Sunday, Hank. We can't very well sing an anthem with six people."
Hank looked at the choir director and organist, "Debbie and Jan, I came prepared. I brought some people to help me even though they don't know it. I even have some music in mind that we could sing if this works out. Come on Kevin and Jacob, get up here with me. I'm not doing this alone."
Kevin and Jacob were confused by what was happening. They walked to the choir area and stood next to Hank at the organ. Hank handed them some sheets of music. I knew that both guys were in the school choir but I was totally unprepared for what transpired. Hank looked at Jan, the organist, "Jan, please play through the piece one time so these guys can feel the tempo and the sound of the melody."
Hank opened his guitar case and was sitting on a stool the two boys on either side of him. They began a special arrangement of We Three Kings of the Orient. When they finished, the choir members who were in attendance applauded. Pastor Taylor was standing in the back, "Hank, I think you need to have these two young men sing with you at the Memorial Service on Tuesday. That would pull the service together. Check with Tim and Tad, when they get back and see what songs they would like for you to sing. Jan is going to be playing for the service, so you can perhaps practice on Sunday after I meet with you and Tim and Tad."
I watched the twins as Pastor Taylor was speaking. I was almost afraid that they were going to say something that was inappropriate.
When we got to the Avalon, they started on Hank. Kevin started, "Mr. Rodgers, you keep treating us like we were pawns without asking us what we want to do. Do you think we could maybe sit down and talk about things like a family before you commit us to do something?"
Jacob picked up, "Mr. Rodgers, it's like you are keeping us in the dark deliberately. Either you treat us like knowledgeable adults, or we're leaving. I'm very surprised that Dad has tolerated your idiosyncrasies as well as he has. I suggest that you tell us what you are plotting and maybe we can help you."
Hank fell back on the seat, "Guys, I'm truly very sorry if you feel as if I am a dictator. I guess I have had to make my way on my own for too long. I met with Mrs. Clark this afternoon and she really hates your father and wants to do everything to get him out of the business to the point that she wants the company to fail. I have a team of experts arriving at the company office in the morning and that is why I do not want you or your Dad near that place until about four in the afternoon."
Kevin and Jacob were sitting with their heads on Hank's and my seat. Kevin spoke, "Dad R., it would have been so much easier if you had told us this up front. What's going to happen?"
Kevin and Jacob, "I honestly don't know. I know what I want to happen and it all depends on how greedy Mrs. Clark is. But unless I miss my guess badly, your Father will be the sole owner of the advertising company before this time tomorrow and Mrs. Clark and her friend, Joey, will be long gone. Now we need to get ready to take care of David and Danny and their parents."
Author's Comments: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might chose to visitwww.tickiesstories.us.
And now for something completely the same as usual: Editor's Notes: It's about time the horses got names.
Hopefully Hank will get it through his head that he needs to tell others what is happening instead of springing things on them with no warning what so ever.
Mrs. Clark is really in for a surprise, especially when Joey sees Cowboy and knows who he is. She will not be pleased, I don't think.
I think the dung is going to impact with the rotating rapid air movement device when the auditors have a look at those books. You have to wonder how much she has cooked the books.
This story gets more exciting with every new chapter. I can see a whole new family forming and I can see a lot of love being shared among the entire crew.
I for one am ready for the next chapter, aren't you? I thought you were.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher