That's Okay

By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the Author)

Edited by Radio Rancher

Chapter 18 - A Special Force

Bill and I got chewed out royally when we got in the car, "Dads, you made it seem like I was the bad guy and Kent probably won't speak to me again. I need to go to bed. I'm exhausted."

As we got out of Bill's car, I picked Darrin up and held him, "Son, you are the only person who could have pulled off what we did tonight without Kent realizing what you were doing. Your friend Mike played his role very well too. We told Mike what was happening and he rather guided you to the right areas."

Bill took over, "Darrin, you're Dad is right. If you hadn't been with us tonight, your Dad and I would never have thought of everything that you did."

Darrin was crying, "Dads, I wish you could have seen Kent's clothes. They were all old. Some of his briefs were so thin and had so many holes that they looked like he had worn them for 100 years. I know our Mother bought our things at garage sales, but they were far better than anything that Kent had. Dads, I need to go bed. I'm really tired."

The rest of the house was quiet when we walked in and Darrin went to get ready for bed. I went to check on the other boys. The twins were asleep and David was lying on his bed in his briefs reading. The light in Mother Archer's room was on, so I assumed that she was getting ready for bed or reading.

I went back to the living room and Bill was sitting on the sofa watching a show on ETV. I sat down on the sofa and laid my head on his lap, "Bill, we have four rather remarkable sons don't we?"

He reached his hand down to pelvic area, "You sure did well in making them. I agree that they are special. I somehow don't think that we have really seen how special they are yet. Les, maybe we should go to our room and explore the possibility of making more of them after we set the alarm clock."

When the alarm clock sounded the next morning, it was indeed raining and the weatherman on the news said that the rain was to continue throughout the day and probably the next day. When we got downstairs the boys were moaning because they wouldn't be able to go to recess and would have to quietly watch boring videos.

Mother Archer looked at the guys, "I'll tell you what; Dr. Jacobs and I will pick you up after school and take you bowling. We'll whip your butts."

Danny looked at Bill, "Daddy Bill, did you hear what your Mother said? Would you please remind her that it would have been much nicer if she had said, `Guys, my boyfriend and I will take you bowling and take you to the cleaners."

The levity was interrupted by the front doorbell. Darrin went to answer. We heard, "Kent, why didn't you call and we could have picked you up. You're soaked. Come on in; let me get you get you some dry clothes since you wear the same size as I do."

The two boys disappeared up the stairs, and when they came down, Kent had on dry clothes. Darrin explained, "Dad, his shoes are still wet but I don't have anymore shoes that would fit him and today is P.E. Kent, just take your shoes off when you get to your class and put them so they can dry until your class needs to go somewhere. I'm sure you won't be the only person with wet shoes."

The boys climbed into the van with their backpacks and their umbrellas. I watched as they climbed out. Denny and Danny were sharing an umbrella, Darrin and Kent had one and David looked like Mr. King of the Hill and was joined by a young lady to keep her dry. I thought to myself, `I'm not ready for this. David's not even a teenager yet.'

I stuck to my promise and got home at 4:15. There wasn't a sound or a smell and then I remembered Mother Archer's threat to whip the boys' backsides at bowling. I figured she had something in mind for dinner, but I didn't know what. I went to get the magazine that the guys had been looking at to find the recipe for the Texas Skillet casserole. It looked easy enough and I found all of the ingredients and had them simmering while I made the salad and made a homemade salad dressing to put on it at the last minute. I even grated the cheese so people could sprinkle it on top like the recipe called for.

Everything was ready when the gang arrived home except for Bill. Kent was with the guys when they arrived. He quickly excused himself saying he needed to go home and check on his Mother. When Mrs. Archer walked in, she got the funniest look, "That doesn't smell like what I fixed for dinner."

I was confused, "I didn't see anything cooking or anything in the refrigerator that explained what was for dinner so I made what the guys suggested making for the next meal for the Good Will Mission next weekend so we could try it and see if we thought the people at the mission might like it."

Darrin went to a bulletin board and pointed to a note, "Dad, no harm no foul, but next time, check the message board. Grandmother Archer made some homemade lasagna yesterday and it was in the freezer. All you had to do was cook it as the directions told you. I guess we'll just have to suffer through the lasagna tomorrow night."

Bill walked in and David started on him, "Father Bill, your Mother cheats. We bowled two lines and she had a 300 on the first game and a 259 on the second. I was sure she had some sort of magnet on the ball and I rolled it down the alley like she did and it went into the gutter both times. I think she has some sort of transmitter in her brain that sends the ball signals.
Yeah, and Doc ain't too bad either. He's been relying on his cane far too long. He stepped up and threw the wickedest ball you could imagine. It practically didn't hit the alley until just before the ball hit the pins. The ball hit the pins so hard they flew over two alleys."

Dr. Jacobs and Mother Archer were laughing. Mother Archer finally stopped the fun, "Les, we only bought the boys one hotdog and a beer. Now I suggest that you men go get ready for dinner."

Bill and I went to finish fixing dinner. As we were eating, the guys decided that the Texas skillet recipe was pretty good and it would be filling with the tossed salad with the homemade salad dressing.

I looked at them, "Guys, I don't have a clue as to how to make a pineapple upside down cake."

Mother Archer looked at the guys, "Guys, your Dad can't follow directions very well, so I'll make us a pineapple upside down cake to go with our lasagna tomorrow night."

After dinner Bill and I were sitting in the living room when Darrin and David came in. Darrin started, "Dads, the Ky Vee store is willing to give us a big discount on meats and other perishables if we come to pick them up at nine o'clock at night. They are things that are going to have expirations dates that will pass. The manager said that as long as we use them in two days, there should be no deterioration in the food value. We just need to let the store know ahead of time what we would want."

Bill looked at the guys, "David and Darrin, we'll make sure that someone is available to pick of the merchandise if you tell us when it needs to be done. Now, I suggest that you make sure your homework is done and stop worrying about everything and act like the young people you are, instead of old men. It's not fun getting old, so enjoy being young while you can."

The guys disappeared and Bill and I went to our bedroom. We didn't lock up because Mother Archer and Dr. Jacobs still hadn't come in. I was almost asleep when the phone rang, Bill answered, "This is the Phillips residence."

Bill had punched the speaker button, "You're not the prick. Who are you? I want to talk to my grandsons and remind them how great their Mother was. They would never have gotten those medals if it hadn't been for her upbringing."

I grabbed the phone, "Listen Witch Witmer, your lovely Lisa was a whore through and through. Did you know that she was part owner in an escort agency that promoted sex even while she was in college and before I even met her? We also have evidence that she was blackmailing people saying they were the father of her children. We have had DNA testing done that prove the four boys are mine! I guess she got all of those good traits from you. I warn you once again, that if you try to interfere in our lives, I'll charge you with every conceivable charge possible. As far as I'm concerned, you are a thing of the past." I slammed down the receiver.

Bill held me, "Les, please just relax or you're going to have a stroke. Your ex-mother in law is not worth that. You need to think of the boys first."

Bill told me in the morning that I thrashed about all night. I must have looked really bad because when Bill and I went downstairs the twins both mentioned that I really looked bad. We were eating our breakfast and the phone rang and I cringed.

David went to answerer, "Hey what's up Kent? ... Yep, we'll pick you up as soon as we can get the dishes done."

Bill looked at me, "I'll take the boys in the van and you can take my car. The weatherman says the weather is to clear by noon so they can walk home."

The rest of the week flew by, but I was beginning to think that Kent was one of the family. He spent every afternoon with the boys but he always went home to eat with his Mother.

It was the weekend of the following week when things got hectic, The guys were frantically mowing lawns, but on Friday night at nine, Darrin, Kent, David, Mike and his girl friend, Bill and I were at the Ky Vee store picking up hamburger, salad mixings for the Saturday meal at the Good Will Mission.

We delivered the things to the church and I was surprised to see how much food had already been donated and was sitting on the counter and in the refrigerators. We quickly put the things we picked up away and took the boys home since it was so late.

As Kent crawled out of the van at his apartment, he called back, "I'll be over at 8:30 to go to the church with you guys."

So much for sleeping late on Saturday. When we pulled into the garage, Darrin and David simply said, "Goodnight Dads, we'll see you at 7:30."

I looked at Bill, "I think we've lost control. I thought the guys were going to be serving Sunday night meals."

Bill laughed, "Darrin and David found out that Saturday nights were the least likely nights to have people volunteer to bring food, so they talked to Mike and surprisingly enough, the teenagers had no problem with that. They would still have time to go do what they wanted after the meal, since they wouldn't have to do much cleanup."

As soon as Kent arrived, the boys were ready to go. We took three vehicles to the church since Bill was going to be working on church business at least in the morning. Doctor Jacobs took Mother Archer, and I had the five guys with me.

We were the first to arrive. Darrin and David were ready to go. They handed us each a Maroon hat with the church logo on it. Darrin warned us, "Anytime you are working around food, you need to wear your hat and a pair of these disposal gloves. Make sure you put your name on the inside band of the hat so it doesn't get mixed up. There's a permanent marker right there. Everyone needs to make sure that their hands are clean. There is some sanitizing jell in the container there."

I looked at Mrs. Archer and she shook her head signifying she didn't know what was happening either. The first group of teenagers were followed by George Degan and Don Daniels, so Mike gave them the same spiel. The next group of teenagers arrived with the Madsens. It was obvious who the leaders in the group were. Mike and Darrin were both natural leaders and no one gave them any guff.

Everyone was working like a well oiled machine and everything was ready by 11:30. Darrin and Mike conferred and Mike announced, "We'll be meeting here at 3:30 and taking everything to the Mission so it is ready to start serving at five o'clock. We should be finished no later than 6:30."

When we got home, Kent announced, "I'll be back after lunch if we're going to mow any lawns."

David was in charge of the lawn business, "We should have time to do at least one yard before we get ready to go to the Mission."

The guys pulled out things to make sandwiches, since Mrs. Archer and Doctor Jacobs decided to go out for lunch. Danny looked at me as we were eating, "Dad, can we go to a movie tonight after we finish at the Mission? We have all this money and we never get to spend any of it."

I was at a loss as to how to answer that question, "Danny, let me check with Father Archer and make sure he hasn't made any plans. I think I can afford to pay for you guys to go a movie. Maybe you should think of saving your money for a car."

Denny started to laugh. "Yeah, you're going to need all the money you can get for one of them Vettes that you like. I'm not giving you any of my money."

Lunch was interrupted by the arrival of Kent, "I'm ready to go when you are."

I nodded to the boys, "Guys, I'll take care of the dishes. Go ahead, but watch the time."

I took care of the dishes then went into the office and started to work on some of the papers that I brought home just in case I might have a few minutes. The quiet was almost frightening. I opened the window to let in some fresh air and some noises from the outside. The next thing I remember was the sound of laughter. I heard Denny say, "Well, if it isn't Sleeping Ugly, we better call Daddy Bill and have him come wake Sleeping Ugly."

Darrin came and put his arm around me, "Dad, it's time to go to the church. I told Kent we would pick him up on the way. Don't forget your hat."

When we got to the church, we were about the last to arrive and Mike had everyone loading the cars and vans. Darrin was checking as the vehicles were being loaded, "Mike, there's more here than we really needed. I guess it is better to have too much rather than too little."

We caravanned to the back door of the mission and Darrin and Mike went and rang the bell and magically ten men came to help us carry the food into the kitchen area.

Darrin and Mike had the men help them arrange the tables and put out the things that they could. Bill arrived with his hat and Mike and Darrin had everything organized so the serving lines would be open. The guys had set up two lines. It was like everyone had an assignment and we had just the right number of people.

Mrs. Withers the Director approached the guys, "I want to tell you young people that you have caused some excitement around here. We usually have trouble getting clients to sign up to help in the kitchen. The ten gentlemen who helped today signed up to take care of the clean up. They will be the first to eat and there a number of people already waiting at the door to come in. So, whenever you are ready, you can begin."

The ten helpers went first and Mrs. Withers opened the door and there was a steady stream of people coming in. One of the first persons after the ten helpers was the young boy that Darrin had befriended with the extra brownies the last time we were here. The little boy gave Darrin a wave with his hand. Darrin turned to me, "Dad, please take my station while I talk to this young man."

Darrin went around the table and took off his gloves. "Hey, I'm Darrin, what's your name?"

The young man who looked to be about the same age as Danny and Denny answered, "I'm Hank."

"Hank, are you here with your Mother?"

Hank had tears in his eyes, "Our Mother is dead."

"Are you with your Dad?"

"No, our Dad is in jail for shooting our Mother."

Darrin was getting concerned, "Hank, who are you with? You're too young to be by yourself."

"Darrin, my brother Pete is over there, talking to that man trying to get him to give Pete some money if Pete will do something for him."

George Madsen had all he could take. He took Hank's tray, "Hank, go get your brother and tell him that I will give him some money to come with me."

George turned to me, "Go tell, Father Archer, George Degan and Natalie to get ready to leave. There are enough people here to help without us."

Hank returned with an insolent teenager, "Yeah, mister. Hank says you your willing to pay me to satisfy you. How much is worth and where do you want me to do it?"

George put the tray that Hank had on the table and grabbed both boys by the arm, "You're going with me."

Hank started to cry, "But what about our backpacks, mister?"

George growled, "Where are they?"

The insolent teenager wasn't so insolent anymore, "There over there in the corner."

George turned to me, "Les, go get the backpacks and bring them to our house, later. We're taking these young men out of here and now."

Hank started to complain, "But sir, we haven't eaten since last night. Please, can we just eat?"

George wouldn't relent, "We'll take care of that problem when we get you home."

The Madsens, Bill, George Degan and the two young gentlemen disappeared. Darrin turned to me and asked, "Dad, what just happened?"

I put my arms around him, "Son, I'm not sure. Let's make sure the rest of the clients get enough to eat. Daddy Bill will tell us what's happening when he gets home. I hope."

Editor's Notes: I was informed in an email that I would either love this chapter or hate it. Well, there are things to love, and a couple of things to hate. One of the things to hate is Les' EX Mother-In-Law. She would not count in my book as a person, but as a thing to despise. The other thing to hate is the way that those two children had to fend for themselves and what a terrible waste of their youth all that caused.

Now, I get to go read the next chapter; I'm sorry, but you will just have to wait for it to be posted before you can read it. See there are perks to being an editor sometimes.

If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might want to check the out site.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Other Notes: I still haven't learned my lesson yet! Never, ever under any circumstance mention to an author something you don't want to happen.

In too many cases they will make your worst fears come true! In this case the author brought back the evil witch; I hope only for a cameo.

I wish I could bowl that well, even in my 20's I never came close to a 300 way to go Grandma Archer.

I am curious as to how what George is going to do with his new charges? Well hopefully the next chapter will tell us.

Till then,