Play Maker
The Queen of Gay Romance”


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. 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 Retta:

This story is written mostly as a retro piece. I intentionally made sure some prices were lower and I made sure the older stars were used in the piece. You need to realize this was written in the era of Bush I (around 1991). I did it from memory, so sue me if it's not completely accurate.

Chapter Seven:

Our reverie was broken by the sound of my cell phone. I got up to go to the kitchen to answer it and saw it was the dealer. “Hello?”

Your car's here.”

Ok, we'll be right there.”

I hung up and said, “Grant, the car's there.”

Ok, let's go get it.”

We drove over to get the car. When we got there, we went inside and got told it was in the back being prepped. Since the papers were signed, Grant said he'd go on out to the station and check in. I told him I'd be there shortly and he left.

After he left, I went to Jack's office. He was on the phone, but he motioned me in. I went in and stared at his fish aquarium until he got off the phone.

Yes Jake, how can I help you?”

I noticed the guy's desk was cleaned out up front.”

I let him go.”

Because of that!”

It was the last mistake on a stack of many.”

Ok, I'm not saying my displeasure there, but I don't own the place either.”

He gave me a look which told me he was upset at my comment. So, I went forward, “Had I owned it, there'd be two desks cleaned out.”

I don't need some kid telling me how to run my business.”

Your business? I thought Grant owned it.”

He lets me run it how I see fit.”

And what would he say if he saw you'd fired the man?”

That I can run it how I see fit.”

Let's see how it goes after I buy the son of a bitch from his this afternoon. I was in here to speak to you about a personal matter, but I guess you can go ahead and clean your desk out.”

I've ran a few checks of my own on you. You talk a good game, but you're really nothing but a money grubber.”

Call Grant. Ask him what I'm worth and THEN, ask him what he's worth and see if any of MY money is any way, shape, or form his. When he tells you it isn't, ask him how much I can afford to buy this place with my own funds. When he asks you why, tell him I'm on my way out there to buy it from him.”

You're welcome to it.” He said pointing at the phone.

Start cleaning out your desk because once I'm off the phone, you'll be told to get.”

He stepped aside and I called the station. “City Limits Station.”

This is Jake. Has Grant gotten there yet?”

No, not yet.”

I'll wait. He's on his way.”

What's going on?”

Tell him when he gets there to turn around and high tail it back to the dealership. If he asks why, you tell him I just fired Jack and just bought myself a Chevy dealership. I think he'll get a move on.”

Ok, it sounds like there's a bad day happening over there.”

Nothing that isn't being helped along by people who can't get their head screwed on right.”

I hung up and left the office. “I'll give you a few moments to collect your things.”

I went out into the shop and asked, “Where's my car?”

It's out back.”

I went out back in time to see a truck roll by and a cloud of dust from the gravel parking lot go across the freshly washed car.

How many times do you rewash cars around here?”

They get washed every other day.”

This is stupid. Either he can afford some asphalt or he can't. Since I'm buying the thing, guess how high of a priority the asphalt just became?”

You're really buying it?!”

Either I buy it, or Grant starts managing it because a new car dealer trying to sell cars filthier than the cars rolling on the lot is terrible! That's a thirty seven thousand dollar dust bucket from what I just saw.”

I'll rewash it.”

Nah, about the time you do, another truck will roll by and we'll have to do it over. Just consider your job's going to get easier as soon as I can get to a phone to order asphalt.”

I went into the show room and went to the receptionist. “What can I do to help you hon?”

Would you look in the yellow pages and call every asphalting company they've got and tell them we need bids on this lot out here. Tell them I want front, back, sides, access to the highway out there, and a box culvert put in at that ditch to that new access they're going to build.”

She gave me a look. “Yeah, I mean it when I say I just bought this place.”

Oh!” she grabbed the phone book. The phone rang and she answered it. “Good Afternoon, Reilly Chevrolet, how may I direct your call?”

She looked at me and asked, “Are you Jake?”


She handed me the phone. “Hello?”

Jake, what's going on there?”

He fired that guy we said to give grief. I just fired him and now am ordering asphalt for the parking lot since my freshly washed car just got washed in a cloud of dust.”

You can't do that.”

How much do you want for the place?”

It's not for sale.”

Ok, I'm calling a taxi. Don't waste my time anymore and I won't waste yours. If this is the way you run things, I'll go get that car someplace else.”

Hold on a moment!”

I'm holding, but I'm at the end of the phone line so make it quick.”

That man is my cousin.”


He needs a job.”

He needs tuition for business management school. He definitely needs to know when he's told by an owner to give grief, he's to give it and not give an unemployment check. If you allow your family run your things badly, how much money are you losing? As I said, I'm getting off the phone. You run it how you see fit, but I'm not buying that car from this dealership with that man running it!”

I'll be right there.”

This isn't a smooth over. It's a haul out. I hope you know that.”

I'll be there. Stick around.”

Ok, but while I'm doing that, I'm going to be pulling cars off the parking lot and out into the grass where an asphalting company can get to the lot.”

I hung up and said, “I need keys to all these vehicles. We're going to do this right, or we're not going to do it at all.”

She smiled, “Jack's in there throwing a fit.”

I certainly had hoped he was throwing a few things into a box because he's just as out of here as I am if he doesn't go.”

It's been a long time coming.”

While you're making those calls, would you call that man whose desk is over there and get him back out here?”

Sure thing dear.”


She pointed to a box. Those are the keys for the lock boxes on the windows. You unlock the box and it has the keys in the box.”

Thanks again.”

I went over and got a key. Then I went out to the lot and started moving vehicles. Grant rolled on the lot and came over. “You want to talk?”

In Jack's office.”

He gave me a steely look. “Jake, I don't like you doing this.”

I don't like the way this place is ran. Go over to that vette parked out back and run your hand across it. While you're on your way, run your hand across the cars and see how much dust is on them. Then think about how much you pay a man to have washed that car either yesterday or the day before. I bet you figure out your asphalt saves you money.

Then, when you get done having that 'vette rewashed to put out here to sell, go through that car repair center and see why you're not making money. Either Chevy just became the best running car on the planet or there's a reason why your repair center has men standing around not repairing a thing. THEN, when you get back into the dealership, you stare in that office and see YOUR COUSIN who you think deserves special consideration to keep his job as you walk by a woman who definitely earns her pay. While you do that, I'll be walking off this lot and going to a dealer where I can get a car and not have to rework management to get it.”

In case you haven't looked, times are hard financially.”

Hold up a minute. You mean to tell me it's so tight financially people can't get their cars repaired instead of buying them? I bet you if you drove down the highway to Columbia, you'd see cars being repaired. AND, I bet if you drove up to Macon, you'd see cars being repaired. When you do, you seriously think whether there's something wrong in Denmark, or someone better be in dutch with all the crap you're being fed.”

He shook his head. “I can't fire him.”

Then put his ass out back washing the fucking cars! I'll run the place in my spare time.”

It's in his name!”

And you being owner can't change that?!”

My money is in it. His name is on it.”

Oh, well, I guess my car just got bought someplace else and you're a piss poor investor. I wondered why my grandma drove to Columbia to get my Camaro, but I now see why. I wonder how many other people drive right on by here to go get a better deal.”

As my lover, you can't run behind my back causing troubles.”

No, but I can buy the damned thing and run it better! OR, I can go buy a car elsewhere and ask that dealership for GM's hotline to report bad dealers. When I do, I'm going to offer to build one which runs better, makes more money, and sells more cars. How fast do you think they'll have someone down here to check it out and give this a failing grade?”

He shook his head. “It's got problems, I admit it.”

No, it's got problems I'm seeing and trying to correct. You keep slamming my dick in the door on trying to help, so I'm clearly laying out how I can go around you to achieve satisfaction. You can sit in an empty dealership and stare at the one person who you invested money with who cost you a helluva loss. I'll be up the road in that new dealership selling cars when I'm normally at home with my boyfriend thinking he's great at investing and a whiz at money.”

SO get rid of Jack and get asphalt.”

For starters. Then get into your repair facility and see why they're pricing themselves out of competition. After that, I'd suggest getting some pennants, banners, gee whiz doo dads and throw a sale. It sure looks like with an empty lot with no customers you certainly need to do something to get them in here.”

He smiled, “Would you keep Jack?”

Out back washing the cars until that asphalt is laid. Then, we'll see if he can stay on the lot afterwards. If he threatens to remove his name from it and go up the road to operate a dealer, you tell him I've got dibs on that and will certainly contact GM to report a lousy dealer.”

Care to go over to the Ford dealer to clean house?”

Do they sell cars? Or, is it another front for another relative of yours?”

It's my brother. It sells cars.”

Grant, I'm not trying to be a complete horse's ass here. You clearly have an allergy to asphalt as your lot out there at the station is gravel too. If that Ford dealer is gravel, I'll be insisting on that changing. You don't pay someone to do a job which gets messed up five minutes after he's done it.”

It's that bad?”

Take a look around you. Either you ordered snow white cars with dusty paint jobs, or you've got colorful cars under a layer of dust with probably tons of scratches from that man washing the dust and scrubbing that dust into the paint.”

This dust is really upsetting you.”

No, this dust is a symptom of that lousy manager which has me upset. I was ready to go in and have that man date Roger. Roger definitely doesn't need him when he probably could manage this place better.”

You think?”

Think? I know Roger's meticulous about his home garage, so I know he's that way about his space at Penny's. I'm willing to bet he could tell you things he's heard about here and make you wonder how you managed to stay in business this long.”

I turned and saw Jack coming out.

Grant said, “Well, you ready to tell him what you see?”

No, I've already fired the man. Now either I can do that, or I can do it when I run you two out of business.”

Tell him that. See how fast he changes his tune.”

He's a smart ass. He thinks I'm a peon who doesn't have an income or my own money. He said he DID a check on me and I'm broke. Well, with my fucking stock certs out in YOUR safe, I'm certainly less off financially. I DO have three million coming from life insurance, so you sure best bet I'll open a car dealer with that. IF I can't, I'll leverage it and do what I can to make a field around here become the largest dealer in this state.”

Jack came up and said, “Do I pack my stuff, or do you get him off my lot!”

I turned, “I couldn't have said it better Jack.”

Grant turned to him and said, “Jack, first of all, I meant it when I told you he'd be your boss if anything happened to me. That's not going to change because you're not going to run him off. For your information, Jake is closer to me than anyone has ever been. You should know when he speaks, I'm speaking and if his voice doesn't sound like mine, you heard wrong.

He's pissed because you went behind both our backs and fired that man.”

I interrupted, “The man's getting rehired. I've got the receptionist calling him.”

Ok, he's getting rehired because Jake's cleaning up your mess.

Speaking of messes, Jake's out here moving cars off the lot and into the grass because he's ordering asphalt. Does that tell you the money the kid has?

If you think he's broke, you certainly are talking to the wrong person. If you'd asked me, I'd tell you he's got stock certificates in my safe out there which would make you green with envy. I've called the companies and they check out. AND for your information, he's got enough ownership in those companies, they've got life insurance on his and his grandma's lives. Because his grandma passed away, he's got more money coming in!”

Jack said, “Well, I checked, it's not in his name.”

And who gave you the authorization to check him out?!”

No one, I wanted to see who he was.”

I turned, “I got told what I was when I got told I was a money grubber by you. I know what I am...thank you very much!”

Grant turned and I saw him puff up his muscles with a huge breath. He turned back around and said, “Jack, in ten minutes, he's told me what it takes to put this place back into running. He's told me he's refusing to buy that 'vette because of the dust storm this lot makes on our freshly washed cars. He's told me the repair facility back there is empty and you're probably over priced on repairs. He's told me there's no sale going on and this place has such a poor reputation people wave as they go buy cars in Columbia. He points all those problems at one man and that's you.

Now, guess who he wants me to get rid of in order to repair it?”

Well, if I go, my name goes off it.”

And his name goes on and his money goes into it. He's made that clear.

I'll tell you now Jack, if he does that, he's probably going to have cars sold. He's probably going to have that biggest dealership in the state because he's got the money to do it!”

Grant turned to me and said, “Jack, here's what I'm going to say. I'm going to beg Jake to take you back as an employee. I'm going to beg him because if he doesn't, then I've got to find you a job someplace else.”

That's dumb.”

Grant turned to me and said, “Jake, I'm my family's employer. I realize you don't have a family, but if you did, you'd employ them to see they have jobs.”

I'd employ them if they performed their jobs to satisfaction. If they didn't, I'd not listen to excuses and I'd certainly put them out in a Uhaul to get them away from me with the embarrassment they put on my name!

Speaking of name, you put my name on this dealer as it is, and I'll sue you for defamation of character! With the way it's ran, you'd certainly not have a chance of beating me in court on it.”

Grant smiled, “Jack, as you see, he's opinionated, but he's right. Now, do you listen to him and get it ran right, or do you take to foot and get off this lot?”

I turned and started walking.

Where are you going?”

Your decision got made, I'm going to do what I said I'd do! Get my stock certificates out of that safe and back to my house. If you don't, you've got bigger issues than this bullshit.”

Hold up a second Mr Hothead, I'm not done yet.”

What the fuck's the hold up? You just told me you cut me off at the balls, so take a hammer and crush the sons of bitches in front of him.”

I'm telling him I'm selling out to you if you'd listen!”

Then I get to fire him!?”

I'm asking you to keep him and I'm asking you to teach him how in the hell to do it right.”

All I see you doing is taking the money and running. Yeah, put me in with a losing race horse, cut your losses, and run!”

IS that what you see?”

I'm trying to save YOU money! If I've got to buy it and switch everything around, then I'll make money just as soon as I disassociate myself from this clown.”

Jack was looking at us like a participant at a tennis match. I turned to him and said, “Thirty days, you've got thirty days to do as I say and get it cleaned up, or my name goes on the thing and the ONLY way I'll sign the sales contract if there's a 100 year non competitive contract on that thing. Got me?” I turned to Grant and asked, “How much did I just buy this mess for?”

Six million.”

What! Make it three and I'll buy. You're not making three hundred percent off me!”

What? Where do you get the three hundred percent?”

The most I would have paid was two million. The building and this lot aren't worth a hundred grand. You have inventory, but with nothing moving, I've got to liquidate and get prices DOWN. The only way I can make it is volume and you're saddling me with a loser here for a manager.”

He smiled, “Ok, three million but not a cent less.”

Did I make a deal here?”

I just lost two million to you?”

Don't worry, it's all staying in the house, if he decides to play by my rules, I'll keep him, but that other clown gets to come back. He sacked him for a lot less than he's getting to stay around for.”

Grant turned to him and said, “The days of free love are over. You just heard the new owner of this outfit. He'll sack you in thirty days if it's not shaped up.”

Jack said, “What do you want done?”

Get these cars all with shoe polish on the side windows spelling out AT COST MARK DOWNS and get them sold to make way for new inventory. Get this lot paved with six inches of asphalt and don't take a fraction of an inch less. If they do, let me know and I'll have the outfit sued to oblivion. You go back to the service department and you find out who is in charge of charging for repairs back there and you tell him if you go out the door, he doesn't want to mess with me because I'll see he's your shadow off the lot. You tell that man to start giving Grade A-1 service back there and you mark it up fifteen percent over the cost of the parts. If he tells you he's going to lose money, you tell him I just lost three million on the cost of that Corvette and you ask him to figure it out.

That lot over there. You get it dozed and you get a showroom ordered which is glass on three sides with three different levels of floor space. I want them to see nine cars from that highway with three on three different levels. Up above that thing, you put a sign that says NO HAGGLE and 15% above cost on the invoice of the thing is what all the cars are priced from now on. You get it paved and as soon as it's paved, you tear down this one and be prepared for five hundred cars to be on this lot. We're going wall to wall cars and balls to the wall pricing. I've got to show that man over there his Ford dealer is fast on the wrong road to competing against me in this town.

When you do all that, you get ahold of Raleigh and get him out here to put that cell phone balloon up in the air advertising free cell phones with every car sold. He'll give you the deal and make sure that customer gets a cell phone free even if they test drive the things.”

How are they going to make money doing that?”

I own ten percent of that cell phone company. If I can't afford to give a few away to charge them out the yin-yang on their bills, I sure can't afford to run this the way it needs ran.

Up there on those poles, you get the brightest lights available and make this lot look like daylight out here it's so brightly lit. THEN, when that's done, I'll be back next month to see it's done. Ok?”

You want all of it done in a month!”

Hell man, it takes three days to pour concrete for that building. It takes a week to put it up and a week for glass people to put in the windows. Figure the electrical people can get the inside done at the same time and I've given you a week to spare.”

He looked at me like I was nuts. “With what money!”

I'll get you money. Don't you worry about it. Your objective is to get your people trained to do that no haggle selling. You tell them if I see them daring to try gouging a customer, I'll have them off the lot. You got me?”

Where are we making the money?”

Did I say a thing about used car pricing? No. That's where you make your money and you make those customers realize they can get a new car cheaper. You stress their payment per month over here and you stress their payment being outrageous over there.”

You're not going to make any money.”

Have you paid attention to things here? My objective is to make that man's Ford dealer suffer. Right now, I don't give a squat about profit or loss. I want this town to realize we're about beating our competition and getting the sales up. If we're selling more than he is, we're going to be getting return customers some day and that will be where he's not going.”

He smiled and Grant chuckled. I winked at Jack and said, “You've got two years to drive that man's Ford dealer into the dust. When it goes, I'll have it up under me and him sorry he sold me this thing.”

I looked over at Grant and said, “My receptionist is working her tail off in there. There's the first asphalter coming on the lot now.” I turned to Jack and said, “Get these cars off the lot. I'm about to tell him to get started.”

I went over to the asphalter's truck. He rolled down his window, “Hi, I got a call saying you want a quote on some asphalt.”

You see this lot?” I said waving my hand around, “Measure it out and tell me what it costs. You see that grassy area over there all the way to that sign?”


Measure it out and tell me what it costs.”

It's going to cost a lot.”

It's probably going to that.”

What are you wanting laid?”

Six inches. If you fuck me on it, I'll sue you on it. I need six inches and not a fraction less.”


I'm prepared to pay whatever, but I don't want this thing cracking and breaking up for ten years. You come back once a year for sealing the thing and don't fuck me on that and you'll get it once a year. You on the same page as me?”

Yeah, it's going to cost a lot.”

Here's the deal, over my shoulder better be a man moving them cars off this lot. If he's not, he's off my lot and I'll do it myself. You go get the equipment and you pour the stuff and get it laid as fast as you can haul it. I need this done like yesterday.”

You're serious about this.”

As a heart attack.”

You're a kid. Where's your dad?”

Hold on a second. I'm about to blow a gasket here. I just bought this son of a bitch for three million and you're telling me I can't afford to pay you? I'll go get someone, but he's going to tell you I'm richer than him, so be prepared.”

No, that's ok, we're fine as long as we get paid.”

Do you know someone who does concrete?”


Give him a call and tell him I need a concrete pad poured over there a foot thick with it being eighty five by eighty five. Tell him not to worry about plumbing or anything else, it's not going to have anyone pissing in it.”

He smiled, “You're serious.”

Yeah, I've got a month to get this up and going to put five hundred cars on this lot. Now, does that sound like I've got time to jack with people?”


High volume traffic. I can't do it with a dust bowl out here. Your job is to get me laid and I'm to see you get paid. Alright?”

He laughed, “Kid, you can get laid. I'll take the pay.”

Now, you figure it up how much this costs and get me in right and I'll remember you when I'm having that gas station out there at the city limits done.”

You own that too?”

No, that's the man over there. He seems to think I'm ignorant about asphalt and it's benefits.”

You're going right on the thickness.”

What I want is for you guys not to taper it at that building. That building is going to be torn down as soon as the new one goes up. We'll have you guys come in and do that hole as soon as we get it down.”

I'll need a check for the asphalt.”

You've not even told me what it's going to cost!”

Write me a check for two hundred thousand and I'll get this all paved for you.”

All the way to the ditch and all the way to the hill and all the way to that sign from that road and I'll do it.”

Ok, if that's how you want it, you just have these cars moved.”

They're out of here. I'll park them at Wal-Mart if I gotta. When are you starting?”

Let me go get my equipment and we'll get on it.”

I went over to Grant and said, “I need a check for two hundred thousand for these guys.”

What the hell for?”

Asphalt. They're asphalting from that ditch to that hill. From that sign to that road.”

“That's like ten acres.”

Yeah, I better own it because it's about to get paved.”

You own it, You own to the top of that hill.”

Good, I'll park four wheel drive trucks up on that hill.”

You're going gang busters.”

It's gotta get done. I want everyone to suddenly see a big difference out here and you to feel the crunch in one months time.”

He laughed, “Ok, I asked for it, so I'll deal with it.”

I appreciate it. Now that man says he's not moving without that check.”

I'll get it for you.”

He went inside and I said, “Here's my cell phone. He's getting you the check. Start calling your guys and show him you can get it paved in no time at all.”

It's going to take two days.”

Alright, that's a deal. I appreciate the speed.”

If it rains, we're screwed.”

If it rains, I'll get you an umbrella. You lay it and use hot roll.”

You know asphalt.”

Do you know Chris Powers?”

Yeah, his dad is on my crew.”

He's my best friend. His dad is one of the best people I know.”

Is it your grandma who just got killed?”

Yeah. Last night.”

She left you that much money?”

The life insurance is enough to cover this. I'm doing what I need to get a return on that money as fast as possible.”

Consider this job going down in cost by a half.”

Do me a favor if you will. You take the check and you pour that man's asphalt over there with the rest.”

I'll need to measure it.”

It's not bigger than this. Use whatever you have leftover from that and pour it down the hill between the trees behind the place. We'll put in a trailer court back there and he'll be amazed I know how to make money.”

He laughed, “I hope this land is yours.”

I just found out it is. I own all the way up that hill. If you could asphalt the thing, I'd put cars on it.”

I'll get as high as I can with it.”

I appreciate it. Tell that concrete man to speak with Jack out here. Jack don't know jack, but I'll have him sort of in the loop.”

Jack Reilly?”


You having him run it for you?”

I got no choice in it. He sort of came with the package. As you can see, it's not wrapped in pretty ribbons with him being a part of it.”

You'll lose your ass.”

Not with it being so simple a chimp could run it. I'm going fifteen percent above invoice on everything including repairs. If he can't figure that out, I'll get him a different calculator.”

He laughed, “You're serious!”


When does this start?”

Right now, but these vehicles here are marked down to bare cost. They've got to go.”

I'll take four pick ups and we'll deal with it for the rest.”

Two wheel or four wheel?”

Two wheel.”

Loaded or unloaded?”


I'll get them for you.”

I turned around and yelled, “Yo Jack!”


I just sold four pick up trucks here. You ready to deal?”


You heard me.”

I turned to him and said, “Jack doesn't listen so well either. It's hard for him to comprehend some things like a kid can run it better than him.”

He laughed, “I think you'll make a go of it if you give everyone that deal.”

Everyone gets these at cost. All the new arrivals will be fifteen percent above cost. It's that simple.”

Dump trucks too?”

Yeah, but I don't think they have any of them here.”

No, but will you do that on dumps if I order them?”


Let me get the word out. I'll have all sorts of customers for you.”

Alrighty then!” I said smiling.

I'm going to get to going. Here comes that check.”

Grant came up and said, “Jack's bitching you just sold four trucks.”

Yeah, this guy's buying four loaded two wheel drive trucks at cost. That's four off the lot which gets me volume up.”


The guy asked, “When do you want that other one done?”

Can you do all of it but the main station before Sunday?”

Next week we can.”

Ok, do the main station on Sunday and I'll have him shut it.”

Six inches there?”

Put six on the station and four everywhere else. To the sides of the station on those access points with the road, you might go with six.”

Grant asked, “What are you doing?”

He's doing this for half cost. I just got your station and everything done out there done with this money too. Now, aren't you happy?”

That's more than enough for all this money.”

It should be. I'm having him run the excess on down the hill behind the station for roads.”


Trailer court. You can park house trailers back there and have all sorts of money coming in.”

We need to talk about it.”

I turned to the guy. “Go ahead and get started, we'll be fine here.”

Thanks guy!”

He left and Grant stood there with his hands on his hips. “Babe, you can be so cute, but you can be a real headache.”

All our money is staying in the house. I sure don't know why you insisting upon selling to me.”

I'm not selling to you. I had to have Jack think I sold it to you in order to get him to working for you.”

Well, he's doing it now and I'm going to have a helluva dealer out here.”

We're going to have a helluva dealer out here. Do you realize you just got this going within an hour?

Yeah, it's cool, isn't it!”

You want to do that to the Ford dealer?”

No. I want that Ford dealer to move. It's show lot isn't big enough, but it'll be big enough for our used car lot we'll need from all the sales here.”

Where do you want the Ford dealer?”

Put it out between the nursing home and the grocery store. I believe you own that lot.”

How'd you know?”

I've seen them mowing it. If your family didn't own it, they'd not have your O co truck pulling the trailer with the mower on it.”

Oh, well we do own that. The grocery store is mine too.”

Man, you've got everything wrapped up here!”

I wish. But, for your information, that's an amazing place for the dealer. I hadn't thought of it.” He paused and said, “Don't tear down that old building.”


I'm thinking about Toyota going in there.”

Ok, that's a deal.”

He laughed, “I'm sorry for having you so upset.”

Is most of your family that dumb?”

Jack's fine. He's used to taking it slower paced than normal.”

He's in the wrong job then because I'm planning on moving a lot of vehicles here.”

I'd say! He's already sold more in one day than he has in about two weeks.”

That's nothing compared to what we're going to move. I want those guys in there getting their six percent and us getting nine on the vehicles. It's a drop in profit, but when you figure we'll sell above five hundred a year, we'll make about the same. Where we'll clean up is on that service department.”

I'm sorry about that. I had no idea they were so slow back there.”

It's not your fault. I might've hit at a bad time, but I had a feeling there should've been a lot more than one car in there.”

There should be.”



Keep the bathroom available in the old dealer building because I sort of didn't make the new one with a bathroom.”

Why not?”

I want those guys in the new one to be focused upon selling.”

Your idea on that three level selling floor is going to be nice.”

It's got to show the people driving by the cars in their best light.”

You're doing something really smart with that no haggle price thing.”

I wish I could take credit for it, but I heard a tidbit about GM's new pricing strategy they're thinking about implementing and it's a no haggle plan like that. It has everyone thinking they're getting the rock bottom price they'd ever get and coming here because they know they'd get screwed with hidden costs everywhere else.”

He turned, “Look at him! He's got everyone moving cars!”

I laughed, “We need to get the four wheel drives up on the hill. I don't know why he's not utilized it before.”

Me neither, but it's a cool idea.”

Down at St. Louis, they do that with the Hummers. Heck, they've got an off road course for people to road test them on the hills there.”

We could do that up there. All we have to do is put some hills of dirt and let them drive over them.”

Right, but this guy says he can pave up the hill.”


Yeah, so whatever he wants to pave, we'll let him pave. We'll stuff this thing with cars and do great.”

How are we going to know what to order?”

Take the last three years of sales and see what sold. If they sold it in the past three years, then we'll put it out here. We're bound to find someone who wants it.”

Ok, are you ready to go?”

Yeah, but let's pull this guys trucks off to the side so he knows we're sincere about this sale.”

What's he want?”

Loaded two wheel drive trucks. I'd say three quarter ton since he's in the construction business.”

Ok, that's a deal.”

We went over and I found Jack. “Jack, start pulling the trucks up on the hill. We're going to use the top of the hill for four wheel drives and the hill for regular trucks.”

We can't do that.”

Why not?”

If you park it for an extended period of time with the nose down, it'll make the bearing seal get saturated and you'll have a bad engine sooner.”

Damn. Ok, we'll do something different on that hill. Just the same, he's going to pave up it.”


From that sign out there to the road and from that ditch to the hill is all going to be paved. We need an '85x85' foot spot for the new building set at an angle so the people driving up the highway can see the cars in it.”

I like that new idea you've got.”

Which one?”

Well, all of them. We're going to really be selling some cars.”

It's got to work. Grant's already starting to get queasy about his Ford dealer.”

He laughed, “Good, we'll have him on the ropes yet!”

Let's hope. If not, I'll look like a real idiot here.”

My name's on the line.”

Well, we'll look like idiots together, but if we don't make it, I'll save your name.”

Thanks, but I think you're going to be amazed.”

We need white shoe polish for the windows. That old boy just bought four trucks at cost. He's wanting to run out and tell everyone about the fifteen percent mark up from invoice, so it's going to work well. I hope.”

I think it will.”

I'll help you move cars. When that one guy gets back, we're going to put him onto getting the sales papers done for the trucks. It'll keep him busy and thinking he's doing good.”

You didn't really like him, did you?”

No, but if you know one thing is you can make life hard for someone and then make it better and they'll know what you're really capable of.”

That's what you did with me.”

Yeah, but I was pissed you fired him.”

I know.”

Jack, between you and I, I want to ask you a question.”


Are you gay?”

He had a look like he was a deer in the headlights. “!”

You sure? Because if you are, I was going to set you up with someone. If you're not, that's fine too.”


Jack, please don't ever think you've got to lie to me. I can deal with the truth and I'll respect you more for it. Yeah, I might be upset if you tell me we lost a million this year, but I'd rather hear it than have to get you found in lies doing it. Ok?”


Now, if you're gay, I'll set you up. If not, then I won't.”

Who is it?”

I can't say. I've not talked with him about it, and that'd not be fair about putting his name out there. I'm not going to put your name out there to him until I ask him and when I do, I'll get you both together and see if it's a situation where you like him. If you do, that's great. If you don't, then we'll find you someone else.”

I'm gay, but don't tell Grant.”

Why not?”

He doesn't know.”

You know he is, don't you?”

I suspected, but I hadn't heard.”

Well, he is. I am, so you're a part of the club here.”

You two together?”

Do you think we are?”

I think if you aren't, he needs his head examined. You're good for him.”

His dad said the same thing.”

His dad knows!”


Oh man, Uncle Bud is one of the ones I was worried about the most.”

Don't be, he's a great guy.”


Yeah, he likes his heater too high in the car and the Gaither's too loud, but besides that, I think he's pretty neat.”

He'll play a lot of jokes on you.”

I figured that out. He had me believing all sorts of things earlier today.”

He'll do that.”

We went off and moved cars until we had them all off the lot. We were just walking back across the lot when six semi dump trucks showed up with steaming beds full of asphalt and two lowboy trailers with paving equipment came. We went over and the smell of hot asphalt was intoxicating.

Hi guys!”

The guy smiled, “You sure got them off the lot fast!”

You got here fast. Do the central part and we'll move them back.”

We'll have this done all the way over tonight. You can put them back and we'll do the ditches and the hill tomorrow.”

Ok, you using the vibrating roller?”

Yeah, how'd you know?”

I know it gets the air out and a more compact spread. It lasts longer when you do that.”

We use it for high traffic areas. Since this lot will be a special pour, we'll do it all like that. You going to want a gravel underlayment under the asphalt over there?”

Do you think it'll need it?”

I doubt it going as thick as we will. What I'll do is have them spray hot tar down and we'll have a good coating so no grass will grow through.”

I appreciate it.”

Chris' dad came over, “Hi Jake. I'm sure sorry to hear about your grandma.”

Me too. Thanks for taking my call last night.”

Did you get funeral plans made?”

Yeah, it's going to be Saturday at two o'clock.”

Visitation Friday night?”

Yeah, at Vincents.”

Good, it gives everyone plenty of time to get a chance to pay their respects.”

Do you think many will come?”

I imagine. With word getting out about the prison escape and her being killed, there's quite a bit of news crews over in front of your house. I thought I'd forewarn you.”

Do you know what they're saying?”

No, I just saw all the news trucks.”

Ok, I need to tell Grant so he's prepared.”


Grant Oberling, he'll be raising me.”

Your grandma let him do that?”


I'm surprised, she had a long running fued with the Reillies.”


Yeah, it goes all the way back to these guys grandma and Grant's grandma doing something to yours in some form or other. She never forgave it.”

Probably spit on the dash or her car.” I said smiling.

He laughed, “She sure rode him hard about that one.”

Yeah, but I know she loved him.”

I do too. Let anyone do anything wrong to either of you and she's turned that hatchet away from Chris and let it go after someone else.”

Are you going to have a problem if Chris stays over sometimes?”

No, not at all. You don't be a stranger over at our house either.”

I'm not. You know I won't. You just let me know when you're barbequing, or your wife's cooking and I'll be there with my bib on.”

He laughed, “That's most every night.”

I know!”

I heard you bought this place.”

Yeah, it's going to keep Jack's name on it, but it's my money running it.”

What all are you doing to expand?”

Honestly, I'll tell you and then you can wonder how far I need my head examined.

You see that sign way up yonder?”


You guys are paving up to there. That's the property line. You're all going out to the ditch where the state right of way is and then up the hill. From what I've heard, I'm getting it all the way to the road too.”

You going to put in culvert over there?”

Do you think they'd let me?”

With the sort of money you're slinging, I think they'd complain after you did it and made sure you paid your twenty five dollar fine, but they'd not do much.”

I'll have to find some culvert then.”

I'll get it for you. We've got that low boy here and that one over there. We can go chain them on and get them into the ditch.”

That'd make it really handy to drive onto the lot.”

Yeah, but what I'd suggest is you leave that front ditch open. I've seen a few cars slide off there in the winter time and it'd be coming right at your cars.”

Ok, we might put up some posts with that huge ocean chain out there.”

Can I suggest you go with that one wrought iron fencing?”

Where do they make it?”

Over at Mexico. They've got a factory there which sells it all over the country.”

I'll work on it. We're sort of working fast.”


I'm selling all these cars at cost. We're ordering a whole new inventory of the past three years of what this place has sold. We're going to a pricing structure which is 15% over invoice period. That means if you buy a part, you can get it put on for fifteen percent of the cost of that part.”

You're going to lose money!”

Nah, we're selling the cars and we're going to make money on the bigger ticket items. We'll lose money on windshield wipers and oil changes, but we're going to have a lot more people doing their service through the dealer that way instead of through everyone else. It's better that way and what I'm hoping is to have another building put up out back which is just for car washes and that sort of thing.”


Ok, you've got to imagine what I'm seeing, but over there is going to be the new Chevy building. Yeah, we'll have Cadillac and Oldsmobile too, but over here in the old building is going to be Toyota. Out back, we're having a new service center go up as soon as I figure out how many bays we'll need. It's separate from the new building so that new building is only getting car people there.

The reason I want the separate car wash building is if you come in to get serviced, you get a car wash with it. It's an add-on and it allows me to push the naugahyde cleaner, carpet stuff, and all the items which make your car look good.”


What I'd really like to do is have another building over there which gets us into tires at low cost. I don't know what the wholesale cost of them is yet, but I'm hoping we can do that same fifteen percent thing.”

You'll sell a lot of tires.”

Yeah, but here's what I envision so bear with me. Right now, tire changing is slow. They do one wheel at a time and they take their time about it. Now, imagine a car race pit crew running out and getting the tires off that car. They take each tire and wheel to a separate machine and bam, they're in there putting it back on in no time at all. I figure you'll take longer picking the tires out than you will getting them put on.”

A lot of tires means a lot of scrap tires.”

Yeah, but with a chipper shredder back there, you guys can mix it into asphalt and I can pull out those belts and put them into the metal scrap bin.”

You'll have to go mighty small.”

Yeah, but it's going to be real nice. I'll use all this space out here and Grant will be begging me to buy his Ford dealer to give him the same treatment over there.”

How much did you get the place for?”

Three million.”

That sounds a bit high.”

It's two million less than what Grant gave. I'll put that two into this place and put some volume out there.”

That's going to be nice.”

It's one of the things.”

So, you're paving is station and all that?”

Yeah, he's raising me, so I figure I'll help him out.”

How's he feel about it?”

He's adjusting. We got into it real heavy earlier, but we're better now.”

What about?”

I wanted to fire Jack, but he wanted to keep him.”

You should've canned him.”

Jack's working for me and he's got a month's probationary period. If at the end of this month he doesn't perform, he's out the door and I'll get movers in here to get cars out the door.”

You'll probably have to do it.”

Did you see my new 'vette?”

I see one over there. It sure looks sharp.”

They got it to me for a lot less than what they should be.”

How much?”

Twenty two...a little less than grandma paid for the Camaro I wrecked.”

You're getting credit for catching them. Did you know that?”


Yeah, I heard the noon news and they were playing up the escape and you wrecking into them to catch them.”

I wish they'd not do all that.”

I know how you feel, but it's news.”

It's vultures trying to pick my grandma to pieces. I don't like it.”

They do it to everyone.”

Just the same, I'm not going to do any of their interviews to play into it. I'll stay clear of the house until later.”

If you need, you can come over.”

We might stay out at the motel. Grant's got his room out there and we could hide out there.”

Your schooling going to be ok?”

Yeah, I'm missing football practice, and tennis practice, but it's not season yet, so we're fine.”

I heard you're going to be playing football!”

Thanks to Chris. He taught me all I know, so I'm going to repay him by getting him up there on the first string.”

That'll be nice. I always thought he should be up there, but I understand the coach's need to showcase his seniors.”

There's not that many who are real good from what I heard. I'll have to see.”

You sure have started to mature in your thinking.”

It's had to come about. Well, I better get to going and forewarn Grant.”

Ok, we'll have this done in no time.”

I appreciate it. I realize the discount is because of you.”

He smiled, “It's about time I get to do you a favor. You've done me a whole mess of them.”


Each time I start to worry about Chris, I find out he's with you and not in any trouble. You don't know how relieving it is to know he's going to grow up without a bunch of problems.”

He will if he doesn't spit on the dash of my 'vette.”

We both laughed and I ran off. I went over to Grant and he stopped doing what he was doing.

What'cha up to?”

I'm getting that new building ordered for that other showroom.”


They're filing papers for those trucks they bought inside. I've called the building people and the guy is coming over.”

Metal building?”


Go with some slope to the roof. It can be covered by lettering.”

How do you want it set?”

I want it so it's a square building. Put the point up front and have those two sides towards the road all glass.”

How do you want the three levels?”

To be honest, we don't need a bunch of fancy stuff to get that. We can get those drive on turn tables and have them with taller legs underneath to get them up into three levels. The main key is I want the back part to be ten offices and that back point to be the back set of doors with a small waiting area. We can prep the cars in the new car wash area which is getting built and they can wait there.”

Car wash area”

I'll catch you up.”

We started walking over to the building area. “Put the building here. That way, we've got inventory over there in two rows and a lot of inventory over there. We can showcase the nice cars over here and have a lot of rows over there of the same thing. With the high power lights, they'll shine real bright at night and catch people's attention.

Now, back here, I want a drive through non contact car wash. The building can have a small seating area in it which has the cleaners in it. People can have their car washed here and we'll use those cleaners on the insides. The plus side of it is when they're getting their car serviced over in the new service center, they guys working on them will have them over here in a flash and ran through the wash. It'll be a service of the service center and be no cost. The objective is to sell a lot of that cleaner and stuff.”

You're thinking it all through.”

I'm trying. I want this to be a low cost alternative for everything. Your gas station does it and you're the most popular in town. We'll do it here and we'll make it affordable for everyone to not even want to work on their car anymore.”

How's that?”

That 15% price mark up for the installation is for everything Grant. You buy windshield wipers for six bucks, it'll be ninety cents to get them installed.”

You'll lose money.”

Nah, we'll be stealing business from everyone else. People will suddenly see getting their car serviced by the professionals is the best way to go. They're getting factory trained people and they're getting a quality product.”

He smiled, “You're making it up on the big ticket items!”

Yeah, but what I'm thinking is having a building out closer to the road which is a tire store. We can have it like a car wash where they drive in and four guys take the wheels off. They go to four different machines instead of one and they get the old tires off and the new on in no time. The person is back out on the road in twenty minutes tops.”


Yeah, but that same 15% mark up from wholesale. We sell cheaper and we get the business.”

That's a nice idea.”

I want it to be that way for us. It gets this place on the map and it gets people to really talking about the service we're doing.”

I like it. I'm glad you're blowing me over with all these ideas.”

I'm trying. It's like it's all coming to me here.”

You ready to go?”

Yeah, but I needed to forewarn you about not going to the house.”


Chris' dad said there was a lot of news crews over there. According to him, the news is really running it and proclaiming me as some sort of hero.”

Well, you should be.”

Nah, you're not seeing it how I am. To me, they need to let it be. I see them as a pack of vultures who are trying to pick grandma to pieces. She wouldn't like that one bit.”

I understand and it's considerate of you.”

If I didn't, you'd have cause to worry. So, rather than do that, I figured I'd tell you and we could hide out at the motel tonight.”

That'll be fine if you want.” He sketched a second and had a nice building drawn up.

That looks nice, but you're not getting what I want exactly.”

“What's missing?”

Can I use this drawing?”


I took it and extended it down so the building was higher off the ground. “There, I want that front glass area to be like twenty feet tall. That way, when people come by, they see inside and it's very clearly opened to see everything with the spotlights on inside.”

Nice thought. I'm seeing it. What color of things between the glass?”

Go with black and go with a bit of tint on the windows. The glare during the day time is going to be a lot, but at night, it'll be able to be seen inside with those bright lights.”

What do you want inside?”

You're going to really think I'm nuts, but I want the concrete to have either marble tiles on it or some really shiny white. I want those offices to be in white and that railing to be in brass for the upper walk. Get Jack the corner office upstairs above that little waiting area and have it all glass up there in the back. It'll command a view and it'll be neat.

What I want for color is a lot of plants and greenery. With all the windows, I think they'll grow real nice and be able to offset the white during the day time. At night, it won't be seen, so its not going to matter.”


I'm tempted to have a waterfall in there someplace to give a sound which isn't the air handling system. It could be real low profile against the wall and then just give sound, or it could be a sort of advertising.”

Like how?”

Do CHEVY in block letters in like gold with water running down the letters. Or do OLDS, or CADDY that way. It could be on a turntable itself and have the water running down.”

How big of letters?”

I don't know. How about a foot tall and have all three with a small pool maybe eight foot in diameter. You could put all of them in there and have down spots on it so it could be seen as glittering with the water movement.”

Nice idea.”

Inside that pool, have brass and white tiles. I want it shimmering like a wishing fountain, but not have coins in it.”

Ok, that's real cool.”

Upstairs, we can have the different departments of the dealership. There could be accounting in one office and finance in another. Another could be the floor manager and then Jack's office. Make the other up there be a team meeting room and where we'd take the hard sell people.”

Hard sell? They're getting the no haggle sell?”

There's always going to be someone who will try to get us down from that low price. We'll park them in there and have them realizing we're not going to come off the deal we're making. The advantage of it is they're watching a bunch of commercials for the car they're wanting, so they get the soft sell that way.”

He smiled, “You think of it all.”

I want one thing in there which you're going to think is way over the top.”

What's that?”

Right in the middle of everything, I want a huge brass chandelier. At night, it can be seen with all those cars under spotlights, and it'll look like the cars are attending a ball when they're turning around on their turntables.”

Nice, it'll be an awesome looking show room.”

I want them to see we're not treating them like a generic customer even though they're getting the low price on the car. Yeah, they're going to be moving some cars, but I want like ten guys selling cars. They can have their own office and feel important, but what I want is for the people to do their own shopping without someone standing over them. If they're interested, that's when I want the guy to give them complete attention.”

That's good.”

But, for those mom and pop people who demand to have attention paid, we'll need a couple of guys to do that sort of sell too. The one thing I insist is all these people from Jack on down wear matching suits. I want them to look sharp and not like they just came off the golf course to sell a car. These guys are a class act and they need to have that down so they all look like they belong in that show room.”

Wearing the same suit every day?”

Nah, we can do it in different colors for each day. However, if someone wears the wrong suit, they've got to go home and change. I don't want nine guys in a dark gray and one in a dark navy blue. That'd look terrible.”

So five suits for ten guys. That's fifty suits!”

Yeah, but that's five hundred cars a year minimum going out the door. Now, what did they sell here last year?”

I think Jack said it was a hundred and seventy.”

So roughly one percent of the population bought a car here.”

That doesn't sound good, does it?”

No, but my goal will be ten percent in ten years. I think we can do it when word gets out about the place.?”

What if GM insists upon their signage be on top of the building?”

Give it to them. I'll go with four by eight lit signs of NO HAGGLE GUARANTEE up on the hill with 15% ABOVE COST so no one is going to miss it. We've got that hill and we can use it however we see fit and with some nice ever greens up there to be a backdrop, it's going to look sharp.”

I like it.”

We're going for the bright is better theme. It's going to be a bit garish, but I want them to see the cars are clean and shiny and just as good as the guy down the road. I'll be willing to bet the people down in Columbia are going to hate us when we get to advertising on their station we're undercutting their price. They'll have to match our price, or we'll get the customer to drive up here.”

You'll get them up here. Those guys are a bit notorious about their pricing.”


Yeah, they did a study on that dealer down there and five different people got five different prices. The news did it and they weren't kind to them.”

Good, we'll have them picked off in no time.”

He smiled, “You compete like you do playing tennis. You stack the deck so much in your favor you're bound to win.”

Coming in second sucks.”

A guy came over, “Are you the owner?”

Yes sir.”

I'm here to talk with you about the building you're wanting.”

You need to speak with him, he's got it drawn up.”

Grant showed the man the drawing and he studied it. “You want it how fast?”

Grant said, “A month at the tops. Constructed, built, and ready.”

I can't do it.”

Ok, thanks for your time.”

No one can get it done in that short of time. You're not even ready to build!”

I said, “Sir, you see that crew over there laying asphalt? They said I couldn't get this whole place laid in a week. They just got two hundred grand and they're getting it for me in two days. I'll find a crew of guys who will get me that building thrown up, you best bet yourself I will.”

You're what!”

You heard me, I've got a month's deadline on what I want and I've got to have it a month from today. The lot will be ready and so will everything else. We're going to really be doing a lot of things here, but an I can't attitude won't be one of them.”

What's so special about it?”

Lost money is what we've got. I want to sell more cars for the rest of this year than we did the entire year last year. I figure if we throw nice at the people who drive by, they'll stop to see what it's all about. They'll buy because our prices will be so low.”

How low?”

Fifteen percent above what the factory charges us. You figure I got a thirty seven thousand dollar Corvette over there for twenty two, so you'll see we can get people deals.”

Those cars out there on that same deal?”

No, those out there are at cost. I've getting rid of them to get new inventory in. If you see one you like, let me know and I'll tell you it's going to be a lot less than that sticker says.”

I like that Olds over there.”

Let's go look at it.”

I turned to Grant and said, “See how much that Trofeo costs. I think it said twenty one thousand.”

I'll check.”

We went out there and the sticker said twenty one thousand. Grant came out and said, “The cost on it is fourteen seven.”

The guy looked shocked. I said, “Sir that'd be fourteen seven. If it was our new pricing on it, it'd be sixteen nine oh five. It's still a savings of a little over four grand off the sticker.”

I'll take it! What are you going to get me for that trade in?”

Go in and see a guy in the brown suit. Tell him you want it and he'll get you the trade in on yours. You might want to pull your car into the service area since they're asphalting near it.”

Ok, I'll do that. Your guys can check it out.”

He left and Grant smiled, “You sold him a car but didn't buy his building.”

I'm thinking we might have to build this thing from scratch. It might be a bit tougher than I thought.”

I'll run this by a friend of mine and see what he'll do for me. If we need to go from scratch, do you want it in metal still?”

Nah, do cinderblock and brick veneer with a dark brick. It'll look richer against this dark asphalt.”

That's a thought.”

He held out his hand, “You ready to go by and see him?”

Sure. My car or yours?”

Mmmm, how about we go to the motel and drop mine off and you drive us.”

Remember I've got to meet Roger and go out to Prather's yet.”


What's that look for?”

I wanted us to spend some time together.”

IT's not going to take all night. We can spend time together, but I've got to feel Roger out on seeing Jack. If he doesn't want to, then we're going to have to find some other people.”

Jack wants to?”


When did you talk to him?”

When we were out there parking cars.”

You just came right out and asked him?”

Yeah, what's so bad about that?”

You blow me away with that.”

It's not like it's a major thing.”

It is to him.”

He told me he was and I told him we were and he wanted to know if we were together.”

What'd you tell him?”

I asked him if he thought we were and he said you needed your head examined if we weren't.”

He smiled, “Good, I'm glad he likes that thought.”

I didn't say yes, and I didn't say no. All I told him was we were and left it at that.”

Good. I like that idea.”

We walked over to our cars and I got in the 'vette. It was the first time I'd been inside it. I adjusted everything and then buckled in. I drove out across the parking lot and then followed Grant to the station. When we got there, he hopped out of his car and pointed over to the pump. I pulled over and he filled it. He ran inside and soon, he was back out.

I looked over and saw Chris. He waved and I pointed for him to come over.

He bud, how's it going?”

Slow, but they said it's that way. I love the car.”

It's sharp, isn't it. Would you check the oil and fluids?”

Sure, pop the hood.”

I popped it and he checked the fluids. “You're fine.”

Ok, I was making sure. When you get a chance, go over to the Chevy dealer tomorrow and pick one out for yourself. I'll tell them you can have whichever one you want.”



What's the catch?”

Nothing man.”

That red Camaro out there.”

Ok, I'll get it for you. Your dad's out there laying a new parking lot right now.”

What for?”

I bought the dealer. It's going to be ran under the Reilly name still, but we're doing a lot of work on it.”

You might not want to go by your house.”

Your dad told me. I think it stinks they're doing that.”

Did you see the paper?”

No, what's it say?”

You're a big time hero.”

Did Grant get mentioned?”


Then see how much they really know? He was there and they totally don't give him any credit.”

He leaned forward and asked, “Are you and he like ummm?”

Between you and I, we're putting it together.”

What about Jared?”

Jared's dad. If it weren't for that, I'd not have a problem with Jared, but it sucks he can't spend any time with me and when he does, he gets beat down. I'll not cause him those sorts of problems.”

He'll be hurt.”

It's just not possible. IF he wants someone, there's Aaron.”

What about Aaron's dad?”

We're setting him up with someone else.”

He going to be cool with that?”

I don't know. We can only hope.”

What are you doing now?”

We're going to see a man about building a new building for the dealer. When we're done, we'll be back over here. I think we're staying in his room at the motel tonight. Are you going to work out later?”

Yeah, it's a thing we can do when we work here.”

It's nice, isn't it.”

Yeah, I'm real happy I get to work here.”

They treating you ok?”

Yeah, we're all talking about you playing on the team.”

You be sure to tell them you taught me all I know about the game.”

They don't believe me.”

They'll see different when I get you on first string.”


You're my best friend, why wouldn't I get you on there?”

He smiled, “Thanks.”

No problem. You'd do it for me, so I'm doing it for you.”

Some of the other guys came over to the car. “Hey guys.”

You got a new car?”

I sort of wrecked the hell out of the other one.”

We heard. Sorry to hear about your grandma.”

Thanks. She was one of a kind.”

Where are you staying now?”

Grant's raising me.”

Man, no wonder you got a new car!”

No, this came from insurance money from mine and my grandma's cars. Grant's money didn't pay for this.”


Nah, my grandma had a 'vette, so I got one to remember her by.”

I remember your grandma's 'vette. I'm glad they weren't driving that when you took them out.”

Me too. Just the same, I would've done it. I had no idea at the time what they'd done to her, so they got off lucky.”

Grant came out and got in. “See ya later guys.”

They all left and I went out to the road. “Which way?”

Back towards town. We're going over nearly to the prison.”

Ok, I can take the shortcut.”


I drove over past the park and past the college. It shaved off a lot of time getting us there. When I got to the road, I went out past the prison towards Renick.

Up here, take a left.”


Back that road and to the right.”

We went down the gravel and rocks flew off the exhaust. When we got to the cross road, he had me take a right. We went down it and soon, we were at a big house.


Nice house.”

Nice and huge. He builds them, so he can afford it.”

We went to the door and Grant rang the door bell. A guy answered the door in blue jeans and no shirt. “Grant!”

Hey Ted, this is Jake. Jake, this is Ted. Ted, do you have a moment, I need something built.”


We went in and sat down at the dining room table. Grant showed him what we were wanting and Ted said, “I can get it done. How soon do you need it?”

A month.”


It's a rush job. Jake bought the dealer from me and wants it ready to go whole hog in a month's time.”

I can get it done, but it's going to take a lot of men.”

Whatever it takes.”

You don't have a bathroom in there.”

No, we don't want it there.”

You've got water there and no bathroom or way to get water in there.”

I looked at Grant. “Sounds like you've got to have a bathroom.” he said with a small smile.

Ok, but that means we've got to have two bathrooms and both have to be nice.”

Ted said, “I'll get it thrown into the plan. Now, how soon does it have to be ready for concrete?”

Concrete's getting poured tomorrow.”

Oh man, that means I've got to scoot on getting some pipe laid and a septic tank. We're going to have to leave a trench open to the other showroom for that piping.”

I asked, “Can you bury the electricals in that trench?”

Yeah, that'll be cool.”

I can get the concrete people to wait if you need it.”

If you can get me a day, I'll do what I can to prep it. How big of a leech field you want on the septic?”

Whatever you think it needs.”

I'd prefer the bigger the better. It gets me out of jams and you out of a lot of money if we have problems later. We're sort of flying under the radar with this...not having a building inspector and all.”

Grant asked, “Can you get him on board with it?”

Yeah, it's not a dwelling, so he'll be fine with signing on. He knows I don't build junk.”

How much?” I asked.

Since the concrete isn't my part of the job, I'd say it'll be a hundred grand at tops.”

Why so cheap?”

It's a simple plan. The electrical is all along the two outer walls and what isn't there, is up in the ceiling. It's a nice plan and uncomplicated.

Now, do you want it to be suspended ceiling?”

Nah, leave it exposed. It adds to the low overhead thing.”

He smiled. “A chandelier with no ceiling and low overhead. I think it's far out, but I really like the look of it. Now, what I want to ask is if I can have another four foot up?”

Sure, do whatever you need.”

I'm wanting that four feet because it gets me some space up there and it doesn't hang down in front of those windows. We've got eight feet above them which allows a lot of things for me to get done.”


Do you want me to do the glass?”

Grant asked, “Can you do that?”

I'll subcontract it, but it's going to be a lot better if I get them to put a rush on it instead of you guys.”

Alright, then do it.”

He said, “Can I do something for you guys?”

What's that?” Grant asked.

You're going with a lot of high end look. I think if you went with a brass treatment on the windows instead of all that shading, it'd reflect the sunlight a lot better.”

I asked, “What does that do to the showroom at night?”

It's transparent. You'll see everything fine.”

Ok, now, can you get that marble?”

They've got a product called Corian out. They make countertops out of it. It looks like marble, but it's real durable. The plus side of it is I can get them to do a treatment on it and have you looking brilliant.”

What's that?” Grant asked.

They can route it and do inlays. I can get a brass inlay going in it which can have the Chevy logo. Heck, for that matter, at the front doors, we can have the word Chevrolet done up in their script in brass.”

Grant nodded and said, “That's be nice. We'll do that.”

He smiled, “I'll tell you guys now when this building gets thrown up, the biggest problem you'll have is getting lighting into those offices upstairs with no ceiling above them. My advice is to look into going to the ceiling with the walls and running a long continuous strip of suspended fluorescent fixtures down that wall. With one bank of light switches, you can have them on with one throw, but you can have them on all the time if you want.”

I looked at Grant and he said, “Go with on all the time. It's better for security.”

Ted nodded and said, “Once again, it's easier that way and we're looking at a lot of money saved by not having to wire in switches. Now, what for the heat?”

Electric. Everything else is electric.” Grant said.”

Where are you putting it?”

Grant shrugged and Ted said, “Tell your concrete people I'll do the concrete. We'll put water tubing into the floors and heat the water in an electric boiler in a small utility closet. It'll be easy to do if it's located in with where you're going to have mop buckets and things.”

Grant said, “I didn't design that in.”

I'll put it over here. It's in the corner and no one will really see it's there. The door doesn't need to be big, so we're doing great. I can put all the breakers for the electricity there too.”

Grant nodded and Ted asked, “When do you think you're going to tell me guys?”

Grant looked surprised, “No one's supposed to know. He's underage and it'd get me prison.”

I'm fine with it, but you two have more interaction with your eyes than most married people do. I already know Jake didn't buy that dealership, so the next question I had to ask myself was why you were trying to tell me that lie. The only thing I could figure out is Grant's got a kid he's in love with and he's trying to keep me out of it.”

Grant said, “We're saying it's Jake's because Jack wouldn't work for Jake unless we made a big production of it.”

Have you ever thought about firing the fucker?”

Jake wanted to, but you know.”

Yeah, the asshole is your cousin therefore he gets the rights to use you as a door mat. None of the rest of us do that, so what gives?”

I looked surprised and Ted laughed, “Yeah, I'm his cousin too. Different mother than Jack, but same dad. Try to figure it out without saying we're inbred and it's a mess.”

I know my forehead scrunched, “Huh?”

Ted laughed and said, “Sisters married the same guy. My mom married him first and had me. Then he married Jack's mom and she put up with him a lot longer.”

So your step brother is your cousin?”


I looked at Grant and asked, “That sounds weird.”

Everyone laughed and Ted said, “If you saw the guy, you'd ask yourself if he was hung like a mule or something because he sure didn't have anything going for him.”

Grant said, “Probably a talented tongue.”

I chuckled and Ted said, “Nah, my mom would've kept him around if he had that.”

So you're Jack's cousin brother.”

“I don't like claiming him as either. He's the one who thinks he's too good for everyone and I'm the one who works for a living.”

Grant smiled, “Yeah, tell me another.”

Ok, I'm the one who drives around in the truck telling all the rest of my guys to look busy. It works, so there!”

Grant said, “Jake, Ted's one of the few relatives I'm not supporting.”


Ted laughed, “Nah, he just keeps me fed by making sure I'm always building something for him.”

Good, we'll need you for the new Ford dealership after this is done.”

Ted grimaced, “Do I gotta?”

Grant laughed and pointed at him, “Jake, he'd build a dog house and tell you he built the best he could for a Ford. He hates the cars something terrible.”

But I need the best for it and you're the one who doesn't spend all his time telling me it can't be done.”

Ted smiled, “Go ahead, tell me what you want. You blew up my ego.”

I want an oval shaped building. Their logo is oval, so I want it in that shape. IT's got to be showing broadside to the street with a lot of windows and looking like the windows and the glass are all the same material.”


Do you know that gray plastic?”


That's how I want the building to look with the windows to look the same. There can't be frames showing and it's got to look really futuristic.”

Thanks a lot kid. I've built all sorts of things in this world from treehouses to sky scrapers, but you want an oval building.”

I need an oval building, but you're going to just be amazed how I want it.”

Try me.”

Ok, I need a piece of paper.” I drew an oval cylinder and then loped off the side towards the front. “I need the roof to show it's a Ford emblem in the script. It needs to be underlit and be in blue.”

Ted looked at me and said, “You're sure you're not an architect?”

No, I just think of these things and it seems cool. I figure if I like them, everyone else will. The thing about it is there's an undercurrent of the thing which is Grant being supposed to being in competition with me. So, his follow up to what I'm doing would have to be attention getting and looking totally different than what I built. Since it's a new Ford dealer, I'd say it'd be nice if he went that direction.”

Ted smiled, “So, you two are supposed to be in competition and no one's supposed to know you're really in cahoots?”


He smiled, “Oh man, you're playing the competition thing and banking on it, aren't you!”

Yeah. Now, what I want over there is the theme of that oval. An oval pool out front with the oval logo light in it and small fountains up around it. All of it's in that gray plastic and even the bushes will be oval or sculted in the Ford script.”

Ted smiled and said, “Man, this is amazing because I'm seeing it all. What I need to do is put that rectangular building for their service center out back. We could do a normal building back there, so it's not a problem. Now, what I want to ask you is if it has to be plastic.”

I'm seeing gray plastic.”

Plastic doesn't do well in the sunlight. It's going to warp, and it's going to probably get brittle.”

Then can you do it in stainless steel and acid etch it so it's flat?”

Ted laughed, “Ooh, that just spent a ton of money, but it'd work. I'd have to work on the way we'd put the panels on, but I think I could do it without a big problem. We could drill some oblong holes so they'd slide on bolts. It'd stay because we could tighten them underneath.”

Grant said, “I'm not following there.”

Ok, look at it as this.” He drew a rectangle without one of the long sides. Instead, he had little ell shaped legs. “you can bolt them together and bolt to the building and underneath, that building could be either wood construction or concrete panels. With that top being at a cant, I'd say we should go with concrete and use some structural steel up top to get that roof to stay there. It would be a metal roof with the Ford script being up on legs and being underlit. My suggestion is to go with that script in a mylar so you can get in there to work on the neon underneath.”

Neon!” Grant said sounding shocked.

It's got to be neon Grant. It's got to be white light and it's got to be something durable and long lasting. With that slope, it's going to be impossible to get up there and put a bunch of bulbs in.” Ted said looking real serious. “It's all able to be done and when it's done, you're going to have a piece of artwork as well as one of the classiest dealers in their whole system.”

Grant nodded, “It's all sounding like a lot of money.”

It's going to be money, but what you don't know is with the futuristic approach, it's going to look nice for a lot of years to come. He's spending money, but he's saving you money because you're not going to have to remodel.”

Ok, see what can be done, but I don't want a high volume place like he's running.”

Why not?”

There's not enough land over there where you're wanting it.”

Oh, where else could we put it?”

North of town beyond the airport is about the only place we could put it without going way south of town on the highway. All the rest is with those high banks and hills.”

What about next to the station but fronting the new highway?”

We could put it behind the station, but it'd take cutting down all those trees.” Grant said.

It'd give you the space and it'd be helping your business.”

Let me think on it.”

Play Maker


Notes From Retta:

To those who have been patient and have waited for the chapters to be posted, I would like to Thank you. If you'd like to see the upcoming chapters, please email me and I'll send them to you. I've already given a lot of people the chapters and have no qualms about sending them if you'd like to read them sooner.

Thanks for your interest in the story.

From My Keyboard To Your Heart,


Copyright Notice - Copyright © 2008 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 – 2008 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.