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 Eight:

I looked over at Ted and Grant. Ted looked down and Grant said, “I think we need to call it a day on all this.”

I shook Ted's hand and said, “It's nice to meet you. You're on the same page as me. Even if we don't work on this, we'll work on something some day.”

He nodded and I went out of the house. I sat in the car and thought about things. A huge part of me wanted to leave him here. Another more practical side realized if I left him, I'd be put in a home. The insecure side of me told me the stock certificates were in his safe and I needed to get them back.

About five minutes later, Grant came out. Without saying anything, I started the car and started to drive back.

You want to talk to me about what went on in there?” Grant asked.

Nope, I'm just driving back to the station, getting my stock certificates, and getting you a check for that asphalt. Then, I'm going home to my house and living my life.”

You're upset.”

Nah, no more upset than someone who can't commit on something. I'll leave that alone and let you deal with it. You've got my perspective on things, and now, I'll cut out and take my chances...with those stock certificates.”

You're pissed about those stock certificates.”

I can't believe you took them from the house without asking.”

I can't believe you expect me to upset my life without asking. Now we're both stuck in it.”

Nah, we're not stuck in anything. You got asphalt and you've got the view of my tail lights just as soon as you see those stock certificates in my hand.”

I don't want to argue.”

We're not. I've got three choices here. Either I don't do as you want and I go to a home whereas when I get out, I'll live my life with all I've got left after you and everyone else sell things out from under me. Or, I've got you in my life and I'm like a rocket with a cable tethered to the ground. Or, I'm in a home.”

How about giving things time?”

Which part don't you understand? There's not enough time! We live with a certain number of days and when that times up, we're dead and we don't have any more chances to make things better.

Quite frankly, I'm sick of being the brunt of people who don't have enough time to see things through. My mom and dad died. They didn't see it through. My grandma died and she didn't see it through. You and I start off and now, either I play the game your way, or I don't have you see it through.”

Is that what you think?”

It's the way shit happens. I don't like it, but when things happen enough times, I see me being the brunt of it and I sure don't need to be a part of non-commitment.”

Because I don't do things your way, I'm not committed. IS that what you're seeing?”

I see so many successes Grant, but I see a lot of room for improvement. I thought I'd step in and help, but in order to do it, it takes you helping yourself.”

You just don't realize it, do you?”

Then explain it to me. Make excuses for it and let me see what it is.”

OOH, damn you piss me off! You make me realize how much I did to others and now, I realize it's coming back to me in droves.”

Well, you don't have to worry about me pissing you off anymore. We'll get those stock certificates in my hand and I'll leave you alone. No more piss offs and no more disappointments.”

Would you talk with me?!”

I'm talking.”

You open up for a split second and then you release your dagger you're throwing and then you shut back down. It's like talking to a mirage. You're there and then, you're not.”

I'm here.”

You're not. You've shut down on things. I see you get hurt and you shut down. Either I'm for you, or I'm against you and I don't get to stay in your life. Don't you realize things happen and there's a limit with what you can or can't do?”

I realize it with you. I see someone who is so afraid of doing something he's put shackles around his ankles. Me, I'm trying to get you to look down and see they're not there anymore and you're starting to run and then, you stop on me. There's always an excuse. I don't get it.”

What's this about? I feel like I'm playing chess in the dark. You say something just enough to be vague.”

Which one do you want?”

I want it all!”

Ok, first of all, you tried putting shackles around my ankles with Jack. To be blunt, I would've fired him. You made me keep him and then you play a game where I'm buying it. So, I agree to buy it and then, you listen to what I'm going to do about making things better. You got that and apparently, you liked the idea, so you ran with it and suddenly, it's not mine anymore. Big fake out. You not only faked him out, but you faked me out.

So, I'm running with it that we're going to work together on that as a team. We go out here and whoo hoo, I'm pouring out the ideas again and whoa, Grant's got shackles on again.”

I can't build it out there. You're not seeing that.”

Then why not say that! Sheesh, we can build someplace else.”

We've got no other options.”

Did someone else buy up all the land in the world and say they're not selling to you?”


Then what is it?”

I don't want to run super bargain outlet car dealers. It cheapens the experience. It takes away the mom and pop aspect of our town.”

Is that why you bought the town?...because you want to control it so it doesn't thrive?”

Is that what you think of me?”

Listen, my grandma liked the thought of shopping out there so much she drove to Columbia to get away from shopping there. Doesn't that give you a clue?

You want to say the guy down there gives five different prices on five different sales, but ultimately, I want to tell you one thing. I bet you...just bet you each one of those prices beat Reilly Chevrolet all to hell. And that, sir, is why I think you're pissed about the guy.

So, my plan gets people a better deal without guys in plaid suits acting like shell game hosts and the customer knows they're getting the same deal as everyone else. The key there is you can give someone a real good deal, but without variety, you're going to get a shut dealer and then, the customer still drives to Columbia to deal with that other guy.”

Is that what you want to do? Do you want to be a car dealer?”

No, I want a relationship where I'm believing what you're saying. Right now, you're telling me it's mine. Then, you're saying it's mine when you friggin' die. With the way people die around me, I'd say I better get started because I know it's going to happen sooner than later.

So, I start making improvements and bam, you slam that door again on my dick. Well, here's the way I see it. Either it's a game and you're trying to play with my head, or you're uncommitted about our relationship, or you're selfish, or you're wanting mine and not willing to share yours. Well, you can't have those stock certificates. I'm not laying them on the table to share. Give them back and I'll go out and do what I want in life and if I decide I'm going to build something to help a customer in this world, I'm going to do it in such a way, I'm giving them variety, and a good deal.”

Can we talk about this?”

What's to talk about? Am I right?”

You're probably right more than you know.”

Well, then give me the stock certificates back and have a good life. I'm not going to play your shell game and I'm not going to be a part of any bait and switch routine. I'll be me and I'll raise my own damned self.”

Don't you want to hear my reasons?”

Reasons are excuses. 'I can't do this with you Jake because I'm dead in a car. I took your mom with me, so she won't do it with you either.'

'I'm too old Jake, go out and play with someone else.' I'm straight Jake, so go find another guy to love. I love you Jake, but I don't want to commit because my dad tells me so. I want things with you Jake, but I'm too fucking scared of my shadow to commit.”

He looked over at me and asked, “What'd your dad promise you that he died before he got to do.”

To get me to go to my grandma's house, he always promised me something. He'd tell me it'd be a surprise, so I'd go and I'd find out what it was the next time I saw him. Big fucking surprise, I didn't get him back. I got stuck there and no one who would do anything with me.”

I drove up past the park and Grant said, “Pull into the park. We need to talk.”

No. It's about keeping word. Committing to truth. Either you do, or you don't.”

I want to be there for you, but we're not communicating. You're seeing me as telling you no when there are reasons why I can't do things.”

Are you broke?”


Too many loans out with the bank?”


Then what is it? Just afraid of your shadow?”

No, in regards to the Ford dealer, my brother runs it. He's not young and I know he'll feel like I'm pushing him out if I do all of those changes. I bought it from him because I told him I'd keep things like they were all the time he ran it.”

Ok, so you put it into his hands to lose you money. It's going to be shut and I'll have made the changes over there to run it out of business. So, you blame that on me.”

I doubt if you do that.”

I doubt it either because technically, it was a huge game about getting me to think I bought it.”

You're pissed about that.”

Yeah, get an idea that I don't like people who welch on deals with me. If you tell me you're going to do something, you do it. If you don't, then I don't want to hear excuses even if it means you went to a grave not keeping your promise. I'm ultimately the one who has to pay the price for you dying, so keep it while you're alive without all the excuses.”

You're feelings were hurt when your parents died.”

They were hurt, but it hurt when those who could have been young enough to raise me didn't want me. The one who did raise me went behind my back and sold everything. I got to have what she chose to take from the house and that's it. I didn't get a say, and I got a real shitty deal.”

She loved you.”

Yeah, that's what's bad. I know she loved me and I loved her too, but if I opened up, I got hurt. I'll deal with you, but the second you die, I've got to get hurt. I've got to get a real shitty deal and I don't get a say. Excuse me all to hell if I don't like it.

So, rather than dealing with people who want to give me that shitty deal and call all the shots, I'll go on my own way and I'll make my own so no one can deal the shits to me.”

We stopped at the stop light. It turned green and he said, “I'm sorry I wasn't there.”

If you'd been in the car, you'd been dead. It fuckin' happened right over there.” I said pointing. “Promises died on the vine and I learned at three years old people don't keep their word.”

I punched the accelerator and drove on up to the station. I pulled onto the lot and parked the car at the side of the station.

Grant didn't get out, “Would you talk with me?”

I'm doing all the talking. All I want now is to have you go in and get me those stock certificates.”

I don't want to.”

Fine, I'll go in and get them myself.”

Jake, listen!”

What, you don't owe any bills because you sold them!”

No! I'm afraid once you get them, you're going to take off and I'll never see you again.”

You'll see me. I'll need a guardian's signature on things and when I can't sign them myself, I'll have you sign them. Fair deal?”

I don't want to lose you.”

Grant, I can't live where I'm hurt by anyone else. You're like an elephant who thinks it's chained to the ground. The only thing is they took off the chains.”

They didn't.”

What the hell does that mean!”

My family expects things for my investment. I walk a tightrope in order to keep them happy. They want the money, but they want me to keep them employed. That's the deal. It's silent, but I'm bound to it. Otherwise, I'm an asshole.”

Well wake them up and point at me. Tell them I'm used to shitty deals and they're not three years old. Cut your losses and get on with life. You invested money to make money. It's that simple.”

No, I invested money to help family.”

Then you got screwed. Some of your family is dumber than a box of rocks.”

You may not like what I've got to say, but commitment is a two way street.”

I keep my word.”

Not quite.”

Are you calling me a liar!”

I got out of the car and slammed the door. “Get me my fucking stock certificates, now!”

He got out of the car and said, “Ok, I'll get you your stock certificates. I'll call DFS and get myself off the hook and you can put someone else through the mental hell.”

Fine. I'll tell you this. Take a look at all this around you because the second they sell a fucking thing of what I've got over there, this is all gone. I'll gladly go to prison because the thing I'm going to do is I'm going over and killing them motherfuckers who killed my parents and then, I'm coming up this street and putting every hose out there running wide open and I'm going to burn it all down to the ground. And then, the last fucking thing you'll ever see on this planet is one pissed off asshole about to take you off of this planet.

My stock certificates NOW!”

He went in the office and came out. He slammed the packet into my hand and said, “For your information, you're a liar. And don't bother get involved in a relationship unless it's with another orphan because you'll never be happy.”


Bullshit!? In order to be a part of my life, you've got to learn commitment to family. I've got it in droves. I've got a commitment to a dead friend in raising you and you think I suck at that. Well, go on and get your own life and don't look back. I'll live fine without you, but I don't think you'll live fine with you. All those stock certificates don't even begin to pay for the therapy you need. You're a fucked up kid and you just don't realize it.”

Mail the title to my car to the house. I'm getting in this car and I'm driving. Tell the funeral man I'll pay him when that insurance money comes in. I'm not going to be there because I'm going someplace where people don't know me and I don't know them.”

You're a ward of the state.”

Guess which direction I'm heading and I'll tell you which direction I'm not. I guess in order to get out from under the state's chances of yanking the rug out from under me, I'll get out of it. If another state wants to try the same thing, I'll move again and again until I turn 18. That's when I'll have the last laugh and that's when I'll come back.”

So you can't, or won't keep your commitment to yourself.”

What's that mean?”

Catching your parents killers didn't really matter to you.”

Staying free means more. They'll mess up and get caught some day and someone else's kid will get to grow up seeing photos of his parents dead in a car. YOU said you'd help in that, but that's before you changed the rules. NOW, you're backing out so I've got to take it and deal with the shit until I'm 18.”

Jake, I want you. I want to build a life with you, but I see me a long time ago in what you're doing and you not realizing with each decision, there's people involved. Don't you see it?”

So you have it and it sucks?”


Then get out from under it.”

If I do, then it falls down for a lot of people. Those people are my family.”

I don't have any, so I guess I've got an advantage.”

You've got family if you'd just stay. They don't know you, but the ones who do all think you're great. I think you're great, but you're not trying to get along with me. I'm someone who you see as lying and breaking my word when I didn't get a chance to keep it.”

So you're saying you gave me your word and you had me believing I could do what I wanted when you couldn't give that permission in the first place.”

Not right now. In some instances, I can. Jack loves what you're doing with the dealer over there, so that's great, but I know the Ford dealer isn't possible yet. You're upset because you're failing to realize it all takes time to get what you want.”

I don't want to go, but I won't live in a home. Can't you just do that for me?”

I'll do it, but I want to be a part of your life.”

I need more.”

More what?”

I need to know I'm loved.”

I'm trying to do that, but we've only started. You need to know me and give me a chance. I'm not trying to break my word to you, but it takes time.”

I looked around and then back towards the woods.

What are you thinking right now?” he asked.

Part of me wants to cut and run. Another part of me wants to go to the Pizza Works and get something to eat. Another part realizes I've got to go to Roger's and I'm putting that off because I don't know if I have to rip his heart out, or if I have to rip my own out.”

Let's go get a pizza.”

No, I'll get my own pizza and you get yours. I'll buy but you're not going to say you're fine with what I want and then when it gets to the table not eat it because you can't because of some hidden condition you didn't tell me about.”

Ok, let's go.”

You might drive your own car. You don't know how close I was to leaving you out there. If you're driving your own car, I can leave and won't feel like I'm bound to have to waste any more time than I do getting out of town and beating the DFS woman.”

You've got to finish school.”

Wrong, I can quit in the tenth grade or when I turn 16. I'm there now, and these stock certificates make it so I don't have to ever worry about money again.”

If you run, you're going to take a piece of me with you.”

You saying you're going to jump out in front of the car?”

No!” he said with a chuckle. “I'm already falling for you in a way and that part goes with you when you leave.”

I hate this.”

I've hated my decisions for a long time. You don't know it, but I've not been free since I've come back to this town.”

Why not?”

This station. I got it and had to support my dad running it. Your dad and I built that and that and I hired family. They work good, but they built their own families and I felt like I had to give them a wage where they could stay on and raise those families. It all has conditions to it.”

All of it?”

The only things which don't are the fast food places out of town, but even those I've got family running the corporation. If I sell those, then that family member doesn't get a good wage and their family suffers.”

Ok, that's your decision. We're keeping our money separate. I'm going to invest wisely. If it's a loser, I sell. If it's a winner, I win. I'm not putting any conditions on what I've got to make me afraid to sell.”

The problem there is it's all winners with me. You're the one who says it's not productive enough for you. With me, they're fine.”

Then why didn't you say that!”

You never took the time to listen.”

Now I feel like shit.”

No, you feel like Jake. A person I might add who has some really great ideas. You're so good with them, I might add, I think you're talented at whatever you do. It makes me sick and it scares me because I'm jealous of your abilities.”

I don't mean to be difficult.”

I know you don't. I know you try to downplay your talents and I know you've done it to a point it's bursting out in little ways all over the place.”

I'm afraid of not amounting to anything.”

I don't think that's something you'll ever have to worry about. You're smart. You think about things and you do things which are all good. Me, I do them too, but we've got different priorities. I'm trying to give you family, but you shut that out. So, I'll not give them unless you want them.”

Family dies. I like it when they don't, but if they do, it's usually because they made a promise. If people don't make promises, they don't die. I'd rather not have people around to promise things to like that.”

It's not possible.”

I know, but it keeps the hurt down and there's already enough hurt.”

Let's go eat.”

I've given Roger my word I'd go out to Prather's with him.”

Can't we eat together?”

I need to call Roger and tell him I'll be late.”

How about I call Roger.”


First of all, it should be me who tells him I'm not interested in him in that manner anymore. If he wants to press the issue, I'll tell him I found someone I think I'll love the rest of my life. IF he wants to get more specific than that, I'll tell him I'm not going to say more than that because I don't feel it's his business at this time.”

His feelings are going to be hurt.”

People's feelings get hurt all the time. He's an adult.”

Is that how you feel about it? I'd rather be there to help his feelings be repaired. I'm partly responsible and I'd rather he have a chance of getting to be with someone else.”

In case you haven't realized it, Roger's been known to blow up.”

In case you realize it, he said his reason for doing it was because he was repressing his feelings. Now he's seeing we're wanting to put those feelings back in that little box. He's going to be scared and he's not going to want to do it. I'd blow up too if it were me.”

He told you it was his excuse. Ultimately, his reason should have been he did that because he was allowed to do it by people who put up with it. His option in life was to learn how to handle adversity and knowing we always don't get our way.”

You're really compassionate about your family's feeling, but when it comes to a friend, you really suck, you know that?”

So, the stone judges me for my family, but he's compassionate to friends. I cut my teeth on hurting my best friends feelings by expecting more than I got. I had to cut those losses and he went on. I went on and I now realize I should've been better about it, but he's now dead.”

I looked over at him, “You got another friend and he's wanting a relationship with you. So, you play the part of my dad on this? Ooh boy, you really learned that lesson well.

In case you didn't get the lesson, I'll teach it real fast. You didn't handle it really well, but he didn't handle it well either. Sometimes in friendship, you inadvertently hurt the other's feelings, but you keep the friend. Both of you were dumb.”

So, I'll go over there and break it to him.”

Break it to him and tell him Jack's available and interested. If he's interested, tell him you'll put them together and whatever you do, don't tell him Jack's name. His wasn't given to Jack, so Jack deserves the same privacy. If he insists, tell him you'll be happy to put them together and then, you do that. It's up to them from there on out. You're clear, you've shown you're a friend, and then, you have yourself free of baggage. What you then do, is you go through with your bargain of friendship and you show concern for him and you bond with him.”

He smiled at me, “It seems simple to you, but you don't realize you give your friends positions as I do family in your life.”

My family all died.”

Your grandma was alive.”

My grandma grew in her role. She didn't want me at first, so she tried farming me out. When there weren't any takers, she kept me. After all, it was the nice thing to do...she had a contract with my mom and she kept it. I was a contract not quite fulfilled.”

Man, you're cynical as hell about that. Think about this for a moment and then, you think about it because I'm upset with you right now.”

What is it because I've got a pizza with my name on it down there at Pizza Works, plus it's Pizza Buffet night and I can eat a lot of it.”

Ok, think about it and we'll see if you're real hungry after you think about it.

If you were able to have a talk with your parents and your grandma and asked them if they intended on keeping their word to you, I bet you they'd tell you they did. Furthermore, I just bet you they'd tell you you're being pissed at them isn't their fault. It's the fault of the people who killed them. If you're going to be pissed at anyone, then be pissed at those people.”

I am! You're not seeing it. My hands are tied. I want to kill them myself, but I can't. The Bible says and eye for an eye, but then it says things like judge not lest thee be judged and justice is mine, sayest the Lord. Where's my justice?!”

He's standing here. You were given a replacement and you're kicking him in the teeth you're so thankful. I'm here and divine intervention played a part on me getting you. I'm here to fulfill their promises to you and I'm trying, but you're so bound up with what you've lost, you're not seeing what you were given.”

I stared at him, “I'm sorry.”

No, you've got a right to your feelings. I understand where you're coming from, but show a little gratitude sometime.”

You think I'm not thankful enough?”

You show thankfulness about twenty percent of the time. The other eighty percent, you're bitching about how everyone else let you down and are busy being too blind to realize they had no choice.”

Ok, I'll stop it.”

Just give me a chance. I'm tired of fighting against that eighty percent.”

I'll give it. Thanks for telling me what you saw.”

Want to go get a pizza?”

I want the pizza buffet. It's Wednesday night and that means it's pizza buffet night.”

Pizza Hut has it too.”

Pizza Works pizzas are better.”

I know.”

I smiled, “I also realize you were trying to save a buck on feeding me because you own the Pizza Hut.”

He laughed, “No. Pizza Works is fine. I don't own it, but it's fine.”

SO you do own Pizza Hut!”

Quit trying to change the subject.”

You threw it in there and now you want me to ignore it.”

No, I'm not trying to ignore it, I'm afraid of what you think of it.”

Well, there's a lot of reasons I don't eat there. One, it's too small. Two, it's floors look like they were last swept when the carpet was new. The booth's material is grungy. And, the waitresses are all grumpy. Did I mention they'll fill your glass up there full of soda on top of ice which has mostly melted so it's all watered down?”

So what do you like about the place?”

The lot it's built on is nice.” I said smiling.

He laughed, “Well, for your information, we're working on a new restaurant to replace it, but the company keeps telling me they'll get back with me because they're in the process of designing a newer version.”

So, in the mean time, you hire a cleaning service to go in and clean it.”

I have.”

They didn't do the job!”

Probably not, but they're the only company in town who cleans restaurants.”

Then hire out of town and insist they clean carpets and material. OR, hire a company to do those two things.”

I'll get right on that.”

Not now, I've got to eat something. If you've not noticed, we've hardly eaten anything at all today.”

I'll have you know you ate lunch!”

And? That was like four hours ago. We're in America, not some starving country here. If you don't have money, I'll buy. Just get in the car so I can go eat!”

I'll pay, I guess you're driving.” he said smiling.

Yeah, and afterwards, we're driving over to Roger's together. You're going to be a compassionate friend and if he blows up, I'll jump into his butt like you won't believe. My grandma might be dead, but I bet you she'll stomp him into a grave before she puts up with him thinking he can get violent with anyone else again!”

She really beat him up?”

Yeah, from what I heard, she threw him around out there and took his own tools after him.”

He smiled, “All the guys in school were afraid of him and it took one little old lady to show us up.”

You're forgetting he dated my mom before my dad. I think she was aware where his weak points were.”

You're right. Maybe he respected her too much to raise a hand against her.”

No, if he'd risen a hand against her, I'd beat him down with a tennis racket and she'd beaten him down with a telephone calling every little old lady in town and letting her know he was a scoundrel. How fast do you think he'd be broke and starving before he figured out he shouldn't have done it.”

Well, we're not little old ladies.”

No, but we're someone who can mess with his world just as bad. If he thinks he's not getting laid now, just wait until I get word out he's a violent asshole who thinks he can beat on anyone he wants. Not one person in this town will ever bed him.” I paused and said, “Besides, we're thinking negative here. You're supposed to be setting an example here, not teaching me to be Henny Penny and saying the sky is falling every time a bird craps on my head.”

He laughed, “You're terrible!”

Why don't we call them and see if they want to eat with us?”

No, because he'll sit next to me and I want that place reserved for you.”

Oh. Ok, we'll get that changed after we eat.”

You don't mind, do you?”

No, you're the one who's afraid to tell everyone about us.”

I can't. I'll go to jail.”

We're not having sex! Or, is that changed?”

I don't know.”

Boy, that was a real solid answer. You don't know you're going to make love with me, or you don't know if you're not going to do that?”

We'll see. There are times I'm tempted and there are times I know it's not something I should do. My disadvantage is the times I'm tempted are growing more and more and the times I'm solid on it are growing fewer and fewer.”

That's a better answer. At least I know where I'm at on it.”

Jake, do you really want a relationship?”




You're sure about this, right?”


What if Jared came up to you and said to you his dad has found forgiveness in his heart and is now letting him do as he so chooses. Would you do it then?”

Right now? Or, after I commit myself to our relationship?”

Does it make a difference?”

Yeah, if we're in a relationship, no one's getting into it. It's until death do us part and no one and I mean no one better entertain the thought of coming in between us.”

What if someone came onto me, what would you do?”

Smile and tell him you were taken. Now, if you come onto someone, I'll get out the superglue and glue your crack shut until you were so full of it you exploded. If he wanted the other part, I'd put tar on it and tell him he's gotta wear it off before he can get any. Then, I'm handing him sandpaper and gasoline and telling him to get busy. By then, I'll have out my packet of matches so you can really know what hell is about.”

He smiled, “DO you consciously think about these things, or does this sort of thing come to you on the fly?”

Part of it's on the fly. The other part is what I've thought would be good enough for our dear reverend and Mr. Brown. Of course, I didn't know who it was then, but it didn't matter.”


We pulled into the parking lot and went in. We ate until we were gorged and while we were eating, I saw a lot of people pointing and whispering. Grant had a few people come over and say hello, but none of the whisperers said anything.

When we were ready to pay our bill, the hostess said it'd been covered. I told her to thank whomever it was and handed her a tip to cover what we would've normally given. When we were back outside, I saw Grant staring back into the restaurant.

What's wrong?”

It didn't bug you?”

People talk. They would've talked just as much if we'd came out of the closet and everyone knew. People get used to things and that's when their mouth shuts. The only thing which helps it is time for them to adjust.”

It bugged me. I hate it when some of the people who came up to the table were whispering.”

Grant, it's how people are. If I had played in a football game and had won, they'd do the same thing. Or, if I'd played in a football game and had cost our team the state championship, it'd been worse. So, whatever it is, I know they're going to talk. Just be thankful none of them were nosey enough to come over and want to know details.”


I would've went into those details with such accuracy they'd lost their supper and everyone else would've too. It's none of their business and they stayed clear.”

We drove over to Roger's and got out. I said, “Do you want to do the talking, or me?”


Ok, I'll speak with Aaron and tell him it might be possible for he and Jared to be together. They might be able to get something together since he doesn't wear my name.”

That's gotta be hard to take.”

No, it's realizing we're playing reaction games with a dickhead.”

We went to the door and knocked, Roger answered and gave a surprised look. “Hey guys!” He hugged me and asked, “How are you doing?”

Fine, it's hard to take, but I'm dealing well with it.”

I was called by Ben because he was the one who towed your car. I really wanted to come over last night but thought it'd be too much of a problem. Today, I dropped by, but you weren't home, only the news trucks were there.”

I've stayed away from the house because of it. Grant and I will probably stay at the motel tonight so they don't try getting an interview for the ten pm news.”

You're a real hero.”

It's all bullshit. Grant was in the car and he never got a mention. They're trying to put a positive spin on it because everyone's catching their breath wondering if I can sue the state.”

Are you?”

I doubt if I can. If I can, then I don't know if I want to. They were doing their jobs, but got outsmarted.”

No, the prison system is the one who outsmarted themselves. They've got high security inmates out there and it's only supposed to be a medium security prison. They said they were putting up a kill fence and we sure see how well that worked.”

I nodded, “Let's switch subjects.”


When we're done here, I'd still like to go out to Prather's. Is that ok?”


Good, I'll go talk with Aaron and leave you and Grant to talk.”

I went into Aaron's room and saw him with his headphones on. He looked up, “Hey guy.”

Hey back, how was school today.”

Just like every other day. I'm sorry to hear about your grandma.”

She's in a better place.” I paused and said, “Listen, I've come to a conclusion on something and want to talk with you about it.”


I don't know if you know Jared, or not, but we were going to try to put it together. I've decided I'm not going that direction. If you want to try getting it together with him, you can.”

I'd be more interested in you.”

I'm not interested. It's not that I don't want you for a friend, because I do, but for me to try to be with anyone now with everything changing from hour to hour, it's a bit hard for me to do anything. Rather than give it a shot, I'd rather just pull back. I hope your feelings aren't hurt.”

So you're going to jack?”

Yeah, unless they make keyholes in doors a lot bigger, I am.”

We laughed and he said, “Thanks for not saying I'm ugly or anything.”

You're not. I think you're good looking, but for a boyfriend, I'm just too busy and upset.”

Is it all that bad?”

If Grant hadn't taken me in to raise, I woulda went into a home. As it is, Grant's gotta move in with me over there, or I can't stay there. It sucks.”

Did you get another car? I heard you totaled yours out.”

Yeah, it's out front. You wanna go see it?”


We went through the living room and out the front door. Out front, he saw it, “You gotta 'Vette!”

Yeah, I got the insurance from both grandma and I's cars, so I decided to get one. It wasn't that expensive with the discount Grant got for me and with me being on his insurance.”

Oh man, it's a beaut.”

Go ahead and climb in.”

He got in and sat behind the wheel. “Nice.”

It's a bit touchy on the throttle, but I've not driven it hard.”

I like the way it looks down the hood. The color is real nice and the leather interior is just super.”

Turn the key so you can hear the stereo. It's amazing. It sounds like they're playing in the back seat.”

He turned the key and I turned on the stereo. I saw movement to my right and saw Grant running out the door.

I opened the door and he said, “Come on, we gotta go.”

No, I'm going in.”

No! He's throwing a fit and I don't want you hurt.”

Too late. I'm going in. You're wanting to leave with him upset and have him focus it on Aaron. That's not happening.”

I went to the door and started to open the door. I heard glass breaking and yelled, “Grant, I'm coming in.”

No, you take him and go.”

I'm taking Aaron then, and before you get him back here, you're going to speak to me and learn you can't just throw a fit when you want.”

You take him and I'll....”

I'll call the police. You're not going to threaten me and you're sure not going to do anything to him. You want to act like an idiot, then do so on your own dime after he turns 18, but right now, you're going to learn to handle your anger differently.”

I went on in and said, “Yeah, I'm not afraid. I believe my grandma told you she'd knock you black and blue if you tried anything again and don't think she's so gone you're going to get it done. Now, sit yourself down and tell me what's on your mind.”

He went over and sat down. “I'm pissed.”

Because he didn't do what you wanted?”

Because he went out and found someone else.”

His heart doesn't have brakes on it and neither does yours apparently. Did he tell you I spoke with someone and that guy is interested?”


I imagine you ran him off before he got a chance. Well, I did and the guy is interested too.”

Who is it?”

I can't say. I didn't tell him your name and I'm not telling you his until I find out if you want to give it an honest effort.”

Is he decent?”

In what manner?”


Is he good looking? I think he'd pass your inspection. Is he as built as Grant? No, but you might find that a plus since he doesn't spend all his time in a gym either.

From what I know of him, he's a real nice guy and I know he's a person you probably know who has a high profile business here in town and you'd probably like him.”

You're not going to tell me who it is?”

No, that's not how it's done. You tell me you're interested in growing a relationship and I'll tell him you're interested and we'll get you two together so it's on terms where you both are protected and no one's giving up information on the other if you're not willing to give it a try.”

It's just...”

I know, you had your hopes up on Grant and I understand. What you didn't do here is you made it so Grant's probably leery of even being a good friend. He could be if you'd let him and you ran him out the door thinking he's sure glad he never got with you.”

He looked down at the floor. “I've messed it up big time.”

No, you can resurrect it if you want by apologizing. You've got a problem with the anger and you need to figure out a way of dealing with it. It's about to cost you a kid and you're worried about it costing you a relationship. My focus would be on getting to the bottom of it and finding a way of dealing with disappointments which would be more constructive.”

You don't know how I wanted it so bad.”

Don't I? I'm giving up someone I really wanted for a long time. I can't have it, but you don't see me running around breaking things. You see me dealing with life and disappointments which are a lot more painful.”

I'm sorry. You didn't need to deal with this after the day you've had.”

No, I'm better off knowing you're ok. She's in a better place. You're getting to a better place, but had we left here, I doubt if you woulda been. Now, stand up here and give me a hug. Then, go out there and apologize to Grant so I can make that call and see if the guy is willing to let me give you his name, or what we're going to do here.”

Can I have a hint?”

Yeah, get your butt out there and do that and I'll give you a real strong hint. Ok?”

Ok, but I feel like an idiot now.”

No, you feel like someone who didn't know how to deal with a disappointment. Now you're getting a handle on it and the next time you want to lose your cool about something, you give my cell phone a call before it costs you more than that phone call. You got me?”


Good. Now, I'm going to make the call and you my grandma would've said.”

I'm sure sorry about her. She was a decent woman.”

Yeah, but I think she had an idea it was going to happen.”


We were talking before I left last night and she told me she was prepared to go meet her maker and not to be pitying her but to pity whomever it was who was doing it. I now know they're condemned to hell for eternity and she's in Heaven with my grandpa, mom, and dad.”

How'd you get to be raised by Grant?”

To be honest, Grant was there and she came back and made us see her and told him she wanted him to raise me. The cop saw it too, so don't think I'm telling you something which isn't true.”


Yeah, but I saw my mom and dad also, so I know she went to Heaven.”

Oh man, that had to be emotional for you.”

It was, but I gotta lot of questions asked and one very vital piece of evidence.”

What's that?”

I'll tell you after you go make Grant think I'm not getting hurt in here. I'm surprised he's not storming in here.”

He was that way.”

I hear you made a lot of people that way. Grant was surprised my grandma did what she did and wasn't afraid. Now he's probably thinking I'm cut from the same material, so that's not all a bad thing.”

He chuckled, “Your grandma is a lot ....was a lot more forceful. She had me running backwards while she was poking me in the chest. I knew she was about to start swinging that purse and it would've been real bad.”

Well, at least she gave those people a memory of what those damned convicts went through to get one up on her.”

I bet it was bad.”

It wasn't pretty, but I know they had to sneak up on her to do it because she was stabbed in the back too.”

Then rotten sons of...”

Get out there and do it so I can make this call. Please?”

Sure. Can I have a hug?”


I gave him a hug and he said, “I feel like an idiot.”

No, you feel like a real solidly built guy. My dad was an idiot for being straight with all you hunks running around him.”

He laughed, “Don't say that. Your dad was a babe.”

I know. I saw him.”

So you agree.”

Hey, I hear I look a lot like him, but I'll tell you I think he got the best end of the looks. I'm just glad I got some of them.”

He chuckled, “Ok, I'm going out now.”

He went outside and I went to the house phone and called Jack. “Hello?”


Who's this?”

Jake, can you talk?”

Sure, but this number on caller id says it's coming from Roger's house.”

You know him?”


What do you think of him?”



He's damned good looking, but his temper is what I don't want to deal with.”

He's got a handle on the temper. We've got a deal where he calls me and I'll help him defuse it if he's in dangerous territory. It's working.”

SO, it's him?”

Yeah, but I didn't mean to tell you that way because I was holding to privacy.”

Tell him I'm interested and hope he's interested too.”

Where are you at now?”

Standing in the show room. Why?”

Well, how about I bring him out there and you two meet?”

That's fine, but they're moving right along with the asphalting. They got the batch plant to stay open by bribing one of the workers to stay working and they're laying it as fast as they can get truck after truck out here.”

Good. Now, here's the next thing. Put a sold sign on that red Camaro out there so no one takes it.”

Ok, it's a good thing because we've had all sorts of people stopping by to see if we're joking about the prices.”

Be sure to promote the new 15% mark up policy we're about to start so they can see the savings they're getting now, but will be getting just the same if they don't decide right now.”

Ok, I've been telling them about the new policy. It's a bit hard for them to comprehend because they're so used to having to barter down.”

I know. We've got a plan for those people and we'll tell it to you when we have the showroom built. By the way, if Ted comes out and is seen measuring for things, be sure to let him do what he wants. He's building the showroom.”

He's already been here and he's already got his trench dug and his chunk of concrete out of the sidewalk next to the building here. They dug the trench for the footing out there where they're building and told me he absolutely loves the ideas you've got going.”

Good. Well, I'll get off here and will have him out there before long. Ok?”


I hung up and went out front. Grant and Roger were staring at the 'vette and talking away. I went up and said, “Things back to ok?”


Good, now I've got to tell you he's interested, but I sort of gave you away to him without trying.”

How's that?” Grant asked.

The caller id on the phone. He saw it coming from Roger's house and caught on. Needless to say, he's real interested.”

Roger said, “Who is it!”

I said, “Grant, would you stay here with Aaron for a bit?”

Yeah, but how about I drive their car out there so you can tell him on the way. Roger's interested in seeing what they've got with that sale you're throwing.”


Roger laughed, “He told me what you did out there and how you've got all sorts of plans. He said you're buying the dealer from him.”

Yeah, but when you see what we're doing price wise, you'd want to come work out there.”

I'm happy where I'm at.”

You'll go broke there soon. I'm telling ya. All the business is going to be coming to us out there.”

How's that?”

The cost of the item plus 15% is what they're going to pay to have it bought and installed. So, if an item costs a dollar, it's a dollar fifteen to get it installed.”

You'll lose money.”

Nah, I'm going to make it by running everyone else out of business and having our guys so busy we're making it up in volume. When you're figuring cars are getting sold and they're being told when they're even looking at them what we're going to be doing, they're already doing a switch of who works on their cars even if they don't buy. You'll hear rumors and then, you'll feel the pinch. When it happens, be expecting your volume and everyone else's to go way down.”

You don't have enough bays out there!”

Not now, but we're building a separate service center. We're also building a car wash and a tire center which does everything way faster than what they're used to.”

How's that?”

Four guys to a car on the tires. They each have their own machines to use and they do the four wheels at a time rather than one. I figure thirty minutes at a time. The same will go for the lubes and oil changes and on down the line.”

You're thinking in the right direction, but I'm worried about you making any money.”

Volume is where it's at. You're failing to see if we sell a certain number of cars, the company gives us more discounts. We'll still charge that same rate as before, so we're making it up on that end. The key is we've got to sell 500 cars a year to get it done.”

How many do they sell now?”

A hundred and seventy.”

That's not many. You sure they can up it that much?”

Consider this. Today, they've sold six, seven cars counting mine. He says they're parking out on the highway and looking at them, so I'd say he's probably gotten several more sold.”

You're slick, but you've still not told me who it is.”

I'll tell you on the way. By the way, if you're thinking about getting Aaron a car, now would be the time to buy it.”


I'll spill a secret. That 'vette there cost less than what my grandma paid for the Camaro I was driving.”

Do they have any 'vettes?”

They had a triple black hard top, so I imagine it'd not break twenty thousand.”

Grant said, “Seventeen.”


Yeah, so we need to go if you want it. I'd say now would be the time to buy.”

He turned to Grant and said, “You guys drive in mine. I imagine we'll be getting Aaron and I a car out there.”

Grant smiled, “Ok, bring your title.”

Oh man, I forgot.”

He ran into the house and Aaron was all smiles, “You know how to take his mind off being mad.”

If he ever gets that way again Aaron, you hand him the phone and tell him to call me. If he doesn't do it, you call DFS and report him. I've told him we're not putting up with it.”

Grant said, “He's sorry. I don't think he knows how to put a handle on it.”

I'm going to tell him two things my grandma told me and if that don't teach him, nothing will.”

Good. I don't think Jack will put up with it.”

Jack didn't want to mess with him, but I told him we were getting a handle on the anger issue. He's willing to do it on that condition.”

Roger came running out of the house. “Ok, I've got it. I've got my check book too.”

He got into the car and I told Grant, “Drive safely, and I'll see you there.”

Alright, take your time because I want him to be told what your grandma said.”

I will.”

I got in and shut off the stereo. I started up and said, “We need to talk. I know I'm beating a dead mule here, but I need to tell you the two things my grandma told me about anger when I was little. If you learn them, maybe you'll know how it is.”


First of all, it starts with a question, “Tell me about Heaven?”


Tell me what you think Heaven's like.”

Oh man, everyone lives in a mansion and it's beautiful. You have wings and you don't have to worry about anything.”

Ok, you've got the concept, but there's one thing wrong there.”


Nowhere in it is there anything about angels cussing, screaming, throwing fits, and being abusive to each other. Now, do you see that happening up there?”


Hmmmm, must be hell then I'm thinking of.”

Oh man, I'm putting people through hell.”

Now, here's the next thing. Tell me the Golden Rule.”

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

And last question. What are the streets of Heaven paved with?”


Get the connection? If you can't walk it down, then you're not fit to step foot on the streets of Heaven. Now, here's the enigma I see that's wrong with what everyone thinks of it.”

What's that?”

If there are streets, why are they there? I mean if everyone's flying around with wings, then why streets? And do you fly into the mansions, or how do you do that...I mean, it'd suck to have a swimming pool at my mansion if the water gets my wings wet.”

He laughed, “I don't know, but I really like that lesson.”

My grandma taught me that at six years old when I was throwing a tantrum. Believe me, I told her about her yelling after that too!”

You didn't tell me who it is.”

No, but I did it for a reason.”

What's that?”

It's hard to objectively buy a car from someone if you're thinking about him sexually.”

Huh? He sells cars?”

He better be! My money went into the dealer with his name on it.”


What do you think of him?”

Oh man. What's he think of me?”

He thinks you're a babe, but he didn't want to mess with you due to the anger issue. Now, are you going to straighten up and fly right? Or, are you going to condemn yourself to a session of hell?”

Do you know that Jack has dimples in his butt?”


When we were in school, I stared at him so much in the showers I knew his body like a book. He's got dimples in his butt. I used to joke about him being the guy who could make me happy with that butt. Now I know those fantasies could've been real.”

We all go through things for a reason.”

Would you tell me if I asked you who it was that Grant's with?”

I can't tell you.”

Can't, or won't?”

It'd hurt your feelings and wouldn't be the time.”

What's that mean?”

Exactly as I said it. It's not the time to tell you...or anyone.”


Because and that's all I can say on it.”

What did you and Aaron talk about?”

Me giving up Jared and hoping Jared and he can put it together.”

Why'd you give up Jared?”

His dad. I'm hoping if he and Jared get together they can have enjoyable times. I know the stigma is already there that if he dared to say he was going out riding around with me, his dad would forbid him to ever go to school much less ride around with me.”

Do you think it'd put Aaron into danger?”

Not if we keep it mum and his dad doesn't catch on.”

It must hurt a lot to give him up.”

No, I'm facing reality. Besides, it's probably not fair to him if I'm responsible for getting his dad the death penalty.”

Probably not, but you're giving up hope because of that?”

Would you want someone dating Aaron who got you thrown in prison? And if he did, would you make phone calls to try to get both of them killed? So, if I'm not with him, I'm not putting Jared through it.”

What am I missing here?”

The big picture is what you're missing. In less than two years, I could be going to the pros with some luck. Jared could be going to a college where distance and lack of being with me could have him seeing if there's someone else closer.

If Aaron and he go to the same school, they're seen by everyone as being friends and no one's the wiser. By the time the guy is laying on the table in the death chamber, they'll have a solid relationship and won't have many worries afterwards.”

It still stinks.”

It does, but as you know, there are some things we can't have, but when the Lord giveth, he taketh away and he opens other doors. You're getting another door, so don't knock it.”

He laughed, “You mix the old sayings with the new in a neat way.”

I try.”

Can I say something?”


Whoever he has better love him the way I would've.”

I think he will.”

You're not going to give anything away.”

No, I can't afford to.”

IS that a piece of the puzzle?”

We pulled up in front of the dealership at that moment. “Would you look at all those cars!”

Oh man!”

It looks like a lot of them have been sold. The good news is I see that black 'vette down there.”

There's a Camaro there for Aaron too.”

The red one is sold. That white one is the one which is the best deal.”


Yeah, it's got a six cylinder in it. It might sound like a whimpy car, but I saw the insurance figures on them.”

How bad was it?”

Well, if you put the insurance in his name, it's going to cost about three times what it'd cost in your name. The insurance for this in my name would've ran three thousand more a year. With Grant's name being on it, it's about eight hundred.”


Yeah, a lot of savings. The Camaro is only like five hundred a year under your name.”

We parked and got out. I saw Aaron run toward the hill. “Rog', he's going to the four wheel drive trucks. Forget about him getting a Camaro.”

He wants a truck?”

The first one he runs to is the one he wants.”

We watched and we saw Aaron run to a GMC Jimmy. “That's the one he wants.”

How do you know?”

Which one are you heading to?”

That 'vette.”

Now, think about it. You're passing everything else to get to what you want. He did the same.”

Ok, that's a real responsible vehicle and probably cheaper than a sports car on insurance.”

Yeah, but he's practical. That truck up there is four wheel drive. Otherwise, it'd not be parked up there. That tells me he's thinking about winter as well as summer.”

Good observation.” He stared at the window sticker and said, “How much is it at cost?”

Figure it's marked down forty percent from that sticker. It says twenty five thousand, so I'd say it's probably ten off that. Grant said fourteen, so he's probably in the ballpark.”

Let's see what that truck costs him, but I want a sold sticker put on this car.”

Test drive it first.”

Ok, but I know I want it.”

I saw Jack come moving this way. Roger smiled, “He's still damned good looking.”

I don't know, I've not seen the dimples.”

He laughed, “Only I paid attention and only I'll see them.”

I said, “I'm going to go up and help Aaron decipher the sticker.”

I left them and Jack came over. “Go ahead, both of you are agreeable to it.”

You sure?”

Yeah, but he wants that 'vette, so sell him on it.”

He went over and I walked across the lot. I saw Aaron looking at others and then he came towards me.

I went to the Jimmy he was looking at and asked, “You like it?”

It's too much.”

Did you take off the discount?”

No, I looked at the window sticker.”

Let me show you what you missed.”

We looked at it and it said the truck was seventeen thousand six hundred. I did a mental calculation and said, “It's about ten thousand five hundred altogether.”

That's all!”


Can I drive it?”

Let me get the keys and we'll go for a spin.”

I saw Jack heading our way with Roger. Aaron saw me stop walking and said, “Who's that with dad?”

Probably his new boyfriend.”


Yeah, he's a nice guy.”

He looks familiar.”

His name is Jack Reilly. His name is on the dealership. Your dad went to school with him and thought he was real hot.”

He told you that!”


So, he's liked him for a long time.”



Jack and Roger came up. I said, “We need the window box unlocked so he and I can go for a spin in it.”

Jack looked at the window sticker and said, “Not bad. It'd be about nine thousand.”

How'd you get that?”

Trucks are about half of what the sticker. The cars are about forty percent.”


Aaron smiled, “Dad, can I look at it?”

Sure, but be sure it's what you want.”

Ok, we're going to take it for a spin. Are you looking at that Corvette?”

I've already told him I want it. We're seeing if that's the one you want and if so, we'll do an invoice on it and see how much we'll get for the trade in on the Dynasty.”

Jack said, “That Dynasty looks new.”

It's about eighteen months old. I've not driven it hard, but it's not sporty enough. I thought I wanted to have a luxury car, but I didn't like it after I had it.”

Jack nodded and said, “The 'Vette is a two seater. You couldn't go anywhere in it on a date with your son along.”

He's got a truck here which will drive three and you'd have a car, right?”

Yeah, you're correct. I guess I didn't take into account I'd have a car to drive too.” he said smiling.

I said, “Jack, whatever the trade is on his car, and the difference, you make it half of what it is. I'll pay that as a personal friend discount if my friends here will be sure to tell everyone about the deals we're giving out here.”

Jack smiled and said, “Ok, I'll get right on it.”

I said, “I need one of these keys.”

I'll get you one.”

Hop in and we'll take you guys down the hill. There's no sense in walking when there's a back seat.”

Aaron got in and said, “Man, it's loaded!”

It looks nice and the seats in it feel like my Camaro's.”

Roger said, “I like it having these new rear doors. They sure made it better when they put the back doors on these.”

Aaron started it up and crept down the hill. I saw the guys over at the new lot asphalting so I knew the new asphalt we drove across had been compacted. We dropped them off and went out by way of driving up the ditch towards the guys asphalting and out onto the highway directly.

Aaron got us up to speed and said, “I have it figured out.”

What figured out?”

Why Grant didn't want dad.”


You tell me!”

I can't.”

Let me tell you something, if my dad had ridden with Grant, he'd had it figured out. Grant talked about you non-stop.”

How's that?”

It would've been one thing if he'd asked typical teenage things and some parent things like grades and stuff, but he had to mention like four times how sweet you were and how good looking you were.”

Did you tell him what you thought?”

Who could get a word in edgewise! He was talking non-stop and what clinched it for me was one question I asked and he told me you two slept together.”

We were at his parents. We didn't do anything.”

He's got it bad for you.”

You think?”


Don't let anyone know. He could go to jail.”

Ok, but I'm glad you got my dad someone who he thinks is good looking. I mean, Grant is way hot looking.”

Do you like Jared?”

Jared's wicked hot. His eyes are amazing. I've thought he was real good looking for a long time.”

Good, it's sad, but you could get a relationship with him where I couldn't.”

That's pure crap.”

Yeah, but I'd rather give him up than not to keep him after everything happens with his dad.”

After that, do you think you'd change your mind?”

Nope, Grant asked the same thing and I told him once I'm committed, I'm going to be committed.”

What did he say?”

I think he was worried, but after that, I think he was better about it.”

What's it like to sleep with him?”

Like sleeping with anyone. He's a hugger and that's good.”

Did he really want my dad at all?”

Yeah, but what happened there was he and I went out to the grave to see it. While we were out there, he told me what he thought of my dad while growing up and then weird stuff started happening and it got to be intense.”

Like what?”

We heard my dad's voice and then, we saw him. That's when he told me to get home because my grandma needed me NOW.”

Oh man, I believe in ghosts, but that had to really make you worried and scared.”

I drove like a mad man. When we got to the police, I told them to either follow or get out of my way and they followed. That's when we was ready to enter the subdivision and I saw grandma's car with a guy driving it. I floored it and ran into it. The police officer ran up and I told him it was my grandma's car and those guys weren't anyone I knew. As it turned out, they had stolen the car.”

Why'd they kill her?”

I think it's because she had the porch light on and most likely had the front door open. They probably saw the house wide open and went in. Her being alone didn't stop them from killing her.”

Oh man, can you imagine if you were there?”

I imagine they'd went right on out the door at a dead run if I was there because I'd went right for the pistol. Instead, they got it.”

Is that how they killed her?”

No, they did it with a butcher knife and that's all I'm going to say.”

Oh man.”

Let's turn around. Do you like it?”

I wish I had a cd to put in the stereo. Other than that, I really like it. It's loaded down like the Dynasty, but it sits higher which I like.”

I thought you liked it for the four wheel drive and getting around in winter.”

No, I saw this truck with the two tone school colors and immediately went to it.”

I never thought about the colors. When we get back, push that button and the automatic four wheel drive will take us up that hill with no problem.”

Really? It's as easy as pushing that button?”

Yeah, it's real cool.”

Can I take it home tonight?”

Yeah, I'll see you get to do that and drive it to school tomorrow.”

That'd be real neat. Everyone will see me in my new truck!”

Did they say anything about it at school?”

The principal announced it on the pa system in home room. He said you were a hero and had caught the guys who killed your grandma. A lot of kids were all talking about it.”

Oh man, that's probably why everyone was whispering at the Pizza Works earlier.”

I love their pizza. I think it's the best in town.”

I like Little Caesar's too.”

I've never ate there.”

Get their Crazy eight's special. You get two pizzas with eight toppings for eight eighty eight. You can get a thirty two ounce carton of soda pop too.”

Do they have Double Cola?”

I don't know. I had Mountain Dew.”

I like that too.”

We drove back and when we were going across the lot, I saw Jack and Roger motioning for us to stop. I told Aaron and he stopped. Jack came over and Aaron told him he liked it. Roger asked Aaron, “If I get this for you, will you count it as the car I said I'd get you when you turned 18?”


Ok, then we'll get it for you.”

I got out and walked around the truck. I asked Jack, “Did you get him a good deal on their car?”

I got him the best the blue book would let me. It's like brand new and only has fifteen thousand on it.”

Ok, where'd Grant go?”

He's in looking over that compiled order for the past three years of cars we've sold.”

Did you get dump trucks on it?”


The asphalters want dump trucks. You might ask them what they want and order twice as many as what they say they'd want. I think the others will see theirs and want them too.”

He nodded and then said, “We've not went with real big trucks since we can't lift them in the service bay.”

I'll have to get that as a priority on our new service center.”

Roger's thinking about coming out here to work. Is that going to be a problem with us working together?”

No, but you might tell him he gets an employee car to drive and hold off on his vette.”

I didn't think about that.”

Tell him to take the vette as his employee car if he comes to work here. It'll kill two birds with one stone.”

I'll do that.”

Roger turned around, “What's killing two birds with one stone?”

If you come to work here, you'll get an employee car. If you want to drive that 'vette as that, you can.”

He smiled, “Oh man, that'd be nice. It'd save me a lot of money and would make it a real good deal with the trade in.”

I asked Jack, “What's his trade in worth?”

It'd be an even trade with the value of the truck.”

Do it, but give him the 'vette to drive while he's giving his two weeks notice if he chooses to come to work here. We'll get two weeks worth of him advertising to everyone out of it.”

Roger said, “I'll do it. He's said he'd start me at what I'm making an hour there.”

I nodded, “Good. Now, what I'd like to ask you is if you'll think of all the credible mechanics you can and let them know we're hiring. We're going to need a lot of mechanics, tire people, and detail people.”

All the guys in my shop are good.”

Then tell them. It'll be good to have a head start on the number of mechanics we need.”

Jack said, “We've only got one lead mechanic now. If we hire more, we'll need another lead. Can I offer him the job?”

Can you?”

I want to ask you for those decisions.”

Don't bother asking me. If you need them, get them. Just be sure to let me know how we're doing financially. If we need to put some money in the bank for bills, we'll do it until we get that volume discount.”

He smiled, “You're thinking of that and going for that as the prize.”

I want it, but I know that other one would be really nice. If we could get that number, it'd be amazing.”

It could be possible with the amount of them we're getting rid of today.”

Just be sure to tell everyone about our free washes and low service pricing. If we don't have them coming back in, they're not a completely satisfied customer. Keeping them back in the door with those low prices and high priced trade ins will keep them trading them back in.”

He smiled, “You're really thinking about how to keep the number up!”

My goal is to write off profits with the losses we have from the trade ins. If we go too low on them, we don't write them off. My goal is to have a high volume dealership with a lot of flow and showing we're at hardly no income. It gives me a tax loss and makes it so we're looking good.”

Why that?”

In two years, I'm going to be playing pro football. I'll be making huge money and will need the tax loss in order to feel I'm getting over on the government. I'll take some profit, but don't make it a lot.”

That's like reverse thinking of what I thought. I thought you were wanting to make a lot of money.”

I will when I'm out of the pros, but not when I'm in there. Until then, I want us to make money to put up all these buildings and then, we'll have a money maker here with a lot of established customers when I get out of the pros.”

How long do you think you'll play?”

I'm hoping twelve years. If I get a little more, that'd be great, but the average is twelve.”

He nodded, “Any idea what team?”

We talked about the Chiefs. It's close and would allow me to fly in here and back as a commute to work.”

Smart thinking.”

If St. Louis had a team, I'd be better with options, but Chicago is too far.”

We went into the show room and Roger took ahold of my arm. “I need to talk with you.”


Out here.”


We went outside and he said, “I figured it out. Well, Jack sort of gave me the mother of all hints.”

What's that?”

He said you and Grant look good together.”

Are you upset?”

I'm more upset you didn't tell me.”

I couldn't. Grant's worried about going to prison as it is.”

I'm not saying anything. My feelings are hurt, but I'm glad it's you instead of some of these other guys I thought it could be.”

You don't mind?”

Hey, you traded me a fantasy of mine for a fantasy of mine. You're right about the fact Grant's in the gym all the time and Jack and I have cars in common.”

Do you think it'd work between you two?”

Yeah, he told me while I was staring at him in that shower room, he was staring at me. All this time and I didn't know!”

I'm happy for you.”

I want you and Grant to stay close. It'll be nice for you two to have people you can be yourselves with.”

I'd like that. I'll have to let him know you and Aaron know.”

Aaron knows!?”

Yeah, he figured it out and was worried how you'd handle it. He said Grant gave it away on the ride over with all his talking about me.”

He smiled, “That means he's got it for you.”

I hope.”

Do you have it for him”

I do, but my only complaint is I'd rather we be more open about it. Maybe with us being able to be around you and Jack, we can be ourselves and it'll make me better about the silence I've got to keep.”

I understand him wanting to keep it quiet. If we were in a bigger city, it'd be easier, but we're not, so we've got to have a low profile.”

Maybe some day we can have it so we're accepted.”

I don't think we'll ever see it in our lifetimes. I don't mean to bring you down about it, but I just don't see it happening.”

Grant came out, “Do you want that Camaro taken to Chris?”

Yeah, if you don't mind.”

What's going on?”

Nothing much. We're talking about our relationship and how he and Aaron already have it figured out.”

Grant's face looked like I'd slugged him. “It's that obvious?”

Sort of, but no one's upset and no one's telling. They're all supportive and everyone agrees it's for the best so you're not in trouble.”


Roger and I were talking about you and Jack, he and I all getting together and being able to be couples around each other. If Aaron and Jared get together, then that'd be nice too.”

Grant said, “If we do, I'd like to invite a couple I know. From what I know, they don't let it be known, but they're really nice guys.”

The two coaches?”

How'd you know!”

I could tell. I think it'd be nice.”

They let me in their confidence. Now, they'll think I told.”

No, I knew before I'd even met you. When Roger and I were out on the tennis court, I saw their interaction together and just knew.”

You might let them know so they don't think I told.”

I'll do it, but do you think it'd be safe for them to know about us?”

I think it will. I get the feeling they're not going to be a problem with it.”

Let's wait and see.”


He turned to Roger, “Is it ok if we bow out of going to Prather's?”

Roger nodded, “Ben already thinks you're not going to come, so I doubt if he stuck around. I've not called to tell him otherwise, so it'd be no let down for him.”

Grant nodded and said, “I want to take Chris' car out to him. It'll be nice if I can get him some day light to show it off.”

Tell him to fill it and I'll get you back the money for it. Be sure to check all the fluids for him and get him stocked up on windshield fluid and wax. He'll have time out there to wax and shine it until he's got it looking amazing.”

Grant chuckled, “Yeah, he'll have a lot of time to wax and shine out there.”

Roger laughed, “When did you start getting them time, Grant?”

I don't know. I apparently gave him the idea I'm not a slave driver. I'll have to put the whip out a little closer to the door so he can see it.”

Stocking the ice cooler always made my welts not hurt as bad, but your dad was getting a bit older then.”

Grant laughed, “My dad was too busy trying to keep the candy from being switched around.”

Roger got to laughing super hard, “Oh man, I'd forgotten about Jeff and that joke he kept pulling on him. OH man! Your dad would get so mad, he'd line us up and be spittin' when he talked he was so mad.” He doubled over laughing and then said, “Jeff would crawl in there and have it done again fifteen minutes later and your dad would be mad all over again.”

Aaron came over, “Dad, can I drive it home”

Roger looked at us and I nodded, “Yeah, they say it's yours. Leave space in the garage for mine, but don't hit nothing pulling in.”

I won't”

Aaron ran off and soon, I saw him drive out across the ditch.

He got it because it's school colors and he sits up higher in it instead of a car. Here we were thinking he was practical.”

That's why?”

Yeah, if we'd had a Caddy in school colors, I coulda gotten rid of it.”

Grant smiled and Roger said, “Gee, thanks a lot!”

I'll have to get one so one of those rich Oberling's will buy it. Everyone knows they've got all the money.”

Grant looked perturbed, but Roger chuckled. I put my arm over his shoulder and said, “Oh hon, I'm just saying what everyone else thinks. You'd rather hear it from me, right?”

They really think we're all rich?”

Yeah, but you should know that.”

I don't try acting rich”

It's not how you act. It's how everyone perceives the whole family. You own everything and they run it, so everyone thinks it's theirs. Thus, it's the whole family who's rich.”

Well, that's ok.”

Roger smiled, “Grant, he's good for you. He can tell you what everyone thinks about you and you're good about it.”

I went over, “I'm going to go on to the gym. I'll meet you there.”

How'd you know I wanted to go there?”

You've not been today. I figured you'd want to go to there before we took showers and settled in.”

Would you prepare the jacuzzi? We can soak and watch television in there.”

Sure. Do you want the sauna on?”

It should be on.”

I nodded, “I'll be waiting.”

He chuckled, “Tonight, we give each other lessons on how to give massages.”

Roger asked, “Is it ok if Jack and I come out?”

I heard Grant give him an affirmative answer before I got into the car.

When I got to the station, I saw Chris. “Hey bud, still in love with your job?”

He smiled, “Yeah.”

Good, I hear you don't get to sit around for very long.”

Who said that?”


Then we must have him fooled. We sit around and do chores. When a car comes in, we go out and gas it, check the wipers, oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, and the pressure in the tires. If they need refilled, we tell the person and usually, they tell us to top it off.”

What does he charge for antifreeze?”

If we do a top off, he charges a quart for the minimum. If we have to put in a half, we charge them half. If it's more than a half, they get charged for the entire thing.”

Tips good?”

Tips are great when you get them. I hear tips are great on Friday nights, but most of the guys are on the football team, so it's not something I'll ever see.”

Thursdays are the days everyone gets paid here in town. You might see if a person smokes. If they do, you might offer to get them a carton while they're filling their car. It'd up the price and have them thinking you're pretty special because no one else has offered to do it for them before.”

He smiled, “Ok, I never thought of that.”

Make yourself stand out from the crowd. If they get to liking you, they'll be asking for you. That's most likely going to be a tip person.”

I'll do that.”

We heard a car pull up, he looked and said, “Oh man, it's my car!”

I laughed, “It's Grant in it, he's trying to fake you out.”

Should I go?”

Go gas it up and then tell him he's the one who got the gas, he needs to pay for it.”

He ran, “Oh man! It's even nicer than what I remember.”

Grant got out and handed Chris the keys. “Fill it up buddy, then park it over there so you can stare at it.”

Chris was so excited he was jumping up and down. The other guys were all out there looking at the car and helping him do the precursory fluid checks.

Grant smiled at me, “You didn't get inside, did you?”

No, I just got here when you drove up.”

Well, let's go in and get onto a good workout.”

We went into the gym and that night I began a daily routine I'd commit my physical well being to all the way up to this point. One thing I enjoy to this day is steaming out in a sauna and then dipping in the jacuzzi. It's ultra relaxing if you do that a few times and then take a nice relaxing shower afterwards.

Without tearing up the story too much, I'm going to fast forward this to our practicing and the team. The reason I delved into this as I did, is I wanted you to know I've got Grant in my life and that's been a huge commitment for me to endeavor.

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.