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!

If your appendage says it's straight, get a clue and get to a different site. If you're that confused, go to your search engine and type in Mental Health Help and seek the one in your area. Your appendage has my permission to cut and paste.

Just to make it an official disclaimer, if you're above the age of 18...great. If you're 118, super great...put a napkin over the keyboard and you won't get any drool on it.

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.


Chapter Five:

We climbed up the embankment and went across the asphalt to the graveyard beside the church. I opened the gate and he entered.

It looked like there was a lock on the gate!”

It looks that way, but they made it so you THINK there's s lock on it, but as you can see, the lock doesn't lock anything. They do that to keep the people who don't know out.”

I bet it's kept a lot of people out who probably wanted to come visit their loved ones.”

If they're that damned dumb” I said pointing at the end of the fence where it stopped and none began at the side.

He laughed and said, “I'm a natural blonde.”

Could've fooled me!”

He turned and put his hand on my shoulder.

I know, my dad would've said the same thing.”


I'm glad he had you in his life. I can tell he had a good friendship with someone and friends around him who cared.”

I'm sorry I wasn't there more.”

I understand why you weren't and I imagine he knew too.”

I don't know, it was hard. You don't know how bad it was.”

Tell me.”

I walked over to their graves and stood. He came over and said, “I can't say it here.”

Bull shit, they've been with us wherever we went. Just because we're over their bodies doesn't mean he wasn't with us down there or with you when you've been remembering him throughout the years.”

I guess you're right.”

I'll tell you something and you'll think I'm nuts, but when I was little at my grandma's, I know they came and stood in front of my bed. I'd look up and see them and whereas some kids would be scared it was the boogey man, I knew it was my mom and dad and they were saying good night.

What's even stranger is one night when I was about eight, I felt someone sit upon the side of the bed and put their hand on me. I was facing away and said, “Good night mom” and I felt a caress on my arm.”

You sure it wasn't your grandma?”

Yeah, my grandma snores. I knew she was asleep.”

How do you know when you're dad was there?”

No one's told me yet, but here's how I know and maybe this is a way for him to tell you he's around, but he does this thing with his thumb and two fingers like he's rubbing them.”

I looked over just as Grant passed the smooth out.

I heard a chuckle and a voice say, “Fucking lightweight.”

Dad, you can't do that to him!”

Son, I loved him. Boy, how I loved him. I've got to go now.”

Hold on a second, I need some questions answered!”

I was talking to silence. I looked all around me and with the exception of the sodium vapor light illuminating the parking lot across the road, I didn't see a thing.

Grant stirred and looked up at me, “Yeah, I'm a fucking lightweight.”

My dad said it, not me!”

He did?”

After you went out, I heard a chuckle and his say, “Fucking lightweight.”

He smiled, “He said it alright. That's exactly how he said it.”

He said he loved you, boy how he loved you. And then he told me he had to go now.”

He stared up at me and smiled, “That was good to hear.” he started crying and I knelt down and hugged him.

I said, “We need to go now.”


If we don't, I'm going to forget you've got Roger and I've got Jared and find myself making out on top of my parent's graves. That'd be too weird to explain to the cop standing over there.”

He looked over with a start, “Where?”


You little shit!”

I stood up and started running. He chased after me and when we got to the parking lot he caught up with me and picked me up. He carried me to the car like a baby in his arms cradled.

You're right, we probably would've been making out.” he said with a huskier voice than normal. He put me down but didn't let go of me. I looked up into his eyes and said, “But we've got them to think about...”


He looked away and said, “I'm sorry.”

Don't be. I admit you're quickly becoming a fantasy. Holding onto you and being held in your arms and feeling that bone down there is giving me some severe wood.” He smiled. “I need to stop this. We both know it's not smart and we know if we wait, we'll have what we need.” He looked upward and then down at me. I saw a tear trickle down his face and I reached up and wiped it away with my thumb.

Grant, this is going to sound juvenile and right now, I want to be grown up, but if you'll forget for one night, I'll forget too.”

He let me go, “No! I can't.”

Why the hell not!”

Because it'd be a violation of a friendship I love.”

My dad's dead!”

No! To you!”

My mouth was shut with that. I pulled away from him and turned around, “God Damn it! Why do I feel like I do then!”

You know what I felt for him. IT was a teenaged infatuation which didn't go anywhere. You've felt it before and I have too. Now we've got responsibilities to others and we need to get on with those people.”

Are you saying it for you? Or, is that what you think I need to hear?”

He came up and put his hands upon my shoulders in a hug. His arms slid around me to where he was hugging me from behind.

I hate to say it, but I think it's what we both need. I need someone who will be there for me and you're about to begin your life away. You need someone to teach you a depth of love I couldn't give, I don't think, in the ways you need it. I could love you, but I wonder if I could love you in the way you'd need to be love?”

You're probably right.”

I'll be your friend Jake, and I'll be the best friend I can possibly be to you. Respect my relationship with whomever it is and I'll give you likewise.”

If there's a day when I'm back and you're not with someone...and I'm not, will it be possible?”

I'm not crossing it out, but I really do hope this relationship with Roger will work. As much as I don't know Jared, I pray your relationship with him works.”

Me too. What I do plan is for us to be close enough we'll always know what the other has going on.”

I'd like that.”

I turned around in his arms and said, “I'm not viewing you as anything other than a man whom I find attractive in more ways than physical. Don't think it's anything other than what it is because I'm not messed up in putting anything where it isn't.”

What's that mean?”

If you think it's your age, it's not. If you're thinking it's my age, it shouldn't be. If you think I'm being unfaithful to someone I've not committed myself to, you're wrong. Both of us know we're attracted to each other and it's a situation of not being what you need right now which is causing it to not be.”

Yeah, put it off onto me!” he said with a smile.

Ok, I'll put it onto me.” I said with a smile. “I know once you had me for one night, I'd be impossible to get over too.”

He laughed and said, “You're crazy!”

Yeah, but what I feel is comfortable with you and I know you're safe and secure and right here in your arms, I know I don't have to be someone's dirty little secret and his daddy isn't going to come trying to kill me for being with him.”

He gave a fierce look and said, “We've got to get your car prepped. If I lose you too, the man would die before your blood got cold.”

Thanks, I guess.” I said rolling my eyes.

You are so much like him it's amazing. Yeah, I know you didn't know him, but I wonder how much you absorbed seeing him when you were little before you remembered everything.”

I don't know. Do you think that's what it is?”

Not quite. What you said about his rubbing his fingers with his thumb, it was like this and only with his right hand. He did it when he was nervous and thinking. There were days when he had his skin raw from rubbing. It got to the point, I put Vaseline Intensive Care in the station just so he'd catch the hint and use it.”

Did he?”

Yeah, but not in the way I meant it. He made a joke of it and squirted about six pumps into his hand and said, “Thanks”. Then he went to the bathroom. It got a huge laugh.”

I chuckled, “Oh man!”

Yeah, but if that's what it took to keep his hands from getting skin burnt, I was willing to do it. If his dick was soft in the process, so be it.”

Was he passionate?”

With me?”


Ummm, we were two kids jacking off.”

And that means you can't be intimate?”

There's a difference between intimate and passionate. Intimacy is doing something with whom you want to be with and passionate is doing it with passion.”

Ok, so was he intimate?”

In ways, but not touchy, huggy, feely.”

Then how?”

He'd come over and put his hands on my shoulders and stare into my eyes when he spoke with me. Or, he'd come over and put his hand on my shoulder when he said something to me. Well, it wasn't something he did with just me, he did that with everyone.”

What about when you two did things together?”

When we jacked off, he was over in his own little world and I was staring at him. He was so beautiful...well, handsome, I guess is how I should put it...but he was a beautiful man.

He had the bone structure you could look at and just know he'd be good looking all his life. He had that perfect skin and his blue eyes and his perfectly white teeth when he smiled and the way his lips drew up a little more on his left side made me want to see him smile a lot.”

That leads me to another question. How is it you helped him with money?”

Who said that?”

I got the impression from Roger and from my grandma.”

He looked cross, then he spoke. “Listen, both of them needed to mind their own business. What I did for your dad with money is what I did with him...not everyone else!”

The ferocity he said it had me a bit taken aback, “I'm sorry.”

No, you've got a right to know, but it wasn't their right to tell what would've embarrassed him beyond all ends.

Your daddy was a sweetheart. Had we been lovers, he would have gotten all I owned and had me out there working my fingers to the bones trying to give him more.

That might make it sound like he was out for the money, but here's what I know. HAD we been lovers, I know he would have been out there doing the same for me. He was that sort of man.

When it came to money, things changed about the time I was your age. What I mean is it became obvious no one else in our family wanted the station. My dad and meeting with everyone and told them, “IF you don't want it, I'll give it to Grant. If someone wants it, then I'll make it so whomever wants it and he can run it side by side.

Everyone looked around that Thanksgiving dinner table and they didn't say anything. That's when he said, “Ok, it goes to Grant and I'll start training him for taking it over. He wants it, so that's all I'm saying on the issue, but from this day on, nothing he does with it will go to a one of you.' And from that day on, I was shown the books and my dad had it signed over to me. He essentially became an employee of mine and your dad and everyone else became my employees too.

What happened there is I learned a few things. I learned the station made quite a bit of money, but my daddy brought it home and socked it away into his bank account, or he gave it away to my brothers and sisters, and their kids.

From that day on, he stopped and only took a paycheck for his hours worked. I saw the funds going up and what I found was it wasn't real hard to build what we wanted.

Your dad was my friend. What no one knows is this...he helped build things. He was out there beside me laying cinder blocks and he was out there hammering with a hammer and he helped build it.

To me, had he been my lover, he was investing in the place with me through hours worked and sweat. My family didn't do that, but he did.

And, what you don't know is if we had been lovers and had we split apart, I would have still given him a portion of the return just like I did money. Is that wrong? No, because I would've done it with anyone who invested time or money in to it. He didn't have money, but he had time and that's why I loved him all the more.

Maybe your grandma or Roger should have asked him what he did to earn it. Maybe he would've told them, or maybe he wouldn't. I'm sure if you asked him, he'd tell you he was just being a friend and helping me to get my life started, but I'll tell you he made an investment and I treated him as such whenever he needed it.”

Ok, I'll leave that alone.”

He looked down at me and said, “If you want a share as his survivor, I'll give it to you and don't you dare think I'm being charitable. Your daddy worked for it and he didn't ask for a fuckin' dime for that work.”

Ok, but I doubt if I need it.”

Bullshit, you've got it coming whether you need it, or not. Right now, you need a car which is a tank so some dickhead won't cut the brake cables. I just wish we could make it so the son of a bitch would roll over then and crush them when they tried.”

It will if we've got video proof.”

He looked around and said, “This is the longest I've held another live human being since your dad.”

You hold onto dead ones for longer?”

He looked down and said, “Yeah, I have...I used to have a pillow in my bed which I named Jeff. It'd sleep with me and I'd snuggle up behind it and when I rolled over, I'd put it up behind me. I even got a neck roll which I put over my waist to make me feel what it'd be like to sleep with an arm wrapped around me.”

Do you still do that?”

No, when I got together with Sean, that stopped. I learned it wasn't nearly as good as I made it out to be.”

Why not?”

This is really going in there with what I tell you about your dad, you know that, don't you?”


Your dad and I slept a lot in the same bed. I'll tell you that and I'll tell you I helped things along because that man could sleep through a train wreck happening outside.

What happened is he always ended up snuggled behind me. I think in the whole time we ever slept together he only ended up behind me once.

What I can say is your dad was a furnace to sleep with. And, when he held you, you were held and it was tight. You don't know how I got used to sleeping his his nose in the back of my ear and his dick where he'd be embarrassed of it being when he woke up.

The way his arms were was exactly like that arm over me and always up there over my pec. The other would be up over his head and he used it as a pillow.”

So you slept together a lot?”

He looked embarrassed and said, “Let's just say your dad had to share a room with his brother and share a bed with him. He said he preferred sleeping with me compared to him and didn't end up getting shoved off the bed by someone who slept in the middle of the bed all spread out.”

Why'd they have to share a bed?”

Because the bitch he had for a sister had her own room and it was done up better than a princess would have it. She had a canopy bed and things normal kids just didn't get at the time. She even had a television in her room and wouldn't share it at all.”

I know kids who have that in their room.”

Not back then! Shit, televisions back then cost a lot of money! A colored one cost more and she had a colored one!”

Sounds like she was spoiled.”

I know kids have phones in their room nowadays too, but that's the only thing I saw your grandpa put his foot down in regards. She bawled and carried on for a week, but your uncle told her the second she got one, he'd move out and call the number all night long just to see she never got any sleep.”


Your dad and I laughed and said he wouldn't have because it would've meant he had to spend time doing something. He probably still is as lazy as he ever was.”

He is.”

Then you know for him to put out any effort, it'd have to be because he wanted something and not to do it just to bother someone.”

I don't know. I think he'd do it to bother someone.”

Not if there wasn't anything to gain from it he wouldn't.”

You're probably right.”

Both them boys knew their sister was spoiled. That's the one thing I think they agreed upon. Where your dad knew it and went on with life, your uncle did what he could to make your dad pay for what your aunt got. That's why your dad basicly moved in over at my house on the weekends and all summer long.”

So you two slept together that long and jacked off. Did you do it together...a lot?”

Yeah, more than what you'd think.”

How often?”

I'm holding you and hugging you and I think you're asking questions just to get me to bone up.”

No, seriously. I'd like to know every little thing about him.”

First of all, it wasn't little. Your dad was packing down south. I don't know if you got what he had, but I'll tell you if you did, you're blessed.”

How much?”

Nearly nine.”


I'd say you didn't get that.”

Not yet.”

SO you're blessed.”

I wouldn't say that necessarily. It doesn't feel good when you sit on it on the toilet..or get a boner with a pair of tight blue jeans on.”

Let me say I'd trade you in a heartbeat...and yes, that's what I said to your dad when he said the same thing. The man was five inches soft and that's what I am hard.”

I felt more, but maybe you're exaggerating down for my benefit.”

He smiled, “I'm not going to whip it out with your dad laying right over there.”

I laughed, “He probably would tell you to go ahead and whip it out as no one is around here who matters.”

He'd say that. Hell, he'd go out and reel the thing of his out and piss whenever, wherever. Me, I'd get stage fright and would have to piss like you wouldn't believe, but he had a way of making me so I wasn't so complexed about it.”


He'd laugh and say, “Be thankful you're not dragging yours in the gravel. It gets pretty fucking sore when I have to throw it over my shoulder to wipe off the sand. Last night, I nearly put my eye out with this damned thing!”

I laughed, “Well, he was a bit longer than me. I'll have to admit. Mine keeps rubbing across my shoe laces and it feels like I'm going over speed bumps or something.”

He laughed, “You got his personality.” He paused and said, “Seriously, here's what your dad would do and it'd make me piss a river. He'd come over and he'd put his hand on my shoulder and the other on my waist from behind. That touch would make me go, but then he'd say, 'If it didn't work, I'm getting you down and tickling you in that wet grass over there, so you better be going.” A tear slid down his face and I wiped it off. He said, “We did that from about the time I was seven until he left.”

I hugged him tighter and said, “Be thankful, you got to spend more time with him than me. That's why I need to get to know him is because you all had more time.”

You poor kid.”

Nah, I've got a man who's too damned dumb to realize he's in my arms with wood and got someone who would gladly forget for one night.”

He pulled back from the tightness of our embrace and looked me in the eyes. “Some other day, maybe. What I will do is something I'd like for us to continue no matter what.”

What's that?”

Kissing. I'll not kiss you passionately, but I'll kiss you like he did me when we were going to bed.”

So he was intimate.”

He was, but it wasn't what I wanted, exactly.”

Probably not.”

He leaned forward and kissed me. His arms pulled me in tighter and mine pulled him in too. In the back of my mind, I heard, “I didnt' do it that fucking tight!”

I chuckled and we broke apart. He smiled, and asked, “What's so funny?”

I got told, 'I didn't do it that fucking tight!'”

He looked over my shoulder and said, “Jeff, had you did it that tight, we'd be way different than we are. Be thankful I'm carrying on some things with him!”

Then get together already and stop jacking each other around.”

His eyes looked wide and said, “I heard him.”

I did too.”

My mind's playing tricks on me.”

No, I want to know what you heard because tonight, with you, is the first time I've got to hear him. The rest of the time, I've heard him when I was asleep, but that's it.”

He said to get together already and stop jacking each other around.”

Yeah, that's what I heard too.”

He smiled and said, “Jeff, I've got to do it my way. He needs a life and I'd take it from him if we got together. I can't be selfish.”

I heard from behind me up about three feet, “Fourteen years, three months, Five days, and about three hours and you'll be together. I'll tell you now, you'll fight it like you are now, but that's all I can say.”

I turned to look behind me and said, “It's ok?”

Grant said, “Did you memorize what he just said?”

Yeah, fourteen years and three months too damned long.”

He laughed and I heard a chuckle behind me, “Jake, in regards to your answers, go home and look in the spiral notebook in the box. It's as close as I can to answer the question.”

Which box?”

Grant said, “Let's get you home. I'm hearing him too.” He looked over my shoulder and said, “Jeff, don't be a stranger. You know where you're welcome, so come on home.”

He let go of me and I went around the car and got in. Grant was getting in too and when we were about to start the car, he said, “Jake, this is between us. I sure hate thinking we're working with a timeline because it means there's failure in it.”

Not necessarily, it's probably one of the longest courtships I've ever heard, but I know we'll have what we've got coming.”

You're not feeling bad about this?”

No, it just doesn't mean this is the right time. You get what you want and I get what I want, so I'd say we're going to be fine.”

You're not thinking I'll be too old for you?”

Nah, you'll still be as much older as me as you are now. Heck, by then, you might actually know how to handle all I've got to give you.”

He laughed and said, “Ooh kid, you've got another thing coming.”

I turned on the headlights and started the car. I looked up and Grant's hand hit my arm about the same time I saw him, “It's him!”

I saw him and he gave a wave and turned to walk towards the grave yard.

Oh God!” I said with chills running up and down my spine. “Why couldn't I have gotten to know you?”

I'm doing it the way I'm allowed.”

It's not fair!”

It will be. Have faith.”

I said, “Where's mom?”

She's with those who need her.”

I need her!”

That's why I'm here. Get home! NOW!”


I put the car into drive and started to drive.

Jake, go out the asphalt, it's actually shorter that direction than this way.”

How do you know?”

Believe it, or not, I have a friend who lives right down that road not far.”


Yeah, but what's strange is it's an optical illusion or something like that. The asphalt is seven miles and the gravel and highway is like eleven.”

I didn't know that.”

Yeah, but you heard him, he said something for a reason and I heard it as plainly as you. He told you to get home. With your mom being where she's needed and you not being a priority, I'd say your grandma needs you.”

Oh man!”

I kicked the car into haul and for a good mile, I was driving like a maniac. Grant put his hand on my arm and said, “You'll not be doing anyone any good if you get us killed. What I think is it could be a lot of things. Your grandma might be having health problems, or it could be one of them tampering with her car instead of yours. Whatever it is, you know your mom is there protecting her. I'd say it's going to be alright.”

Jeez, it's nearly eleven.”

I pulled out my cell phone and said, “Dial this and tell her I'll be home as soon as I get you home.”

Take me to your house and I'll get home on my own.”

We live clear across town!”

Where abouts?”

Out by the high school. You know the Jewel Box subdivision by the nursing home?”


We live there.”

How long have they lived there?”

My grandpa built the house. I'd say it's been there for as long as the subdivision has been open.”

You know that's sort of freaky, don't you?”

What's that mean?”

Which street?”


My parents live on Diamond. They've lived there since they built the house new. I was raised there.”


I'll go over to my parents. I need to do some thinking.”

Your parents are still alive?”

I'm not THAT old! Heck, they're probably your grandma's age.”

She's in her eighties.”

Then she's old enough to be my grandma too.”


She didn't have your mom young, did she?”

No, my grandpa and she got married before he left for Korea and then, he came home. He worked for 3M and then, retired. Grandma said she was going through the change thinking she couldn't have kids when one day, she felt a baby kicking.”

Man! I bet that was a surprise!”

I imagine, She would've been about your age when she got pregnant.”

How old do you think I am!”


I'm your dad's age. Did he look young?”


Then do the math.”

Thirty six?”

Good, you pass with flying colors.”

So you'll be fifty and I'll be thirty one.”

Yeah.” he said sort of breathless. “Well, I've waited this long, I can wait that much longer.”

Oh no you don't! You're going to get together with Roger and you're going to give him a life together that you can.”

That's sort of stupid. I can't go to him and say, “Roger, I can't get together with you because I'll dump you in fourteen years and three months from now.”

He said it would happen. I'd say that means things outside our control take them away. It could mean Roger has the big one while giving you a good romp in the sack and you end up single.”

That's morbid as hell!”

No, that's a killer piece of ass if you ask me!” I said giggling

You are his kid that's for sure.” he said with a smile.

Yup, and you think about all we talked about out there he listened in on. He got to hear I didn't get as much as him and heard you tell me you're not packing what you are.”

I'm not!”

I think you measured wrong. You measured to the tip, right?”

To be honest, your dad and I measured.”

Then that was a long time ago. Sheesh, didn't you learn in school gravity's effects?”

I remember gravity but they never said a thing about dicks.”

Then you weren't listening. They said things get older and gravitation pulls those things towards the ground which when they're younger is firmer and more supple. That's why old people get wrinkles and longer dicks. Sheesh, you're probably hanging six inches now and my dad's probably ...”

Don't go there!”

I laughed and said, “Yeah, it's be wrong to say wouldn't it!”

What were you going to say?”

A lot longer....there, I cleaned it up!”

He laughed and we turned onto the connecting road which took us to town. I looked over at the lights of the prison and said, “Man, they sure got it lit up!”

Someone's escaped.”


They light it up like that when someone's escaped.”

And my grandma's in danger!” I said with my voice rising.

Now, we don't know anything as such. You'll need to stop down here because there'll be a car at the intersection.”

Then I'll tell them to go to our house!”

You do, and you'll go to jail if you're wrong.”

My dad said it for a reason.”

Maybe it's something else.”

Maybe it's not. I'd rather be safer than sorry.”

And how are you going to explain how you know this?”

I'll tell them my dad told me so. They don't know he's been dead fourteen years.”

Do you realize he told us fourteen years three months five days and a few hours?”


When would that put it from now?”

About Christmas time.”

Nah Thanksgiving.”

So, you'll be my Thanksgiving turkey.”

I'll be the stuffing. You just remember to gobble.”

He laughed. We pulled to the intersection and saw a cop waving his lighted baton. We pulled up. He shined it into the car and I said, “You need to follow us, my grandma's in danger.”

Where do you live?”

Emerald, it's right down here to the right.”

We had a report they went the other way.”

I'd say they went OUT is which way they went! Now, if I get home and they're there and you're not, I'll get out my grandpa's 45 and see the bullets go IN. Do you want to make that bet?”

I'll follow you, but you better not be wasting my time.”

I drove off and went the few blocks up the street to the intersection. I turned right and put the car into haul. When I got to the street to turn into the subdivision, I saw grandma's Camaro with a man's face driving it. I floored it and hit them in the driver's door.

What the hell!” Grant yelled.

Air bags deployed and the car ground to a sudden stop. “That's my grandma's car and that's not her driving it!”

Oh shit!”

I've got to go to the house. You tell them the insurance stuff is in the glove compartment.”

I tried the door and it was jammed. I tried the window, but it wouldn't go down without battery. I took off the t-top and stood up in the seat. I saw a pair of uniforms run by and up to grandma's car.

That's my grandma's car, but that's not her!”

The cops grabbed the guy on the passenger side and put him to the ground. I climbed up and down across the hood.

The cop stared and I said, “132 Emerald. I'm going to see my grandma's safe. Her keys were in her purse.”

Oh man. I'll send another car there.”

I ran down the Sapphire and at a full run down Emerald. When I got to our house, I saw the lights on and the door open. I ran inside and yelled, “Grandma!”

I looked in through the dining room into the kitchen and saw her legs through the door. “Oh no!”

I ran and when I got there, the sight before me instantly made me ill.


I'm behind you.” I heard Grant yell. “Oh God.” he said as soon as he saw her.

I thought mom was supposed to be protecting her!?”

Your mom probably did all she could do.”

She's dead.”

Hon, get an ambulance here.”

She's dead!”

Call a fucking ambulance!”

I went over to the phone and picked it up. I dialed 911 and heard, “911, please state your emergency.”

My grandma's been murdered by them fucking escaped convicts.”

What's the address?”

132 Emerald.”

Please stay on the line.”

I'm going up the street to see they never escape again. You do what you've got to, but I know what I've gotta do.”

I went to grandma's bedroom and pulled open the drawer. I looked through it and found no pistol. “They've got grandpa's pistol!”

Where are you at?”

I went into the living room just as the police car pulled up. An officer ran into the house and said, “Are you ok?”

My grandma's been killed. Those guys have my grandpa's 45.”

We got them. What brand of pistol was it?”

Huh? It's a 45!”

Do you know what brand?”

They make more than one 45? It's the kind you get in the Korean war. It was my grandpa's.”

I'll tell them. Where's she at?”

In the kitchen, she's dead.”

Grant yelled, “Call an ambulance!”

I went in and the cop took one look at her. Grant asked with his voice sounding resigned, “Won't you call an ambulance?”

Son, get him out of here. She's dead.”

I will.”

I said, “Grant, come on. You're in shock.”

She'll be alright. Just get an ambulance here.”

Grant, she's dead. Come on. This isn't easy for me with you losing it.”


Hey! She's my grandma and I'm worried more about you. She told me she's going with the angels and I know where she went.”

When did she tell you?”

Before I left tonight. She told me if she left not to be sad and to know she loved me and kept her word to mom.”


Grant, come on.”

I went over to him and took him out the door to the hallway. We went into the living room as the ambulance arrived. He looked at me, “She'll be fine now, the ambulance is here.”

Grant, she's dead.”

She can't be! Who'll raise you!”

I'll be ok. Let's go outside.”

Why here?”

Grant, come on.”

You're handling it so calm!”

Grant, she told me before I left if she ever died not to be sad.”

You remember that?”

Her last words to me was telling me I was a good boy.”

Oh God!”

We went outside and the cop came out. “Who's he?”

A close friend.”

You're her grandson?”


How'd you know she was in danger?”

My dead father told me. He said my mom went to be with my grandma because she was needed there and for me to get home now. I drove and you see who apprehended them.

Now, you get them murder charges and you rest assured, I'll find out why they were allowed to get out of that place.”

Son, I'm sorry.”

I know you are, but now I've got to worry if the state is going to slam me in a home until I'm 18.”

How old are you?”


When will you be 18?”

Next April.”

I'll need to call family services.”

No, you call my grandma's attorney and get him here. He'll get them to allow me to stay here.”

Did she leave a Will or guardianship papers?”

Grant stood up, “She left specific instructions I was to care for him.”

Anyone witness this?”

Hold on, let me call Roger Holmes. He was there.”

I sort of did a cheer inside quietly.

What is your name?” the cop asked Grant.

Grant Oberling. I believe you'll know who I am when the local authorities get here. Most of their cars I paid for and they came from my car dealer.”

You own the Ford dealer?” I asked

I told you I invested in everything.”

Man, you sure did!”

Grant looked down, “Your phone is still in my hand!”

Yeah, let me call Roger.”

I was telling you to call an ambulance and I had a phone!”

Yeah, you were in shock.”

Oh man.”

I dialed the phone and Roger answered, “Hello?”



Jake Martin, I've got Grant with me. My grandma's been murdered and the police need you to verify grandma told you she wanted Grant to raise me if anything happened to her.”

Where are you at?”


Your grandma's house?”


I'll be right there.”


I hung up and turned to the cop. “He'll be right here.”

Ok, you going to be ok?”

She's in Heaven. I know she's in a better place.”

You're handling this rather calmly.”

Dude, I about shit when I saw my dead dad and he told me to get home. Everything else is irrelevant after that!”

I imagine.”

Grant chuckled and said, “Sir, for what it matters, I saw his dad and heard him say everything too. He's not filling you full of bull.”

Anyone else there?”

No. Just us.”

Ok, I'll go along with it.”

It's true!”

He nodded and said, “Son, I've heard a lot of strange things in my career and that's at the top of the list, but we can't explain some things. What I know is for you to be in that spot where you were and to hit that car with your own to stop them, that says you clearly weren't here. I know things happen for a reason and I think this was to protect you.”

He looked at Grant, “I do need to call DFS, but it can wait. You not having a signed affidavit makes it harder, but it can be done.”

If need be, I'll stay here with him if you want.” Grant said.

Where's your residence?”

I own the motel out on Business 24. Well, I've got a gas station out there, car wash, laundrymat, liquor store, and a restaurant. A few of these restaurants up and down the strip is mine as well as that gas station up on the corner and another down the street. I've got a grocery store up at the junction and a lot more out of town if you need income verification, I'll have my accoutant get it to you.”

The cop smiled, “No, I just needed to know where your residence was.”

I said, “Sir, this is his first dead body he's seen.”

When did you ever see a dead body son?”

The photographs in my car. They're my parent's death photos. They were killed out at the intersection going to his gas station. They had a car wreck nearly 14 years ago.”

You've got death photographs?”

Yeah, I need to go get them before they tow the car. The state gave them to my grandma before they put the case as unsolved.”

You would have been a baby.”


My God kid, you've had a life of death.”

It's not been bad. My grandma loved me and for some strange reason, before I left tonight, she made sure to let me know she didn't fear death and feared for those who killed her more. She told me she would go to a better place and I've got to believe that.”

He shook his head and said, “So she foresaw this?”

As sure as I'm standing here in front of you, that's what she said. I told her I needed to go see him and she told me I was a good boy before I walked out the door. I told her Thanks. If I'd known, I would've told her I loved her one more time.”

Grant said, “Officer, he needs a place to sit. He's about to lose it.”

Sure, my car over there.”

I said, “I've got to get my photographs and trophies out of my car. They'll tow it with them in it!”

I'll get Roger and Aaron to get them out.”

What am I going to do about my car?”

We'll get you another.”

I turned to the police officer, “In the bottom of her closet in there is a small safe. In it is all her important papers regarding her Will, her funeral arrangements, and where she's to go. I need to get that, but the keys to open it are on the key ring in her car up there.”

He looked suddenly surprised, “Oh man, those keys will be taken as evidence.”

Just open the safe. Once it's unlocked, it'll stay unlocked. I need in it.”

He looked at me and then at Grant and said, “I'll get it done. It's unethical, but you not getting what you need done is worse.”

He got on his radio, “The keys to that Camaro need brought to the house.”

Which Camaro?”

I said, “The White one. Tell them I'll need the keys from mine too.”

Bring both sets and everything out of the boy's car. His grandma is J-4. (That's the code police say meaning dead)”

I've got someone here who says he needs to go to that house. Is it ok to let him pass?”

The cop looked at me and said, “Tell the man to get the things out of the boy's car and bring them this direction.” He shut off his mic and asked, “What all is in the car?”

Tennis trophies, there's probably thirty of them. In the back floorboard behind the driver's seat is the envelope. Oh, I'll need my duffel bag out of the hatch. It's got my tennis rackets and balls in it.”

The officer said, “In the hatch is a duffel back. In the back seat are a bunch of sports trophies and the back floorboard behind the driver's seat is an envelope. WE need those.”

Roger 10-3.”

The cop smiled, “He's a beginner, he needs to study up on his 10 code.”

I looked over the cop's shoulder and tapped Grant's arm. Grant said, “Umm hmmm”

The cop turned and said, “What the hell?”

That's my mom. To her left is my grandma. You might recognize her. She's telling me she went to Heaven.”

Grant raise him and be sure he goes to the pros. He'll do good there.”

Yes ma'am.”

She smiled and gave a wave. “I love you.”

I love you too grandma. And mom, thanks. I miss you.”

I miss you too honey. I'll be there when you need me.”

They turned and started to go down the driveway when they disappeared.

The cop said, “Son, I swear on a stack of Bibles I just witnessed her give permission for him to raise you and whatever pros she's talking about, you do her proud.”

It could be either tennis or football. I'm hoping football because it pays more.”

You that good?”

Grant said, “Sir, I'd show you, but it'd probably have the neighbors gossiping he was throwing a ball while his grandma lay dead in the house. What you'll have to do is trust me he can throw over three hundred yards and run faster than anyone you've ever seen.”

I can attest to the running. He made this three blocks in no time at all.”

I said, “Grant”


Ummm, you're going to shit, but I think I need to go to the hospital.”


I think I broke a rib with the steering wheel.”


It's hurting.”

Grant said, “Officer.”

I heard him. Let's get him over here. The ambulance attendants will be out in a moment.”

Grant said, “Can I tell him the hospital won't do anything for broken ribs except tape it?”

Tell him what you want. You're not lying to him.”

I sat on the hood of the patrol car and Grant stood in front of me. “Jake, all they'll do is take some white tape and tape your ribs. There's nothing else they'll do there.”

Ok, it's not hurting that bad. I just didn't want to alarm anyone.”

He hugged me, “You're way stronger than me.”

Nah, it's sinking in. At least we've got the ones who did it this time.”

The cop was close by, “Your parent's murder wasn't solved?”

We know who did it and that's why we were out tonight. New evidence has been found and we're real close to solving it for them.”

Who did it?”

Reverend Riefsdel and Ronnie Brown. They belong to that church which pickets...”

I know where they belong.” He said with a growl to his voice. “It'll serve me proud if you'll let me be the one who slaps the cuffs on them.”

Sure, but we've got to wait and get the rest of the evidence. It's hard, but we don't need them aware they're about to be arrested so they can run off.”


I looked up at him and asked, “There was a girl murdered in the same way as my parents. Ben Prather could tell you when it happened. They did her car the same way as they did my parents. Both cases will be shut at once with this evidence.”

The evidence is in your car?”

No, it's in a box in the house. My dad told me that too. He said it's the best he could do.”

Do you know what box?”

I'm guessing the evidence box. Or maybe the box of their personal effects.”

Go inside and get them.”

Can we get the safe too?”


I looked at Grant and he said, “You're not carrying anything with a broken rib. That's a fast way to get you to the hospital is if you separate it and collapse a lung.”

The officer said, “Come on, I'll help carry what you need out.”

We went in and I went to Grandma's bedroom. I opened her closet and pointed at the little safe. “That Brinks safe is where her funeral papers are and her Will. Up there is the evidence box and above it is their personal effects. It all should be together.”

Grant pulled out the safe like it was nothing. He grunted and said, “It's a bit heavy.”

It's a friggin' safe. I have to drag the thing. It slides good on the carpet.”

Hang on” he said with a grunt. He went out the door and the cop said, “That's an evidence box. Are you sure you're supposed to have that?”

The state gave it to grandma. It's a copy of what they have.”

He took it and I started to go in to get the personal effects when I heard, “What are you doing?”

Getting the box!”

Roger came over and said, “What am I supposed to say?” real quietly.

Say grandma told you that Grant would get to raise me if anything happened to her. If you don't, they're going to put me in a home.”

Where's he going to raise you?”

Here if need be. It doesn't matter where, just as long as I'm not in a home.”

Will they let you be raised here?”

Yeah, it's passed their inspection all the other times.”

But that wasn't with a dead body in the kitchen.”

My grandma would stomp your ass if you didn't refer to her as Mrs Sherpa.”

I know.”

Then be sure to tell them she specified here. It's paid off.”

He took the evidence box and got it out of the closet. “You ok?”

Yeah, Grant's the one who lost it.”

You sure fucked up your car.”

The guys who killed her were in it getting away.”

Well, one thing's for certain, if they walked away from her car, they're lucky.”

I don't rightly care if they carried them away in body bags. IF they're sucking air, it's more than they deserve.”

I understand, but both cars are totaled.”

Damn the luck. I'll have to get another.”

He smirked, “You're your dad's kid. You have that sarcastic sense of humor with a bite.”

I've been told that.”

He nodded and said, “I'm sorry about this Jake.”

You didn't do anything. Just be sure to help me out here.”

I will, but you can't live here. It's just not right.”

Whatever, just tell them so I'm not trying to live a life in a home with some delinquents or something.”

He nodded and said, “I'm real sorry.”

We went outside and the younger cop was there. “Which keys are which?”

Grandma's has World's Greatest Grandma on it. Mine don't.”

He gave me a look and I asked, “DO I look like the World's Greatest Grandma?”

Ummm, no.”

Thanks, I guess.” I rolled my eyes and Grant snickered.

I opened the safe and then looked at the keys. “Ummm, officer, this safe deposit key has her life insurance policies in it. Can I get it off this ring?”

Yeah, and take the one for the safe too. Are there any others on there you need?”

It doesn't look like it. That one's to the freezer, but we never lock it. Those are to the house and that one is to the neighbor's house. He died, so he doesn't need it.”

I took out the folder under the tab of “What to do if I die” and showed it to the police officer. “Here it is. If we can, I'll show you how she had it so you can see.”

I trust you.”

No, you need to see because they're going to ask where she wanted her body taken and all that. There's a lot of money in these envelopes, so I need you to see.”


Grant said, “Officer, bear with him. He's trying to hold it together.”

He's doing a good job. You were the one losing it when I arrived.”

I've never seen anyone dead before.”

And remember she didn't want you to see her that way. She didn't get a choice in that, but we'll be certain they'll be laying down when they die too.”

I lay out the folder on the hood of the police car and lay out the envelopes according to the colored edges. “Grandma updated this thing a lot. She'd call all these places and see if they raised their rates. If they did, she'd put more money in the envelopes.”

Grant said, “Keep the money. I'll pay for it all.”

No, she had it here for a reason. I know you have money, but she's left me well off. I know that. I'm probably richer than you now.”


That envelope there is all the stock certificates. She invested heavily into computer companies when she sold my mom and dad's house. She got a good amount from it and she invested really good. I do know that.”

Grant nodded and asked, “Did she have everything in a trust?”

I don't know. She trusted me.”

He looked at the Will and asked, “Can I open this?”


I opened the envelope marked with a #1. I read it and said, “She wants to be taken to Vincent Funeral Home. It says right there.”

She'll have to go to have an autopsy.”


They do that when anyone dies like this.”

Ok, but she won't like it.”

He nodded

The officer came over and said, “She had it really nice here. She spent a lot of time on this.”

She knew she was old and wanted it to be easy for everyone when it was time. I opened the second envelope and it said, “Give this to the funeral man.”

Ok, this has to go to the funeral man. It tells him what to do.”

I opened envelope three and said, “Ok, it goes to the funeral man too. I'll hold onto the money and make sure he gets it when he does what he's supposed to do.”

I opened envelope four and said, “This is for the florist. I'm to show them this photo of the flowers she wanted on her casket and to tell them to be sure to insist upon potted arrangements instead of cut flowers.”

I opened envelope five and read it. “Ok, this is to the funeral man for her obituary. She wants it to say all this. He's just to fill in the date of death and that's it. I'm to keep the original and to check for mis-spelling because she said he's not so good with his spelling.”

Grant chuckled.

Ok that's it for now. All the other is for afterward.”

How do you know?”

The colors. Look on the inside of the file. It says, before funeral. After funeral, Will, and Jake. Those are all the papers for me which probably should go to you.”

He looked at them and said, “Ok, I'll need these. It gives custody to said bearer and tells if I have these, I'm to raise you until you're of a majority.”

Good, then use them to be sure I don't get sucker punched.”

The officer said, “Jake, over there is the DFS woman. Take the papers over to her and tell her Grant is the one who's to raise you. I've spoken with her and told her I'm a witness to what your grandma wanted. All Grant has to do is to tell her who he is and it should be a done deal.”


We went over to the DFS lady and she seemed alarmed when I told her I wanted to continue living in the house. I told her it'd be fine and we'd clean up the mess. She insisting upon making a few calls and got someone to clean it up for us. She had Grant fill out a bunch of papers and when he was through, she said, “I'll see you out at the station. It's where I know I can reach you.”

Grant nodded and said, “Jake's going to my parent's house. They live right up the street on Diamond. I think he needs to be away from all this.”

I said, “Grant, in the file under insurance is the insurance on the cars. Call the insurance man and tell him I need a car.”

What kind do you want?”

Do I have to get the same kind?”

Not necessarily. They will depreciate it for milage and wear and tear.”

Then both of them aren't going to be worth much.”

Figure about 80% of what they were new.”

I did a quick mental calculation and said, “It should be almost thirty seven thousand...for the two cars.”

Alright. Figure that's what you need to spend.”

I'll get a White Vette Convertible with red interior. That's what grandma had and I know she loved it. There's not as much for a back seat, but it'll be something I know she would have had.”

You'll have enough. I wish you had wanted a Ford.”

Ford doesn't make a two seat convertible. When they do, we'll get one.”

He gave me a look and said, “We need you to go over to my parents. They're going to bring her out soon.”

Are you going?”

I'll go, but someone needs to stay over here.”

I need some school clothes out of the house.”

You'll be off until your grandma is buried.”

We need to call our pastor.”

Out at that church where your parents are buried?”

Yeah, it keeps it simple so I don't have to go gallivanting all over the place.”

We walked over to his parents house. He knocked and when they answered the door, his dad had a shotgun. “Dad, I need to keep him here tonight.”

Who is he?”

I'll be raising him.”

Why are you out on a night like this?”

His grandma got killed.”

There's inmates escaped!”

We know, they killed his grandma just over on Emerald.”

Where were you guys?”

We arrived in time to catch them, but too late to save his grandma.”

Who's his grandma?”

Mrs. Sherpa” I said.

Oh, I known the name from somewhere.”

We went in and the house smelled like a cross between cedar and moth balls. It was hotter then hell and a sheen of sweat broke out on my forehead.”

His dad had a sweater on and I saw his grandma had a light cotton dress on. Grant showed me the way to the bedroom and said, “Don't mind the clutter, it's got odds and ends from all of us kid's lives.”

We went in and I looked around. I saw a photo of him in a football jersey with my dad. I said, “Man, you were a hunk even then!”

He smiled, “A lot less bulky.”

Why'd you get into body building?”

If I told you, you'd think I was nuts.”

Try me, by the way, can I have a copy of that photo?”

Sure, it one of my favorites.”

I can see why? My dad looked hot in it.”

He did.”

Not as hot as this house, but hot.”

My dad has poor circulation.”

Tell him Vitamin E and plenty of Fish oil. Grandma had it, but she took that and didn't keep the house fifteen hundred degrees.”

I sleep with the window open when I'm over here.”

How long ago was that?”

He smiled, “When it was much cooler.” He gave a pained expression and said, “They're going to ask a lot of questions, but bear with me, ok?”


He hugged me and said, “I'll do my best on raising you, but this changes a lot of things between us.”

What's that mean?”

It's like your dad gave me a gift and so did your grandma. Now I've got to be responsible. It's going to be weird for me.”

No weirder than everything else in my life.”

I imagine. I want you to know I never before saw a dead body. I think my reaction to it was normal. What I don't think was normal was your reaction.”


I'm meaning you shouldn't be so desensitized to death that you don't have emotions to someone you love being dead.”

I've prepared for it. IF you want to know, it's my worst fear coming to light. I had to do what I needed to get out of going to a home. Out of everything, grandma meant to be there until I made it out of her house. She didn't, but you were there when you were needed. I don't want you to think I'm using you.”

I'm not.”

I think you will. I've got plenty of money. Those stock certificates will get me the money.”

You don't need it.”

You're not listening!”

I am.” He looked at me eye to eye and said, “Jake, I feel things for you which shouldn't be felt in our relationship. I've got to do it the way I feel right and that means I've got to do it MY way.”

Ok, but I want you to know it's not supposed to be me using your money.”

He shook his head. “I've got plenty.”

And so do I.”

He said, “Let me go out here and explain everything to my parents. They're probably both sitting there with stone expressions on their faces with all sorts of thoughts going through their brains.”

Let me help.”

I might need it. I don't even know how to explain how we know each other.”

Tell them who my dad was and that you kept in touch.”

They know I didn't and why I didn't.”

Then tell them I came back around and we got reacquainted.”

But when!? They're going to ask and they'll know I'm lying if I don't tell them tonight.”

Then let me talk.”

That's not going to fly well.”

Who's more accepting? Your dad or your mom?”

Both are, but I don't like this.”

Well, it's done. We need to get this on the road.”

We went down the hall and into the living room. Sure enough, his parents were sitting there. His dad looked really uptight.”

I sat on the sofa and Grant sat on the other end on the edge.

Mom, Dad, I think you guys need to know where you know his name?”

His dad gave a look at him and said, “I figured out where I knew the name. He's Jeff's son, isn't he?”


And you're suddenly raising him!”


I said, “Mr and Mrs Oberling, earlier tonight my grandma and I met Grant out on the tennis courts. My grandma knows I'm gay and thought it'd be best if Grant mentored me. She knew my dad grew up with Grant and wanted him to tell me all about my parents...or namely, my dad.

Grant agreed and said I could come out to the station. I had to go eat and then, my grandma and I went to the house. There, she acted somewhat strange and started talking to me about what should happen if she should ever die.

She'd done it before, but this time there wasn't any talking her out of it. To be quite frank, she thought it'd be someone else who caused her death. Just the same, I think she knew it was coming.”

Grant's mom leaned forward, “How?”

I don't know. All I know is she and I were having a conversation in which I thought she was talking about those who killed my parents, and now, I'm wondering if she was really talking about the convicts who killed her.”

Why her?”

I don't know. All we know is they escaped and out of this entire subdivision, they went to our house. Was it because she had the porch light on? Was it because she had the front door open like she usually does? I don't know, but just the same, they went to our house and then....and then...she...was killed.”

Grant leaned over to me

Mom and Dad, I gave my word. I didn't think it'd be like it would be and I sure didn't think it'd be that soon, but when they told me what they knew and what evidence they had about who killed Jeff and his wife, I instantly thought they were in danger myself.

What I did was I offered to get Jake's car fixed so it couldn't be tampered in the same manner as Jeff's was.”

His dad leaned forward, “What are you saying...that Jeff was killed?”


I said, “Mr and Mrs Oberling, after my parents died, they found the brake lines cut on my parent's car. They also found the lug nuts loosened or removed. Ben Prather suspected and he took a lot of photographs at the accident scene. He then towed their car and later got more evidence pointing the finger at certain individuals.”

His dad asked, “Who?”

Grant said, “Ronnie Brown.”

His dad made a face and said, “That boy wasn't ever any count.”

No, but here's what they have, so it's only fair for you to know. Ben Prather had Ronnie out there soon after the accident wanting to remove the brake lines from the car. IF they were cut, why was he wanting them? It sure wasn't to get parts off a car to repair another when they were cut!

Another thing is Ben had Ronnie sign a form stating he took the lines and has video of Ronnie removing them. So, there's proof. Ben also has his photos of the scene and Ronnie was at that accident. Why?

Also, Reverend Riefsdel is involved.”

Grant's mom said, “Oh Lord. I've heard a lot of bad things about him.”

I said, “Ma'am, it's all true. Jared Riefsdel has heard things and told me himself he's heard his dad say he was involved and Ronnie Brown was the one who did it for him.”

Why?” Mr. Oberling asked.

Because Jared and I were affectionate with each other at three years old. The reverend called us a bunch of names and my dad got into it with him.”

I suddenly got quiet and said, “I didn't look at that notebook. I need to find that box.”

It's in the dining room hon.” his mom said.

Grant said, “Mom and dad, before he does that, I need to finish telling you what happened because it's going to be really hard to believe.”

His dad said, “You saw Jeff.”

Yeah, how'd you know?”

Son, after he died, I saw him out at the station. He came in and looked around and gave me a look like he was looking for you, but couldn't find you. I was so shook, I came home to tell your mom. She thought I was overworked, but I know I saw him.”

Grant said, “Jake and I went out and talked tonight. We saw Jeff and then, we started hearing him. Finally, he told Jake he had to get home NOW. He also said Jake's mom was there protecting his grandma.

Jake was so shook he was driving like a mad man to get there and that's when we saw the lights at the prison and I instantly knew there'd been an escape. Jake felt they were at their house and I tried to talk him out of telling the police they were there because I was afraid they'd have him in trouble if he was wrong.

What happened next is strange. We drove up the street here and met Jake's grandma's car at the intersection out there. Jake ran into it with his car HARD and the police caught them. He ran to the house and I followed, but he runs faster than I ever could.

I got there and he'd already found her body. I'll tell you I saw her and froze. He didn't. He went to his grandma's bedroom to get the pistol and found it gone. When he came out into the living room, he told the police who had followed us and both of them got me out of there.”

Grant's mom said, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Grant's dad smiled and said, “He does that. Just the other day we were talking about you and how it was a shame you'd not been given any kids of your own and how we thought you were reaching out to all those kids because you didn't have your own. We talked about it and thought it'd be nice if you'd find someone who had children so you could known parenthood. This isn't the same, but as your mom said, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Grant nodded, “It was nice seeing Jeff again, but what's interesting is before all this happened, Jake and I had a talk about being friends and my mentoring him. Now, things are changed and I've got to be more responsible.”

Grant's dad looked at me and said, “You have a reason for that notebook. What is it?”

I asked my dad if he'd tell me who did it and he told me to look for the notebook as that's the best he could do.”

Then go get it!”

I went into the dining room and looked through the box of evidence. It wasn't there. I opened the box of the personal effects and looked, but didn't see it. I was about to give up when I saw a small blue note pad which I nearly overlooked as I was looking for a larger one. I took it and went to the living room.

Here's a small blue one. It was in their personal effects. It must've been in their car.”

I opened it and inside, there was a lot of different notations in my dad's hand. Towards the back, there was a note,


To Whom This May Concern,

If you are reading this, it's probably because I'm dead. If so, I want this to be used to give notice I think Reverend William Riefsdel had something to do with it.

William Riefsdel and I have had a lot of situations where he's shown quite a bit of animosity towards my family and I. He's done a lot of hateful things like vandalizing our house and has even went so far to jeopardize our health. Listed in this notebook are dates and times of the incidents.

I can't prove it, but I think he's had assistance from Ronnie Brown and Tom Colburn in these incidents. I've seen Tom outside our house on occasion and I've confronted him by telling him to get off our property. He left and a police report was made.

Ronnie Brown has tampered with our automobile on several occasions. I've made police reports and a friend of mine by the name of Eric Mansfield has kept the evidence as he thinks it's only going to escalate.

If it's happened where my family, or I have been killed, please use this as my way of telling who it was.

Most Sincerely,

Jeffrey Martin



I handed it to Grant and he read it. He handed it to his dad and his dad said, “That's Jeff's handwriting.”

Yeah” Grant said sadly. “It says everything. I need to call Eric to see if he still has that evidence.”

He got up and went into the other room. I heard him talk on the phone and then came back into the living room.

Eric still has it all. He said it's all in his garage because there's a lot of it. He said he's held onto it because he felt there was more to it and some day, they'd be able to link it to them.”

What all is there?”

He said he'd be home tomorrow if you wanted to come by. One thing he said is there's some blood on one of the broken window panes like they'd put their hand through it in order to gain access into their house.

He did say there's a lot of things which can't be proven, but he thought they put antifreeze into the Jello. He said he knows for a fact it had something put into it because it never jelled. He said they kept it and it's still in his freezer, unfrozen.”

I looked through the notebook and saw incident after incident where it was notated what was done. When a police report was filed, it was also noted with the number of the report.

I felt more angry, “They had reports and the police never did anything. It's like they totally ignored it happened!”

Grant put his hand on mine and said, “It's all evidence now and we're going to get to the bottom of it. There's enough circumstantial evidence that if you can't get them in a court of law on the murder charge, you could easily get them on the wrongful death.”


There's more than one way to skin a cat. When they left all that evidence, they might've thought they were covering up a murder, but they sure were making it stick for a wrongful death suit.”

What's that?”

Grant's dad leaned forward and said, “Son, Grant's not hearing your question. I'll explain it.

A wrongful death suit is a lawsuit you file against a person or a corporation when someone's been killed due to either willful negligence, or intentional misconduct.

With this, all this evidence gets used demonstrate a preponderance of the evidence it happened and could have most likely caused the death of your parents.

Now, the evidence is pointing quite strongly they could have done it, but the difference between a civil suit and a criminal trial is a criminal trial has them 'beyond a shadow of doubt' where a civil suit is based upon the evidence and the evidence proving it could have been caused by their actions.”

I leaned back, “So a civil suit would have everyone knowing they did it and a criminal suit wouldn't be able to be won.”

Where you've got a problem is you can easily prove Ronnie Brown most likely did it. The evidence wouldn't show anything except a conspiracy factor the reverend was involved.”

I felt bad. I felt like the reverend was going to be off scott free.

Grant said, “Don't feel bad. What you don't know is the evidence is going to be submitted and it'll show a conspiracy. Once the conspiracy is shown, they'll be arrested on conspiracy to commit murder which carries a punishment just as much as the actual murder charge. I think that can be proven.”

Ok, so we need to get the evidence and we've got to speak with a lawyer. I don't know who to speak with in regards to this.”

Grant looked at his dad and said, “I need to speak with Mike Musselman.”

Who's that? The name sounds familiar, but I don't know where.”

Grant said, “He's the prosecuting attorney. He's a personal friend of mine, so we'll have a good insight of who to contact and what he can do as a prosecutor.”

He got up and went into the living room, I looked over at Mr and Mrs Oberling and said, “I think I owe you guys a big thank you.”

Don't worry about it honey. You're a strong young man.” Grant's mom said.

Grant's dad smiled, “You look so much like your dad it's amazing. You don't look exactly the same, but there's enough there I really can see him in you.” He paused and said, “For a long time, Jeff was like another one of our children. It's like having one of our grand kids come visit, so you just feel the same. Jeff would've been treated the same in our home as one of our kids, so you've got that coming from us.”

Thank you. I never got to know with him but I know they loved me.”

Grant's mom smiled, “Your dad was a ray of sunshine in our lives. Grant's not been the same since they stopped being friends, but I've got a whole lot of photographs of them when they were younger.”

I'd like to see them. I saw a photo of them together in the bedroom and asked Grant if I could get a copy of it.”

She smiled, “Sure honey. I don't know what it's been like for you not to have known them, but your dad was a wonderful child. I'll tell you he was all boy and usually when one of my kids was into trouble, he was in the thick of it with them. What I will tell you is when my kids were out doing good for someone else, he was also there with them doing it also. His name got put on the news stories and I've kept all of them. Whatever you want to copy, you go right ahead.”

Thank you.”

Grant came back in, “Mike's going to come over. He needs to do it anyway since Jake's grandma was killed, but he really wants to see what we've got.”

Now?” Grant's mom asked.


I don't have a clean house Michael. You're inviting everyone over and this place looks atrocious.”

Mom, he's not here to give you the white glove inspection. He's going to be here to get information.”

She clearly didn't look happy.

Grant's dad smiled, “Hon, why don't you get those scrap books for Jake. That should get you to mess up this place more, but take your mind off it.”

She chuckled, “You two conspire against me on these things! It can wait. Now, what I need to do is go in and see we've got coffee and some pie made.”

Mom, he's not going to be here to eat pie.”

He'll eat pie if I offer it to him. You just watch!”

She got up and went into the kitchen. Grant's dad chuckled, “You know we're all in dutch now, don't you?”

Grant smiled, “Yeah.”

Where are you going to raise him?”

He wants to live at his grandma's.”

His dad looked at me, “That would be hard to do. Your grandma passed away there.”

But she lived there too. She did a whole lot more living there than she did dying.”

He nodded, “You've got a point.”

Sir, I'm not trying to be ignorant about it, but the house is paid for and it's the only one I've got. My parent's was sold and invested. I'm sure we could sell those stocks and get a nice place to live, but for the amount of time I'd need it, grandma's house would be fine.”

He nodded, “We'll have to get over there and clean it up. It's not going to be fitting for you to have to clean it up.”

The DFS woman said she'd help with that. The only part which is a mess is the kitchen.”

The door bell rang, he got up and went to the door. He answered it and Grant stood up, “Hi Mike, this is Jake Martin.”

I stood up and shook the man's hand. He smiled, “You're Jeff's son, right?”

Yes sir.”

You look a lot like him.”

Grant began to speak and tell him what we had for evidence. As he spoke, the PA (Prosecuting Attorney) took notes. As Grant needed information, I filled in the blanks. We got to the evidence and I went in and got the box.

This box should be with the state. How'd you get it?”

Grandma got it. They gave her copies of all they had.”

You've seen these photos?”

All my life.”

That wasn't fitting for you to see them.”

Why not? It's the truth.”

Kids shouldn't see their parents dead.”

They shouldn't have to investigate their parent's deaths either, but no one else was doing it.” I said a bit tersely.

I'm not going to argue that, but now I'm here and I'll help you in ways you can only dream of having for help.”

Can you get them on a murder charge?”

Grant said, “Tell him honestly. We've explained all we could to him and he's handled it way better than what one would normally.”

Mr Mussleman said, “I'll be honest. This note can be admitted into a court of law as evidence.”

No, you copy it and you get me the original. You've got all the evidence coming and it'll most likely be treated as a closed file. They tell me I can take it to a civil suit and win there, so I'll go that route.”

He grimaced, “It'll have to be the original which gets to be admitted. What I'll do is make sure you get it back.”

Forget it. It's not going to be lost due to mismanagement.”

Grant said, “Jake, he's trying to help.”

Yeah, but you two think about it and then you'll see where I'm coming from. I'll ask you some questions and as soon as I do, you're going to feel like idiots.”

Ok, we'll hear you out.”

How many police officers and people in your office are members of that man's church? How many are friends of members of his church? He runs around saying his lawyers are powerful and yet, no one's done anything. How am I to know this just won't disappear?”

Grant looked over at Mr Musselman and said, “He's got a point.”

Mr Musselman said, “It's a touchy situation. You're probably right. Where I'm at a point is if we don't admit it as evidence, we're in trouble and if we do, we can't go around asking everyone which religious affiliation they are. It'd open us up for a lot of law suits.”

Then you're not getting the evidence. I'll pay for it to be processed myself and have the DNA examined on that evidence. The second this conspiracy grows, I'll be mighty upset about the loss of one item.”

Mr Musselman said, “Let's get beyond this for a moment. What I can do is have a state examiner process it. They can do all that down at Jeff City and we'll know for certain it's handled right. I don't want to jeopardize the case, but I don't want to jeopardize it by handling it wrong.”

Then let me hand it over to the state when they come.”

We send it to them.”

Your office. There we go again. I hand it over and low and behold, someone loses it before it's handed over. Why don't we just forget this and I'll handle it my way.”

He looked at Grant and Mike said, “Grant, you're potentially looking at a much larger case blowing up over this. Jake's thinking about taking matters into his own hands.”

I need to forewarn you if you do, there'll be dire consequences.”

Sir, you don't get it. The dire consequences happened when I was three years old. No one did anything then, and they're not really caring now. You're a part of the problem and you're viewing me as a part of it. What you don't know is I don't rightly care if you think the threat of dire consequences means much to me.”

I thrust out the photos. “My parents didn't willingly pose for those photos, but the person or persons responsible got it off. They got it off with such bravado they went out and did it again. Everyone's hearing the silent threat get made to me my security is in question and yet, they're going to be protected. They're going to get to tamper with the evidence and they're going to get to cover it up again. When it comes to the day of judgement, they'll not cover it up.”

I paused and said, “These scraps of information are all I have for parents. Everything else was sold. For parents, I've got two boxes of stuff and some stock certificates. I have no home to go to and I haven't had anyone to hold me except for ghosts. I'll tell you they don't keep you warm at night and they don't hug you very tight when you've got an ear ache keeping you awake or you're sick.

My grandma was that one person who tried. As much as she loved me, she couldn't fill their place. I loved her, but even she got taken away.

I'll not sell that house. I'll not get rid of more memories to protect myself.”

I stood up and turned to them, “You've got parents. They loved you and they held you. Just get me so I can raise myself and I'll be fine. I'll be...just fine.”

I went over to the door and went out. I ran down the street and up to Emerald. The police car was still there and I went into the house. “Son, you can't come in here!”

Try and stop me. It's my house and I want to go to bed.”

It's a crime scene. You're messing it up.”

Tell that to someone who just didn't speak with the prosecuting attorney and see him messing it up. He's already fucked it all up. Just get out and take with you what you're taking. I'll be fine.”

He looked at me, “Come in here and tell me what that man said.”

He wants the evidence so his people can tamper with it and lose it. He can't or won't check to see if the people in his office don't have malice in their hearts because he's afraid of a lawsuit.”

What's this about? Those men who killed your grandma sure didn't belong to a church.”

My grandma raised me because my parents were killed. Those people who are responsible for it belong to a church. I was telling him about that when he told me he can't even ask if any of the police are a member of that church or anyone in his office is.”

Which church is it?”

The Baptist church which pickets funerals.”

Oh man, they killed your parents?”

Yeah, but no one really cares. All the evidence points there and for all I know, you could be a member waiting to kill me off.”

I'm not. Hell, I'm a Presbyterian and don't go often enough.”

Good, at least you're honest about it. Why would they want to sue him if he asked to try to protect his case?”

People are funny like that kid.”

They shouldn't get to short circuit justice just because he asks.”

No, but they'd probably think he'd use it against them in a future case.”

And them not telling him is why I don't want them to handle the evidence.”

How about if I help? Heck, I'm surprised he didn't offer to have you there to package them up and get them sent off.”

All he's concerned with is getting the evidence from me. He doesn't realize it's some of the only stuff I've got left of my parents.”

Grant came through the door, “Good, you're here.”

I'm not going back and playing nice with him. I know he's a friend of yours, but he acts like I'm supposed to do it simply because he said. It's been safe here and I'll get justice my own way. Don't worry about it anymore.”

Jake, you can't have people hearing you want to go kill them.”

I don't care what they hear. When it happens, you just know I'll take what punishment they give me and you better know it was a long time coming.”

He came over and hugged me, “You can't. I don't want you to.”

I know you don't, but no one is lining up to help me. Fuck, they all want to act like it's a souvenir shop so they can have a piece of the little bits I get to have as my parents.”

The officer said, “Mr Musselman, I'm not a member of that church. I'll be glad to offer my assistance.”

Thank you John.”

I looked over Grant's shoulder, “You're not welcome here. I know you might have been a friend of my dad's but you're not going to get the things I have left of him.”

Mr Musselman said, “John, would you give us three a moment alone in here?”


I said, “That's mistake number two. This is my grandma's house and not yours. You can't run people off here.”

Jake, this is ripping my heart out. Can we sit down so I can speak for a moment heart to heart?”

Grant patted my back, “Just give him a moment.”

Ok, but he's not getting that evidence.”

Just hear him out. He knows he messed up.”

He let me go and I went over to my grandma's recliner. I sat down and said, “This is my grandma's recliner. It was hers. Did my dad have one? I don't know. It all got sold off. I would have liked to had it if he did, but that decision got made without me.”

Mr Musselman said, “Jake, I'm going to say something and when I do, you're going to probably want to beat the hell out of me. I've got to say it, but please don't hold it against me when I do.”

I stared over at him and he leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. He looked at his hands and said, “When your parents died, I was away at college. I was trying to go to school to be something so I wouldn't be a junkman's kid.

That junkyard you go by over there across from Casey's is my dad's. Kid's made fun of me because of it all my life. It's a legacy I get because he worked hard for a living.

When I went to school, it was because I wanted to be something more than what I was. Grant over there can tell you how bad it was for me. He and your dad was but a few of the people who didn't make fun of me. We grew up together, we played together, and we did all sorts of things together, but through all that, we had trust. We trusted each other and we built trust on things because we had a lot of time together and knew we could count on each other.

Hearing you talk tonight tells me how I let your dad down. For that matter, it tells me how I let you down. I should have been there and should have been interested in your life. He would've wanted that, and for the life of me, I don't know why I haven't been.

Tonight, you told us how it's been for you and all I see is a kid who's been alone and floating out there alone. He doesn't trust me and I instantly thought you should trust me because your dad trusted me. Now I know you don't trust because I wasn't there.

Your dad and Grant over there are but two friends I had out of three my entire life growing up here. Another kid's name appeared in that note and it's bad because I saw he was there for your dad when things were going bad and all this time, I've been a bit judgmental because he didn't get to go to school and make better for himself.

When all the rest of us weren't there, I now see he was. What's bad is I've not stayed close to him because I've been so busy trying to get ahead of what I was that I didn't want to be seen as being what I was...a junkman's kid.

Grant over there knows I come in and we barely know each other. He knows we're friends and each time, he tells me to give him a call sometime. Tonight, I got that call because I heard you were in over your head and it's time to pay back.

When I got there, I expected you to know who I was and went with it in my professional manner. What I should have done is told you what your dad meant to me and how there's not a chance in hell I'd allow that evidence to be tampered with. Jeff's crying out again and this time, I'm hearing your voice doing it. If I let it go, I'm not even worthy of being called that junkman's kid...I've let down a friend and I've gone and done it in front of some of the few real friends I've really had.

You don't know how many times I drive by a field over there and think about going snake hunting with your dad and Grant. You don't know because I never taught you. It's yet another way I let your dad down...and Grant...and Eric.”

He looked up and asked Grant, “Do you and Eric keep in touch?”

Yeah, he's at my gym all the time.”

How's he doing?”

He misses you. There's not a day he comes by and doesn't remember something else we did. I was a bit worried when he saw Jake because I just know he's going to lose it.”

He will. You and Jeff had a bond, but he looked at Jeff as an older brother.”

Grant's voice broke, “Yeah, and it's going to be tough. Everyone who sees Jake thinks of Jeff and when Jake's upset, they see Jeff being mad at us. It's going to hurt him something terrible.”

Why weren't you all closer?” I asked

We all went our own ways. Eric is the only one who was there for your dad when we went away to college.”

Was that because of my mom?”

Mr Musselman looked up, “No, your mom was great for your dad. We stayed friends all the way up to graduation. Your dad and I had double dates a lot with your mom being with him. I think when it wasn't with me, they went out with Eric and his old lady.”

Didn't they date by themselves?”

Yeah, but to be honest, we went out a lot together because the drive-in had four dollar car load night and everyone couldn't afford much. We'd have what we jokingly referred to as 'cheap dates' because none of us could really afford a lot.”

Mr Musselman looked over at me and asked, “Jake, will you forgive me and let me be there for you like I should have been?”

Yeah, but John in there has my trust. He's freely admitted he's not a member of that church. He's also told me you could have told me you'd package up the evidence with me being there and we'd get it sent off without it being tampered with. I'll do it if you will do it.”

He nodded and said, “I never thought of it. I'm not usually the one who does that. I'll do it this time if it helps build up your trust in me.”

Quite frankly, it's the only way you'll get the evidence. If we don't go that route, I'll do it my way and I don't really care if you like it, or not.”

Let's not go that route. I'll have to help cover up a multiple murder and probably be involved neck deep in the thing. Let's do it legally and let them have their day at death's door inside the penitentiary.”

What can you get them for charges based upon the evidence?”

Here's what I can get, but first of all, I'll have to tell you I'll have to remove myself from the case.”


We do that in order to not show our hand when we're personally involved. Your dad and I were close friends and it's what I need to do so I'm not getting emotional up there when I need to be professional.”

Ok, but who's going to handle it?”

I've got an assistant prosecutor who is a great guy. He's an up and comer and will really put his all into it.”

What can you do then?”

What I can do is tell him I want it handled so it's air tight. I'll also tell him I want definite prosecutions instead of probable. What that means is we're not going to attempt to prosecute on something if it's got a chance of being beaten by a competent attorney. You don't need that and your dad sure wouldn't want it.” He paused and said, “To be honest, we've got a good case on conspiracy. It's an old case, but we've got a lot of evidence. If Ben Prather has that evidence as he's stated, our case is going to be greatly helped. With what Eric says he's got, I'll put the full resources of my office into getting the evidence processed.

What's a problem there is a lot of evidence which isn't there. There's a lot of evidence which just doesn't show us it could be those we suspect it is. It's circumstantial and yes, I'd suggest you to go the direction of a civil suit.”

He smiled, “The plus side about it is because I've pulled myself off the case, I can and will represent you in regards to that case. If you'll have me.”

What's that mean?”

He looked his hand and looked over at us. He spoke slowly, “That means what I'm doing is I'm going to start paying back. I'll do it pro-bono so you don't have to pay someone to do it and whatever you get, you get to keep for yourself instead of handing a lawyer a share of it.”

What's that mean? I don't want their damned bodies!”

He looked startled, his eyes darted from side to side like he was trying to think of what to say, “No, maybe you're not understanding. What a civil case gets you is a judgment in dollars and cents for what the court thinks you have coming.”

My dad and mom can't be bought.”

No, but the people who are involved have possessions. Ronnie has a shop up there which can be sold to get you money. The Riefsdels probably have all their worldly goods in their church. I'll have to see if Tom has something, but I'm going to have to check to see if I can put a lien of judgment on the church to get you recompense.”

How's that?”

Because members of the church acted together, the church itself becomes liable for their actions. If we can demonstrate that, we can sue the church to get it's assets to pay for their actions.” He paused and said, “I need to check on that, so please don't think I can do it just because I'm saying this right now. It's legal ground I have no idea what I can do and what I can't.”

How long is this going to take? I mean, Jared's the reverend's son and he'll have no place to live and have a lot of problems when this all comes about.”

What I need to do is I've got to check on things. First of all, I've got to find out when he turns 18. Right now, the reverend can forbid us from questioning him and he'd be within his rights to ban that questioning. However, if Jared will submit to questioning, or submit when he's 18, the reverend doesn't have a say in the matter. We might have to wait until then to get this rolling.”

I'll wait. There's nothing pressing on this if they're not going to get off because it's been too long.”

There's not. The charges I'm thinking about pressing have no statute of limitations. The ones we probably could get to stick might have had a statute of limitations, but because they were used in a conspiracy to commit murder, or because it was a part of an escalation of that whole conspiracy, it becomes a part of that...which is fortunate.”

He paused and said, “What I can say and will say is I know for certain your civil case is won...if we get that evidence. They can't beat the case because there's enough proving it's there. What I can't say is if they can beat the other.

What I need to tell you is you're going to be a very visible part of the case. You'll have lawyers probing into your life and you're going to have them using things which was done for you because someone cared used against you.”

What's that mean?”

Your grandma shouldn't have ever let you see those photos. I know she did it because she didn't want to hide things from you, but they're going to have it out there making it look like you were neglected.”

He put both of his hands upon his knees and with a real determined jaw set, “Your grandma isn't on trial here. She's deceased and we're going to use the press to tell everyone the other side is hitting below the belt when they even attempt of doing so. What I'm trying to say is they're going to play dirty tricks and we're going to have to counter and play our own.”

Are they going to use my being gay against me?”

He gave Grant and I a look like I'd just kicked the elephant in the middle of the room. Everyone knew it was there, but so far, it'd been ignored. “I'll be honest and say they could. Now, what I'll also ask is this... Are you prepared for your friends to know?”

Chris is my best friend. He knows. Jared knows and he is too, but whether he'll admit it, or not, is a different matter. I'll assume he won't and I'll assume he'll stand by his parents.”

Mike nodded and said, “Good, you're seeing it from where I am. His statements would be very helpful, but if he doesn't give them, it's basicly going to set his dad free from that conspiracy. It won't clear Ronnie, but it most likely will clear Tom. Ronnie will take the fall for them and they'll know it. What I can and will do is I'll point enough fingers at the reverend and Tom everyone will know they're involved, but it's only a suspicion.”

I nodded, “Ok, if they want to play it against me, Chris is going to stand by me. I know that and I know his parents will. They've obviously not heard grandma's dead because they'd already be over here.”

We need to let them know.” Grant said. “Their feelings need to be considered.”

Can I use the phone?”

Mike said, “Check to see if they've ran it for fingerprints. IF they need it for evidence, they'll need the phone taken in.”

I've got a cell phone. It wasn't here, so I can use it.'

Ok, use it. I keep thinking I need to get one, but they're quite expensive.”

They're getting cheaper. I've had mine for a year.”

Grant said, “Mike, he won a lot of money playing tennis this past summer. He can afford it on his own.”

Mr Musselman's eyebrows rose, “Really?”

Grant said, “Yeah, but don't think you can play him. He'd cream you on the court.”

Mr Musselman looked strangely at me and said, “You've played here?”

I play money tournaments.”

Which ones?”

A lot of them. Those trophies over there are from the ones I've won. There's a lot more over there in that stack which were in my car.”

You've done quite good, did you play Robbie?”

Robbie Musselman?”

Yeah, he's my son.”

Yeah, I beat him at three tournaments.”

What's your....oh hell, I was about to ask you you're name. I'll have to ask him if he played you.”

He did. Do you keep track of those things?”

Yeah, Robbie usually does quite good unless the Holmes kid is playing him.”

I smiled, and Grant chuckled, “Yeah, he played him too. You might've heard Jake referred to as 'the Hawk'.”

You're him!”


Oh man, you don't know it, but Robbie's been trying to get those things you do with the ball down and can't get it done. I've went out and he tells me you do something with the ball that he's never seen before anywhere....something in regards to curve balls and trick shots. He says the closest he's ever seen what you're doing is what they do on the Jai alai courts.”

Grant laughed and said, “I'd take you to the tennis court to have him show you, but now wouldn't be the time.”

Mr Musselman smiled, “Well, won't Robbie be amazed to know I grew up with your dad!”

Grant said, “If Robbie will, I'm sure Jake could be friends with him.”

I nodded and said, “I'll show him, but he's got to promise if we ever go to different colleges, he can't use it against me....and if he ever learns how to do the one trick, he's got to show me how he did it.”

Grant said, “He thinks he's so-so because he can't learn one trick which I'll tell you is impossible. Well, for that matter, I'd tell you all of the stuff he does is impossible, but he's doing things you and I don't have a clue how to do.” Grant paused and said, “Another thing you'll be surprised to hear is Jake's got an arm with a football which is going to get our team places it's never been.”


Grant smiled, “Jake, Mike over here was my leading running back when we were playing ball.” He turned to Mr Musselman, “Jake can throw over three hundred yards and do it on the run with bullet accuracy. When he runs, he'll outrun anyone.”

Mr Musselman asked, “How do you do it? You're really little”

I don't know. They think I do it because I throw the ball hard enough it makes it spiral faster which gets it further. I don't know.”

He looked intrigued and Grant said, “I'll give you an example of how he's done it. When you learn, you're going to be blown away.

When Jake was learning how to play tennis, he practiced serving with baseballs. He found if he could hit it hard enough with them to make it over the net, he was getting enough speed to get the tennis ball to do things he's getting done.”

Son of a gun! That's some hard hitting!”

Yeah, but when you use the same over head throw and release, and a football is substituted with a racket, he's getting a throw which just is amazing.”

I bet! I've never thought of a baseball being hit with a racket. It'd probably tear the hell out of it.”

I chuckled. “It does. What I did was used Weedeater line as my string and they're allowing it because it's within specs.”

His eyes shot open, “Oh man! I bet that's some amazing stuff.”

I went over and got my racket. I brought it to him and said, “There's the racket, but here's my other one. As you can see, it's got the line in it. I strung it myself, so it's done right.”

If feels like a regular weight racket.”

It is. They've weighed it and they've checked the line and all of it is fine.”

He looked at my other racket and said, “This is one just like Robbie's.”

It probably is. It's just like what it was when I bought it. I've not hit baseballs with it, but it did win me a tournament when the ref tried to say the other wasn't good.”

Grant laughed and said, “He put a judgment on the ref after that tournament! You'd be damned proud of him with what he did.”

Mr Musselman looked up and asked, “What's that?”

I knew the racket was good. I knew the line was good too, but the ref tried to go and say my racket wasn't legal. I found out you could contest a ref's actions and filed a paper to contest it. Well, here's that paperwork.”

I pulled it out and said, “I carry it with me in case another ref ever wants to say it's not legal.”

He read the paperwork and as he read, he smiled and by the time he was finished reading, he was smiling broadly. “You put the man out there and used terms which had them really knowing you had done a great job and had no other complaints. They had to capitulate.”

Ummm, yeah, but it's money in my pocket. Just the same, I won that tournament just like all the others with this racket, so I know it's not the racket, but what I do.”

Grant laughed and said, “He intimidates the hell out of his opponent. He can pinpoint where he's going to put the ball anywhere on the court and get it there. His accuracy is amazing, but what he does is he shows his opponent he'll use it against him and that opponent either forfeits or he gets himself in a world of trouble.”

Mr Musselman said, “Robbie said you did things which weren't fair.”

No, it's fair. It's just not nice. What you don't know is I don't do it if it's not needed.”

What's that?”

Ok, to make a long story short, here's what I do. If they stay back and let me serve the ball and beat them, that's great. They can do what they want back there to try to hit it, and I'll be good about it, but if they move forward, I'll bounce it off their head and do a trick shot with it. That's when they go back and I'll put that next one into their nuts. They'll forfeit, because I'll aim that next one right at their face.”

He smiled, “That's winning, but it's not pretty.”

No, but you should understand I'm not there to come in second. I'm there to win the money and that's it.”

Grant laughed and said, “He won thirty nine thousand last summer playing tournaments.”

That's almost what I make!”

I nodded, “Yeah, but you do the same in a court room...hopefully. If you don't, I don't want you there fighting for me. You're not there to come in second because second sucks. You're there to win and that's what matters.”

He nodded, “You're right. I've never thought of it because I saw it from Robbie's point of view, but you're right. I told him he needed to practice harder and do what he could to come up to your standards and play you.”

He can't. It's not about playing. I'll tell you that now.” I paused and said, “I'll play him if it's a friendly game, but if it's about winning, I've got to pull out my trick shots.”

Ok, so you're saying he had no chance.”

Sir, here's what I do and it tells me you've never been there. That's ok, but I'll say it must suck to be your kid.”

He looked down and I said, “You might go more often. My dad's got a reason not to be there. You don't. I'm not saying this to grill your chops, but let's get on with it because I don't mean to make you upset.”

No, you're right.”

I'll be there for him. It sounds like he's a good kid. What I'm saying is if I have to play a normal game of tennis, you're going to see a match which isn't very pretty. I know I don't stand much of a chance if I've got to play that way. What I do is I've learned if I serve aces, I win. What else I've learned is if they serve, I've got to volley until I can get that advantage and get control of the ball. When I do, they're out and I'm serving.”

He nodded and said, “That's the object of the game. So, what you do is pull out your trick shots and you put it where they can't hit it.”

No, what I do is I put it where they think they can hit it because I know if they think they can, they'll try and what they don't know is I've got a spin on it so it will ricochet off in a different direction. It wears them down because they don't even try to go there when it's a normal ball.”

He laughed, “Oh man, that's mentally beating them too!”

Grant laughed and said, “Yeah, and poor Roger faced Jake out there. From what I hear, Jake had him down on the ground clutching his nuts in agony.”

He laughed, “How's Roger doing?”

He's doing well. He's looking better than ever. Between you and I, I think we're going to be getting together.”


Yeah, a lot of his actions have been because he's been covering. He's asked me out, so we're going to see if it's something we can put together.”

How's that going to affect your raising Jake?”

Jake and Aaron are going to become friends. They've got tennis in common too, so it'll be like us all getting back together except it's our kids who are doing it.”

He smiled, “I think that'll be nice. They've got advantages we didn't, but they're all good kids.”

He got up and said, “We need to tell John in there we're done here.”

I said, “If it's alright with you guys, I'd rather stay here.”

Grant came over and put his arm around my shoulder. “I'll have to tell my parents, but I'll stay here with you. If it's fine with them in there.”

Mr Musselman said, “It's not something I advise. You really could jeopardize your chances with DFS if they think it's negligent.”

I asked, “What's it take to be my own person? I mean, if I've got to wait to be 18 to have people stop thinking I don't know what's good for me, then that's going to be way too long. That lady already has acted like she doesn't want me to live here and rather than put up with someone looking over in judgement, I'll just do what I can to get everyone out of it.”

He came over and said, “Jake, we're all concerned. You said your reasons for wanting to be here in a way I can understand, but the lady's job is to do her job and attempt to protect you.”

That's why I'll get to be my own person if I need to. I don't need Grant in trouble over me and it wouldn't look good for him to be in trouble standing behind me on what I want to do. To be quite blunt, they sure didn't complain when it was ok for me to live here when Grandma was alive.”

No, but...well, you and Grant talk about it. I think he wants to be there for you in the role as parent and mentor...if you'll let him.”

Until then, I don't have a choice. They slam me in a home until I'm 18 and it sucks. It's like I get punished for doing what a date on my birth certificate says suddenly makes better. That's dumb.”

I know it is, but their hands are tied too.”

So, seven months says they have complete domain over my life. They can walk in and sell this and make me live wherever unless I play their game.”

It'd take that long to do emancipation papers.”

Could we say we were doing them and get them to back off?”

His jaw set and he said, “Jake, would you go over to his parent's house for the night and give me a chance to speak with the woman? I think we can reach a compromise there if you'll let her have her way tonight.”

Does that mean if I stick to my guns tomorrow, she's going to think she can come in here and push me around?”

I'll speak with her and ask her to turn her head until you're 18.”

Tell her my uncle and my aunt might try to come in and take me if they catch wind of those stock certificates. The second they do, I'll be prosecuted by someone for what I have to do.”

No one's going to step in.” Mike said, “I've given my word. They'll not have grounds.”

I turned to Grant, “I don't mean to be a problem, but I'm not leaving this house and giving up what I've got. I'll die defending it and others will have to die to get it. I'll tell you guys that now.”

Mr Musselman said, “Our concern is you. We're going to do our best to see no one keeps you from being a kid. I know you have little left, but you've got to work with us.”

I walked away from them and said, “You're not getting it. I'll make it a bit clearer. Those stock certificates are probably making me more wealthy than anyone in this town. If I'm not already a millionaire, I'll tell you someone stole them. What I'm saying is Grant's real wealthy but I'm probably wealthier.”

Mr Musselman said, “Your grandmother had to invest them in some very lucrative stocks to do that.”

She did. There was a lot of insurance money and money from our house. She invested them back then and the companies she put them in have all done really good.

What you don't know is when Chrysler was about to go under, their stocks were down to hardly nothing. I told her I wanted some of those and she got me a whole bunch of them by selling Dow. She bought up a bunch and they turned around and went up to about fifty each. When Boeing was down to nothing, we did the same thing. They rebounded and we cleaned up.

Recently, we ate at Little Ceasar's and I had her get some of that. Now Kmart is buying them out and I'm getting a bunch of their stocks to take the buy out. When they get them to me, I'm selling them because I sure don't want to be in them.”

Why not?”

They don't even have a store here! They've got one down in Columbia, but it looks shabby. I'd rather have something where I know I'm buying it here.”

So what else do you have stocks in?”

You see this cell phone? We own about one tenth of the company. They gave me this phone as a part of the deal. Yeah, I have to pay the bill, but other people don't know I can make that call and basicly get paid to do it. What you don't know is there's a guy here in town who people make fun of because he drives a Yugo. He bought that car new because he needed it to get back and forth to Columbia to sell these phones. I could take you to where he lived and you'd see a real crappy house, but then I could take you to the new house he's building and show you it and you'd be amazed how much he's made in one year.”


I turned to Grant and said, “Think about it. Four cell phone towers here in town get you a dime a minute on each one of these phones. My minutes cost me thirty eight cents a minute, but he's getting a dime of it. You multiply that by everyone who's making calls and your hamburgers just don't make the profit he's making.

What you don't know is out of that thirty eight cents, I'm seeing about three cents of it myself. That's nationwide.

That stock cost my grandma all of a thousand dollars to invest for that much of the company when they started. She heard about it on the television nightly news and she called the man. He told her what it'd take and then told her he was having to sue some really big phone companies in order to get into the market. She sent him back the check and he sent her a tenth of the company. It's called Sprint. Well, it's called another company because Sprint is supposed to be their land based phones, but it's all the same company. He told her he's going to have it all combined.”

Mr Musselman smiled, “I've heard of them. They've got divisions.”

Well, we own a tenth of it.”

Grant asked, “Can I invest in the towers?”

Yeah, they cost about five thousand to put up and a town like this takes four. You don't do anything other than that. I'll put you in contact with him because he'll tell you what they've got open. What I'll tell you is if you commit to putting up a lot of towers, he'll make you really wealthy.”

How many does he want?”

Raleigh put up towers in Columbia, Jeff City, Rolla, Sedalia, Here, Macon, Kirksville, and spots in between. He put up fifty towers and went in debt for half a million. That's a whole lot of money, but his house is costing that and he's paying for that from his checks he has coming in each month. He's still driving the Yugo, but that's because he likes the car.”

Mr Musselman said, “Grant, look into it. If we can invest together, I'll put in some money.”

Grant smiled, “We need to see what they've got available. They've probably got nothing but little towns available.”

You'd be wrong. I know last month the guy finally got someone to commit to St. Louis. They needed that much cash, so it was hard to find someone.”

Grant smiled real big and looked at Mr Musselman, “Mike, here's what I'll do. We'll see what they have and we'll put us as a group in to it. I'm meaning, you, me, Eric, Roger, and our kids. Since Jake told us about it, I'll put in a share for him too.”

I can't invest. That's a policy of theirs.”

Ok, so what I'll do is I'll put a portion in under my name for you. They don't have to know. What I've got you're getting anyways, so it doesn't matter much to me whether you want it, or not.”

I can't accept that.”

We'll talk about it later. Now, what I need to know is how many kids you've got and we'll get shares for them?”

He said, “I've got two kids.”

Ok, that's four shares for you. I know Eric's got two kids and Roger's got Aaron, so that's eleven shares. I'll throw in enough to cover us each having a city if they have them open and if they don't, we'll get that many towers put up for them.” He paused and said, “Mike, what I want from you is us to put this in under a corporation where we're a group and each have that share. Since Jake can't invest, you put the double share under my name. Ok?”

Where do you want it filed?”

Here will be just as fine as anywhere, the tax savings isn't that big out in Delaware.”

Mike nodded and said, “This is generous of you.”

No, it's me throwing into the group when I should've done it a long time ago. You throw in what you can and we'll start pulling as a group. You just make that corporation charter state those who don't pull as a group can be voted out by the others and relinquish their portion.”

He nodded and smiled, “Our old rules we had when we were kids.”


We all walked outside and John came out. “Jake, we're about done here.”

What all needs done to make it so I can live here again?”

I'm not sure what you're meaning.”

Do I have to buy anything like a phone?”

No, why?”

He said you might take some things for evidence.”

No, we dusted the phone, but didn't get anything. What we have done is we've got most everything cleaned up so you don't have any problems.”

So I could stay here tonight?”

If you want.”

I looked at Grant. “Please stay over at my parents house. They'll think it's them if you don't.”

Ok, tonight, but you'll promise me tomorrow I can come back here to live?”

Ummm, I need to get some things in order to stay here.”

Ok, if you want, but if you don't that's fine too.”

He looked at me and leaned into a hug, “I'm so torn about what I want to do and what I need to do.”

I know you are, but we'll find our way through it. You staying at your parent's house, or are you dropping me off and going to the motel?”

I'm staying there. We'll have to sleep together.”

That's fine.”

He looked a bit apprehensive, “Jake, I don't know if that's going to fly with that woman.”

You tell the woman I was needing someone to be with me and she'll ok it. Sheesh, it sounds like you never dealt with anyone in the system before!”

You've done that?”

It's called white lies. You do it to help them do their job and you live peacefully because of it.”

I don't like lying.”

Then do it the right way and get inconvenienced. They'll waste their time and we'll all be jacking around for the time it takes for me to turn 18.”

I thought you were sixteen?”

Tonight, I'm 17. Seventeen is gray area under the law and 16 is area where I know they'll mess with me. They've not checked my identification, but each one of them could. I've not told them otherwise, but instead, I've implied I'll be 18. Is that a lie, or a white lie? You tell them if you want and we'll be tied together for the next year and a half. If you do, that's that. If you don't, she'll do the paperwork the other way and leave us alone.”

What if they look into it?”

What if they don't? The incentive is to get me off her roles. You know that and I do too. She doesn't want me any more than anyone else wants me there, so either she can know the truth and she'll do her job, or she'll not know the truth and an error was made.”

But Mike will go out there and tell her you're going to be 18 next year!”


He looked at me and started laughing, “You do this a lot!”

No, I do it when it makes things easier.”

Is that what your grandma taught you?”

No, but that's what you've got to do. Did I have parental permission to enter those tournaments? No, but their signature got put on the applications. I mean, it's real hard to get their signature, so rather than mess with it, I signed.”

Your grandma could have signed.”

Yeah, but she wasn't there. Heck, a lot of times she didn't even know where I was. All she knew was I was out at a tournament playing tennis.”

What if you'd had a car wreck!”

I rolled my eyes, “I wore clean underwear if that's what you're worried about.”

He snickered, “No, for your information, I'm worried about you doing that stuff to me!”

Grant, here's the deal. I'm going to play tennis all over the place. I'll drive there and I'll win the things. I'll pay the entry fee and when I'm done, I'll throw the trophy in the back and come home. You'll have to cash the check since I'm underage and I'll have to put it into my college account.

Now, just in case you're thinking about making me go to college, you need to know the deal Grandma and I had. If I go to the pros for either tennis or for football, I go to college if my bank account is less than twenty million. If it's above that, we don't worry about it and we don't argue. Ok?”

You need your education.”

Honestly, let me throw a question at you and you answer it. Ok?”

I'll try.”

What did you go to college for?”

I majored in business.”

How much did all that teach you?”

Quite a bit.”

How much do you use every day?”

A lot.”



You told me you have an accountant. So, it's remedial what you use there, right?”

You're pinning me down.”

Yeah, because your dad probably taught you that much and did he go to college?”


Thank you, he built a company and you're running it telling me I've got to go to college to be successful. Now, when I'm old and we're together, we'll retire and we'll have buckets and baskets full of cash. You'll sit back on your lounge chair on the beach and I'll be out there snorkeling and seeing how much of a bum I can be...with my hundred or so million in the bank.”

What all are those stocks?”

They're over at your parents house.”

And you walk around with them!”

No, you carried that safe over, so you walked around with them.”

He smiled. “That's nuts!”

Until I told you, you had no clue. Now you do and yet, it makes a difference. Am I suddenly supposed to treat you like you're rich and you do likewise? Or, are we two people who've got it a bit easier and we treat each other without all the hang ups.”

IT doesn't bug you it's in the safe instead of a bank somewhere?”

No, because there's documentation it's in my name and grandma's. We've got to get that to the lawyer, but I guess your name will go on it unless you want it into my name.”

He looked at me and put his arm on my shoulder. “Where'd you get so smart?”

School and watching television.”

I want your certificates in a bank. It'd drive me nuts knowing they're here.”

Ok, whatever, but just the same, you remember on 60 Minutes they showed a bank which got flooded and those boxes were full of water.”

What'd they do then?”

I don't know. The people were getting hit by a hurricane and couldn't get into the bank since it was shut. Your money isn't always safe in there. In that safe, it goes with us.”

What if the house burns down?”

It's fire rated at 1800 degrees. It'll get scorched, but if you insist, we can put it in a bigger safe and it'll be doubly protected. If you really really insist, we can put that safe in another safe and it'll be triply protected. It's stupid, but I guess you can sleep better. You just remember to turn over when I do, or we'll be rubbing noses.”

He smiled, “Let's get to bed.”


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,


Copyright Notice - Copyright © 2009 by RettaMichaels

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.