Write Me A Love Story By RettaMichaels “The Queen of Gay Romance”
Write Me A Love Story
The next morning, we got up and Stu said, “I'll be there. I need to do some things.”
I went out to shift change and had everyone in a big group. I said, “Everyone, if you live at the Alders, we're getting your rooms at the 4 Diamonds. To be honest, we weren't aware it was as bad as we've since learned. The 4 Diamonds is our best and now, you'll be out there.
What you need to do is gather up and move out there in your leisure. I'll have your rooms switched when we go right out there, so those of you who are getting off and want to go ahead and move, I'll have your new rooms readied.”
When the meeting was over, Stu arrived and we drove out to the 4 Diamonds. I went to the desk and got the girl's attention. I said, “Hon, call the Alders and get the room assignments from them. Book the rooms here and then, we'll have that handled.”
She gave a disinterested look and I said, “HON, the people are there packing now. If they've got to wait here rather than getting sleep, it'll be a mess!”
She said, “Who's paying for these rooms?”
“I am, but the new room fee and schedule will be handed to you as soon as I meet with the management.”
“I'll need your credit card.”
“Listen, I'm the new owner. IF I can't get rooms, there's a problem. MAKE the call and get things moving! If I see people here after that meeting, I'm going to point and you'll be fired. Ok?”
She gave me a look and I said, “Yeah, it's important enough to cost you your job. I've ran into nothing but problems since I've been here last night and believe me, firing someone else won't be a problem.”
The Manager came out and asked, “Is there a problem?”
I said, “I'm trying to get rooms moved from the Alders to here. We've got the Alders completely booked and I want all the room assignments from there to out here. She can make the call and get everyone booked.”
He gave me a look and I said, “You, Stu, Me, and your management will be in meeting until further notice.”
He gave me a look, “I wasn't aware we'd been sold!”
“You were sold first thing Monday morning. We've already fired the Chef and brought in our own. That happened last night and yeah, if I can't get those rooms transferred, I'll most certainly fire people until I can get someone WHO will do it...even if it's the staff from the Alders.”
He turned, “Make a call to the Alders while I make a call to the trustee.”
I walked away from the desk into the conference room. Stu was there as was Kenny. I said, “Stuart, your Manager had no clue this place has been sold.
Getting rooms transferred is like pulling wisdom teeth, paralyzing slow and painful. WHEN I had the manager telling that girl to make a call so HE could call the trustee, I walked before he got fired.”
The two security men walked in. One had his hand on his pistol, “Is there a problem here?”
“Yes sir, get your hand off your pistol before I take that as a threat and make arrests of my own.”
He looked at the other guy and asked, “And who might YOU be?”
“Jeremy Blue, aka the other owner. He's Stuart Reddington the third, aka the other owner of the two owners. This here is my voice recorder which is aka the proof you've been notified you both are no longer needed for your services here at the 4 Diamonds.”
“Who says? I've not been notified by the management. The management has requested we come in and remove you.”
“Oh??? Let's go speak with that management then so he can either verify that and be fired, or deny that to which I'll make a call to the Sheriff.”
Stu said, “Go ahead and call the Sheriff. If we need to lock this place down, we'll do so.”
We went out and the Manager was still on the phone. When he got off the phone, I asked, “Stuart? Do you have your buyer's paperwork?”
“Yes, right here in this portfolio.”
I said, “Call the Sheriff. I'm about to do what we didn't want to do...I'll put it out of business just to bring it back without any employees.”
Stu said, “Jer'! Let ME handle this!”
“Ok, but you've got TWO fuckin' police officers here who are so psyched to make an arrest they're failing to learn they no longer have credentials as police officers!”
The one asked, “What's THAT mean.”
“While you weren't looking, I discovered you two like to harass gays. I took it to the City Council who now have your Police Chief suspended and you two fired.
You NOW have a new police chief and he's not taking it too kindly that he's got officers who harass the shit out of his citizens....So if you're interested in believing I'm a liar in that also, you might want to make a call.”
one looked at the other, “Go make a call and SEE if he's
telling the truth.”
I said, “Ok, I'll call the Sheriff since neither of you are wanting to vacate the premises here!”
I dialed Sheriff Ben's number and he answered, “Hello?”
“You might want to head this direction. I've got a Manager here who refuses to believe we've bought the place and two security people who believe they've been fired.”
“Ok, I'm heading that way.”
I hung up and Stu gave me a smirk, “So much for peaceful!”
“Honey, sometimes you've gotta be a little louder than a whisper!”
I turned and said to the Manager, “The Sheriff will be here shortly. We'll see who leaves. You might want to call your Assistant Manager and have him or her standing by so we get that management meeting moving along.”
The other security man came, “She says Chief Franklin has been put under suspension and there's a new Chief Blue who is handling things and suspending a lot of people.”
I said, “And what's my name again? Hmm, Blue.....I wonder how we're related???”
Stu gave a smile and I said, “My Uncle....Hmmm! I knew having family would come in handy some day!”
The cop looked absolutely pissed. I said, “The next time you guys want to harass someone who's gay, make sure it's not one of my employees.”
Kevin walked in the door and I said, “Oh Kevin! Are you here for the meeting?”
“We've got to wait. Sheriff Ben is on his way to.....take people away today!” I made my voice sound like the old song “They're Coming To Take Me HaHa”
He smiled and Kenny stood there smiling. I said, “Guys, here's your first project for me.
On Sunday, Easter Sunday, we're going to hold a big feed for all of our employees. It's going to be a big buffet where I want lots and lots of choices.”
The Sheriff rolled up with sirens blaring and got out. I chuckled ,“He got a chance to run his siren!”
Stu giggled ,“He does most of the time with you!”
“It's rare when I've not beaten the hell out of someone!”
Sheriff Ben came in and had his hand on his pistol. “I got here as fast as I could.”
“Get them out of here. They know they're fired and they know they're under suspension at the police station. Depending on whether or not they actually believe that, we don't know....All I know is the tables are now turned and rather than US being removed, they are.”
The Manager said, “Hold on ONE SECOND! I didn't say they were....”
I said, “Sheriff, he's the next one you're removing. He's been shown paperwork. He's made the call to the trustee. And STILL we're liars!”
Ben said, “Alright, everyone he's said he wants you to be removed, so get out. Don't come back here or you'll be considered trespassing.”
Stu asked, “Do you want the manager to go?”
“Yeah, and the assistant manager too if he can't understand or comprehend we're the owners.”
Stu gave a nod, “I agree.” He looked at the Manager ,“Your services aren't needed any longer. We'll have a new manager hired.”
I said, “Ummm, Stu?”
“He's already hired. If you recall, Kenny said he had Paul.”
I turned to Kenny and asked, “Did he come?”
“He's driving down. He wants his car here.”
“Ok, we'll deal with him when he gets here.”
The Manager turned, “That's the thanks I get for running this place for some fuckin' bankruptcy court!”
I gave a nod, “Sir, you ran it for them. I never said 'Thank you', I guess it was us being called liars which earned you the 'no thanks'.
I turned to the girl, “Now, if you'd like to make those phone calls, you can keep your job. If you don't, clock out and you're fired. Need I ask you again?”
She said, “I'm going to need a raise.”
“CLOCK OUT! If you need a raise to make a phone call for the 5th time you've been asked and not done it, you don't need the job!”
I hopped up and over the counter ,“Who's the assistant manager!”
She jumped back and I said, “Clock out. I'll figure it out.”
I smiled at Stu and asked, “How may I help you? I imagine you're asking yourself how many smiles you got today and have realized you've not gotten one until NOW!”
He laughed and Sheriff Ben smiled. “Jer, get back across the counter. Somehow, you don't look like a hotelier.”
“Hang on, I might understand this computer yet!”
He laughed and Stu asked, “Kevin? Who's the assistant manager?”
“I'll call him.”
He pulled his phone and talked with the guy ,“He's coming.”
I said, “Ok, at least we'll know if he likes his job.”
Kevin said, “He's decent. You've sacked who needed to be sacked.”
He smiled, “All the attitudes are probably going to have coffee. That's USUALLY what they do!”
I turned to Stu, “Ask the Assistant Manager why he wasn't asked to the Management meeting?”
“If the Manager didn't intend on there being one, he probably didn't make calls.”
About 5 minutes later, a guy came rushing in, “I'm here!”
I smiled ,“Great! I was employed all of 5 minutes! You can't afford the wages I make, I've had it!” I threw my hand on my hip and he gave me a stare. I said, “Billionaire's wages....I'll take the place!”
Stu said, “I'm Stuart Reddington and he's Jeremy Blue. We're the new owners.
Your current Manager has been terminated. The girl who works behind the counter has been terminated and your Chef who was working yesterday got himself terminated when he was told to be here with a cost accounting sheet and apparently had no clue what one was.”
He said, “My name is Aaron Bartholomew. What can I do for you guys?”
“Ok, here's the first thing. We're going to hold a management meeting and we need to know what you view as wasteful in the spending department?”
He said, “Nothing is wasted, the prices are too high.”
I nodded, “Take it down to $79 a night, but here's what I need you to do.
We own a LOT of the other hotels and motels. Right now, we're bringing ALL of our people out from the Alders and putting them up here complimentary. You're to write those charges off. I know and realize you're writing off charges when there's no income, but there will be if we report a loss for the year.
What I told the girl to do is I told her to call the Alders and get the room assignments. Now, you could call and I could operate the computer and get everything ready, but we need the rooms assigned.”
“Will that person there work with me?”
Stu said, “I'll make the call.”
I turned to Kenny and Kevin ,“Kenny is your new Chef. He's a long time friend of mine. Normally, he doesn't look like he's been in a car wreck. His ex beat him up and now, he's here and happy.”
I turned to Kenny ,“We need the prices changed in the restaurants and bar. Put them to where YOU feel comfortable and make sure we have NO sandwiches which are $28.”
He smiled and I said, “Other than that, go through the place and let me know if any prices need changed.”
He gave a nod, “Is that it?”
I'm not hard to work for. I'll let you know what you're making when I
see how people are paid and what they're making. You might ask for
what you normally make and I find out that Doug was making what they
make in “New York”...”
He smiled and then outright laughed, “Ok.”
I smiled, “You're going to make what you made in St. Louis....I'm not paying anyone New York wages!”
He laughed louder ,“I need to go through the kitchen and take inventory. I'll get you and your Mom the tenderizers, but all in all from what I've seen, it's not that bad in there.”
“Ok, here's what I want you doing....Make a call to the freezer people and have them check the coolers and freezers. If those are 20 or 25 years old, have them update the motors and those most likely will do.
Other than that, if I'm not getting food poisoning, see if they've got leftover barbecue and make me a sandwich!”
He laughed, “Ok!”
“I'd ask for a beer to go with it, but it's 7am, not 7pm....I never EVER drink before noon unless I'm with my ex! That man had me in a fuckin' blackout! Eight years, my God!”
Everyone laughed and Stu had tears in his eyes he was giggling so hard.
Sheriff Ben smiled, “Ok, I'm leaving. Give me a call if you need anything!”
He said, “Jer', your Uncle is good people. We spoke for a while and I really like him.”
“He's funnier than hell. Ask him about the time he was chasing some lipstick thieves and went over a fence and got the wedgy. If you don't laugh your ass off....Well, you will!”
laughed, “I've already heard some of those stories, but when he
pulled out that weapon and said that'd be his weapon, I nearly fell
“Oh hell, that pistol which is so old he has to MAKE the ammo for it?”
He smiled, “Yeah?”
shook my head, “When he's buried, he wants that damned thing
embedded in his tombstone!” (When we buried LeRoy, his pistols
were indeed embedded in the concrete used to make his tombstone. I'm
paying homage to LeRoy because he WAS the Sheriff, Chief of Police,
Fire Chief...because he owned the fire truck..., Mayor, and held just
about every other job in that county.)
(The story goes like this....He went to the drug store in their little town because it was reporting a silent alarm. A couple of guys ran out and before they did, they grabbed an entire display of lipstick.
He would go on to tell how as the guys ran, the lipsticks were falling and he somehow managed to step on every one of the things which would twist his ankles a different direction.
Finally, they went over a fence into the rail yard and he thought, “Ok, I gotcha now!” and went over the fence only to catch the back of his pants on the top of it and give himself the wedgy from hell and had to hang there for about 15 minutes when his 3 gunshots notified his wife he needed help.
Anyway, Aunt Mary is all of maybe 4'8” tall and she had to have him stand on her shoulders to get him unhooked. Due to his weight, he went down that chain link fence with it taking hide, shirt, and everything else all the way down.....
When he finally stood up, he realized he had a trail to follow them with the lipsticks.... so Mary wore different shades of lipstick for years telling it was compliments of the lipstick bandits whom they never DID find!)
Stu asked, “Is there a way I can look at the books while you two do that?”
Aaron said, “In his office. I wasn't allowed to ever see them. He said I complained too much about the expenses.”
Stu smiled, “IF he'd paid attention to them, it'd probably not be broke!”
He went to the man's office and Aaron and I made the call to the Alders and got the room assignments switched....Which is a good thing because we were involved in that when the guys started showing.
When they got there, they were surprised to see me behind the desk. The first guy said, “I was wondering if I'd misheard you! THIS PLACE IS NICE!”
I laughed, “The Alders is out of business. We've just not decide when it will happen. Within a year, there will be a new hotel in that location.”
Aaron had to laugh when one guy said, “I was going to train the cockroach that was in my room, but he moved out saying he couldn't live like that anymore!”
We got through all the cards and assignments and then, went to find Stu. He said, “Babe?”
“Take a look at this and tell me what you see?”
I took a look at the ledgers ,“Either he's fucked up the accounting or he's siphoning off funds!”
“I called the bank and they say that account has money in it and it's been there all along.”
“Have 'em move it over to our main business account. That's going to make it look like we've got two sets of books!”
Stu said, “He's put it into receivership. How and why the bankruptcy court never saw this, I don't know.”
“Maybe they made that money AFTER the filing???”
He shook his head, “No, it would've went to the trustee to pay bills.”
“Well, it's neither here nor there, it's our money and it's enough to make payroll and everything.”
Aaron asked, “Is that the deposits for the harbor? We DO require deposits for the boats kept moored down there, but all those people were told to get their boats by letter when the bankruptcy was filed.
There are still boats there, but I was led to believe that after 3 months, we could apply to get ownership of them as being abandoned.”
I said, “Let me call the Sheriff. I don't want to do anything with them if it's going to be illegal, but yeah, I want them out of there before season starts.”
I dialed Ben and he said he'd get the water patrol over and get us names and everything for the boats....and that the law is correct.
IF a boat owner is told to get his boat from a marina and doesn't do so after 90 days, the boat is considered abandoned and can be auctioned off....quite similar to abandoned storage units.
By this time, I had him on speakerphone and had Stu and Aaron witnessing what was said. Ben said he'd get the water patrol there and we'd have a list of names, but that if we had proof there, our obligation for notification was over and that they were ours.
Stu said, “Hon, go see how many there are. You're younger than me and I don't feel like running down that hill!”
Aaron smiled, “There's a golf cart out that door for that purpose. Take it.”
“I hope it has brakes!”
He laughed, “Yeah, they're good!”
I went out and unhooked the cart from the outlet and drove following the signs. The problem there is this...the signs are for paying guests and there's steps....needless to say, I wasn't going to ride down the steps in no golf cart, therefore I walked down and counted 16 boats.
As I was counting, the water patrol came and I introduced myself. He repeated the law and said he knew for a fact they'd been notified by BOTH the Missouri Water Patrol and the hotel before the bankruptcy was filed in December.
He pointed, “They keep the trailers over there in that fenced in area. We checked and all but two of them have trailers, so you're quite within your rights to pull them from the water and store them in that area or wherever you see fit.
I say that because when the season happens, you're going to have boats stored where your trailers need to go and that'll save you some hardship.”
asked, “I need to learn a few things and you might know the
“How far out do we own?”
“Your land limits are that fence line over there and way over there. Missouri law states you may own out 300 yards. They went out as far as they could with these slips, but you can lease area further out from the state if you so choose. What we ask is you have approved slips and they stay tethered.”
I asked, “Ok, I need to ask a few questions because I know a few things about how some of them do it and others don't. My Uncle has his boat in a Marina out in California and they welded theirs. Can we weld ours with links of chain?”
“However you want to do it, is fine with us. It'd probably better than rope because ropes wear and we have 'em break loose more than you'd care to know.”
I gave a nod, “I'll get this handled. It might be something where I end up giving people boats as a bonus!”
He laughed ,“There ya go!” he looked around, “Where's your vehicle?”
“Up at the top of the steps. I didn't see a road and wasn't going to drive down steps.”
He laughed and pointed, “That road there!”
“I'll walk up it so I know where it comes out.”
comes out by the entrance. You'll see a sign there which says “to
“I'd give you a ride, but you'd have to walk further than those stairs.”
ok, I'll get some exercise.”
He asked, “Are you a manager?”
owner. My partner said I'm younger, so he sent me!”
He laughed, “It's good meeting you. I'll keep an eye on the boats from this end. There's no real need for security because you've got the trailers locked away, but IF you need a tow, I'll see if I can help.”
“My parents have got a boat around the way a ways. It's an OLD Chris-Craft.”
He looked surprised, “Where they just tore down the two cabins!”
“We moved them, but yeah.”
“That boat is gorgeous!”
“It's a '27...hull number 300. We restored it, but it's got a 454 bored out.”
He smiled, “I know the boat. Don't use it for towing.”
“It's the one I've got.”
“Let me have a friend lend you his. It's got bumpers all the way down to the water line.”
“That'll be fine, but I'm still deciding where I'm going to put them.”
want to put in a request to bid on that Chris-Craft Runabout you've
got out there.”
“Let's do this...I'm going to keep that barrel back (Chris-Craft) and you get that Runabout away from here before we open up bidding. You hand me $1 and if I need you, you come running....My deal is I put you in this phone and you put me in your phone and we keep each other sane.”
He smiled, “Single?”
“No. My partner is my partner. I meant in a way of you not arresting my people and customers.”
“IF they're drinking, they're my problem on this water.”
I gave a nod, “I'll let you know when the auction is held.”
He gave me a look and I said, “Guy, I'll make you a deal. You allow my people who are my family to go and I'll let you have the boat. I could give a shit less about the customers of this hotel, but I'm about to have approximately 10,000 new employees down here...all of which don't need records.”
“So I'm to ask if they're an employee of yours and set myself up for something?”
“Here's what you do. I'm going to have a logo on my people's boats which will also be on my business vehicles.
It's a pissed off Bluejay. You'll see it on my jets and you'll see it on every thing around here for a long while to come.
IF you see people getting stupid, you tell 'em to get off the water and if they need to be told twice, arrest them because they're no friend to you or me.
IF someone kills someone getting off the water, you make your arrest because I don't know them. For that, you will get more than that from me, you'll get my loyalty as a friend.”
“I own this hotel and I own a lot. IF you're invited to something, you're able to bring a guest or whatever. I'll tell you now if you do NOT have a guest, I'll do all I can to set you up with some people who will hopefully be a good match.
I don't know you and you don't know me, so I can't make a suggestion otherwise. If you make yourself known as a friend, we'll be able to get to know each other and that will be the realm I float in.
I'm not someone who goes out and gets drunk on water. The wildest I've ever been was when I was younger and not far enough out that I got in over my waist...and still, my date for that night got his dick bit off by a snapping turtle.”
“Since then, I try to stay out of water which isn't clear. I've since learned some nasty things about the Mississippi and now, my personal policy is to swim in clear water.”
He gave a nod, “Ok.”
“I don't know if there's keys to these boats or not. I imagine we DO have keys to that gate, but if we don't, we certainly DO have power to a grinder which will remove the lock.”
“Let me show you a few things.”
We walked over and he showed me the garage door to the shed. “Locked”...We walked to the gate in the fence and he repeated, “Locked” and then, we walked around to the back side of the shed and he went through the door. “Looks locked but Unlocked”
We got inside and I smelled fuel. He said, “Lights are here and key box is over here. If I wanted to be a thief, I'd stolen a lot.
That door there doesn't lock. I've tried it and no one's yet to catch on. The door to the lot there locks from the inside.
All the trailers are to the boats out there and the trailers to the Chris-Craft are over here.
In here, you've got tools, you've got motors, and you've got a lot of maintenance for boats like someone was going to set up a small engine shop and then didn't. It's never been opened and I've never seen anyone around it. The boats have been there for quite some time because boats which are here in this water get a tell tale form of a smudge that if you look, you know it. If someone's new, you don't see it. Our boats all have them. Those boats there do also.
IF you're going to sell them at auction, get rid of the smudge by washing them and scrubbing. It'll come off and then, you'll have me fooled. For our boats, keep them there, but let's get the others out of the water.”
“Ok. Are there any worth anything?”
“You and I have the ones worth something in my mind. All the rest are fiberglass or metal. Ours are good but yours is a little sun bleached.”
“Ok, I'm glad you know boats.”
“Here's a trick....” He went over to a tool box and took a real small flat screw driver. We went out and he took me to the barrel back. We got on and he put it in the key slot. He turned it and it started first try.
He nodded ,“I've kept 'em running. I don't want to see something as nice as these fall into disrepair no matter who the owners are.”
“That's nice. I appreciate it.”
“I'll be back this afternoon with my truck. You'll have to give me a bill of sale which states I paid $100 for it but that will get me a new title.
IF you sell yourself the boats for $100 each and give yourself new titles, they'll fetch more at auctions. All you do is take the hull number and the trailer number to the DMV and they'll do the rest.”
“Ok, so that's washing a title?”
He smiled, “It's legal. It's just not commonly known. If you go the other route, it'll take at least 2 to 4 months and you'll be stuck with them. This way, it takes you about 2 weeks to get a clear title and you'll have 'em sold fast if you sell 'em on eBay.”
I gave a nod ,“I appreciate all this information.”
“Here's what I'd do. I'd sell 'em to people IF they're not going to be from around here. No one who buys a cheap boat will do a title check and no one who gets a boat will be traced by the old owner.
IF they do, you've got all the legal rights in the world to tell 'em they had ample opportunity to get them out of here. There's no gates and there were no guards who were caring enough to come check....I hope you fired those you had.”
“They're history. They harass the gays and they weren't doing much other than drawing a paycheck and walking around like they had big cocks. I sure didn't see anything which impressed me.”
He smiled, “I never figured out how to do it.”
“You gotta watch and you gotta see 'em walking. If what you THOUGHT was there is there when they're walking, you've got something. IF not, keep an eye and you'll be able to tell. It's obvious as hell when they're out of blue jeans.”
“I hope you can find me someone. It's lonely as hell down here.”
let you know.”
He asked for my cell number and then, called me. I put his in my phone under WP Renner ,“That's all I need. I'll work with your friend's boat when we're ready to move 'em...but that boat there we're leaving in the water for my best friend.”
“I'll recognize it. It would've been my choice if I wasn't into classics.”
My cell rang, “Hello?”
but I need someone to drive around and down to get me. I'm not
walking up all those damned steps!”
“How'd you go?”
“I followed the path signs until the top of the stairs. Then, I walked down.”
He laughed, “The entrance is by the entrance! Didn't you see it?”
“I was told by the Water Patrol guy when he was showing me some things I need to show you.”
“Ok, so you need me down there?”
“Yeah, I'd like for you to meet this guy also.”
“Ok. I'll be there shortly.”
“And Stu? Bring mine. Mine has a ball on the hitch.”
I hung up ,“Wait a moment and you'll meet my other half. Our deal stays between us except on the boat. He's not going to mind.”
“By the way, your's is a '37 and mine is a '50. I thought you should know.”
“Do all the rest of these run?”
“That one over there is about worthless. Whoever had that boat didn't know what they were ordering and I don't know who would've sold them that size of boat with that small of a motor.
All the others are good, but your friend's is a real speedy boat, but uses too much fuel....It's not running lean, it's just that it sucks that much fuel to keep it going.”
“Forget it then. I'll sell the damned thing before I put him in the poor house operating it.”
“It's fine for pulling skiers and tubes, but once again, it's best if people stay in boats. As crowded as it gets out here on these waters, no one needs to be a target. If I had it my way, we'd have no props and no one out on the water. The two combined are lethal.”
“Are there many accidents?”
“Here's the problem. At least twice a year, we have someone die. At least ONE of those will be found a few weeks later with prop marks.”
I saw Stu pulled down ,“I'll use the trick you showed me to get 'em around. Do you have a list of those so I can get titles?”
Stu got out and came down onto the gangway. I said, “Stu, meet Patrolman Renner. Officer Renner, meet my partner Stu Reddington.”
They shook hands and I said, “Hon, I'm giving him that one right there. We're taking the '37 barrel back right there.
I was going to give that one to Mike and Michele, but he says it's a fuel burner and is a gas hog. He says that one over there is gutless. It's got too little engine for the size of it, so it's going also.
All of them except 2 have trailers over there. I'll do some checking and get trailers, but he says all of them run. From the looks of them, we'll be able to sell 'em without problems.”
looked around, “This is real nice!”
“Here's what he's told me. He's told me that we can lease slip space out beyond the 300 yard line which is as far as our property rights allow.
thinking about adding to what we've got here and making it better.
With the hotel's reputation, we should be able to get renters and
keep this full...unless they had the rent fees so high on these none
could be rented.”
I turned to Renner, “What's the going rate for slip fees?”
“In season, $55 and out, $25.”
“Yeah, but here's what I'd do...I'd put monthly out and weekly in. I'd charge the same and see who rents by the month or asks and then offer them the cheaper rates.
You're good with your permits for the fuel. You're able to sell, but they overpriced fuel like they've done everything here.”
I gave a nod, “Ok, it's all changing and we'll be doing things like they should.”
“If you do, you're going to need slips for at least 500 boats. You've got enough ramps and everything's set up like it should be, but they ran themselves out of business with too many things being high priced here.”
“I'm thinking about adding bungalows on these hillsides all the way to the water...and having a wooden walk along the edges.”
“Don't add the wooden walks. They help breed water moccasin. Although they look nice, it's not when it invites kids closer to the edge.
I'd put concrete which is decorative up a ways to where you see the water line and then, you'd know where the edge is for you. What else I'd do is put in decorative water lights down so the water reflects and then, have lights up which aren't electric unless they're hooked to a ground fault interrupter someplace in the circuitry.”
said, “You sound like you know a LOT about the water!”
Renner smiled, “I've been around it all my life. I've been on this water here for the last 12 years. I hope to be on it for another 31 and then, I'll retire up there at my place and will spend another...hopefully....30 or so years in retirement.”
I smiled and Stu asked, “What did you want to show me?”
“Let's go over here.”
I turned to Renner, “I'll show him what you showed me and then, we'll work for a bit getting these boats on the trailers.”
He said, “Ok, I'll be back later to get mine.” He hopped on his boat and left out.
Stu said, “He's gay.”
“Yup. I got hit on, but I'm gonna find him someone.”
He laughed, “The way he was looking at you, I knew he was hot for you.”
“Not happening. You're mine!”
went over and I did it the same way Renner showed me. When we got to
the side door, I said, “Handle locked. Give a shove and it's
Stu gave me a startled look, “THAT'S GOTTA BE CHANGED!”
“Hon, us three are the ones who know. He said he's been here for 12 years and no one's shown themselves to be around. We now know, so I'm not changing it.”
“Yeah, but look at what they had here and didn't use it.”
We looked around and I said, “That door there locks, so we've got to lock it from the inside and go out to the lot, but we've got to find the key for that gate. If we don't, we're going to use a grinder.”
“Is there a grinder in there?”
“Yeah, do you wanna?”
“Yeah. I'd rather we have our own keys to our own lock.”
I said, “If you've noticed, the empty spaces are where the boats who have no trailers are located. He's told me all the ins and outs legally we can do to wash the titles and get them sold a lot quicker than waiting on the usual method.”
“What's the usual method?”
“Filing liens and then going for confiscation via a lien holder title. He says between 2 and 4 months, I know it's more like 6.”
“Really? What's the fast way?”
“Taking ourselves in and selling them to ourselves for $100 each. They get us a new title with the bill of sale and it arrives in about 12 days.”
“Yeah. It takes that long for a normal title, so it's all cool.”
“We put 'em on ebay and sell 'em. We could sell the ones which don't have the trailers on there also, but you'll only get $100 out of them, so it's best for us to find trailers and sell 'em.”
“Let's leave ours here.”
“That's what I'm doing.”
“I'll sell mine. It's not worth much, but I like that one you picked. It's like your Mom and Dad's.”
“Same manufacturer, but Mom and Dad's is a tri-cockpit. Mom and Dad's was made in the third year and was the first one of that year. It's rare to find an early model Chris-Craft worth much, but it's possible because they were made in the roaring twenties and had good economy to run a company.
The rarest are the ones from the 30's. People didn't have the money like they did the 20's, so you find 'em and will note they're rare.
That one out there is a '37 which makes it rare. I recognized it because of the barrel top and love that shape.”
“Are barrel tops rare or just the year?”
“The year. They made barrels for a long long time, but if you study Chris-Craft, you'll learn how NOT TO run a boat company. They're still being made, but if they'd put a revolving door on the owner's suite, they'd seen it spinning like a top.”
“Hmm, that's a shame.”
“Since around 1960, the wood boats have been gone. Chris-Craft's heyday was prior to World War II and then had a resurgence between 1950 and 1960.”
“Why'd they sell if they were selling good?”
“The fiberglass boat started being made. People took a look at the cost of one compared to the other and the additional work it took to care for the wood ,“Fuck that” and bought a fiberglass boat.”
“Is there a lot of work to a wood boat?”
“We've got to refinish ours because it's sun bleached. It's not hard, but it's a pain in the ass. When I'm bored this winter, I'll go out and sand and lay on some finish and then wait a week and do it all over again until we've had some 16 weeks and then, I'll lay on the top coat which isn't supposed to be used, but keeps it glossy as Mom and Dad's.”
“What's the catch?”
“Ok, here's what you do. You sand it down and then, you put on your first 16 coats using some expensive ass polyurethane which is used in bowling alleys.
When you have that laid on, you let it dry and then, you come back with liquid plastic which is another form of resin bond poly which will make you high as hell and yet, it paints on a sheen which no water will penetrate.
You're going to see me walk in with that one and paint it on with a roller and wonder how and why I'm doing it the way I do, but you'll understand when we're staying with a shiny boat 10 years from now and no sun spots.”
We went and opened the garage door and then, I took the grinder out with an extension cord and cut the lock off. Stu went and got the truck and then, we worked to put the boats on trailers.
After everything, we went back up and around so I could get the golf cart and drove up to the back lot where the management office parking is closer than out front.
When we went in, Stu said, “I'm going to find something to eat.”
“I'm with you.”
“Let's go make our sandwiches in that deli area.”
We went in and I went around behind the counter and shaved us off some meat and microwaved it. In no time, we had the perfect melty good sandwiches.
The girl came in who was supposed to be working there and looked surprised to see us. “Did you need some help?”
“We made our own. Normally, I'd be firing you, but as dead as it is around here, I'm going to ask you what you do with all that meat when the date is bad on it?”
She said, “To be honest, I take a lot of it home and throw out a bunch.”
“Ok, here's what we do. A week prior to the bad date on that, let's start slicing it up and getting it into bags for the restaurant up there.
I'll tell Kenny it's coming and then, he can mince it and get it into soups and various things like baked beans and green beans.
IF you have him do that so he's able to have pastrami and cabbage and things like that on the buffet, it'll get it out the door and we'll have the chance to write it off.
Now, I'm not opposed to you taking some home at all...but do this...take home a max of five pounds and give him the rest. I want an opportunity to save some of the loss.”
She gave a nod, “Our big loser is the breads. Do you want me to send those up to him?”
“Yes. Once again, he can put those out on the buffet and then, if it doesn't go, he can run it through a toaster and into some stuffing or something.”
She gave a nod, “I'll do that. The same with the cheese?”
“Here's what I want you to do with the cheese. Don't slice it, but take what you want off and then, give him the chunks. Most likely, we'll put it on into some macaroni and cheese and fry that if it doesn't go the first time on the buffet. If you've ever had his fried macaroni, you'll never forget it.”
It sounds gross!”
“Hon, it's heavenly. Let me call and see if he's making some soon.”
I dialed Kenny and he answered, “Hello?”
“It's me. Are you having some of your fried mac and cheese anytime soon?”
some with ham in it right now.”
“In the fryer or in the pan?”
“Going in the fryer, I'm showing them how it's done.”
“I'm at the bistro. When you've got it hitting the marinara, send down 3 plates of it and I'll share some.”
He chuckled, “Ok, are you getting me some meats?”
“She's told to give you EVERY thing she's got going old. She said you'll get a lot of her breads.”
“We can use them, but you tell her I want her to order some coffee machines and pump carafes and start lacing the air in there with vanilla.”
get her going on that.”
“Show her how you make those coffees you do and then, we'll be ahead.”
“That takes ice cream freezers.”
“We've got those up here. They were in the corner gathering dust.”
“Ok, get me some dry ice.”
“I've got a call in to the supplier, but since it's going to her, she's gotta be the one who does that.”
“How many do you have working up there again?”
12 to 14.”
“She's working alone. You can't spare someone?”
“Not until I get a vegetable peeler I can't. The fucker threw out the peeler and said it was his preference.”
“He couldn't put it in a corner like the ice cream machine???”
He chuckled, “No, they would've used it!”
“He's fired fired should he ever show his face around here again!”
Stu laughed and I said, “Ok, ship some down. I promise I'll save room for it.”
He laughed, “I know you WILL!”
“Make some smothered steak also.”
I hung up ,“That man's cooking up all my favorites. He knows how the hell to keep a job!”
I looked on my phone and saw if Springfield had a restaurant supplier and then called Kenny back, “Hello?”
just say, “Yeah”...We'll waste hours a day if you keep
“I never know when it's you!”
“Put me into that cheap phone you've got with a music tone of “Taking Care of Business!”.”
He laughed, “When I've got time!”
“Did you ORDER a peeler?”
“Yeah, it'll be here this afternoon. I made an order big enough they said they'd get a special delivery.”
“Ok, I wanted to know.”
“I'm making a lot of your favorites and we're going for a home cooked flavor around here. I'll try to get some carp also.”
“I appreciate it.”
I rang off and saw Kevin walking in smiling. He sat them down ,“He said for you, he'll keep the tuna out of them!”
“No, you tell him tuna's fine, he's just gotta ADVERTISE it as tuna mac & cheese. If you're all prepared for something and get something with tuna in it, it's gonna gag the shit out of you!”
He laughed real loud and walked out.
I handed Stu his plate ,“It's got ham in it.”
I took the girl over her's ,“There you go. It won't look hot, but it'll scald the hell out of the top of your mouth.”
She gave it a look, “It wasn't what I thought it'd look like!”
“Try it and you'll be amazed.”
Stu was already into his and saying, “Oh man, this IS GOOD!”
She was just about as quick with her's and I said, “Hon, you advertise soup and those in here. Have those with bean soup and you'll sell the hell out of it.
He's also wanting you to sell my flavored coffees, so I'll show you how to do that. Both of you will increase revenue just from the regular locals you start having in here.
The main thing is this... Those sandwiches HAVE to stay below $6 for as healthy of a sandwich as we're making. If you want, you can advertise soup and sandwich for $7.50, but no more than that AND they get to refill on soup. HE will get you soups down here if you will have things ready for him.
Other than that, I'll show you how to make my flavored ice cream for the coffees, but you've got to order pump carafes and a good Bunn coffee maker.
The key to everything is keeping a pot on to make all the time. You put it in the carafe and keep an eye on the carafes....when one goes empty, have your coffee on already.
What I'll do is I'll show you how to go with everything ahead. The health inspector won't have a stroke if you keep everything in plastic in the freezer, but if you have it in the walk in, you'll see him go nuts with the check marks and shut you down.
If you know anything about ground coffee, it doesn't care if it's in 32degrees or 50degrees. All it cares about is that it's not out in the heat and humidity where it's allowed mold to grow on it.
What you can do is you can pre-measure your coffee into the filters and stack 'em in their own individual plastic containers...if you don't feel comfortable with plastic, go with aluminum...it doesn't matter.
He's saying for you to make your own ice cream which I'll show you the recipe, but I'll have him making that as soon as he gets his vegetable peeler.
The key there is this. You get yourself a 2 gallon pail and you dip it out with a melon baller.
In a separate 5 gallon pan, you have dry ice. Keep a towel around it because it will freeze the outside of that pan to anything it's sitting on and then, you're screwed.
When you dip out of that 2 gallon pail, you pop it into the dry ice and just keep popping until it's full. Then, you take a slotted ladle and you put those on over into a stainless pan which you're going to put into a freezer.
There's several different kinds of flavored coffees I'll want to show you. You've got the German chocolate which uses pecan ice cream with coconut which has been put through a food processor and ground into a dust. You put one of those balls into that coffee and by the time it's floating, it's heaven in a mug. Sell it for $2 bucks and you'll have people standing in line for it.
The other is Hazelnut roast. Now, this sounds terrible, but you put cinnamon vanilla ice cream with real vanilla beans and course ground cinnamon in it....The same thing, drop a ball of that ice cream in and you've got heaven in a mug.
You can ALSO do that with hot apple cider and they'll stand in line for it at $2 bucks.”
She smiled, “ALL of that sounds good!”
“Hon, we're going for a feel which has this place filled and them sitting out there by that huge water fountain down that wall in the atrium. People will make memories on their vacation and come back, but you've got to feed them something they'll remember in order to make that memory.
The ONLY thing I'm ordering different for this place is I'm getting rid of that hideous orange carpeting out there in that atrium. It's going out and we're putting in some decking which will drain off that moisture and get it to a pump which puts it back into the fountain.
Who EVER thought of carpeting beside a fountain is about nuts, but I smelled the mold as soon as I walked in the front door and found it when I walked through there. Needless to say, it's coming out because I'm surprised asthmatics aren't going nuts.”
said, “He was having them suck the water out with the carpet
machines every day!”
“Dumb fucker....He knew the problem and was too cheap to do something about it! Me, I'll go with wood decking and show people how it's done.”
Stu asked, “How?”
“The key is to do it like a deck porch, but have either cedar, fir, or a good waterproof wood and then, you lay it in panels where the space between the boards is a finish nail instead of a 16 penny nail together. The smaller slots won't let heels from a high heeled shoe go in between or whatever and no one's going to trip. It'll look cool in there, but once again, it's going to take someone with brains to operate this place because he sure as hell had none.”
Stu was smiling and she was openly laughing. I said, “Stu, what did I tell you was your problem with moisture at the fountains?”
He gave me a look and I said, “Air walls. We're going to need them in here also. I'll pipe it from the roof, but we need the air flowing so we've got the moisture going down instead of out into the hallways up of those verandas. Needless to say, we've probably got mold and mildew all over this place and it's all gotta change.
With THEM running vacs to suck up the moisture, the carpet's never getting dry. It's either stop the fountain down that wall, or get rid of carpet. I'll tell you right now the second that fountain goes off, we've lost this place....it's what makes it, but whoever put that type of carpet in needs to be shot.”
He was laughing and so was she. I said, “All it takes is common sense!”
smiled, “Eat your mac and cheese!”
“Oh I plan to!”
He asked, “Do you think we'll be fine going into season?”
“No, but with us not having everything and everyone on the... Let me make a call.”
I grabbed my phone and dialed Dave Leighton. He answered, “Hello?”
“Hi Dave. It's Jeremy. I need you to find me a supplier for a few box cars full of 1”x4” cedar decking...If you can't find it, I need fir, but I prefer cedar.”
“Going to take up those carpets out there?”
“You know it!”
“We went to the emergency room last night because of Faye's asthma.”
“Tell her I'm sorry. We just bought the place, but you see how damned bad it is when someone doesn't know what they're doing.”
“It's going to take ripping up the carpet and cutting long weep channels into that concrete to get it drained properly.”
“I'm going to need your people here to do that ASAP.”
“Do you want cedar or fir?”
“I'd prefer cedar to get the smell, but I need it nailed into that concrete. Can you do it?”
“All the floors and all the hallways?”
“It's going to take probably 200 people.”
“Do you have that many?”
“I've got probably 50 guys I can spare, but if you're going to have me and the people from GCC going into the same division, that'll be fine.”
“GCC is your manpower reserve. If they're not going on your projects, they'll be going out onto the roads with Ord-Diamond and Brossi, but here's the thing, I'm going to have you building the hell out of hotels as fast as you can.
I'm going to have at least 4 mega sized projects for you and that's going to be within the next four years, so you're going to need to hire the hell out of people to get it done.
What I'm going to do right now is I'm going to help you get some men. I'll be right back with you, ok?”
I hung up and dialed Kye. He answered, “Hello?”
“It's me, Jeremy.”
“Hey! The answer's no.”
I was calling to tell you I needed at least 3500 people for a
construction job, but I'll remember that longer than my dick...I
guess I'll call the Kiowa.”
“Dude, it's like this...You know and I know that if I raise six kinds of shit about you getting governmental clearance on land outside of your tribal boundaries, I'll win.
I'm not asking for land INSIDE Oklahoma, but outside. Either they're paying taxes on that, or I want to know why. Personally, I could give a shit less, but when it slaps me in the face, I'll make that call and get employees.
For your future reference, I want you knowing this....for the next four fuckin' years, I'm going to have THEM employed building me hotels the likes of which they're going to be asking me what casinos I'm building to go along with them and I'll smile and ask, “Hmm, interested in me building some for you?” and then, you're going to know I'm a devious man when you start seeing Kiowa's revenues surpassing yours!”
“Let me speak with them again. You said 3500?”
“At least. IF you can get me more, I'll certainly build the hell out of things!”
“Let me see. Trained or untrained?”
“Does it matter? Get me both and I'll allow them to train each other! You just know this...IF I have 'em here longer, I'm not giving raises beyond $35 an hour. I can get people off the border of Texas for that!”
laughed, “You're an asshole!”
He laughed, “Ok, I'll call you back.”
I hung up ,“That hon, was me being a bitch. Thank GOD I know how to be one!”
He laughed and she really giggled. I continued, “He's going to call me back in about 5 minutes because HE knows I KNOW that when I get the Kiowa over here, I can use their tribal clearance to get me those quarries opened without all the governmental red tape.”
looked surprised ,“DO IT!”
I smiled, “Why do it when the threat gets me Kiami quarries already operating!”
He smiled, “You're terrible!”
“Hon, it's jobs they want and need. You and I need hotels and that's where I'm going to go. You and I know we've got that land over there across the lake and you and I know we own the road getting there.”
My phone rang, “Hello?”
Kye said, “You're a damned hard negotiator. They'll do it for $50 million and jobs guaranteed for 10 years.”
“Ok, here's the deal. I'll make that deal under one consideration...
IF you get me your people up here to build the hotels I require and allow them to build me my corporate headquarters working under a man's company by the name of Leighton WHICH I OWN, I'll agree.
The side deal I'll make on that is this....I'll build your tribe 3 schools which match our White man's schools in Hannibal, Missouri. They're building that right now and when they're finished, they'll be down here.
Now, if you want, I'll send him there and get those schools going at the same time we get these going, but that call is yours....You've got to have the places for them and you've got to know I'm going to be providing the materials and they're providing that labor.
we'll do is we'll start them all at $20 an hour and then, we'll go
“$23 an hour.”
“Ok, $23 an hour, but no more than $1.50 an hour in raises over that 10 year period. At the end of the time, you'll have me up $3 bucks, but I'll do that.”
“Are you going to say we're subcontracting?”
“Ok, I'll agree. We'll cover all that so you're not paying our taxes and social security. Now, when do you want to do the deal for the quarries?”
“Are you going to agree to a non-compete on the quarries for 50 years?”
“Just to make it interesting, I'm going to ask you one question. If you've got someone who gets pregnant who wants to adopt the child out, will you ask them if I can adopt?”
“I'll name it an Indian name of Bluejay, but I'm going to need a namesake to give all my money and possessions some day.”
me ask. You KNOW they're going to want to make you a blood brother or
“Only if it's you...asshole!”
He laughed, “With what you've got flowing through your veins, I'll probably die!”
“It'd only douche you....I promise it's not piss, but vinegar!”
laughed, “We're on speakerphone here. I've got laughter all
over the place!”
“Here's what I need to tell you. Currently, I don't have the hotel space for them to live. After the season's over, we'll have it, but that's my dilemma.”
“Do you have the ground for them to live?”
“Have them build the living quarters.”
if I can have them at the end of the time they're here.”
“It's your land. Why wouldn't you?”
“Ok, let's do that, but here's how I'm going to do this....That way, you know it's on your tribe if you back out.
pay the wages up front into a fund in which I get to draw the
“If you do that, only do 5 years. By then, we'll have trust, or you'll be my blood brother. I'm getting nods of permission.”
“Ok, that's fine. Let me do the math, but I want you to know I'm going to ask everyone to either work 6am to 6pm, or 6pm to 6am. That's what my people are doing, so I expect yours to work beside them.”
“Let me make a call and then, we'll get those funds transferred.”
“I'll be here.”
I hung up and Stu gave me a look, “You want to adopt?”
“Hon, here's the deal. I need to call Skip and get $1 billion 10 million put into their account. That gets us our labor for the next 5 years.”
“Why didn't he agree to the 10 years?”
“Here's what he's doing. At 5 years, we'll be blood tied. He's going to give me a nod at that time and tell me to match what I already agreed and no more raises.”
“You know this?”
“It's the way it's done. By that time, the relationship of trust is built. There's no more testing between us and the tribe. They know and we know the bond's been built.”
you know this....?”
“I know it. It's the way things have always been done. You either get your trust built or you get killed on their terms.”
“Don't fuck it up!”
“I'm short changing it. I'm putting the money into the account and drawing the interest off by they know it's already there, so they're happy.”
“A lot of customs do that.”
Skip answered and I said, “Ok, here's what I need. I need an account created with $1 billion 10 million in it.
We're going to need the Kiami Tribe of Oklahoma on it and we're going to need them signing for it to be split off in 60 equal chunks with the interest going to me.”
He asked, “Kiami Tribe?”
“Yeah, I'm getting Leighton Construction 3500 people's labor for a period of 10 years. Our advantage is the tribe is subcontracting the work and we don't have to pay taxes, insurance, social security, or anything on them.”
“Oh man, do you realize what you're saving?”
“Yeah, that's why I made the agreement! I'm saving probably $2 billion by going into the deal!
What else I need is a different transaction for $50 million going to them for the purchase of their quarries here in Missouri.”
I chuckled, “I know it's a lot of money before the end of the month, but believe me, when you see what I get for that, you're going to wonder how in the hell I can get everything I do!”
“Ok, I've no problems. I know it's secured, so I'll need to call their treasury.”
“That's fine. Just be prepared for the deals we're making in 5 years because I promise you I'm slick legging the shit out of our government.”
He laughed, “Ooh boy!”
“If they'd give everyone the opportunities they give the Indians, we'd be a helluva lot better off. Instead, they get the deals no one else can.”
“Ok, when are you getting the quarries?”
“As soon as I call him and find out the money was delivered.”
“I'm sending it now. The deal for the labor will be available to do on Friday.”
I hung up and dialed Kye. He answered, “Hello?”
“He's calling your tribe's treasury right now. The deal for the quarries will be paid for over the phone, but the $1 billion 10 million will be done as follows.
On Friday, the money goes to YOUR TRIBE'S bank with the condition that you'll have it split off in 60 equal payments with me getting the interest. YOU'LL make more money upfront, but in the end, it'll all even out. Is that fine?”
“Yeah. I'll bring you the deeds.”
“I'll be here.”
“When do you want them to start arriving?”
“I'm making that call right now.”
“You DO realize we've got a pre-manufactured home facility here, don't you?”
“Yes I do. Unless you're giving me those homes for cost, I'm not interested in any of them.”
He laughed, “You're a hard bargainer!”
“I'm paying for labor and can get my own materials cheaper than you can, I imagine.”
“Ok, shoot me a price list when you deliver those deeds. If I'm wrong, I'll admit it, but I promise you I'm NOT ALLOWING one speck of particle board in these homes!”
“Now you understand I'm expecting quality, not having your people walking out with homes falling in around them!”
our construction isn't that bad!”
“I didn't say that, but I'm telling you your materials are!”
“I'll see what plyboard is going to run us.”
“I will also. You also find out what windows which are insulated and what all the rest of the hotel grade materials will run you if we go that route.
IF need be, we'll most certainly stack cubes and build hotels that way.”
“Hmm, you might have a point there!”
“You're delivering the damned things and going to build these hotels here if I do!”
laughed, “There you go again!”
“Hey, I'm expecting to sell ice water to cool off everyone who're watching the hot studs working on those buildings with their clothes halfway off their bodies. You're forgetting I can sell ice water or whatever and recoup!”
He laughed,”I'll send you old and fat.”
“Not from THAT TRIBE you won't! There's not one old or fat guy amongst you, I don't think....Certainly not 3500 of them!”
“You're probably right.”
“Probably hell, I KNOW I'm right! Maybe you need to be out here and I need to teach you about your tribe! You damned well better know I watch asses like a hawk and divide by two to know the numbers.”
“Look at an ass in that tribe sometime. If you don't see blue jean pockets hugging the firmest cheeks on this planet, you've done scooted off the reservation!”
He laughed real loud, “You're terrible!”
“Dude, if you're on speakerphone, we're both sunk!”
He laughed real loud, “No, I'm outside now.”
“Would you consider pre-manufactured hotel rooms if we made them?”
“Here's what I'll do. You bring up your architect and we'll create a design for suites which are side by side units 16 wide, 40 long and IF you'll agree to deliver them on truck chassis like you would an ocean cargo so we can lift them by crane into place and ONLY have to finish out the floors of the hallways on the big metal frames, I'll agree with some conditions...That we have sprinklers in the ceilings and above grade plastic in plumbing or cast iron.
I'll agree to 14 floors, and what we'll do is we'll have common areas 2 floors up and then, go with 5 floors of one grade of room, five of medium, and 2 of high grade.
You do prison quality outer walls and you do prison quality in between. That way, I know I'm getting something sturdy as hell which all we need to do is weld them into place and stack 'em.”
“You know, that just might work!”
“Yeah, and I might have 10 years worth of hotels running out my ass because I got 'em quicker!”
He laughed and asked, “Can I have those suite styles as the styles for those homes?”
“I'm thinking because I'm seriously wanting to say 'yes', but I want some which are 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom....We can have 'em share 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom units and they'll be happy, right?”
“Some will have their families.”
“Ok, I guess you need those in order to breed, but I was really hoping you were sending the single men!”
laughed, “Even if I were, they'd not all be gay!”
“One can only hope! But here's the thing...I don't want a bunch of clone units. I'll decorate them up so no one can tell easily what they are, but they're going to have to have structural steel frames and we're going to have to build that around them as we go up and tie everything in so we're not having everyone seeing them as being a bunch of steel boxes stacked.”
My phone beeped and I took a look. I said “Rye, I need to answer this call I've got coming in.”
“Ok, I'll give you a call when I get there.”
“We'll be here.”
I rang off and answered, “Hello?”
“This is Dr. Fischer from St. Louis University. Is this Jeremy Blue?”
“I'm calling in regards to Stu. Reddington. I've got the results back and need to speak with you two. When will that be possible?”
“First thing tomorrow....”
“I need to forewarn you, it's not good news.”
“Oh-kay, let me walk out here.”
I went out ,“Ok, I'm in a better area.”
“I've got the cancer mutated. The tumor in his pancreas is so much that should I inject it, he'd have no pancreas left.”
“The prognosis I'm going to be giving him is to let it be. If he has the treatment, he'll last a month. If he doesn't, he'll last 6 to 10 months.”
“Doc, we'll be there first thing in the morning. I need to get off here.”
I can't describe the feeling. It's like the world slammed itself into slow motion. I hit the off button and the deep sense of loss just claimed me. I was trying to grab a breath, but every breath wanted to expel itself back out in a huge wracking sob. Chills....a sense of confusion... a deep feeling of feeling like a balloon that had just been deflated.
The thought of “you need to look this up on a computer” kept reverberating through my skull. “Know the cocksucker which is gonna take him and see how to beat it.”
I don't even know how I walked...was it a stumble? Was it a crawl? All I know is I made it back into the room with Stu. He looked up and instantly, fright took hold of him. “What's wrong!!!”
I went over, “Umm Stu? We've got a doctor's appointment in St. Louis tomorrow morning.” I swallowed, “It's not good.”
He gave me a confused look, “What do you mean not good?”
I took a deep breath ,“He mutated the cancer. IF he injects it, you've got a month at the longest. If he doesn't, it's 6 to 10 months. He said the cancer is that prevalent in your pancreas and he advises against treating it.”
He looked like I'd slapped him, “Ok....He called you so you could tell me?”
By now, my voice was nearly a whisper, “He called me so I'd be forewarned. He wanted to tell you cold tomorrow.”
said, “Jer', you gotta stick with me man. I'm losing
“You'll never lose me. I'm losing you and I don't wanna...” The sobbing started and I grabbed ahold of him and hugged like somehow that'd help.
I don't know how long or how, but he held me and had managed to call Mom. She came in and one look at me, and she sort've stammered, “We'll make it. Let's do all we can to make it.”
can't Mom! It's won!”
“It hasn't won yet BY GOD! Now you straighten up and let's fight this together!”
“You don't understand.”
“I understand that you need to be standing for him not in a ball! Now get yourself up and be what he needs right now!”
I gave her a look and never in my life was I so pissed. She said, “Jeremy, you've got to fight it WITH him. DON'T you DARE give up on him until DEATH is there!
Six to ten months is a prognosis, not the sentence. IF you show him he can live longer, he'll live longer, but you giving up isn't going to help him.”
I turned and Stu looked so helpless. I was instantly so pissed at myself for my drama moment and forgetting him that I immediately went to him and hugged him again. He said, “Let's go. I need to be where I want to be; not here.”
I turned to Mom, “Let's go where he needs to be.”
Stu got in the driver's seat and I got in the passenger's seat. He drove and took us out to the plantation. He said, “I just want to walk. Walk with me, won't you?”
We got out and no words were spoken. He took my hand and we walked out through the yard. Mom and Dad walked with us and as the phone calls came in, I silenced them.
We walked and walked and walked until finally, we came to the clearing and walked out into the field. He said, “I want the hotels to start here. Don't cut all the trees down, but build the headquarters in them. If they can't, don't bother them...pick someplace else.
When it happens, I want cremated and sprinkled with yellow daffodils. Each spring I'll be back telling everyone winter is over and warmth has begun.”
“Jer', I know this hurts. There's no time for that. I've got but a few months to live out of a life which I didn't want to end this way.” He wiped a tear, “I need you and I don't know how to ask you for your time.”
“You've got it. I gave you 100% when I committed.”
“I don't want to be here. We've got vacation homes and I want to see them, not worry about what all the world wants from us.”
“Ok, I need to have a meeting and then, I'll lay it to the side.”
“A lot of what I've got to say is going to hurt. I'm sorry, but there's no getting past it.”
“Hey, we need to collect and regroup. We'll make it.”
“You need to...” He looked around, “Jer', you've got to remember there's a U in us, but don't let US be all there is of YOU. I'm going to be dying and I fear that when I go, you're going to be gone with me and I don't......You can't....”
He sniffed, “You need to be able to move on.”
“Let's not talk about that right now.”
He squeezed my hand, “Dammit, we can't! I WANT this to be the conversation so that after this, there's no more talking about it and we get back on track with living and doing what WE want rather than what's got to be.”
“I want to have friends around, but I want you around most of all. I want us going to enjoy what it is we've got to enjoy and I want us to take time to enjoy it....not lose out.
When we come back, we'll be ready to face it, but we won't have wasted all the valuable moments.”
“Where do you want to go first?”
He looked around, “I need to go back up the hill to the house.”
He gave a look around and asked Mom and Dad, “Do you want to go up the hill or over to get a vehicle? I need to go back to the house.”
Mom smiled, “Let's go to get another vehicle.”
He said, “I've got a coordinate on the corner of the yard. I tried to walk a straight line so we'd know what trees needed to be taken out and where we'd arrive.
I've had a small talk with Jer' and now we're going to wrap up some things and get to the vacation homes so our good moments are spent having good moments...I'd like for it if you and Dad would come along.”
She nodded and I saw the look like she was going to cry go across her face. She gave a nod, “We'll be there with you.”
His voice sounded stronger, “He's going to need you. I'll be fine. I want to be cremated and sprinkled out here in the woods with yellow daffodils....I don't want huge clumps, but just a narrow line here and there. They'll grow to be something which looks natural.
When 100 years have passed, no one will know I've been here except for them and then, possibly progress will have left them alone.”
I said, “No one's going to bother them.”
“You need to thin the trees. I don't know how you're going to do it so they're not drug over the flowers.”
“Hon, we've got money. I'll hire tree people to take them out a chunk at a time if need be.”
“Don't waste the money on me.”
“Bullshit. It's yours too.”
“Do me a favor. I've never seen it, but that old quarry out there. Turn it into a park. Make it be a lasting memory and namesake....Not for me, but for mankind.”
“We'll hire someone who's skilled in park design.”
I took my phone and dialed Skip. “Hello?”
“Hire a park designer. Have him go to the quarry here in Branson and get permission to go onto the old quarry and design a park. He's got complete autonomy over the design, but Skip? Starting tomorrow, I need you to make the decisions.”
“We've got that meeting tomorrow! What's going on?”
“We just learned the time we've got left is between 6 and 10 months. He's asked we enjoy it, so we are.”
“I'll have us attend that meeting, but then, we're getting on the jet and we're going to our vacation homes so the GOOD TIME we've got left is good time, not running out and wishing we'd spent that time doing so.”
“I understand. Tell him we'll be with him through this journey.”
“I know. We all will be. Tomorrow morning, I've got to be at the doctor with him and then, we'll be up there. I'm going to need a vehicle at the airport....I'll call Brossi.”
I rang off ,“We've got that meeting tomorrow for lunch at Fiddlestiks. It was made when I wanted everyone to get to meet us and know who had bought them, but now, we've already done that, but still...it's an appointment I made and we've got to keep.”
He gave a nod and I said, “I promise I'm going to get this done and step out.”
gave a nod,“Jer', you just said WE'VE got 6 to 10 months left.
“WE DO! Until death parts us, I'm going to be with you. After that, you're still going to be with me, so don't think you're going to get out of it!”
He smiled, “Ok, I stand corrected. I love you so much right now it's amazing. You're coming back, but I was worried.”
“Hon, it's going to be rough. I don't want to face this, but we've got to... I guess. Why in the hell we can't be able to make another pancreas, I'll never know but I guess things haven't progressed to that point yet.”
My cell rang and I looked at it. Dave Leighton. “Hi Dave.”
“What did you find out?”
“Dave, here's what's been going on....I'm going to let you know and then, you can discuss it with Kye.
I've got you 3500 people. The money for their employment is already in the bank account for them to be made available. You'll get them for 10 years and so far, we've discussed the possibility of making modular units and building the hotels that way.
What I want are all suite hotels. That means half of those units will be one thing and the other half will be the other but they'll be joined by the dividing wall and everything will be as sturdy or sturdier than stick built.
In regards to things, I'm going to have some meetings with Brent, but I've got to step back. We just got a call from the doctor in regards to Stu's cancer and it's not good.”
“Oh man. How bad is it?”
“They were able to mutate the cancer. If they inject it, the cancer in his pancreas is so much that it'd leave very little for him to live on...so that prognosis is a month. IF we leave it untreated, it's 6 to 10 months.”
“Oh man...My heart's with you guys.”
“I know, but he's asked that we take the good time and go to our vacation homes and enjoy it together, so I've got to step back and we've got to do all this as it's needed and pull together.
Tomorrow, we've got that meeting at Fiddlestiks. BUT, first thing, we've got to go to St. Louis and meet with the doctor and then, go up there and break the news to everyone.
I hope everyone understands, but this isn't a question of what I care for the most because I'm going to be with him.”
“Without a doubt.... I'll do everything I can. What do you need done?”
“I'm going to download my phone number list from my phone and get it to everyone. Right now, we need to have YOUR concrete mix trucks being prepared to cover our redi mix jobs for the next 6 weeks in all of the plants. It's going to be a skeleton staff, but I'm going to need every available unit to be on hand so we can make the pour and move ahead as fast as possible on that 60 mile project.
When that's finished, we're going to begin building the hotels down here and THAT'S going to be a bit of a chore because I'll need to be here to lay out where I want those to go.
main thing there Dave is this...You're over that one...It's a
construction job, so you get it, but I'll tell you right now we're
going to need some plans made for parking garages to hold all those
“Ok, I'm taking it you're wanting something but you're not sure what you want.”
“I'll tell you this....Over on the Shepherd of the Hills strip, we've got 80 some acres there which I want a hotel that looks very much like the Excaliber out in Vegas....with the convention center in the middle.
SHOULD WE ever get legalized gambling, I want that center convention floor built in a moat so it's floating already. Then, all we've got to do is roll in the machines.”
“Yup, it's going to be expensive as hell, but now you know what I'm going to be sitting there hoping will pass. Times aren't getting easier and if Missouri will wake up and realize we can grab back some revenue which is going elsewhere, we can be a little Las Vegas down here.”
“That'd be good, but towns which are missing the boat won't let it pass.”
“Hannibal has had ample opportunities and let it go right on by. I don't get it, but I'm not building up there YET.
What you and I need to do in a couple of weeks is we need to go up in the air and take a look at the big project we've got coming and tear it apart into little projects so you've got people working everywhere down here and you're not overwhelmed.”
“What are those?”
“Ok, we've got the corporate headquarters campus. I want it to be a bunch of 2 and 3 story buildings which are set about in a campus. The focus there is we need the companies put in close proximity to each other who will be needing to work together, but have the accountant's office someplace where it's not the focus, but gets equal treatment.
For example, the architects need to be in between you and road construction. You could adjoin the buildings so roads is connected to you via architects, but I want underground parking and parking which is tranquil so it's park like and campus like instead of hustle and bustle.”
“I understand. It's going to be a big project.”
“Yeah, but while that's happening, in front of it, we're going to have the 3 hotels there and then, because I've got the men from Kiami for 10 years. If we need to, we'll build hotels on around the lake and make a strip which goes around there which is a totally private drive....that's why we need to go up in the chopper.”
“Ok, I'm getting it now. You're talking about a 10 year plan.”
“I'm talking about a staged plan where we've got the priorities first and foremost...and then, the wish list for our 10 year plan.
How I see this is this way. I just bought the Kiami's quarries and that garners us a lock on the competition down here all the way to the Oklahoma border. In return, I'm to employ them for 10 years and all they want is the 5 years wages up front and then, we'll have that trust gained.
My goal is to have these big hotels sprouting up and there being an off ramp out there at the highway where they'll be going onto our road and we own everything for all of that.
What needs to happen there is it can't look contrived, but it needs to be well thought out so even the fast food looks good and everything looks like it was meant to be.
What we NEED to do is build a walk and road along that shore. Yeah, they get the first 100 feet, but in those guidelines, we can have a decorative walk with benches, street lights, and it looking beautiful and natural. Then, we can have that roadway with out bumps for parking and stairs....no ramps are coming down and handicap accessible everyplace.”
“Ok, I'm getting a good mental picture.”
“I'm turning it into the riviera because across that road, we're going to have the hotels and everything on those hillsides, but up above will be where all the employees houses will be.”
“It's a planned thing for everyone, but it gets us our employee's their houses and it's got us providing the power, the heat, and everything right there so it's all efficient and it's all built in a planned manner.”
“Man, now I understand how it all ties together.”
“It's got to be so you're helping deliver the vision. I'm not sure how I'll be.......” I started lose it ,“I'm not sure what I'll be like when this is over.”
“I need to get off here.”
“I'll see you tomorrow.”
I got off the phone and wiped my eyes with the backs of my hand. Stu said, “You need to call everyone and let them know why and what's happened.”
“Let's leave the tears in this meadow. I know it hurts, but we've got to look forward.” He hugged me ,“You're so much like a little general it's making me prouder than ever of you. We haven't lost a battle yet, so let's be valiant as long as we can.”
“Stu, it's hard as hell.”
“I know. Somehow, I feel like I've got the easier part here and I don't like it, but it's pompous as hell if I call everyone and tell them.”
“Ok...let's walk, but let's get across that creek before it rains because I don't want to have to swim and I sure as hell left my window open in that truck! With you driving now, I'll be sitting in that wet spot!”
He laughed, “I knew you needed to have me drive. I'll be back over there soon.”
“Hon, do it today. I promise you I'll be better.”
“No, in a strange way, I'm glad you're being like you are. It says that at least I meant something to someone.”
“Bullshit, everyone loves you! I'm the one who's gonna have to be going to my grave with people's spit on me!”
He gave me a shocked look, “No you won't!”
“Oh bull, for every 100 friends I make, I make at least 5 enemies. You have everyone loving you!”
He smiled, “If you'd tone it down some, you'd have 100 friends.”
“And if I toned it down some, I'd not be me!”
He laughed, “Bluejay bluejay, you chirp and screech, but you're still a bluejay. Always remember a hawk is bigger.”
“Even a hawk has an eye. Never forget to learn where the vulnerability is... Right now, this bluejay's heart is his.”
I sniffed and he turned to hug me. He hugged me, “I know...and that's why I love him and I'm so sorry I'm the source of his pain.”
“No, it's not you...It'll never be you. It's not you.”
He said, “Hon?”
“I don't want chemo or radiation. It prolongs things and really, it's not a quality of life I want to live with.”
“Ok. I know they're going to harp on us about doing that.”
“Tomorrow is my last visit to that doctor. Let's move forward and not ask for help from him which would be better suited for those who need it.”
We walked on to the creek and after we'd crossed, I put back on my shoes. He said, “I get it...I want you to know that I get it.”
“How old is Gypsy?”
“Oh hell, I had her before I met Dave.”
“You realize she's mortal. That's why you're interested in adopting. With a baby, you see life moving forward in their children and children's children.”
“Yeah, in a way, I guess you can say that. It's just that I know with the Indians, there's a custom and structure to love nature and make as small of a foot print as you can.
I've realized that I'm making a big dent in the earth and I realize it's because I want people knowing I've been here, but my future generations are going to be the ones who maintain it.
Someplace inside me, I know that without a child, we're but a wisp of a breeze and with one, we've established something which floats on that breeze....like a butterfly.”
“That's why I want the flowers out there. It's a change in nature, but it's one which works with it.
After I'm gone, people will forget who had everything and whose vision it was to have that part of the strip as it is, but those flowers won't die off.”
“We need to spread Doc's ashes some time also.”
He gave a nod, “Jer', I realize this is all a lot for you to handle. I'll be patient.”
“I've got to work through it in my own way. It sounds like you've had time to think and do what you needed to understand it.”
“I always knew there'd be a possibility of it not being good.”
“I didn't want to admit it.”
“I know. I think that's why it's hitting you so hard.”
My phone rang. I saw it was Donna ,“It's Donna. I need to tell her in person, so don't think I'm being insensitive here.”
He nodded and I answered, “Hello?”
“Where are you?”
“Walking up to the back side of the motel, why?”
“I've got paperwork for you to sign.”
“Come to the plantation. We left our vehicles up there and now, I've got to get a ride.”
“How about I give you a ride out there?”
“What's wrong? Your voice sounds different.”
“I'll tell you in person.”
“Oh man, is it Stu?”
“Just come. I'll tell you in person.”
“Oh my God!”
“I'll be waiting.”
“I'm driving right now!”
I hung up and Stu said, “Hon, you were crying. She knows.”
“I can't be a stone...not when it involves you.”
“I'll stay here while you tell her.”
Mom said, “I'll stay with him. Your Dad can go get our truck.”
We went in and I got Gypsy and hugged her. She took that for only so long before she ran over to Stu and he picked her up and hugged her. He nodded, “Get yourself a baby. I understand.”
“It can wait.”
“No, if the time comes, you take the opportunity. Don't let grief suck that away from you.”
Donna pulled up and Dad and I walked out. He put his hand on my back and didn't say anything. I got in and she knew immediately. She started to cry, “How long?”
“Six to ten months.”
She looked forward and really let the tears go. When she composed, she took my hand, “I'm going to be there for you guys.”
“I know, but we've got to go be alone for a while. We're going to the vacation homes and using the good times we've got to have good times. After that, we'll be back and then, we'll do some things....but at the very least, it's going to be 6 weeks.”
She turned to Dad, “You two will go with them, please?”
He nodded, “Yeah, we'll go with them.”
Her face crumpled, “I can't even imagine how this has got to be for you. I know you love him.”
“It's killing me....Well, it's killing him, but it's not so good on me.”
She nodded her face crumpled again, “I know you've been crying. You said you weren't.”
“It's tough. He doesn't want me crying. He said to leave it in that meadow over there.”
She shook her head, “I don't know how you can't!”
I've got to look forward to what smiles we've got left. If I'm
crying, I won't enjoy the time we've got left. I'll cry when it's
She shook her head, “Man this is gonna be rough. Danny Wayne was just telling me he's never seen you in love so much and now...”
“It's a different kind of love. I've got to love enough to let go.”
I looked out the window and heard my Dad sniffle. Donna began driving and she asked, “Does Dad know?”
“Oh man...Ok, do you want to tell him or me?”
“I'll tell him, but here's what we've got to do. The rest of today is telling everyone. Tomorrow morning, we go to that doctor and then, we go to Hannibal so we can have that meeting.
After that, I need to go in the air for the project engineers and leaders to know what I need done and then, we're going to step back.
Aside from getting the stills out of that brew pub, and aside from getting the 60 mile project rolling, we're moving into the next phase of everything.
What I need to do is speak with Mr Alberici and assure myself the theater will be completed when we get back and then, he'll have that to hopefully help give him purpose.
If he doesn't want to do that, we'll do other things, but Jerrett has got to be there and I'm going to be so far pulled back from how it's going to be operating that I'm nothing but a shadow of the ghost which operates things.”
She said, “Jer', we need to make time to be together. I see you retreating already and you've got to be where your friends can help you.”
“Hon, I've been an idiot. Everyone's seen me doing all this and now, what mattered doesn't anymore.
I know what I want and wanted so I've got to have people carrying that forward for me, but really, if you ask me, I'll tell you I want time for Stu and that's it.
It's unfair because so many waste the time they've got and he needs some....”
Dad said, “Let's make it easy for him. If he doesn't have stress and worries, he'll be better.”
“Dad, I don't think cancer gives a fuck if we're stressed or worried or not. It's in the dark and has no ears or feelings, it knows one thing and that's to feed and munch on those we love.”
realize that, but let's make it as easy as we can on him.”
“I am. He gets 100% as soon as I can step back. Right now, I feel like the ride has ended and we're coasting to a stop so I can step off.”
Donna said, “No, the ride's moving into a slower phase. It's where we who are your friends step on and help...so let us.”
“I will, but we need to have this six weeks.”
Dad said, “I'll step in for you on the 60 mile project. I think you've got enough people, it's just the big question of if it'll work.”
“And we already know question marks where we've got hope don't always have happy endings.”
He said, “Jeremy, enjoy the time you've got. You saw your Mom was nearly taken suddenly and each day to us is a Blessing. You've been given a notice....That's all....And now, you need to reap the Blessings of days you're given with him!”
“At least you were given the notice. Yeah, it could've been better, but what if that treatment had made him a vegetable? What if the doctor had lied and told you he had the treatment and robbed you of the time you would've had?
Count 'em and consider this a Blessing....Do yourself a favor and write a journal and give the things you're thankful for along this journey and when he DOES die, you put that in the casket with him so he knows in the afterlife that you did enjoy the time you had.”
“He's going to be cremated.”
“He WILL KNOW!”
Donna asked quietly, “He's going to be cremated?”
“Yeah, he wants his ashes scattered out behind the plantation in the woods along with yellow daffodils so he can come up every spring and people will know he is still with us.”
She started crying again and drove slower until we finally pulled in at the plantation. She said, “So beautiful. He'll love it out here. You love it along with him.”
She said, “Make the call to your people who are going to restore this and use some of your construction people to get this done as soon as possible so you've got it to share. Let his memory be in this place and not out there in the back yard. You'll have it to keep you when the weather won't outside.”
Her voice faltered, “Before you leave on this vacation, we need to have the entire family together and have everyone you know and love so we've got a time to enjoy each other.
I know it's selfish of us, but we're going to have an Easter gathering and we need to have him be a part of us as long as we've got him.”
“I'll ask him.”
“I'll get it arranged for Sunday....It's passover, so it's as good of a reason as any.” I thought, “Man, what semblance....It's a celebration where children aren't taken and he sure got this one!”
“I'm going to get the truck. It's starting to sprinkle and I need to make calls.”
“Call my Dad.”
Dad said, “Son, I'm going to go back in....Donna, you be here with him.”
She said, “I will.”
said, “Thank you for letting me know he's got friends.”
He got out and she said, “Let's go in the house. I'll get the window in the truck rolled up. Give me your keys.”
I handed them to her and walked through the yard. Interestingly enough, I started to notice the daffodils spread all throughout the front yard already....
Seven months 18 days later.... January 10th
I got out of the truck and looked across the front lawn. People were gathered and all of them solemn....I had his ashes and nothing felt real. It felt like a haze.
Seth had hold of his son's hand. “Adam, stay back here!”
Adam wasn't going to have anything of it. He'd seen Gypsy and she was happy because she was wanting to go inside. I said, “Gyp, come on. We need to do this...”
I went up on the porch ,“Everyone, it's what Stu wanted. He wanted his ashes spread with daffodils out on the back. We've got the ground painted where he wants them and how he wants them. The bigger spots get more. The narrower spots get less....” and that's how I've got to spread him for the ages...
Adam got free of Seth's hand and came over and took mine. “Come on!”
He turned,“Come on Gypsy. You can walk too.”
She came bounding over and together, we walked....some several thousand strong with everyone holding backpacks full of bulbs and having wagons on the back of tractors full of daffodil bulbs.
We went out and the hardest thing in my life was letting go of those ashes and reaching my hand in to spread them. I heard his voice, “I'm with you babe. I'll always be with you.”
“I know you're here.”
Adam said, “I'm right here!”
For the two hours we would've had a funeral, we worked as a unit. When it was finished, I said, “Stu, you didn't go as far as you wanted to, but I guess that's how it was meant to be.” I turned the box over and patted the bottom. Then, I took out the plastic bag and turned it inside out and shook the last remaining grains out.
All along the way back to the house, people hugged me and told me how sorry they were and how much they'd be there for me.
I told them I would be there for them too, but really, all I wanted was to go get in our bed. The bed he'd passed away in just four days ago...so I could smell his smell.
Mom came over, “Are you ok?”
“I'm as ok as I can be. None of it feels good.”
“I know babe. I know.”
“At least he's got everyone here and he knows our first time of having everyone here is for the memorial service.”
“Do you feel like eating?”
“Try to eat something. Kenny and everyone's worked hard on the food.”
I went up and every part of it had me remembering Stu and his enjoyment with the meals we had before us....and yes, he'd even tried the yellow crock pot and made a hideous face. He said, “Ok, I can say I tried it, but don't....” We had a good laugh over that one!
All down the table, I remembered. All down the table, I didn't want to let go of those memories of having the next bit of food being my first one without him. All down the table I cried....
All down the table, the mist enveloped me again and I stepped into the haze. Finally, I went up on the porch and sat in the rocking chair....one of two which we had and sat out there together for so many nights watching the sun go down.
I can't tell you how many people spoke with me. I can't tell you how many people tried. I can't tell you if I spoke back or what would've been said. I don't think I did.
When it was over, people left. Mom came over, “Hon, let's go in. You need to....” I don't remember the rest of it. I NEEDED Stu and wanted nothing....
Write Me A Love Story
From My Keyboard To Your Heart,
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