This is my disclaimer for 2009 folks! As you know, I change them, so please read and smile!
This is a fictional character. I'll say that until I'm blue in the face and yet, someone will write to me and tell me I've got something wrong, or he/she is that character, or they're going to sue me because their client has a family member with that name.
I can put disclaimers on a story all day long and still, I get someone who is just about nuts who will do the above paragraph. It makes no sense to me, but apparently, there are people who take themselves so seriously they want to be a fictional character. Well to those of you who choose to be that way, go read someone else's story and be a fuck-tional character.
By the way, if you're reading this to jack off (Adam Curtis). I'll smile and you hold it in your hand and read until the end. If you've spilled a load, I bet it wasn't reading a scene here! Everyone else who knows my writing is probably laughing their asses off right about now...I know I'm chuckling!
If you can hold it in your hand and type, then please BY ALL MEANS write me an email and send a photo of it. I want to see the man's appendage which can write, type, and just plain want to know it better!
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If you're under the age of 18, please find the off switch on your computer and press it. It'll make your day and mine a lot brighter. If you come back to this site when it reboots, please repeat until you lose interest. If it takes more than once, get a clue you dumb fuck!
Notes From RettaMichaels:
PlayMaker is written as a period piece. The lead character is writing his memoirs at the end of his career in this day and time. Please read it as such as I've really got no time to correct people for what is obvious.
We drove over to the gas station and as usual, they were busy. He said, “This place stays busy. He keeps gas cheaper than anyone and he does a bang up business on cigarettes here.”
“I heard all this out here was paid for from this station.”
“Oh yeah, that and most of all they've got. Those factories they own and all the other stuff was started from here. They made it a point of treating each and every customer like they were the best one they had and it made them rich. That's why I do things the way I do and your dad did it the same.” He paused and said, “By the way, I forgot to tell you Ben owned that tire shop your dad worked at over there. He remembered your dad and said he wishes he had a hundred like him. He said your dad worked hard and never once complained. I imagine that's right because I know he did when we worked out here together.”
“Why'd dad quit out here?”
“These guys who work out here don't make much money. Tips is where it's at and people don't tip like they once did. With your dad, I think he was intent on making the money for the stone in your mama's ring and that's why he went over there. Your mama meant more to him.”
I smiled and thought about Jared. Having him in my life definitely had me identifying with what my dad thought about my mama.
We parked and got out. I went in because I love the stick candy they have there. Twenty sticks for a dollar and all sorts of flavors. They had Jolly Rancher sticks too which were fifteen for a dollar.”
I began picking out all sorts of flavors and Roger spoke to Grant. Grant looked at me and I smiled. He looked at Roger and said, “I can't talk right now” and motioned to me. Roger said, “He's aware. He's the one who brought me out here so I could speak with you and is standing by to be sure I don't chicken out.”
“What did you want to talk about?”
“Ummm, I was wondering if you're seeing anyone.”
“No, but that's not because I've not been looking. It's just that there isn't many around here.”
“Would you like to go out some time?”
“Well yeah! I didn't think you were.”
“I've sort of just finally got around to admitting it.”
“Oh, well that'd be fine. I'll tell you now I'm not someone who will want to just be doing things. With me, it's about seeing us in a relationship. If that's not something you want, I'll tell you I'm not the person for you.”
“No, that's fine. I'd prefer that because I'm not real wild about having to have my affairs out there in the open. With someone like you, I'd find it an honor.”
Grant smiled, “Thanks, I appreciate the compliment.”
Roger turned to me and said, “This is Jake. He's a heckuva tennis player and I hear he's going to be on the football team.”
“Yeah, they say I'm good.”
Roger said, “Grant, don't let him kid you. He's beaten about everyone in these parts when it comes to tennis. He won a whole lot of tournaments this past summer.”
Grant looked at me and asked, “What's your name?”
“I must be thinking of someone else. I seem to recall someone who called himself 'the Hawk'.”
Grant's eyes got big. “You think you're not that good!”
“I can't do a trick. Until I get it, I'm so-so.”
He laughed, “What's the trick?”
“Hitting a can with a ball with a spin serve.”
Roger interrupted me and said, “Grant, think about this. He can do it from anywhere else and hit the cans. Then, he can put a ball down on the court and an empty can over with the mouth facing it ten feet away and hit that ball and put it into the can. BUT, because he can't hit the can a certain direction, he thinks he's not real good.”
Grant smiled, “You playing on the tennis team?”
Roger said, “Hang on a second, I want to tell him how you got your power in your serves.” He looked at Grant, “He's little, but the way he got the power in his serves is by hitting baseballs. He got the things across the net, but he plumb wore out the string in his racket. So, rather than restringing over and over, he used Weedeater line in it!”
Grant's eyes lit up, “Is that legal?”
“They weighed my racket and checked the gage of it and said it was. What I'll tell you is it's a lot stronger than normal line.”
Roger said, “Hang on a second because I'm going to tell you something which is just going to blow you away.”
“Aaron went down and watched him try out for the football team. He says Jake's got an arm better than anyone he's ever seen. He said Coach Williamson was talking pro scouts and everything about him when he was out there.”
Grant turned and asked, “What position you playing?”
“You're sure little.”
Roger's excitement had him bouncing all over the place, “But Grant, get this...the kid can throw over three hundred yards!”
Grant came out from behind the counter and said, “How accurate?”
“He hits whatever he aims at! Aaron said the whole team is now talking state championship and all that!”
Grant said, “Jake, come out here for a second.”
We went out and he said, “Darren, go get me that football out of your car.”
A guy went and ran to his car. Grant turned to me and said, “The reason I'm excited is I played football and was their quarterback. They thought I was good, but I'll tell you I've never thrown three hundred yards a day in my life.”
Darren came over with the ball. I held it and nodded. Grant said, “Jake, that sign over there by the car wash is three hundred yards. I'll go down there and you send me a missile. If I catch it, I'll bet you car gas for a year. If I don't, I'll not tell everyone about our team having a chance one.”
“I need to go out by the road.”
“Yeah, do that, this canopy here probably wouldn't be good.”
Darren said, “Grant, you're about to lose a lot of money.”
Grant turned to him and said, “So, he's for real?”
“Yeah. The coach is more excited than I've ever seen him.”
Grant turned to me and asked Darren, “He really throws that far?”
“From beneath the end posts to the other end posts. And wait because he runs like you've never seen. The coach said he did the fifty yard dash in like five seconds.”
Grant said, “Damn!”
“They tried to do a blitz on him and he outran them backwards and still threw that ball all the way to the end zone!”
Grant looked surprised and said, “I've got to see this. I'm sorry, but Jake, if I'm wrong, you've got gas here for a year.”
“Ok!” I said chuckling. “ You have no idea how much gas I can go through though.”
He smiled and said, “You don't know how much I'll bet on you if you're right. I've lost enough money to losing teams over the past years to rebuild this station several times. If I can actually win some back, I'll be happy.”
He went down to the speed limit sign and I went out to the road. I went back to in front of the laundry mat and checked for traffic. There wasn't any, so I threw it. He jumped up and caught it. “Son of a bitch!”
He ran up and threw it. I had to run real fast to get to where I could catch it and then ran backward to where I was before. I threw it again and he caught it. He ran up to me and said, “I'll get you a tab sheet in here started. Don't worry about paying for it, just come in and sign the sheet. It keeps me legal with the tax man.”
“You've got a future. I'll tell you that now.”
“Good enough for the pros?”
“How can you run through the guys?”
“Fine, no one can catch me.”
Darren came over, “He hurdled one of the guys doing a down play.”
Grant laughed and said, “Oh man! Do you do that hawk screech all the time?”
“It's sort of my trademark. I want everyone to know it's me out there.”
“It'll have tons of little kids out there cheering for you. From what I heard, you had a lot of little kids clamoring for your autograph playing tennis.”
“Yeah, they're sweet enough to come out and watch me, so I've got to thank them. If I didn't, I'd not be much.”
“You're right. Always remember people came out and spent some time to watch you. If you stay thankful and don't get so famous to realize that, you'll keep your fans.”
“That will be good.”
“Whatever you do, and this is some good advice here...whatever you do, don't let Quincy get a chance to run their spikes in you. They'll do it just to hurt you.”
He pulled up his pant leg and said, “That's from a game with them. They have a nasty way of cheating and it's called spiking the quarterback.”
“Why didn't you throw a few missiles at their cups?”
He laughed, “That's a thought, but my luck would have had them intercepting the thing.”
“Nah, they tend to forget about it when that blinding flash of pain happens.”
He laughed again, “I'll be there at your games.”
“Where will you be in the stands?”
“Ummm, can you keep a secret?”
“I'm not in the stands. I'll be out there on the field.”
“Take a look at the team mascot and you'll see me.”
“Holy crap! I've seen your pictures. You're built!”
He laughed, “Well, it's not as good as when I was in college, but I did work out.”
“Turn around, I want to see your back?”
I saw you in that loin cloth and with that kilt thing on and all that Spartan get up and thought to myself, “Man, that guy has the most amazing back I've ever seen.”
He looked perplexed, “You mean my ass?”
“No, those muscles there.”
“Damn kid, you've got a light touch.”
He took off his shirt and then his undershirt. He turned around and flexed. I touched the muscles and he got goosebumps. He turned around and smiled, “I've got to stop this. Everyone will be seeing me get wood and that's not good.”
“Go right ahead. I know Roger will appreciate it. I've got my own guy, so that's not happening.”
“Yeah, is that a problem?”
“Oh kid, with how cute you are and how little, don't let them know in the locker room you're gay. They'll eat you alive.”
“The whole team already knows. Heck, most everyone knows.”
“And they're ok with it?”
“I don't think anyone's got a problem with it. If so, then I'll not be playing because life's too short. I can play tennis just fine and get into college.”
We walked by my car and he asked, “Your car?”
“Yeah, see all my trophies!”
“Man! Why do you have them all in there?”
“The mantle got full. Rather than clutter up grandma's house, I put them in my car.”
“Why not display them at the school?”
“They're not from school tournaments. These are just from this past summer's invitational and city wide tournies.”
“Man! Where all did you play?”
“All over from Kansas City to St. Louis and on up into Iowa all the way down to Springfield.”
“You drove all over the place!”
“I had to. Not all the tournaments out there were paying money. Some just give away trophies and that's it.”
“How much did you make?”
“Thirty nine thousand.”
“Jeez! That's a helluva part time Summer job!”
“I figure if I've got to drive to play, I may as well get paid.”
“You have to be really good. I've seen you play, but I never saw your trick shots. Do you care to show me some?”
“Yeah, let me get my stuff and we'll all drive over to the tennis courts.”
He walked on to the station with his shirt off. I watched him from behind and marveled at his physique. I looked over at Roger and saw him looking like he was in pure lust.
He came over and said, “I'll ride with him if you don't mind.”
I smiled, “I think you've got great tastes.”
“I'm not blind, the man is a hunk.”
He smiled, “You don't know how long I've thought about him.”
“I imagine. He can't be much older than you.”
“No, he's the same age.”
“And he built all this?”
“No, his dad had it before him. Grant's the one who put all their money to work. When your dad and I worked out here, there was the motel and this station. They put in the car wash and then, the coin laundry the next year, and then the liquor store the next summer. After that, they invested in other gas stations they'd put under and in fast food. Most of what is out there on the strip is theirs.”
“I didn't know that!”
Roger turned and saw Grant coming out of the station. “Well, we better get going.”
“Why's he so interested in seeing what I can do?”
“I'll tell you later. I think you'll be impressed.”
He went over and they got into Grant's car. I got in mine and drove over to the tennis courts. When we got there, I went over and set up my cans. They came in and sat over on the bench.
“Here's what I do. First of all, you have to imagine it's a tree...those cans.”
“Why a tree?” Grant asked.
“That's what I used to practice all these tricks. The cans fall over, but the tree bounced them back out and down the hill to where I was. With these tricks, I have to go get the balls whereas the location I had returned them for me.”
“Where was that?”
“Out on the golf course.”
“Oh, I probably know the area you're speaking about. Is it out between the 6th and 7th greens?”
“Ok, I've heard about you practicing out there. A lot of people were chuckling about you in the club house. They said you were getting them down.”
“The golf club didn't mind me being out there as I wasn't disturbing anyone. It was a big enough space I could practice all my serves.”
“How'd you know about that particular area?”
“That's where Chris and I would go throw the football.”
I said, “Ok, here's the first trick. A lot of this involves ricochets and curve balls. You'll probably find it uneventful that you drove across town to see this.”
I hit the ball and it went to the left of the cans. It bounced and went sharply to the right into the cans. I walked over and set up the cans. They remained quiet and watched.
I went back over and hit another in front. I know they expected the ball to flop up and go high, but it went low and hit the cans.
“This one to the right is the one I can't get. It either flops in behind the cans or in front.” I hit two balls and it did just that. “What I do, is I've tried it every way I can imagine, but nothing has worked. Today, we worked on a shot which is sort of tennis croquet. I put that ball there and then that can back there to demonstrate how I can control the ball anywhere on the court.” I hit the ball, it hit the other ball and rolled it into the can.
I went over and said, “There are a lot of other tricks, but it all involves intimidation of my opponent. It takes knowing the amount of pressure to put on the ball when it's hit. Oh, here's another trick which has won me quite a number of tournaments.” I hit the ball it went over the net and then did a ricochet right back into the net. “Since they can't get to it, and more than one bounce scores the point, it works. I usually save that for match point so I don't embarrass the opponent too bad.”
They laughed and I walked over. Grant asked, “How do you intimidate your opponent?”
“What I do is I usually hit the first one so it hits them in their knee. They can't hit it because they're used to it coming up and going to where everyone else hits it.”
“Ok, I can see that.”
“If they try coming up to the net, and they do, I do a trick shot off the top of their head. I've never experienced it, but it usually gets them to call for a five minute break. WHAT that does is it slows things down and they get back. It's a wrong move because I put the next one into their nuts. It takes them back down and in the situation of Aaron, Roger's son, they forfeit the game. It's happened quite a bit.”
“Makes you sort of the Harlem Globetrotters of tennis. It's a game, but it's really an exhibition of your ball handling capabilities.”
“Yeah, but here's the interesting thing. Down in a town called Salem, Missouri, they tried to say my racket wasn't regulation. I went and got another racket at the store and went out and beat everyone again.”
“Why would they say that?”
“As you see, I strung it with Weedeater line. I did that because I practiced getting the power in my serves with baseballs.”
“I'm not big like them, so I've got to get the edge wherever I can. Because I was able to do that with regular line, I was able to do the same thing with a normal racket. They ended up paying for the racket, my gas, and for that trophy I got when I won.
What happened next is where I started a thing of intimidating the refs.”
“How'd you do that?”
“There's a paper you can file if you want to question a ref's calls. I got it and then wrote out a complaint on the ref to question the call of my racket being out of regulation. What you don't know is if a ref sets a precedent against me, then all the other refs will. If I set a precedent against the ref, it tells the others to leave me alone because I'm within guidelines.”
“So, what I did was I wrote and put on the form I'd been in some twenty tournaments and none of the other refs had questioned it. When they had questioned it, they checked the weight, the gauge of the line and all of it was within specs.”
“I got the retraction of the call of the ref. What that does is it stays with me and if any other ref wants to question my racket in any way, then I can use it to tell him I'll file on him and will be found within guidelines. They seem to back off when I do that, or they check the weight and the gauge of the line and find it within the specs which gets me to keep the racket in play and them not getting questioned by other players.”
I went over and put up my balls and cans. Grant came out and said, “Jake, the reason I called you out to show me is twofold. First of all, curiosity was killing me and second of all, I wanted to see if you were that good. Both showed me you were and not only that, but you're a super nice kid.
What I want to do is I want to offer you a no limit scholarship if you want to use it. My reasoning is this. When I went to college on my athletic contract to play football, I discovered I was their toy for the whole time I was there. When they said jump, I had to jump and when they said boo, I had to act scared.
You might recall there was an investigation into illegal activities in regards to the teams, their scouting and sign on activities, and their off the field activities. I was the one who ultimately got that going.
The reason I did it was because there was a line I was expected to cross and I just didn't like it. They thought if they could intimidate me with knowing I'm gay, they could tell me to get a girlfriend and not only that, but I was expected to either get engaged or get her pregnant.
I'll tell you now, I balked. I went to the league and talked with the head guy. He started the investigation because I could prove they were doing it. What ended up happening is it was found to be legitimate, but it also nixed my chances of having a pro career.
The advantage of it was I was allowed to continue playing all the way through my college career, but I'll tell you now, retribution is a bitch when they decide to sit you out and put in a lesser quality player instead of playing you.
Rather than doing that and letting you get played, I'll pay your cost of college so you're not ever put in that position. What I want from you is to take the athletic scholarship they offer and use it. If they dare make that same mistake with you, you give me a call and I'll go in and drop the cash on the chancellor's desk and tell him I'm paying for you to go to school and he's to either fire the man doing the action, or he's to allow you to get transferred to a college which will keep you in play.”
“My coach says he's going to try to get me scouted by the pros.”
“And that he may. I'll tell you now they'll look at you and might be interested, but your size is going to be a drawback. They'll be too worried about you getting a position and getting hurt and then you being on their disabled roster. Unless you grow some, I'd say they'll probably pass you by.”
“Ok, that's honest. If I need the money, it'll mean I got passed by.”
He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I knew your dad. I want you to know he was a good kid and man, but this isn't why I'm doing this. I'm doing it because I believe everyone should be judged on their own merits.
Between you and I, I know my nephews and nieces get away with murder in this town because of our family's money. I don't like it, but what you won't see is me treating them any better than Joe's kid down the street. I'm not their favorite uncle but maybe some day they'll see I'm the most fairest.”
I nodded and asked, “Some day, I'd like to ask you about my dad. I didn't get to know him and anything anyone can tell me about either of my parents is a lot more than I had.”
“We're having a twenty year class reunion coming up soon. How about you coming and asking around. Maybe you can get insights into their lives from the students. I'll tell you what I know about your dad, but I'm afraid I can't about your mom. That man over there is probably the best one to do that since they dated. She had a few girl friends, but I don't know who they were.”
“I never thought about that, I'll have to ask around. Maybe some of them live nearby.”
He smiled and said, “If you ever want a job, give me a yell. I'll put you out there running cars or someplace where you can make some money. I do it for a lot of the athletic kids.”
“Well, they seem to be the only ones who apply. Maybe the word is out with the coaches I do it, or maybe it's passed from kid to kid, but what I end up doing is putting them all to work.”
“I've heard you're pretty well off.”
“It's just money. Remember that and you'll know what I think about it. If you don't use it to help the community, you're not any better than the old money set. I'll tell you now, I've invested in this community and they've made me rich, but I've done it with the mindset it's employing people who need jobs and not for what I can make off it.”
He smiled, “Think of others and you'll be rewarded. What you'll find is that reward comes back in with huge windfalls and gives you more options. With mine, I put it back out. I'm building fast food restaurants all over the place like you wouldn't believe and those who aren't doing so well out there are coming and offering for me to buy them out. I do it because I know kids here are like kids there and they all need jobs.
What you don't know is I've got factories and other factory owners coming to me to offer for me to buy theirs. With those, I choose to look very carefully and have one thing in mind. If it goes into a car, I'll buy the plant. I know parts at my plants go into all the cars made here and some of the new plants they're putting up from overseas. It's smart business when you can count on having a lot of uses for a company, but it's not smart business when you have a lot of the manufacturers going overseas and a plant owner asking me to go compete against them.”
“What you don't know is there's going to be a day when it's a pivot point. The backlash will come when people decide enough's enough and we're buying all our goods from overseas. When that day comes, I sure don't want to be found making goods over there. Things can get expensive fast when they're taxed coming back in.”
I nodded and he said, “I know I'm boring you.”
“No, really, it's real cool you're talking to me like you respect me instead of just being a kid. A lot of people do it and I don't like it.”
He smiled, “I catch myself doing it too.”
“How'd you get so huge?”
He laughed, “It's called repression. I either work, or I go home and work out. Until today, no one's thought about asking me out.”
“I don't know.”
“Well, he nearly didn't because he thought you were perfect and was bound to have someone.”
“I'm far from perfect.” he said with a smile.
“I don't know, your size is rather impressive. I wish I was that big.”
“If you want, you can come over and work out on my equipment. I don't mind. What I insist is for you to have me there at first so you learn how to do it safely. You can learn and then you can work out with whomever is there, but at first, I want to be there.”
“That'd be cool. Where is your place?”
“My gym is behind the station. My house is in one of the motel rooms.”
“Man, I expected a big mansion.”
“Nah, when you spend all your time either working or working out, you don't need a place to tie you down.”
“Ok, when do you want me there?”
“Ask permission from whomever is raising you and then get back with me. They might not appreciate someone my age spending time with you. If it's a go, then get back with me and I'll make time. As you can see, I'm not tied to the place, so I can up and leave when I want.”
“Ok, that's neat.”
He ruffled my hair and said, “I need to get to going. I've got a guy over there who I've really thought a lot about through the years and now I know it's possible.”
“Ok, I'm happy for you. I appreciate the offer and I'll let you know either way on how I decide.”
He smiled and said, “I appreciate it. You'll see me at a lot of your games and taking active interest in your career whichever you decide. In a way, I hope you do get picked by the pros because you'll have made it further than I did.”
“Just the same, I think it's unfair what they wanted from you.”
“I do too, but had I went that direction, I wouldn't have been able to devote the time I did here in the community. Please know I don't view it as a come down in the world.”
“I understand. What you don't know is I've now got a better perspective on what to do with things if I get there.”
We walked over to Roger and Roger stood up. I said, “It looks like Grant's giving you a ride home. Have a good evening and let me know what you find out.”
He smiled and said, “Tomorrow night after practice, I'll be there. Be ready to go out there and do a little checking. I know I will be.”
“Thanks.” I turned to Grant and said, “Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it.”
I went on out to my car and drove home. At the house, grandma was watching television. I told her what we'd found while over at Roger's house and about being able to go out to Ben's to take photos of the car. She was worried about me having bad thoughts about seeing the car, but didn't like it one bit hearing what she heard about Ronnie Brown and the pastor.
“You need to be really careful. If they've killed others, it doesn't mean you'll get off light. They'll do what they can to stay out of jail and that could include taking you out too.”
“I'll do what I can to stay safe.”
Our phone rang and she went to answer it. “Jake, it's for you.”
I went in and answered it, “Hello?”
“Hi Jake, this is Roger.”
“How'd it go?”
“Wonderfully, what I wanted to talk with you about is I spoke briefly about your parents with Grant. I hope you don't mind.”
“I was just telling grandma about what we'd found.”
“Grant wants to go preventive if you don't mind.”
“What's that mean?”
“Ummm, there's a way we can do all we can to prevent what happened to your parents from happening if they choose to go after you.”
“Braided steel lines wherever there's a rubber line which can be cut.”
“What if he takes snips like you thought they did with my parents?”
“If you really want to know, what I'm thinking is a brake pressure monitor which is on some of the newer cars.”
“What's that do?”
“It tells you when there's no brake fluid pressure.”
“What if they undo the lug nuts?”
“That's where we've got them at a disadvantage. They've got a new lockable lug nut out which can be put on cars. If we put those on all your wheels, they're not going to get them off unless they have a key.”
“But I won't if I've got a flat either.”
“It'd take longer, but you would have a key.”
“What if there's a master key for the things and he has one? I mean, he's a mechanic.”
“He's not likely to have one or be able to take that long to mess with a vehicle. The positive side of it is you'd know it was a professional and it'd help point fingers in that direction if your car is tampered with.”
“I need to think about all this. If I'm spending money and the car doesn't get bothered, I've wasted money. If they do, then we're not going to be able to find out who they are.”
“Let me make a few more phone calls. Grant said he'll pay for everything.”
“Why's he doing all this?”
“Ummm, I can't say.”
“IS he involved?”
“NO! It's nothing like that.”
“Then I'm not getting it. Tell him to keep his money and... No, I'll tell him to keep his money. Forget it about us going out there together. I'll go by myself.”
I hung up and then dialed the gas station. “City Limits Gas, how may I help you.”
“Is Grant in?”
“He's out back.”
“Forget it then.”
I hung up and went in and sat down with grandma. “That was Roger. Grant over at the gas station offered to outfit my car so it couldn't be tampered with.”
“That's nice, it'd be good to keep you safe.”
“I'm telling him to keep his money. He doesn't know me from Adam and suddenly, he's wanting to spend all kinds of money on me. I don't like it.”
“That's not altogether bad.”
“No, but I asked Roger if he was involved in their death and he said no real emphatically.”
She smiled, “You'll figure it out. I think I already know the reason.”
“I know he's gay, but if you think I'm going to sell myself to him...”
“Hon, think about it deeper than that. I'm not suggesting YOU would.”
“What's that mean? Are you suggesting my dad did?”
“Not in the manner you're thinking, but I do think your dad did benefit handsomely from a friendship with him.”
“Grant acted like they weren't friends!”
“Maybe they weren't. Maybe they were. When you're a rich kid, you do things for people who think more about what you did than you really think is profitable to them.”
“What's that mean?”
“Employee discounts. Your dad was a car nut. Before your mom came along, he was putting money into a car like you wouldn't believe. You go hog wild on your tennis and he went hog wild for his car.”
“I don't put money out for my tennis though.”
“No, but your dad knew having a car which was one of the nicest in town had to cost money. If someone could get him things cheaper than he'd normally have to pay, I'm sure he used that connection.”
“So dad used him?”
“I think they were friends. I think Grant probably said, “Go on over to the car parts place and use my business account. You'll get a discount and just be sure to get me the receipt so I know how much you owe me and let me keep it so I can write it off my taxes.”
“Grant's probably going to write you off his taxes, so I don't see what you're so upset about.”
“You thought wrong. I don't know anything about him doing anything other than helping people. I think there are some people out there who are angels amongst us and he's one. Don't be thinking his kindness is something other than it is.”
“I need to go speak with him and apologize. I'm sorry I thought badly of him.”
“Did you speak with him?”
“Tonight, yes. When Roger called, I got all defensive and told him Grant could keep his money and then rejected Roger helping me any more because he wouldn't tell me what Grant knew, or why Grant's doing what he's doing.”
“Go speak with him. Maybe he'll tell you what he couldn't tell you before. Don't burn so many bridges.”
“Is that what I'm doing?”
“You're taking this thing with your parents as a mission of having people either for you or against you.”
“I want to know the truth and see those responsible are punished.”
“And what's it going to gain you?”
“Satisfaction of knowing those responsible are paying for what they did.”
“Not for some sort of retribution, I hope.”
“No, well, there was a time I said I'd kill them myself, but if they're caught and go to prison, I'll be happy.”
“Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. Don't think they won't face a final judgement. They will and that's when they'll reap what they've sown.”
“Ok, but I still want to know.”
“Then do what he's offered and protect yourself. Your parents won't be happy if you've made but another victim of those people.”
“Do you think Jared is nice?”
“I think you two have a connection which can't be broken. I think if his father knew, Jared would probably have some dire consequences.”
“I think Jared's days on that football team would be over. I also think he'd be taken out of that school and home schooled. The man is that big of fool.”
“What do you know about what happened involving him?”
“I know your dad and he got into it pretty intense. I don't blame your father one bit. Someone calling three year olds names is downright stupid. He did and the names he said were real vile.
I think you two were innocent and I think you were close. You expressed that closeness and he made it worse than what it was. Your dad defended you and I believe he died for that defense.”
“What if he attacks Jared?”
“I think if he does, he won't do it alone. He's the sort who is rather spineless when it comes to his own doing of things. I think he'd call in one of his stooges and have them do it.”
“So Jared's in danger?”
“I think he's safe until he's discovered, but once he's discovered, he's going to have a hard time of it.”
“Do you know anyone in his family who could do something?”
“I know his grandmother, but I don't know her well. For all I know, she could take what I said and run right back to his father with it. That'd not help one bit.”
“I was told his mom approved of us.”
“She did then, but she's had a lot of years under the man's brainwashing.”
“I've also heard his dad gets pretty abusive.”
“I imagine he does. I don't know first hand. I never saw it in person. I do know he was a name caller, but being a name caller is sort of a back handed way to saying he's not of any action.”
“How can he be in the pulpit if he's doing these things?”
“Those who think they're righteous forget scripture when it applies to them. They think they've got a free pass to doing what they want as long as it's supposed to be against sinners. Our good Lord said, 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' I think he meant it. I think those who do so will face their judgement with some surprise.”
“What if I can get him caught?”
“Then do so, but my suggestion is to do so on your way out of this town.”
“What's that mean?”
“You've got this year and next to set things up. Then, you'll be going to a college or the pros. My suggestion is to leave town going either direction with that being your parting shot. That way, his followers won't strike out at you.”
“They'll come after you then.”
“Honey, I've held my head up in this town longer than anyone has a right. If they do something to me, they've got bigger problems than me. I'll tell you now if they do and if they think that car out there is getting driven that often or at those speeds, they've really got to be nuts to think it'll hurt me. If they do something more, know I'm ready to meet my maker and they're not going to step in between me and He on judgement day.”
“I don't like thinking you could be in danger.”
“Hon, I don't want you in danger. The day you go to your destination, I think I've done my job.”
“I appreciate all you do for me.”
“I know you do. I also know this. When you give birth to someone, you make a contract with the Lord to do your best for them. It doesn't stop when that person goes out the door. Your mama knows I kept my contract with the Lord. I also think she did fine in giving me such a bright and special child to work with.”
I smiled and said, “You've had a big hand in it too.”
“I know dear, but the decisions are ultimately yours.”
“I'll go over there and apologize to him. By the way, he's offered to allow me to work out over there on his weight equipment. Is it ok?”
“What sort of working out?”
“Lifting weight and getting more fit.”
“I could give you some chores around here to do that.”
“No grandma, that's not what I want. I want the sort to get my body as big with muscles as him.”
“You think he's really good looking, don't you?”
“I do that, but it's physical. I think I'd find anyone who was built like that attractive.”
“I've not seen him since...well... since, I can't remember. I don't buy my gasoline there and I sure don't buy gas that often, so I probably wouldn't know what he looks like since I saw him when your mom was alive.”
“He's real built. Think of Conan the Barbarian or the Incredible Hulk and you've got the way he looks.”
“Oh, that's too big.”
“Not on him it's not. Well, he's our school mascot. He wears that Spartan costume.”
“I'll probably see him at your games when I go.”
“We'll have to get you a kit put together for the games. It gets pretty cold out there on that field at night time in the Fall.”
“I've been to ball games before honey, I'll have more padding to sit on and more quilts than you've ever seen. I'll be the one up there in the stands everyone is wishing they were.” she said with a smile.
“I imagine you will. I'll help carry all your things in...for that matter, if you want, I'll get some guys and we'll carry your recliner in.”
She laughed, “No, that's a part of going out there is to leave some leisure behind.”
I got up and said, “Well, I'm going to go. Is there anything you need while I'm out?”
“You might stop at Walgreen's and get me some chocolate covered cashews.”
“Ok, I'll do that.”
She smiled and patted my arm, “You're a good boy.”
“Thank you grandma.”
I left and drove over to the building behind the gas station. When I got there, I went in and found it to be a huge fitness complex. There were treadmills, and all sorts of weight equipment.
Grant saw me and smiled. He raised his head in acknowledgement of seeing me and said, “I'll be right with you Jake.”
I looked at everything and before I realized it, he was standing next to me speaking, “I see you came over!”
“Yeah, I need to do a few things. One of them is I need to apologize for thinking wrongly of you.”
“In what regard?”
“I thought you might've had a motive for being so kind to me.”
“No, not at all. I take it Roger spoke with you?”
“Then you know I want you safe.”
“It could get expensive.”
“In what way?”
“Well, what I want to do is this...I want to apply pressure so they DO do something to my car. Does that make sense?”
“No, but my parents weren't killed either.”
“Can we go someplace and talk and that way I can tell you what I think?”
“Sure, it's not etched in stone I have to be here, or anywhere for that matter.”
“Ok, let's go driving and I'll explain things.”
We went out to my car and got in. I started it and pulled out. Instead of heading towards town, I drove towards Huntsville.
“Grant, Roger wants to do some things to my car. He wants to protect it so they can't do things easily.”
“I understand that.”
“What you don't realize is they've already done that.”
“To your car!”
“No, to my parents and someone else's. Each time, those people died and they didn't get caught.
Simply protecting my car only stops them from killing me easily. It doesn't get them caught.”
Out by the fair grounds, I turned left and went over the overpass. Instead of driving towards town, I went straight and out the gravel road.
“What I want to do is something which has been done before but I don't know how to do it. Ben Prather has a video system on his truck which videotaped them coming to look at my parent's car. It's caught them out there and it's caught them removing the evidence from the car to try to conceal it being done.
He also has that other person's vehicle out there and once again, the guy was out there.”
“Who's 'the guy' you're referring to?”
“I'll be honest with you if you're 100% honest with me. Ok?”
“His name is Ronnie Brown.”
“Yeah, I hear he's bad news.”
“He was in high school. I've not kept up with him, so I don't know.”
“He's got a car repair place up in Jacksonville. I've never seen it, but I'm tempted to go out there and see it.”
“Don't. That's inviting trouble.”
“I know. If I go out there, it's going to be to steal a tool of his and use that tool to kill the pastor. I don't want to do it, but if I've got to, I'll do it to put a stop to them.”
“Don't do that. There are a lot of other ways to find satisfaction. Do what you can to get the evidence and when it's time, I'll get us an audience off the record with the prosecuting attorney.”
“Ok, that's a deal.”
We pulled into a parking lot by our church. “My parents are buried over there.”
“I never knew where they were buried. I find it ironic because Prather's is right up the road that way.”
“Yeah, that's where I thought you were taking me.”
“No, but I need to speak with him about that system. If need be, I'll buy it myself and get it put into the car.”
“What are you thinking?”
“He has video proof they were out there. He DOESN'T have video proof they did it. IF they do my car, and I've got that video system in this car, then we've caught them red handed doing it.”
“That could be real expensive.”
“I know, that's why I'm telling you. Come on, let's get out because I want to ask some questions.”
We got out and instead of going into the grave yard, I went across the road and down the embankment.
“Where are we going?”
“I'm afraid of snakes.”
“It's Fall, snakes aren't going to be out. This is cool. You'll like it.”
“I hope, because I'll tell you I'm not feeling real good about this right now.”
We got down to the bottom of the embankment and I climbed up on the drum of a rolled over cement truck.
“I never knew this was here!”
“Yeah, I sort of found it. As you can see, I sort of marked it as mine.”
“That's your artwork?”
“Yeah, it's called tagging. You take spray paint and do artwork with it.”
“It's cool, what's it mean?”
“It's Jake in paint. There's the J. There's the A. There's the K. And that's the E.”
“I can see it now, but it's beautiful. It looks like a painting.”
“It is a painting!”
He laughed and said, “You know what I mean!”
“I know, well, come on, climb on up.”
He started to get up and I said, “Reach out your hand and I'll pull.”
“I'm sort of clumsy.”
“Getting down is easier than getting up. Trust me.”
“Ok, here.” He reached out his hand and I pulled. He slipped a bit, but he got up there. I sat spraddle the drum and he did likewise facing me.
He smiled, “This is like being on the back of a huge elephant.”
“Yeah, I used to come here when grandma would be at church. She thought I was in the kid's church, but I'd be out here.”
“So you played hooky from church!”
“Yeah, I'd go see my parent's grave and then come out here.”
“This is cool. Do you come here often?”
“When I need to think, I come here. You're the first person I've ever brought here.”
I looked down and said, “Grant, this is way deeper than you know. I'll talk and just listen, ok?”
“In order to know what's going on, you need to know why things happened. I'm piecing it together, so I'll give you what I've got.”
“Back when I was born, mom and dad lived next door to Reverend and Mrs Riefsdel. They had a son my age and I can't tell you if I'm older or him, but we were much the same age.
Since we were raised together, we were affectionate with each other. I know we kissed and I know we were as close as two kids can be. My grandma says I even slept on top of him on her lap, so that tells you we were close when he let me and I felt comfortable enough to do it.”
“Mmm hmmm, I had someone I was that close with too.”
“Well, Reverend Riefsdel didn't like it. From what I heard, he called Jared and I names and he and my dad really got into it over it. Grandma said it was a real bad row. Mrs. Riefsdel didn't think anything of it. She probably assumed we were kids and it was cute. I imagine it was, but I'll tell you what I remember.
What I remember is very few things. I can remember mom and dad, but I remember Jared too. In regards to him, I remember being in a swimming pool out in the driveway between the two houses. I went over to kiss him and he fell and splashed. His mom came over and picked him up. Until then, he didn't cry. She put him back down and he ran over and kissed me and then we played together in the pool some more.”
He smiled, “I can see you remembering that.”
“The day my parents died was the 12th of October, 1977. I can tell you it was the 12th because they went out on a date with each other as that was the anniversary when they had their first date. They did it each month and I got taken to grandma's for the evening.”
“I can't say I remember anything else about them dying except grandma being there all of my life. I can't tell you anything about the funeral, their caskets, or anything. All I know is I was offered to my dad's brother and sister and they didn't want me. I know they had kids, so I imagine grandma thought it would benefit me to be raised in a household with children.
What I'm getting to is foul play was found and an investigation was done. Grandma got told they closed the case and she requested the information they had and they gave her copies of everything. That's how I got the photos and all the information I have.”
“You're not supposed to have that.”
“I know, but what's bad is I was raised with it. In amongst the photos of my parents, I've grown up with photos seeing my parents dead in that car and all the pictures of the accident scene.
I've grown up seeing the autopsy results and I know how long the semi carried their car down the road and I know there wasn't any skid marks from my parent's car. I can tell you my dad was killed in the impact immediately and my mom died from massive trauma associated with the seat, my dad's body, the other side of the car and all of it coming over and squeezing her in between her part of the seat and the door. I know she was alive barely when the trucker who hit them tried to open the door, but I know by the time they cut them out of the car, she was dead. I know Ronnie Brown was at the accident scene because Ben Prather says he has photos of the scene when he was called to tow the car and Ronnie is in them. That's strike one against Ronnie.
Strike two is he went out to Ben's and removed the brake line. There's video of him doing it and there's also a receipt where he signed after he paid to get those brake lines.
Where the Reverend ties in is Ben's got a phone call from him asking to buy the car and then again, requesting to buy the vehicle the girl was killed in afterwards. I do know Ronnie is a member of the Reverend's church. Jared's told me he is and I believe Jared.
Until lately, I've walked around looking at people and wondering of them looking at me strangely ties them into my parent's being killed. I've remembered faces and believe me, I've asked them their names and have kept those names when I've gotten them.”
“I would have too.”
“All my life, there's been a constant suspicion of people. People tell me about my parents and they tell me they were nice, and they tell me a lot of things, but no one gets right down to it and tells me they they think they were killed.
Today, I met Roger. To be honest, I beat Aaron, Roger's son out on a tennis court and Aaron and I got into a scuffle at school. He was pissed because I hit him in the head with the tennis ball and then hit him in the nuts with it.
While we were in the office awaiting punishment, I found out Roger had punished him for losing. Grandma got there and she ordered the principal to make us run laps and she'd deal with Roger. She told me I was going to play him and if he could beat me, he'd be able to beat Aaron all he wanted, but if he didn't. Then he'd no longer get to punish him.
I know what you're thinking, but I'll clear it up in a moment.
After school, when we were running laps, that's when the coach found out I could throw a ball. Afterwards I went to the tennis courts and played Roger. Before I did that, I showed the coach my tricks and apparently, Roger paid attention.
When we were to play, I told him exactly what I did and that Aaron didn't have a chance of playing me because that's the way I am on the court. Rather than letting him out of it, I did exactly what I did to Aaron and put the ball off the top of his head and then into his nuts.”
“Oh man! Serves him right!”
“Now, here's where things changed. We talked and I found out Roger was repressing his being gay to Aaron and Aaron was repressing his because he didn't want Roger mad at him. I spoke with Roger and he admitted it and that's when I asked him to go home and speak with Aaron and find common ground. They did, so don't be mad at him about it.”
“But beating him because he didn't win!”
“It wasn't smart, but I imagine he thought others would razz him over it. I know how that can be, but now he's dealing well with it, so judge him on what you know and see and their relationship now instead of in the past. Ok?”
“I'll try, but that's totally uncalled for.”
“I agree, but we've not been in either of them's shoes, so we can't judge.”
“I imagine it is for you, but for me, I've got to judge them on what I see them changing instead of past mistakes. We're to help correct mistakes we see and not judge people on what they confess.”
“Ok, but it's still hard.”
“Let go of it. What I suggest is you invite both of them out there to your gym and help them build their relationship and yours with them.”
“I'm not so sure.”
“Hey, your not perfect and neither am I. I don't want people continually judging me for stupid things I do after I've corrected them, and I don't think you do either, so give them a chance. Ok?”
“Ok, but if he does anything to hurt him in front of me, or if I see any signs of it, I'll be one hard person for him to deal with.”
“Not as hard as I'll be. I'll see Aaron first and I'll be in contact with him at school. You best believe I'll be on the phone and I'll have grandma over there beating the tar out of him. She's already demonstrated she can today, so that will be round one.
Round two will be after I get out of school. I'll make the man take some tennis balls or a football to his nuts and then deal with him when he's down with my tennis racket. You can have round three with what's left.”
He laughed, “Thanks a lot! I get to beat a beaten man!”
“I don't think he will. I think he's learned his lesson and I think he knows now it's not going to be tolerated.
Just the same, let me continue and I'll update you on what got us up here.”
“Afterwards, my friend Chris, Jared, and Grandma all went out to dinner at Subway with me. That's where Jared and I agreed to be boyfriends, so it's official.”
“You two keeping it quiet?”
“Yeah, but it's not like we can do much. He can't sleep over and we can't do much without it being out.”
“Invite him to start coming to the gym.”
“I'll do that. I don't know if he'll be allowed since you're gay, but I'll see.”
“It's not common knowledge.”
“If there's one person out there who knows, I imagine word has gotten around to where the reverend has heard it. If it's happened, I imagine it'll be a definite 'no' as to Jared being allowed there.”
Grant looked pissed
“I'm sorry, but that's what we're dealing with. Jared doesn't like it any more than anyone else, but I've been told he's been abused in a lot of different ways by his dad over this. Name calling is a primary one, but physical has been another.”
“Yeah, but once again, that's what we're dealing with.
After we ate, I dropped Chris off and then Jared. His dad wasn't home, so that was good.
I, then, went home to get the photographs and over to Roger's. I got there and he called Prather's. That's where he got the information about Ben having the video and all that evidence.
After we talked, he said the one person whom he'd like to get with was you. I sure can understand why, but I didn't even recognize you or your name until then. I knew my dad had worked there from Roger, but that's it.”
“Yeah, your dad worked there.”
“I'll finish up and then I've got some questions.”
“Ok, but this is getting harder and harder to hold on to.”
“I know, but we'll have time, I promise.” I said with a smile.
“I've got to tell you everything. So, what we did was we went out there. I went as moral support and that's when he asked, you accepted, and you made him a very happy and lucky guy.”
“I'm not that good.”
“I can see what he sees.”
“That doesn't make me feel very good.”
“It oughta because you're built!”
“Is that all you see?”
“Yeah, you're a heckuva nice guy, but as far as anything else, there's nothing there from me. That's why when Roger called after we were together and told me you knew something but he wasn't saying anything of what you said, I told him to tell you to keep your money and told him to keep his offer of helping me out at Prather's.
When I got off the phone, I spoke with Grandma, and she sort of chewed me a new one. She didn't, but she can say more with nice words than someone can screaming at me.
She told me you knew my dad, but didn't know how you knew him or even if you'd known him real close. She said she knew dad worked there and you might've gotten him a discount at a car parts place, or something.
So, that's why I came to apologize because I was suspicious and that's what I know. Now, I've got questions.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “Finally! A chance to speak!”
“Yeah, I can tell it's hard for you.” I said chuckling.
“Question one, how did you really get know my dad?”
“I'm going to be honest here and you need to know something. Ok?”
“Your dad and I never did anything much.”
“What's that mean?”
“Listen and I'll tell you.”
“Yeah, it's your turn to have to sit on it and realize how hard it is.
When I said there was someone I was that close with, it was your dad. Yeah, he had a brother and sister, and yeah, I still know them. I'll tell you now you need to really be thankful you didn't live with either one of them.”
“First of all, your aunt is nice, but she's got her own ideas about life which are probably as near to that preacher than you realize. She's also someone who is a spoiled brat who married someone who would spoil her just as much as her parents.
She drives into the station and she won't even acknowledge me. I'll tell you that's not because I'm gay, but a way of making herself feel like she's grinding me under a little more.”
I started to speak and he put his hand upon my chest. “Hard isn't it! I'll give you a chance, but I'll probably answer questions if you'll stay quiet.”
“No speaking!” He said with a smile. “Your aunt was that way. She was daddy's little girl and she did that stuff all through their lives. Your grandpa was an asshole in the favoritism he showed her, and she made life terrible for the boys.
Your dad and I were close. Your uncle was made of a different material than your dad and I'll tell you now, I didn't like him, don't like him, and probably will never like him.
The reason there is he was a quiet, mean, asshole. There's no nice word for the asshole he was, so I'll tell you he was a quiet bully who hung around thugs who liked to beat up kids, kick dogs, and rip wings off little creatures.
It got to the point we got into a huge fight one day and I beat the tar out of your uncle. He ran home to tell daddy, but I guess your grandpa was probably taking your aunt out for ice cream or whatever, but I know nothing ever got done.
What did happen was I told your dad then I'd never be civil to the asshole again as long as I lived. Your dad was cool with it, and told me I was more brother than him, and I felt happy about that.
What happened there was we were friends, buddies, brothers, or whatever you call it, but I'll tell you now, I was massively in love with your dad and that didn't stop until he died.
Throughout our teen years, I'll tell you now, we did everything together. I'll tell you we jacked off together, I gave him head, and it was all cool until the day I kissed him. That day, things changed and he told me he wasn't gay but he'd not hold it against me I was. He also told me he wasn't going to do anything else with me and don't ask him to ever do it again.
I kept my part of the agreement because I was really thankful he stayed friends with me after that. I'll tell you now, your dad probably abused that friendship, but I'll also tell you I gave him whatever he asked because I really did love him.
Now, what happened was your dad went to work at the station. I'll tell you my dad got us the jobs when we were younger than anyone else and that's because he was a part of our house. Everyone loved him and it was to the point he called my mom and dad, 'mom' and 'dad'.
What you have heard about your dad being a car fanatic is true. I'll tell you I think he always was. What you don't know is your dad's family didn't have much money. Yeah, there was money for your grandpa to spend on his daughter, but there wasn't much else floating around in that house.
I'll also tell you my parents didn't have it very wealthy either. Yeah, we had a business, but my dad raised a lot of kids on that money.
What you don't know is I'm the youngest kid. I got hand me downs of hand me downs and usually by the time they got to me, they were worn plumb out. BUT, when I got through with things, they went to your dad because he was always smaller than me. I think he liked them and I know he definitely appreciated things because I'd catch him dressing up in my clothes and staring at himself in the mirror and then asking me when he'd get them. I'll tell you I love him enough he probably had them the next week.
As I said, your dad was a car nut. I'll also tell you we lived in the time when great cars were really being released by the week it seemed. We'd rush to the station after school to see the latest magazine and dream of the latest car we were wanting.
What's funny is your dad seemed to be a Ford fanatic. It's like as soon as they released the Mustang, his head snapped and he absolutely had to have one. From that time on, he'd tell me the car I was wanting was great, but really would it beat that Mustang he was dreaming of??? No, so why waste his time with it.
One thing you must know is your dad's family was great about letting him work there and study there and keep his tips. I think his dad knew not to mess with my dad on that, so he got to keep them. I also know your uncle made threats to steal the money and that was the day I gave him his second ass beating. Afterward, we went up to the bank and opened your dad an account to save the money in and his bank book would be what you saw him staring at whenever all the rest of us were starting to notice boys...or girls in some instances out there.
What's funny is I know exactly how much that damned Mustang of his cost to this day. Thirty two hundred and seventy nine dollars. He had it ingrained in everyone's brains. If you ask me what my Camaro cost, I couldn't begin to tell you, but I know what his Mustang cost.
What he did was he went in and spoke with the Ford man like several times a month. He knew the special order process and he knew the cost of things down to the penny. He was fixated on that car and nothing else mattered.
When he worked at the station, he was great. He had a smile and he had a lot of motivation. He worked there and finally, glory be, he got that Mustang. What's bad is he was so intent on getting the thing he failed to realize there'd be taxes and licensing of it. When he got it, he drove it out there and the worst I ever saw him was that day when he realized he'd drained his account for it and wouldn't be able to drive it.
What I did was I stepped in and helped him get his license plates, taxes, and his insurance. He worked and paid me back and that was fine.
Now, I'll tell you now here's why I didn't know your mom, or want to get to know her.When your dad worked out there, we were friends. Yeah, he had the fixation of wanting the 'stang, but we were friends. That was until he brought your mom out there. The day he did, my heart broke. I can't say it any plainer than that. He had her and between the car and her, he didn't have time for anyone anymore. It's like he accomplished his goals and his gay friend didn't matter.
What's worse is your dad sold out. I'll tell you now if you EVER sell out like he did, I'll totally not have a thing to do with you. I mean that, so I'll tell you what he did.
As I told you, he had that 'stang in his heart. He slept, dreamt, and fantasized about that car. He worked, saved, and cultivated friends over that car and when he got it, we were genuinely happy and proud for him.
With your mom in the picture, he suddenly didn't want a 'stang no more. He suddenly had to have a Cutlass. I'll tell you I called him out on that and he said she didn't like the 'stang, but she wanted a Cutlass. I knew then she had a hold on him and I'll be free and tell you I resented it.
He got the Cutlass and one thing I'll tell you is this... That 'stang was his color. He wanted it and he got it. He pulled up in that Cutlass and one look at it and I knew instantly he didn't pick that color. In all our conversations, I can't believe how many times he told me my mom's Toronado was a pussy color in being gold and that she should have gotten a blue one. Imagine how I felt when he pulled up in a gold car.”
I could imagine. His words were telling me how he felt for my dad and his pain in his words was telling me how my dad had let things slide in his personal relationships with my mom. I couldn't hold it against him, or Grant, but I could feel it.
“Shortly after that, your dad started saying he was going to get married. He said he hadn't asked her yet, but that was because he had to work to pay for a ring. He described to the rock and I'll tell you that day is the day my resentment turned to hate of your mother.
You can say I was jealous and I was hurt, but someone who is in love doesn't go out and pick the biggest fucking stone they have in a jewelry shop. Someone who is spoiled and someone who is out to get something does. I knew then she was most likely using him and I knew he was going to get hurt bad when it fell apart.
What's worse is this...he'd no sooner started talking about getting married and then, one day, he's just not working at the station any longer. When he didn't show up, I went in and asked my dad and he shook his head sadly and said, “He didn't want you to know because he didn't want to hurt your feelings. He gave two weeks notice and he's working up at Prather's tire shop.'
I'll tell you now, I was pissed. I'll tell you I didn't give a shit if my dad fired me, or not, but I was going up there to give him a piece of my mind. I'll tell you I drove up there and I'll tell you as I drove, I realized he was straight and I was gay and he was doing what it took to make him happy. That was hard.”
He wiped a tear and I reached out my hand. He brought his hand down to mine and said, “I loved him. I know he loved me too, but I know it wasn't like I wanted. That day...that day told me he was moving on and I wasn't what he wanted.
I didn't go there.” He sniffed, “I went out to the highway and I was really a mess. I went out the highway and floored it. I was going to kill myself and I'll tell you that Camaro was moving.
I was going down to where the railroad goes over and I was going to slam into the embankment. What you don't know is I got about a mile away and the fucking motor blew in the damned thing. As it went, I couldn't even have coasted the fucking thing there with the speed I needed in order to hit it with enough force to do any harm.
What's worse is I had to walk to get to a phone and when I called the station, I told my dad I'd blown my motor and he said he'd send a wrecker. Imagine my surprise when your dad pulled up in the fucking wrecker!”
“I couldn't tell him why I was where I was or why I'd blown my motor, but I had to ride back with him and he patted my hand and said, “If you want to talk, I'll be there.” I'll tell you I wish I'd talked with him, but the next thing I know is they're married, and she's pregnant with you.
He never asked me to be best man and all I know is he had someone who no one even knew be that person. No one who was his old friends got invited and no one was told until my dad put the wedding photo up on the bulletin board.
When she got pregnant with you, several of your dad's old friends said the same thing. “She has her hooks in him and he'll never get out of it now.” That tells you it wasn't just me who was seeing it.
What you don't know is this. Your dad was out of touch with us. Yeah, I've heard some of them went around him, but I don't know it to be true, and if they did, they sure didn't brag it up around all the rest of us.
What I do know is I was going to college and the day I got told to go to the registrar's office, I knew it was bad. No one got called there unless they were out of college, or someone had died in their family.
I went filled with dread because I knew my grades were up and it could only mean either they'd discovered I was gay, or my parents were dead. When I got there, I had a note which told me, “Call your mom.” Instantly, I thought it was my dad, so I had to sit down.
I was shaking so bad the lady who worked there dialed the number. When my dad answered the phone, I was instantly happy, but filled with dread and thought they'd gotten the message wrong. I said, “It's mom, isn't it?” he said, “No son, Jeff and his wife were killed in a car wreck last night.” I'll tell you now, I passed smooth out and it seems like that's when the downward spiral happened for me at school.
I came home and I went to the funeral. I'll also tell you I wasn't a happy camper still towards your mom. It's bad, but I kept thinking if she'd not entered the picture, he'd still be alive.”
He looked over at me and said, “I know this is hard hearing but I'll also tell you this...when it was discovered it was foul play, all of his old friends got called in and questioned. I don't know if they called any of your mom's friends in, but they sure as shit pointed the finger at us and made us answer where we were and what we were doing. I could demonstrate where I was, but I know for a fact Roger was in the military and he never got questioned.”
He looked at me and said, “I'm sorry for being honest there, but you've got a situation where you've got a big old fag who loved your dad and didn't get to know your mom because he viewed her as the one who stole your dad away from him. Now, do you hate me?”
“No, it's weird, but going into this, I wanted to know everything. What's funny is when you said you and he had jacked off and you gave him head was I never even thought a thing about being upset.
It might sound sick, but the first thing I thought was wanting to know if he was hung, or the size of his dick. Not because of anything sick, but because I never even got to know him at all.
When you talked about my mom, I'm glad you didn't hold anything back. I know it's painful and I can understand why. He had to have loved you, but it sure sounds like he put everyone into a box and mailed them elsewhere when it came to her.
I've heard about the ring and I know the story about it. I guess my dad wanted to show everyone else he loved her and from what I heard he paid for it, he could have put a Mustang on her finger.
What's bad is this. I know he did it for love but I also know she wasn't buried with it.”
“She didn't! Why the hell not!”
“I don't know. What I got told was when they did 'date night', they took off their wedding bands and made like it was their first date again each time. They handed my grandma their rings and would retrieve them when they got home.
From what my grandma said, they never let my mom and dad have anything in the casket. As you know, the caskets were closed and from what I heard, they placed their clothes they were supposed to wear in it, but nothing else was allowed. What I do know is grandma was really upset over it.
In regards to my mom, I'd say she was probably spoiled. I don't know, but I do know she and my grandma were close and my grandma adored her.
She was an only child, so that probably assisted in her being certain to get her own way. I also know my grandpa made enough to spoil both my grandma and her, so I think it's probably a case of him marrying someone like his sister.”
“I pray to God she wasn't that bad. There's not many people I hate from childhood, but your aunt is one of them.”
“I can't say. What I know is I had to go around them when I was little, at Christmas time and at my birthday, but they never requested to see me and I caught on I wasn't wanted by either of them, so I've not made real efforts to go around them.
I can't tell you I know them, but your description of my aunt is dead on. She probably lives beyond her and her husband's means because I don't think he makes that much, but I sure know everything is her way at home.
In regards to her kids, I know my uncle is close to them, but I don't think she is. I saw him show them affection, but I sure didn't see her showing them anything except her presents which she boasted what everything cost.
My uncle is as you said. His kids are carbon copies of him. I do know he can't keep a wife and he's in some really strange church over in southern Illinois which has snakes in it which are used to scare the hell out of people.
They tried taking the snake to me and I got the hell out of there. Since then, I've not had to go back because Grandma insisted when the call came I not have to attend church. He refused that, so she refused him. He didn't drive up here, so he didn't find he wasted his time, gas, and effort.
What I have heard is all three of them are different as they come. I think you probably helped in that, but I don't know.”
“What's that mean?”
“You showed him normal and what it was like to be normal in a normal house. I'm wondering in the back of my mind if my grandpa was spoiling my aunt, or worse, but I don't know. I'm not supposed to judge, but it makes me wonder.
In regards to my uncle's behavior, it tells me he sure wasn't supervised by someone who would bend him over a knee and spank the hell out of him. Was all that aggressive behavior a cry for attention? If so, I'd say my dad didn't exhibit it because he had someone who gave him the attention and it was you.
Yeah, you loved him, but I'm definitely not going to judge there. I can tell in your words, and I can tell in your actions you loved him and I know it was painful for you to even talk about him again.
I know your heart was broken but what's strange is I've got a friend who has treated me similarly. We're still great friends, but I wonder if it would have changed if he got a girlfriend first. I'm also wondering if it would have been greatly different if you'd gotten a boyfriend first.”
“Oh man, you're probably right!”
“What's ironic is Roger. I know he worked there and I know he left being in the military out of the equation when he talked with me, but I got the sensation he visited my dad as often as he could when he was home.
What's neat there is his friends all felt a loss when he was with my mom. Roger said it happened for him too, but he reached out and tried to help my dad at times even though it was working on cars with him.
Maybe your sense of betrayal was deeper and allowed you to be spared the depth of the hurt because I imagine if you'd been there, you'd been involved from personal perspective when Jared and I were being called names.
Just the same, I have to look at you staying distant as a good thing because with your depth of pain as it is, I can only imagine what it would've been like if you'd been there.”
“Oh man, you're probably right.”
“Things happen for a reason. My grandma is greatly religious, but she's also a person who will lay it out and demand to know what's going on. When she gets told, she deals with it and I know she has to be torn about me being gay and her religion. Just the same, she protects me fiercely and she worries about my safety as we get closer into this mess.
What I want to know of you is this. You've offered to pay for my car to be done so it won't get damaged easily. Will you pay for the video system? If so, great. If not, that's fine too. It's not going to affect things between us, because I've got money and it's going in it either way.”
“When this is over, what are you going to do with it?”
“I don't know. The tape will go to the prosecuting attorney. I do know that. I think there's enough conspiracy to get them the death penalty and when it falls, I know it will happen in a way they're publicly humiliated and I didn't have to kill them.
What you don't know is if they're set free from this, I'll be there and that's a day when they'll die. It's not a idle boast and I don't expect you to attempt to talk me out of it.
There's enough proof already who it was and why it happened, and what was done. I'm not for certain if more were involved than I know, but I know two were and that's enough to tell me my parent's didn't have a real chance.”
He looked over at me and said, “If it makes it that far, I'll be there. We're going to make it so you don't have a chance of being thought as who did it.”
“That's the problem. I WANT them to know it was me. I want them to know why it's happening, and I want them to know what it cost me.”
“What's that mean?”
“My grandma has paid with her time. She's raised me because she made a contract with God she would be a great mother. She told me her contract didn't end when my mom left home, but for life. When my mom died, her contract was still there and she took me in.
What I'm talking about it's cost me is a non-stop mistrust of others. I can't have a conversation without mistrust and I can't play with a kid without thinking to myself if their parent is going to go to prison because of killing mine.
Jared and I are together now and even before we're involved, I've told him what I'm going to do if it's his dad. I've now found more fingers pointing his direction with more evidence proving it, so it's going to really put a kink in the relationship.”
I got quiet and he asked, “I need to ask a question and you be honest with me.”
“I want you in my life. No, not in that way, but because of what I felt for your dad, I NEED you in my life. You don't know it, but he would have taken me out to a place like this so we could talk. What's hard is you give me looks which really rip my heart out because I see him looking at me.”
“Is that going to be a problem for you?”
“It's a good problem. I know he's dead and I know a bit of my heart died with him. I know I've got Roger there and what's uncanny is you don't know how many times I've thought of him through the years.”
“Then why didn't you make that move?”
“Duh! He got married! HE had a kid! Yeah, she ran off and I really think I know why, but he still had the kid and as much as I wanted to see if things would be possible, I sure wasn't going to get my heart ripped out again.”
“How many guys have you had in your life?”
“Three. And no, they weren't relationships. Well, one was, but it was a real mess, so I don't want to talk about him. He used me for money and I found out he was running around telling people he could get money from me whenever he wanted and that really put a stone in my shoe. Finally, the end came when a friend of mine called and said she'd overheard him bragging in one of MY restaurants he could get three thousand from me that night. She called and forewarned me and I had heard it often enough and had gotten asked for larger amounts of money like that to the point it was getting old real fast. So, what I did was I decided if he asked for the money, I'd have a sit down talk with him and end it. If he didn't, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. I didn't have long to wait before he came into the station and sort of announced I was giving him three thousand and started to open up the safe.
I went over and put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Not this time. Let's go have a talk.” He got hateful and started yelling in the station. I looked at him and said, “Is this what it's about, is the money? If so, I really need to call the police. If not, then we've got to have a talk where we end this and you're out of my life just the same.
He blew and he ranted and raved and I went over to the phone and dialed 911. I lay it down and said, “Ok, the police are called. They'll tear up the highway getting here, so either make this a robbery or get the hell out. There's nothing left between us, but once you leave, don't return because you'll be trespassing.'
He ranted and raved some more and the police tore into the lot sliding cars sideways and the whole nine yards. He got taken out of there and told to leave.
I didn't press charges and he did me the favor of going over and removing his things and a goodly number of mine from the motel room. I didn't mind because the grand total of those things came out to being less than a hundred dollars, certainly nowhere near that three thousand.”
“That's bull crap. It makes me happier knowing Roger doesn't need you for money and anything.”
“Me too. What's really great about it is just the other night, I was feeling lonesome and said a prayer asking for someone, anyone who would have me.
What's funny is as soon as I said the prayer, I sort of discounted it thinking I'd have to leave the station as no one would surely come in and ask me out. Low and behold, He works in mysterious ways because that's exactly what happened.”
“It's sort of neat isn't it. He was sure you'd have someone and would turn him down.”
He smiled, “I won't tolerate him mistreating his son in front of me.”
“No, I wouldn't either, but don't do anything rash. What I'd do is I'd invite them out and see if they want to work out. I don't think you'll go wrong with getting to know Aaron and please, whatever you do, please be a positive influence in Aaron's life. He's a good guy and I know he is.”
“How well do you know him?”
“Not as much as I will, but I want to know him and I'll definitely do it.”
“What' he like?”
“He's a cute guy. He's no Jared and he's certainly no you, but well....I guess I sorta gave that away.”
He smiled, “You really think that?”
“Jared is priority in my life, but if he wasn't there and if I knew Roger didn't have sights on you, I'd definitely put you into contention.”
He smiled and looked upward, “Thanks Jeff.”
I laughed, “He didn't teach me what my taste in men was, you know that for sure!”
“So it's a physical attraction?”
“It was until we talked, now it's an attraction of seeing someone expose their heart to me in ways it was painful because I know it wasn't going to be healed.”
“Hang on a second because I'm going to say something and you'll see where I am mentally.
It's quite obvious I was experiencing my first relationship with Jared even at that age. Where I'm at now is I wonder what my dad thought and I wonder if he would have saw it and neglected our relationship like he did yours.”
“No hon, I don't think he would. I know he was proud of you and I know he adored you.”
“How do you know that?”
“Let's just say in my adoration of him, I soaked up any news at all about him. One of the things I heard was how he took you out for your special father and son days and why he got that Chevy.”
“You have to think of the cars he liked. Both of them...as much as I hate to admit he wanted that damned Cutlass...both of them were two doors and both had seats with consoles between them.
I heard someone say your dad tore up the Cutlass by putting the wrong gas in it and he didn't get much of a trade in. Another person told me he was happier in that Chevy than he was any of them because he got to have the baby up next to him and when you had your father and son days, he had you up there next to him.
Now, I did have a sad thing I heard, but it tells me the sort of dad he was.”
“Your dad liked his music and I mean he liked it loud. When I heard you driving up to the tennis court, I knew you got his genes in that. But what I heard was he went to get you someplace and he had the music loud. I guess the stereo shut off with the car and when he had you in and fastened, he started the car and the stereo hurt your ears. I was told he broke down crying right then and there because he'd hurt you.”
Another tear slid down his face and I reached out and wiped it away. He fell towards me and said, “I loved him so much!” I held him to me and he just let it go with the sobs.
I held onto him and when he leaned back, I wiped away his tears. He looked at me and started crying again, “You've got his lips and his eyes. Your mama's nose because it's certainly not his. You've got his cleft in your chin, but her chin.”
We were close and I wiped away his tears, the mood was somber and we were really close. He looked at me and said, “I'd like for us to be friends.”
“You've got that.”
“Right now, I need to get off this cold ass tank. To be quite honest, this thing has a time limit to it because once the cold hits ya, it makes you want to go piss really bad.”
I chuckled and said, “I've never sat here so long, but I'm glad I did tonight. I've gotta go too, so let's hop down and then go visit their grave. I'll get you home and then go on, I guess.”
“How do we get down?”
“It's like a sliding board. You just slide right on off.”
He slid and said, “It's like sliding on sandpaper!”
“Nah, that's the paint I put on it. I painted it at night and I think every bug in these here parts decided they had to come stick themselves to it.”
He laughed and said, “That's something your dad and I would've done. I bet you came back the next night and painted that beautiful picture.”
“Would you paint one for me at the Gym?”
“Like this? Or one with your name?”
“Could you do one with the name Gastation with the gas and the station sharing the same s? That's what everyone calls it, so I might as well let them name it.”
“What do you call it?”
“My gym.” he said with a smirk.
“No dumb ass, don't you have a name for it!”
He turned and I could tell there was a hurt to his eyes.
“No, it's not that, it's just that would've been something your dad would have said to me and how he would've said it. He had to be real specific and there just wasn't a way around that. He would have insisted on there being a name for it and I would've just named it “My Gym”. That would've really driven him nuts.”
I smiled, “I thought you were upset over me calling you a dumb ass.”
“Nah, that's how he talked with me and I talked with him the same way. We were close enough friends I knew he didn't mean it as offensive.”
“I feel a bond with you. I'll tell you Roger's a lucky guy and if there weren't a Jared or a Roger in our lives, I'd be there for you.”
“You're a bit young.”
“And you're a bit old. So?”
He laughed, “Man, you cut me down to size there!”
Notes From Retta:
This story wouldn't be possible without a good person by the name of Wes. Fortunately, he downloaded it while it was still able to be gotten on the Google Groups site.
For those of you who know, my Google Groups site is shit. Please don't get that confused with “the shit”, but just plain shit.
It seems you can upload a chapter to the site and it will promptly lose the thing. When you go to click on it, you will get an error message which states the page you've navigated to is no longer available. Needless to say, I'm not please because their customer service sucks.
I'd lost the first twenty five chapters of the story, so without Wes having them, I'd be fucked. Thankfully, he had them, so he gets a great BIG HUGE Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
From My Keyboard To Your Heart,
The author, RettaMichaels copyrights this story and retains all rights. This work may not be edited, changed, or duplicated in any form, media [ known or unknown ], without the author's expressed permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. RettaMichaels does NOT give editorial consent in order for this to be published. If it is deemed unpublishable in it's context, permission much be granted before publication or changes occur.
Trademark Notice – 2009 by RettaMichaels
“From My Keyboard To Your Heart”,”'Retta”,“RettaMichaels”.“Retta”,“Rhett”, and “Rhette” are all Trademark of RettaVonnMichaels L.L.C. None of these trademarks may be used, or authorized without consent.
Disclaimer: All individuals depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons, locations, or incidents is purely coincidental.