Write Me A Love Story By RettaMichaels “The Queen of Gay Romance”
Write Me A Love Story
I was woke up by the phone. I answered, “Hello?”
said, “Get up sleepyhead, we've got breakfast on!”
“Oh man, we slept all that time!”
She giggled, “Yeah, I think each one of us went out as soon as we lay down.”
“We'll be over.”
I woke up Stu. He said, “Huh”
“It's morning and you've got to call Mel because we forgot to go over there last night.”
“I'll call them sometime today and explain everything.”
“If you need me there. I'll be there....Mom and Dad have breakfast on.”
“Ok, what to where....what to where?”
“Keep showin' me that sexy butt and we'll stay naked a while longer!”
He turned and smiled at me, “You make me feel so good.”
I decided to lay the cards on the table with him, “Stu?”
He suddenly gave me a concerned look, “Yeah babe?”
“If I don't tell you how good you look to me or how sexy you look, or any of that, please don't think I don't think it. I know there are going to be times you wonder, but my Mom said it best when she said, “My God that man's good looking!”.
I think that, but I don't want you thinking that's the only reason I'm with you. I'm not.”
“I know...and I'm thankful you're not. I've been told I'm good looking by a lot of people, but when we got together, you didn't show me you were that superficial at all.”
“There are times I am. I walked in yesterday and saw you at that bar and thought, “My God, he's the best lookin' man in the place and if this place were full, I'd still feel that way.”, but my heart doesn't judge upon your looks as to whether you're the one for me. It judges on a lot more levels than that.”
He came over and gave me a hug and then, leaned in for a kiss. “I know. I feel the same way. There are times I pinch myself because I see you as being so damned good looking and then, I catch myself and wonder why you're with someone my age.”
“Bullshit. Age isn't a thing for me. More often than not, I see you as my age...not being 18 years older.”
He gave a nod, “A lot of times, I don't feel that much older than you. I view me as me and you as you and us as a couple without all that.”
I kissed him back and then, we stood there kissing. My phone rang and I said, “Man, she's going to insist we get breakfast!”
I picked it up, “Yeah!”
The phone sounded with a distinctive British accent, “I'm at the airport.”
“Oh! I'll be right there!”
I hung up giving a smile, “The Lloyds of London guy probably thinks I'm a real jerk now answering the phone like that! He's at the airport.”
He chuckled, “You need to get dressed babe!”
“The only thing I have over here are my sweats!”
“We've got to get everything moved.”
I threw on my sweats and put on my shoes. “Hopefully, we didn't get these too dirty. You go and tell my parents why I blew off breakfast and I'll go get that man and bring him back.”
“Don't sign anything yet.”
I grabbed my keys and went out to the Rover. Dad came out of the cabin, “Where are you goin'?”
“The Lloyds of London man is at the airport. I'm going to get him. Stu's coming over to tell you where I went!”
He chuckled, “I'll let her know.”
I drove up and into town and then, over to the airport. I pulled up and left it running and then went into the terminal. The man was sitting there looking more proper than I would on my best day. I walked over and held out my hand, “Hello, I'm Jeremy Blue.”
“OH!” He fumbled with his things and then, held out his hand. “I'm Chris Grant....Lloyds of London.”
“Let's go back to our cabin. We can discuss everything then.”
“I'm 28. There are times I feel a lot older!”
He gathered his things and we went out to the Rover. As soon as he saw it, he said, “Oh, a very fine vehicle!”
“I inherited it from the man who left me that policy you've got there. He gave me a lot of nice things, but the best thing he gave me was his friendship. For that, I feel a loss.”
We drove through town and on out to the cabins. I said, “We'll use Stu's cabin. My Mom and Dad and Stu are in my parents' cabin.”
We went in and sat down at the table. I asked him, “Would you like something to drink?”
He said, “I'll have a spot of tea if you don't mind.”
“Hot or cold?”
He gave me a look, “Hot of course!”
I smiled, “We usually drink it cold. I'll have you some made here real fast.”
I put on a small sauce pan of water and then, got out a glass and a cup. I put some milk in mine and asked, “Do you want some milk in yours?”
He gave me a look, “No thank you.”
“We've got sugar, do you want sugar?”
“No thank you.”
I got out a Lipton tea bag and thought to myself, “Dude, you're not making it to a second bag!”
When the water was heated, I poured it in a cup and brought it over to him, I sat down with my milk ,“Ok, what's needed?”
He gave me a deer in the headlights look and I said, “You're obviously here about the insurance policy and I'm obviously here waiting on what you've got to say. You're here on a Sunday, so that means you mean business and I'm sitting here knowing it's legit, so let's cut through everything and get to talking.”
He said, “The policy is accurate. We're needing papers signed and then we will begin the process.”
“You're paying me interest on this money at 8%. I know and you know you can drag this out or you can make things happen. IF you do not or WILL not, trust me in having a call made to the Attorney General with a complaint for you to do business in this state.”
“We will pay interest. I believe it's at the prevailing interest rate.”
“Nah, that doesn't penalize you for dragging things out enough. Had I sold the policy, I'd been required to have the money when it's payable. All the other insurance companies have the money heading this way, so you should also.”
He said, “I have this paperwork here.”
“I'll cross out that interest rate and put in 8%. Then, I'll sign. Try not paying me that amount and I'll drag your name through the courts suing you to get it.
Get me the money sooner and you'll pay less interest.”
He put the paperwork out and I read it. When I got to the end, there was NO statement about interest payable. I said, “I'm signing this down here stating “8% interest payable upon pay out”. There is NO interest on this paperwork whatsoever, so I'm going to get a copy of these before we conclude this by me signing. IF that's not fine, I'll get the Attorney General's number as well as have my lawyer on the phone.”
I walked out of the room into Stu's office and put the paperwork on the copying machine without speaking with him. I copied them and then came back in and signed his copy with my addendum.
I said, “That paperwork isn't legal without that addendum there. Check with your attorneys, but now I'm copying it with my signature and that addendum.”
“That won't be needed and got out more paperwork, “Sign here to receive this check.”
“Let me see that check.”
He slid it over....$581 million. I gave a nod ,“Ok, it's more than I expected. I apologize for being so abrupt, but I have less problems with business when I assume someone's going to work against me.”
“We don't do business that way.”
I gave a nod, “I'm aware of that now. You have my apologies yet....”
I signed the paperwork and asked, “Is there anything else we need to do here?”
He shook his head no. I slid the check back ,“Right now, me spilling this milk would ruin my day.”
He gave a horrified look and I drank my milk. Stu came in and I said, “Babe? Here's the check.”
Stu gave me a surprised look and I turned to the Lloyds guy ,“Excuse me.”
I pulled my phone and dialed Donna. She answered, “Hello?”
“Hi, this is Jeremy. I need to know if we've got someone in or over the bank. I've got a check here which needs deposited and let's just say that I'm NOT going to put it in the night deposit slot.”
“How much is it?”
“Almost $600 million.”
“Let me retract that, it's $581 million.”
“Uh.....Let me make some calls! My God you never told me this!”
I laughed, “I'm not going to say anything until I've got it in my hand. There are too many variables which can happen....All I want is it put into Stu and I's account and then we can invest it and do all we're going to do with it.”
“I'm just speechless!”
“Yeah, both of us had to sit down when we learned of it....but I'm going to tell you like I told Stu...Don't act like it's there because it'll change our lives and the way people deal with us over it...The less people who know the better.
I'm still going to be me and Stu will still be him, so you know I'm going to keep my word to everyone and still try getting the best deals I can from everyone. IF they know, it puts us at a disadvantage and I don't want that.”
“I understand. What are you going to invest in?”
“Stu knows some places on the strip he thinks the people will be interested because they're having a hard time of it. I'm going to trust him to do those negotiations, but if you know or think of some which are having a time of it, that'll be good...it'll get us to being able to employ more people.”
“This is the same person who left you the Range Rover?”
“Yeah. I'll explain it in more detail, but this Lloyds of London man looks like he would like to go back to the airport.”
“I'll make that call.”
“Call Stu with it. I've got the check laying here on the table, so he can deposit it.”
“Don't you endorse that!”
I chuckled, “Donna, only you, me, Stu, and this man know it's here!”
She giggled, “Ok, I guess I'm being paranoid!”
“I understand it's a lot of money.”
“I'll get off here, but that's what's going on. We've got a contractor who is going to be here discussing the building of the cabin, so we'll be busy with that this afternoon...but when we're finished, we'd like to move our personal things to the motel and leave both my parents and Stu's cabins so the family can tear them down and have the furnishings.”
“Yeah, my parents are down here wanting to discuss about having their place built into a nice cabin also, so we'll have that and can live up at the motel until all that's done.”
“That'll be real nice.”
“It'll be real nice, but my focus is getting whoever needs a house the cabins and then, we can help them.”
“I've got two sets of cousins who would really be thankful to have something.”
“We'll do it up for them, but that's what's happening now. I'll get off the phone now, but I figured you'd know someone who could get the deposit made in the bank rather than trusting that deposit slot.”
“I'll get the Bank President there. It might take Daddy speaking with him, but I agree it's best the check is in the bank.”
“Ok, I'll get off here.”
I hung up and asked, “Are you ready to go back to the airport?”
He nodded and I said, “Ok, I'll take you.”
I turned to Stu, “Donna's gonna get the Bank President to accept the check in deposit. Put it into our account and that way, we can start on doing those purchases first thing tomorrow.”
He smiled, “Ok babe.”
I gave him a hug ,“I'll be back.”
I took the Lloyds man to the airport and shook his hand and didn't even wait to see if he got on the plane or not.
On the way back to the cabin, Stu called ,“Donna has the Bank President heading back. How do you want to do this? You've got to be there to endorse the check.”
“I'm about to the cabin...Give me three miles and I'll be there.”
“Tell Mom and Dad and then, we can get some lunch and get the motel rooms. That way, we can get everything loaded and moved over there.”
“They might not be able to do it for a while.”
“Hon, if we tell them the key of it is that we're trying to beat the season, I think they'll understand it's probably going to be best to get it done sooner than later.”
“They've still got the theater to do.”
“Yeah, but it's going to be a bit more to get that blueprint ironed out before it's a go. Right now, we know it's a go with the blueprint on ours if you want it like Mom and Dad's.”
“I'd like it to have the living room area like that, but not that big of a house.”
“We'll get it cut down. I think we'll be happy. I'll be there real soon.”
“Ok, I'll call your parents.”
I hung up and when I got there, Mom said, “We'll be out real soon. Your Dad had to use the restroom.”
“Ok, I'll go do the same for Gyp.”
I drove to Stu's and he already was outside with Gyp. She saw me and came trotting over. I got out ,“Baby girl, Daddy and Daddy have to go to town. We'll be back, but when we do we'll have you some nice bones or something to eat. Ok?”
She was happy she'd gotten her lovin's, so I put her in the cabin and then, I told Stu, “Babe, Mom and Dad will be ready when we're back there.”
We drove down and sure enough, Mom and Dad were outside. They got in and Mom said, “I love this truck! The seats feel right and I just love how nice it looks.”
“Mom, if you want one, decide what you want on it and we'll get you one.”
quickly said, “No, that's ok!”
I stopped the truck and went into the cabin and got my laptop. When I came back out, I said, “Take a look at the Land Rover website and look one up. The Autobiography Edition is what you're going to want as it's the one which has all the options in the package. All you have to do is pick what color and what color of wood. In order to get the lighter wood like this, you'll have to stay off the Autobiography woods because that automatically picks the color of interior and wood at the same time.”
“You have been on here?”
“I was on there yesterday while I was waiting in the waiting room. I couldn't change the television from that channel unless I wanted to watch an in house channel, so I looked up how much he paid.”
We got into town and went to the bank. Stu said, “Do you want to go in?”
“No, I'll just endorse it. You can do that.”
He chuckled, “The man might want to know who you are by sight so he can give you special service!”
“Nah, you get that. All I want is a card. We already did that signature card, so that shouldn't be a problem.”
“Ok, I'll be back.”
Donna came over and knocked on the window. She said, “Show me your truck!”
I got out and walked her around and then, sat her behind the wheel and introduced her to Mom and Dad. She said, “I love this truck! I thought it'd be outrageously expensive appearing, but it's refined enough it's not going to stand out.”
“I love the color. I think if it was anything but this Sand color, I'd probably walked away from it. Doc had other colors, but this one is the one which seemed to have it where I like it.”
I paused ,“Tomorrow, we're going to have the appointment with the lawyer. When we're finished, we're going to need to have an appointment with you so we've got everything covered.”
She asked, “Why not do it now?”
“We've got to have the appointment with the lawyer. I'm not going to insure that house up there when we can empty it and go ahead and sell it.
It might sound like I'm wanting to get everything changed over real soon, but in a way, I do. We've got the season which is approaching and we've got to have as much wrapped up as we can so that I'm not putting undue stress on Stu.”
Mom said, “I understand things better now and agree. Yeah, it might seem to everyone else that you're rushing, but the stress being kept off Stu is what we need.”
Donna asked, “Why are you worried about stress on Stu?”
“Hon, the less trips back and forth when we're doing all this construction and adding onto the upcoming season is going to be quite a lot. I'm going to be doing a lot of construction down here and those decisions which are needed....the upcoming programming for the season. The added items in the theater... and then, us not just worrying about that one but the new one, it's going to be a lot of stress. I'd rather just leave it alone and not have him stressed.”
She gave me a nod, “I understand, but I think you're worrying about stressing him when he's not going to be stressed out. Maybe you're worrying about your former relationship and carrying that over, but Stu's not someone who gets stressed easily.”
“I hope not. I'm building this relationship right and don't want things involving me stressing him out. I just want there being nothing more than what he's already used to.”
She gave a nod, “I guess we all have baggage in our lives which affect other people we date. Until you brought it up, I guess I never thought about everything I bring as being a stress on the other person.
I doubt if I find that person around here, but I keep hoping!”
Mom asked, “What kind of guy do you like?”
I smiled, “She liked Stu until she found out he's gay!”
Donna laughed, “Yeah, that sorta put a damper in it!”
I said, “He's a damned nice guy. I don't blame you. The more I get to know him, the more I love him more and more and now, with all this that's happened, I don't want there being decisions which cause problems....It's all so new and getting caught up in a whirlwind and having all this money is really a stressor.”
She nodded, “I forgot about the money!” She laughed ,“To me, you're Jeremy and I don't put the money and you together. Don't think I thought of you as poor, I just didn't put that and you together.”
“Don't put it and me together. It changes your perception of me and really, that's not what I want people to know about me first thing. I'd rather have people knowing me and getting to like me instead.”
She gave a nod, “I understand. I'm trying not to let it change my thinking of you, but it does and I don't like that about myself.”
Mom said, “It's natural. We all do it...and we do it in subtle ways. We do it when we're looking for a mate. We do it when we're meeting people as friends. And, we do it when we're meeting acquaintances.
We don't think we're that way, but here's what I mean....Wayne and I won a lawsuit. Suddenly, we had money and suddenly, we were able to do things we didn't get to do before....that normally, I'd have to decide, “Ok, we can't afford that, how do we tactfully say we don't want to do it?” and now that we can, that limitation isn't there.
When we're dealing with friends, I consciously make decisions and don't ask them to do things I know they can't afford so they're not embarrassed, but at the same time, a lot of our friends have done things which are hurtful by assuming we're going to be paying everyone's way!
When you're looking for a mate, you don't allow yourself to go out with someone whom you know you're going to pay for the dates. You don't do it with friends either and that's why I say it's natural and we tend to put ourselves in the social environmental economic realm of those who are more on your levels. It's just that we don't think about it when we're doing it.”
Donna nodded, “You explain it a lot better than I would've.”
Mom said, “We've been through it hon. We went from a little house to a big house in the country on a hill and I'll tell you it's brought about hurt feelings with myself and Jeremy also.”
I turned and looked, “How come?”
She said, “Hon, it's nothing you did. You're so independent that I can't tell you all the times I've wanted to say, “Here's a bunch of money. Do with it what you will.”, but you say you don't want our money, but you took your inheritance from your Grandmother and said that money was just fine.
It's hurt because I see your Grandmother's money being fine, but our money not.”
“It's not that...I look at you and Dad's money as having to last you throughout the rest of your lives and anything I take being something which would be a bother to you possibly later on.
Now, I know we've got way more than plenty and I want to give back...so I guess I'm doing the same thing you were wanting to do and now realize you're being better about it than me...but I refused because of a lot of reasons....mainly that I was with a guy who was taking my money already and I didn't want him getting used to spending more!”
Mom gave a chuckle, “I'm so glad we saw him for what he was....Man, I can't believe he had us all duped!
Until I caught him in those lies and until I KNEW they were lies and that you were down here, I would've believed anything that man told me negative about you or otherwise.
Now, I realize he was probably doing it all along and it makes me ashamed I let him do that to us.”
“Well, we've got someone better now and I don't think Stu would ever do anything to us like David did.”
Donna said, “Stu's one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He's one of the first guys I thought would accept me for my family and everyone else. I just hope I can find someone like him some day for myself.”
Mom said, “Let me do some looking around. Jeremy's got a cousin who is a real sweetheart and is single. He was in the war and now, he's needing someone because his wife didn't wait for him to get back home before she decided to end the marriage. When he got back home, he discovered he'd not only lost his wife, but his best friend because that's who she got together with.”
I gave a nod, “Donna, imagine Jeb cleaned up. That's the sort've build Danny Wayne has. He's real quiet, but he's a hands on kind of guy.”
She asked, “He's in the military?”
Mom said, “No, he used to be, but he got out and just completed college. He's looking for work now in his field of work he's chosen, but with the economy being like it is, it's not likely.”
A light bulb went off and asked, “Donna, ask your Dad if someone who trained to be a game warden would be someone he'd hire onto the Sheriff's department! I never thought that'd be a possibility, but it could work!”
Mom said, “It's all law enforcement.”
Donna said, “I'll check. Is that what he went to school for?”
I said, “Yeah, but he's 32...so don't think he's a fresh faced kid....but you'll find he's relaxed like Stu....He's just comfortable in his own skin, but I'll tell you it's bad to say, but he's someone like Stu who you just know he's built under those clothes.”
Mom said, “He's DAMNED built under those clothes. Your Dad and I went to your Aunt's house and he was choppin' wood for her fireplace and he had his shirt off. I was amazed.”
Dad said, “He's military. He cares for himself, but all of those kids are damned hard workers.”
I said, “Let me call him and see if he'll come over. I can say I'm giving him a job working here and that'll tie him over until he finds something. With us adding in him staying at the motel, it'll sweeten the deal enough that he might take me up on it.
Then, when he's here, we can introduce him to the Sheriff and everyone quite possibly and let him see what it's like around here....and that way, you can get to know him on a level of seeing whether he likes the family and everything else. Ok Donna?”
She smiled, “Yeah, that'll be fine.”
Mom handed her phone up ,“Here's his pictures.”
Donna took the phone and Mom said, “That file folder is his Mom, Brother, and sisters as well as himself.”
Donna got to looking ,“MAN, is that when he was chopping those logs?”
Mom giggled, “Yeah, that's him posing out there.”
Donna giggled, “Sure! You weren't kiddin' that he's built! He looks like Superman!”
I said, “You wouldn't know it with the way he dresses. It's sorta like Stu...but then again, I've got Stu on the brain because you don't think Stu as being that built until he's dressed different.”
Mom said, “You're right there. Yesterday, when he was in those sweats, I thought, “Man, he's got a body and doesn't show it!”
Donna looked surprised, “Stu wore sweats!”
I said, “I bought him some St. Louis Blues Hockey team sweats...and really razzed him about them!”
She smiled, “But he wore them because he loves you...”
“Yeah, but he dished it right back, believe me on that!”
Mom laughed, “Yeah, I'm glad to see he does that. It tells me he loves him.”
Donna kept going through the files ,“Why don't you give him a call!”
I laughed, “Ok, hang on there.”
I dialed Danny Wayne's number and finally he answered, “Hello?”
“Danny Wayne, this is Jeremy.”
“I've got a job for you if you want it.”
“I'm over here at Branson doing a landscaping job and need some labor. It's starting out at $15 an hour and to throw in, I'll cover the motel room if you'll come.”
“It's quite a bit. It's doing a lot of different things from putting in trees, to laying in stone, to putting fountains in. I've got the equipment, but I'm already getting a lot more interest here and rather than keeping it small, I know I'm gonna have to grow.
Mom and Dad are down here and Mom told me to give you a call because she thought you might be interested.”
“Yeah, full time and benefits....as well as workman's comp...I've got to have all that in order to work within the city limits and really, it's not hard...it's just labor intensive.”
“My problem is I don't have the money to get there!”
“Ok, what I'll do is I'll go over here to Walmart and send you a MoneyGram to your Walmart there. Will $500 get you over here?”
“Ok, I've got another question for you.”
“Are you still single?”
“Well, there's a woman here who is my insurance agent. She looks like Priscilla Presley before the botox and after Elvis....like when she was doing that one show.”
“Yeah, and apparently, she's related to half the people around here and when she saw I was single, she got her heart broken because I'm gay...”
He laughed and Donna was giving me a shocked look. I smiled ,“Needless to say, Mom showed her your pictures and she's sorta hot for your bod.”
“Yeah, but I care enough for her she's like a sister so I only wanted someone nice for her and now that I know you're coming, we might be able to put something together for you.”
“What's she do?”
“She's my Insurance Agent....Progressive.”
“Oh yeah, you mentioned that.”
“What I'll do is I'll get over to Walmart and get that sent. How soon do you think you can make it?”
“You're in Branson?”
“Four hours tops.”
“Ok, get over here as soon as you can and I'll get you a room here at the motel. I hope you don't mind a suite because that's what we're living in.”
“My partner and I are about to order construction on a place.”
“Please tell me you dumped that one dude.”
“Yeah, he's history...I've got someone now who is super great. He owns quite a bit down here.”
“Yeah, he owns the motel we'll be staying in as well as a bunch of other stuff.”
“Great. I'm glad to hear it. That other guy gave me the creeps. He said he was military and was lying through his teeth.”
“I know. I learned to believe that if his mouth was open, it was a lie and if I'd had my eyes open a little more, I'd saw he should've had the nick name Spongebob Squarepants because he was that damned much of a sponge, but hey...we live and learn.”
He got to laughing, “I'm glad you're done with him.”
“Yup, got someone better now. His name is Stu and he's got everyone won over. He's that nice.”
“Good. I'll be there. It's not going to take me long to pack.”
“Whatever you need, we'll get it for you when you get here.”
“I might be calling you. This car of mine is really on it's last legs.”
“Do you think it'll make it?”
“I don't know. I'm gonna try it, but if it dies on the side of the road, I might just go ahead and shoot it and put it out of it's misery.”
“How about this? How about I drive over there and get you later tonight? I've got a truck here you can drive and I'll have work vehicles, so we'll get you something.”
“I'd sure appreciate it.”
“No problem. I'll be there....Or someone will.”
“I'll be ready.”
I hung up ,“Donna, you're going to have to call your cousin in...because I've got to get a work truck.”
She laughed, “Ok, I'm still back at the part that I was hot for you?”
“Toots, I wasn't going to say that you're hot for my boyfriend! He'd think I was talking about Dave and wonder if you were in your right mind!”
Mom laughed, “I wanna hear you get yourself out of this one!”
I said, “He now knows I've got a new boyfriend, but I wasn't gonna say that because he's already had one girl who had a roving eye, so me saying that you're interested in quality shows he's qualified....after all, I'm quality toots!”
She laughed, “You're too damned scrawny!”
I smiled, “In my own mind, I'm ten foot tall and bulletproof!”
She laughed ,“Get me set up with him and I'll forgive you.”
“He sounds like he's interested.”
She said, “By the way, thanks....Me hearing I look like Priscilla Presley is enough to forgive you over. She's beautiful.”
“You are too.”
Mom said, “I can see the resemblance, but I'd also add in Jane Russell when she was young.”
Donna said, “Everyone said my Mom looked like Jane Russell when she was younger.”
Mom said, “Well, you look like her then.”
I said, “It's interesting because Donna looks like her Mom, but she looks like her Dad too. I think she got the best of both of them.”
Stu came out and saw I was in the passenger seat. He said, “You need to come in.”
“He's getting your card created.”
I turned, “Donna, call your cousin. Tell him I need a white full sized Ford diesel which is fully loaded. It doesn't matter if it's dually or not, but I'd prefer dually.”
“Ok, I'll get him called. What if there's not one there?”
“Then call Chevy as long as it's a diesel. If it's not a diesel, you can't get me in a Chevy.”
“I'll make calls.”
I walked with Stu and he asked, “What's that about?”
“Getting her a guy.”
“My cousin Danny Wayne. We might have to go get him later.”
“Just north of Miami, Oklahoma.”
“Hon, just know that SHE'S interested in his pictures and he's interested, so let's run with it and see what we can do.”
“And we've got to go get him?”
“Yeah, he's on hard times. He just got out of college and can't get a job.”
“What did he major in?”
He laughed and I said, “No, he wanted to be a Game Warden....Sex Education will be what he does when he gets here.”
We went into the bank and I shook hands with the banker. He said, “We've got everything handled, but they want to know what type of card you want.”
I took a look at the computer screen and asked, “Can I get a logo one?”
He said, “Yes. It's over here.”
“One moment, I'll pull up my business logo for you....Can I sit there and get on the internet?”
He moved and I went to my email and pulled up the logo and clicked on the photo and saved it. Then, I went over to the space and pasted it into the card site. It allowed me to crop for the card and I said, “There, that's like my business cards except it'll be my business credit card.”
Stu said, “This is for our personal account hon.”
“Damn...Ok, hang on a second and I'll have you what I want.”
I got my phone turned to camera ,“Take a photo of Stu and I here in a moment.”
We went over by a tree in the lobby and I posed with Stu. The banker took the photo and I emailed it to myself and then, used it into the card.
I said, “We're about to go to the Ford or Chevy dealer to buy a truck. You might get a call, or you might not, but I want it from my business account.”
The guy gave Stu a look and I said, “Take $10 million and move it over to me an account for my business. I'm going to be buying a lot of equipment for it and will need that debit card there for it just as soon as possible...and no, I don't really care to have checks, but yeah, I'll need checks for payroll.”
He said, “One moment and I'll have that for you.”
He got an account open and then, moved over the money. It took a bit, but finally, he handed me a signature card and I filled it out ,“I don't have a business address yet, but what you do is you can list the address as 1 Stuart Reddington Way and I'll make the street...Ok?”
He said, “Ok.”
looked shocked, “Where are you going to do this!”
“Behind the Burger King and Dairy Queen. All I've got to do is pour some concrete as a street and put a mail box out there and it's suddenly it's own street and yeah, when I'm calling it by that name, the city will call it that name because the second they want to name it something else and slap the face of someone who developed a large part of this area, I'll shut the damned doors and take it to the city limits and make the street there so fast their collective heads will spin and JUST to mess with them more, I'll incorporate my own damned down and insure the NEVER get to annex it in by doing so many legal maneuvers they'll wonder what I'm capable of doing.”
The banker said, “I'm putting it down as 1 Stuart Reddington Way. When the land is owned by the person who the street is being named after, they're obligated to keep the name as that....That's how they do it with subdivisions, so they'll do it in this case.”
He gave a smile, “It tells the feelings you have for him.”
“I sort've took his land without buying it. I better name it after him!”
all laughed and Stu said, “It's as much yours as it is
I smiled, “Ok, so you're saying you think I should name the address of my company 1 Ass Pirate Way?”
Everyone really laughed and Stu said, “I really need to get that changed!”
“Nah, I can't wait until we go global and get to name that corporation Ass Pirates International! I believe we'll name that street Sloppy Holler.”
Everyone laughed. Stu said, “Tom, you can see he's got a personality!”
He smiled, “Yeah, but it does me good seeing your name on something like that street. He's got a very valid point.”
When the transactions were finished, we shook hands and then, went out. Donna said, “He's over there.”
I gave a nod, “Thanks hon.”
“I'll go over and see if you get one.”
We drove over and when I got on the lot, I drove over to a Burgundy dually diesel and got out to check to see if it was loaded. It had some things missing, so I drove on up to the double doors.
Mom asked, “She can get it opened when it's closed?”
“The family owns about everything that Stuart doesn't.”
Stu said, “That's not true. They own ALMOST everything!”
Dad laughed and I said, “She got the Ford dealer opened for me the night we hit the deer. IF we'd wanted a Chevy, we could've gotten it opened.”
The owner came onto the lot and got out. I got out and shook his hand ,“I need a fully loaded full sized diesel. I'd prefer a dually, but I need it today, not tomorrow.”
He frowned ,“I've got some which are diesel and some which are diesel and dually, but there are trade offs. You can't get a sunroof and an auto slider rear window on them, so you can either get one or the other.”
“I'd prefer a sunroof.”
He pointed ,“That row over there.”
“Ok, the burgundy one with the chrome.”
I started walking and when I got to it, Stu asked, “Why are you getting this?”
“I'm getting a front end loader backhoe. The weight of it isn't going to allow me to pull it with the SporTrak. Also, I'm getting a dump truck and will be getting an escavator, so I'll pull it with that.
There will be several other pieces of equipment I'll get, but aside from a crane, I can pull them with that equipment.
I've thought about getting a dozer, but I don't think I'll really use it, so I'll rent that, but in the job for the fountains, I'll need a crane and we'll need it for a lot of other jobs.”
“Ok, but you're planning on having him drive it?”
“I'm planning on having him drive it, but the ultimate goal is to have him working for the Sheriff.”
“I'm not sure how that will go, but I know he's gladly coming to work for me, but we DO have to get him a room at the motel. I'll have my company pay for it for him.”
“Stuart, we've got to. Yeah, it's going from one bank account to another and yeah, you've got to pay taxes on it, but I'd prefer to do it that way, so we're covered.”
“Ok, I see why and understand, but it's foolhardy.”
“No, it's IRS and the second you're seen as doing that, it's income tax evasion. You and I can be there and really, he could be there as my family, but when he's thinking it's a part of the job, let's have it be a part of the job.”
The owner came out and gave me the key. I said, “I'll know here in a second if this is what I need. If so, you can go ahead and do the paperwork, but I need it done in the name of my construction company.”
He nodded, “It's loaded.”
I got in ,“It's going to need a 5th wheel and goose neck as well as chrome bars down there for steps. IF you can get me a brush guard for it and get me both blue and high intensity fog lamps, I think that's all I'll need.”
He gave me a stare, “Why blue?”
“They cut through snow real well. I know we don't get much snow here, but that's not saying this truck won't be up north at my other property. I'd rather have it prepared than having to get that done myself. You guys can put the dash switches so they're professional looking.”
“It'll have to come back for that.”
“Yes sir, but the object is I need this truck today to drive it to get an employee and don't want to use my personal vehicles.”
“Oh! I understand now.”
I started it and as soon as I turned on the radio, I said, “Activate the Sirius and I'm fine with everything.”
“I'll have the paperwork done up here in a moment.”
Donna came over, “Is this the one you're getting?”
“Yeah. He's adding some things on, but this is the one.”
She gave a nod, “I'll get it on your insurance.”
“Hon, you're going to need to open another account for my construction company....but list the address as 1 Stuart Reddington Way because that's what my bank account address is going to be listed as.”
She smiled, “Where's that going to be?”
“Behind Burger King and Dairy Queen. By the time we're finished, we'll have the parking lot for the theater on over to the street, but I'm going to build a building and have a fenced in area for the equipment.”
gave a nod, “I like that!”
I smiled ,“It's the name of one of the streets I have tumbling around in my brain.”
Stu started laughing ,“You're so full of it!”
She smiled, “I suppose he's heard the others?”
“Yeah, it's off beat humor. You'll probably see my name on a street and Stu's going into mine. Mine's just a lot shorter.”
She smiled and Stu really laughed. She shook her head, “How come I feel like I walked into a joke and you're serious?”
I smiled, “We only open up my street after we get home...otherwise it's one way.”
Stu laughed real loud and she got to giggling ,“I'll go get your insurance account opened. What are you naming your company?”
“A Wink And A Smile Construction.”
She gave me a look, “You serious?”
“Yeah, I'm gonna have a sign out there which says, “We're getting our work done with A Wink And A Smile Construction”. I'm just not putting it's a division of Ass Pirates...that'd have you wondering a lot of stuff.”
She laughed and Dad came over, “Are we getting something to eat here soon?”
“As soon as he gets the paperwork finished. What you can do is Stu can take you guys and I'll be right over there. It's not going to take that long.”
“Your Mom needs to use the restroom.”
“Tell her to come on in.”
We went in and Mom came in to use the restroom. She came over and asked, “Why EXACTLY are you wasting money!”
I'm sure I gave her a shocked look, “I'm not.”
“Oh bull! You speak to him and you suddenly need a brand new truck? He's your FAMILY!”
“Mom, if I'm driving four hours to get him and it's in the name of my business, it's business. I can go get him in a truck I was going to buy tomorrow.
Now, I've explained it to Stu and he understands, but I'll explain it to you so you do also. I'm buying a backhoe. Ask Dad exactly what a backhoe on a trailer will do to that SporTrak and he'll be polite and tell you it'll pull the guts right out of it!
Not only do I have to buy a backhoe, I've got to buy a crane, a dump truck and a bunch of other equipment. Am I wasting money on it? No, I'm doing what I want in regards to this construction company I'm starting.
IF it's wasting money to do what you want when it's YOUR money, it's not wasting it. Please don't tell me I'm wasting it again, I'm employing people, I'm giving people real good value for their investment, and I'm actually doing something I enjoy and know I'm good at.
The Blessing of it is I'm helping a lot of people who need it right now. Rather than giving them money which would be giving them a fish, I'm giving them a job and teaching them how to fish.
So yeah, I'm doing what's needed today what I could be doing tomorrow, but if I put up a white board as to what I've got to do and when, I'll tell you I saw two hours I could fill today with what I know I've got to do tomorrow and eight hours tonight are going to be driving to and from Danny Wayne's to get him back here.”
“He doesn't think his car will make it. Rather than giving him the money to get it laying on the side of the road, I decided I'll go get him. Stu doesn't like it, but he knows things will settle if I've got him here helping. Rather than driving all that way in my personal vehicle, I decided it's time to start writing it off.”
Dad said, “Damned good point. There's no way to write it off if it's your personal vehicle. I was wondering why myself, but now I understand.”
Mom said, “I do too. I'm sorry I judged you, but I saw you go from one to suddenly having to buy a truck and the only reason I thought was you were showing off.”
“Not happening with me. There's way too much practical side with me.”
She said, “Your Dad and I can go and get him if you want.”
I turned to Stu and he shrugged. I said, “Let me get this bought and insured. What you and Dad could do is drive the Range Rover over to the barbecue palace and get us a table. He's not going to be that long....
When you're there, tell the girl that it's for us and get a sampler platter. That way, you've got drinks and nibbles and we'll be there just as soon as we get my name on the dotted line.”
She said, “Jeremy, can I speak with you for a moment?”
We walked out and over to a new Explorer. She said, “Getting an Explorer which is loaded is going to mean just as much to us as buying that Range Rover, but more practical. Yeah, the Range Rover is nice, but we don't really need either.
I'm wanting a four wheel drive so that if your Dad has health problems, we've got four wheel drive. I know it can make it out in snow and make it up the hill in show also.”
“Do me a favor. Let me buy you the Range Rover...and before you think I'm throwing around my money, I'll explain.
Out there, the best they've got is the Ford Expedition King Ranch which at best gets something like 11 miles a gallon.”
“Wait a second, because it gets better.
That thing is going to be $67,000 and roughly around $72,000 when you put the taxes on it.
Over at the Cadillac dealer, in order to get fully loaded and four wheel drive, it's going to be around $95,000 for an Escalade fully loaded which is going to get around 15 miles a gallon.
The Range Rover is MORE vehicle and has 21 miles a gallon. Yeah, it's smaller, but I've driven all three and let's just say that there's a reason I'm driving the Range Rover all over the place and that's what you instantly found...the seats are comfortable AND it gets better fuel mileage than my SporTrak.
When it comes to you and Dad, I'm looking at what I know you'll enjoy because I want you guys happy. LET ME buy you the Range Rover. Yeah, it's $20 grand more, but hey, when you realize I'm making enough in interest on the money to buy ten Range Rovers a month, I believe I can afford to splurge a little....especially when it comes to my parents.
You don't know it, but I had already decided to buy you guys something which was really nice. If it's the Range Rover, that's great, I'll do that and I'll pay for the fuel and all the expenses so you guys can be happy driving it.
Yeah, I know you don't need the money, and yeah, I realize it's a splurge, but I'm wanting to do it.
here's the deal....You do eBay a lot but I want you to do me a
“Go on eBay and see how much a Rolex watch costs which is really nice.”
“They're damned expensive.”
“I don't care what they cost. Stu saw mine that I got from Doc and wants me to wear it all the time. I know he loves it and I want him having one also.
When you find one, buy it and then, casually ask Dad if he thinks Stu would like it. IF he says no, ask him which one he thinks Stu would enjoy and then, you ask him what he'd pick if he were getting one. When he says, buy it also and I'll get the money to you.
Stu's birthday is May 2nd, so I know it's coming up real quick. IF I can surprise him with one, and have him thinking I'm getting him a wedding set for us as our gift to each other, he'll be genuinely surprised.”
“But your Dad's birthday isn't until February.”
“Yeah, and Father's Day is in June.”
She giggled, “Ok!”
“Mom, I can afford it. You don't know how it made me feel to casually tell that banker to move $10 million from our account into my business account and know it didn't do a whole lot to our joint account.”
“Oh I know...It makes you feel like you don't have to worry anymore.”
“We don't, but I'm STILL going to buy used equipment and I'm still going to do all I can to save money everywhere, but when it comes to the face of the company, I'm going to splurge and let people know it's successful because no one gives you a second thought when you've got damned nice workers vehicles.”
“But why work?”
“I want to. We're in a town where the rich are working rich and there's no way in hell I'm going to spend money and have everyone thinking I'm spending Stu's money...and no, I'm not going to give off the impression that we've got money, but I'm not going to let people think I don't either.
Donna got brought into the secret because of several things....She's our insurance lady and she happens to be enough of a gossip that she'll set people to rights without going into a lot of detail.
Thirdly, you don't know it, but she was downright to the point of being hateful I got Stu and she didn't. She's getting over it, but those claws still do what they can to rip when they can. Me telling her I don't need his money evened the playing field. It told her he chose me for me and it told her that I brought a real good deal to the table when I sat down.
IF I can make her happy in the meanwhile, that's great because I've gained a friend and I know she's loyal as all get out.”
“That's smart thinking.”
“And Mom....? Mercedes Benz sells cars which are four wheel drive and get lots better fuel mileage than most.”
“Yeah, and you load the thing up because I want you guys happy. The plus side of that is they've got just about everything you can put on which is a safety feature so that the only thing it doesn't do is it doesn't drive it for you...BUT, get what you want on that order thing online and that way when we take you guys back to St. Louis, we can pop in at the Mercedes dealer and get it for you.”
“We don't have our title with us!”
“I'm sure they'll take the numbers and allow you to bring the title back...but do this....They've got a diesel and they've got regular, get the diesel because those engines get something like 41 miles a gallon and are nearly bulletproof.”
“What's that mean. Your Dad says 'bulletproof' and I've never known what he's meant by it.”
“Indestructible. It means you can shoot it and it'll still keep running. That's what you guys need.”
“Do you realize that's nearly twice the mileage we're getting with our car?”
“I know I seriously considered getting one and with the way they sip fuel, I knew I'd be happy. Yeah, it's a Mercedes, but hey, if you've got it, buy it. You only live once and the key is happiness.
But, I want you and Dad not being strangers down here. All it takes is a phone call to get that jet reserved for us and really, with the amount the man charges, I'm not afraid to spend that money.”
“That flight for us yesterday cost us about $1200. Yeah, it's expensive, but when you consider we didn't have to get sexually assaulted by the people at the airport and got to come and go when we wanted rather than waiting, I'd rather do that than not....
And one last thing, in all that property we got, there are places in Vegas, Tahoe, Orlando, Maui, and someplace else. With Vegas, Tahoe, and Maui, we've got to call ahead and get the reservation, but it's no cost to us to stay however long we want...so you and Dad be thinking about using those also.”
“Yeah, but the place in Orlando is ours and is a condo. The places elsewhere are what they call lifetime leases at Aston hotels....They're like suites and all you have to do is call ahead so they're not renting it and we get the same one over and over.”
“Why do that if you're staying in a hotel?”
“It's an investment. It's like you own the room and when they rent it, you get the money. The advantage of it is you get free dinner and room cleaning as a part of it, so it's always fresh. What's nice about it is I hear you get a closet which has a locking door and you can keep Hawaiian clothes in Hawaii and Tahoe clothes in Tahoe and so on and so forth.”
“Having the ability to go to Hawaii when the snow's flying would be nice.”
“Yes, but I want to see about getting one of those leases for New York City also. The thought of us being able to go up there and see the Thanksgiving parade and seeing Broadway shows whenever we want is real nice.
If we can't find a lifetime lease like that, I'll definitely consider buying a place just so we've got it as an option.”
“I'll be using that also. Us having the ability to go enjoy things and know we don't have to do a whole lot of packing would be real nice.”
let's consider that. It gives us some thoughts as to what to do in
the off season as we'll certainly know what we're doing in the on
season down here.”
“But you'll be working.”
“Yes and no. Construction doesn't work for about 3 months of the year and really, I doubt if I'm going to be so busy that I'm unable to pick and choose.”
“Do you still want me to drive the Range Rover over to the restaurant?”
“Yes, but when we're finished, what I want to do is I want to drive around with Stu and see these places he knows we can get for a real decent buy. While I've got Donna here, I'm going to ask her if she knows of more so we can look at those also.”
“That'll be nice.”
“Basicly, we're spinning our wheels until we get the call to go get those guys at the airport and then, we can have that meeting.”
“Your Dad is real excited about getting the one we've selected. It's beautiful, but I had wondered if we'd use it.”
“You'll use it. We'll be here and we've got the house up there and a car there, so we know we'll be fine.”
“We could bring our old car down here!”
“Mom, I'll always have a vehicle for you to drive. If you've noticed, I do all the driving because Stu doesn't like to drive. He's got his SporTrak here, so feel free to drive mine and I'll drive his.”
“Why doesn't he like to drive?”
“I don't know, but I'm happy to do it for the both of us.”
“You two are so good together already, I know this is the right one for you.”
“I already love him in ways that years with David never brought. It was perfect as it was because without David, I sure know life got better.”
“Let's go back inside, but now you understand what all we've got.”
“I'm proud of you for not divulging everything that's happening with Stu's health.”
“She's in a family which has so many herbal remedies and cures, he'd be slathered up from head to food with skunk oil and everything else. It was self preservation for me to get some!”
She laughed and kept giggling. “I hadn't thought of that!”
We walked back into the dealership and Stu gave me an arched eyebrow look. Mom told Dad, “Let's go to the restaurant. There are a few things we need to do.”
They left and Stu asked, “Have a meeting of the minds?”
“Yeah, we're buying them a Mercedes Benz.”
He laughed, “How'd THAT come about!”
“She wanted an Expedition and after some asking around, I discovered she wants 4 wheel drive so she feels safe in the winter getting Dad to the hospital if he needs to go.
After telling her a Mercedes Benz gets really good fuel mileage and has four wheel drive, I think she's happy now. Other than that, I told her what investment properties we've got around the country in vacation properties now, so she's looking forward to winters in Florida and Hawaii.”
looked surprised, “You GOT properties like that also!”
“Yeah hon, I'm anxious to see what we got in Florida because apparently, it's so nice that my second cousin who is a lawyer went to it and wanted one so bad that he was ready to buy right then and found out none were available.
He's also been to the one in Vegas and says that one is gorgeous. I've seen the website for it and it does look amazing.”
“You'll have to let me see them!”
“Those are what I'm going to be discussing with you tomorrow in our meeting. We only have to insure the one in Florida as it's a condo, but I'm going to ask about asking as to whether our household insurance covers possessions we have in properties elsewhere.”
She looked like she was thinking, “It should cover possessions as long as it's not furnishings.”
“Clothing. What we've got are Lifetime Leases at the Aston hotels in Tahoe, Vegas, Maui, and someplace else....”
Stu said, “Idaho.”
I gave a nod, “Yeah!”
Stu smiled, “You'll probably break your leg skiing there! You'll remember it after that!”
“I'll remember it now because the first thing I thought when you said 'Idaho' was, “No you're not!”
He smiled, “Asshole!”
She chuckled, “Your insurance should cover clothing and those sorts of things....but Hawaii....MAN!”
“It's a gorgeous place. I've not been there yet, but I definitely want to go....
In regards to the place in Florida, it's a gated community which is a bunch of town homes. They've got their own private golf course and each town home looks like it's it's own little mini mansion, but it's super nice.”
said, “I never got those things. It's like living in a block
“No hon, these are different. I'll show you the picture and then, you'll be amazed. I'd show you now, but Mom and Dad are going to be using it to look up and get everything for their Mercedes.”
She said, “Let's go over here on this computer.”
“What's taking him so long on the paperwork?”
She scrunched her nose, “He did something wrong and it took five minutes by phone to get it straightened out....something about him ordering one which was just like it.”
“Oh! That might've not been a bad thing entirely. I might need to get a second one at some point.”
went into another office and turned on a computer. Stu came in, “I
want to see also!”
I smiled, “Sure thing babe.”
When it was booted up, I pulled up the website ,“That's it.”
They stared and Donna said, “THOSE ARE NICE!”
“As you can see, they angled them and the wall of your garage is the wall of the next person's house. I really like the way they're designed because it gives us all a view of the lake and the golf course, but it makes us feel like it's private.
While I'm on here, I'll show you the Aston properties.”
I showed them and then took a breath ,“Mom and I are going to be looking at places in New York City. It'd be nice to have a place to go for long romantic weekends to see Broadway plays and to see the Thanksgiving Day Parade and things like that.
I'm not sure if we can get into a lifetime lease arrangement or not, but I do know they have condo apartments in certain hotels, so that'll be a thought.”
Stu said, “That'd be good. I've often wanted to go do that.”
“We'll do it this fall. I'll keep an eye open on the internet for what's available and if something super nice comes open, we can go ahead and get it.”
He said, “They're all expensive.”
“Yes, but the condos in the nicer places have excellent resale potential, so I'm not worried about going that route if need be.”
“You've already looked?”
“I looked when I first got my inheritance from my Grandma. You don't know how fast I'd been gone from David if I'd found a place which hadn't scared me to death with it's price!”
Donna said, “It sounded like he was a complete bastard.”
Stu said, “The more I hear, the less I like. I'm just thankful he headed this way when he went anywhere.”
I smiled, “Me too. I got the best and I'm happy!”
He smiled, “Me too.”
said, “Awe...Guys, I think you two fall in love more and more
as I get to know you!”
I gave a nod, “Yeah, he means the world to me.”
Stu blinked back a tear and Donna gave me a hug, “Kiddo, I hope I'm as lucky as you two.”
“You will be, you just gotta realize he's a man and he wears pants too.”
giggled, “What's that mean!”
“You're strong willed. That's not a bad thing, but it can run off guys who were raised in traditional homes. He was raised in a home where his Mom was a stay at home Mom and his Dad was the man even though he was an over the road salesman.
In that family, the boys were expected to be the men while Dad was gone and believe me, they're manly men.
I know he's not against women working and being independent because his ex worked and made better money than him. At the end of the day, you see what happened there and it burned him.
I think it's been long enough now that he's regrouped and ready for someone who knows what long term commitment means and I know you're the sort it's going to be like Stu and I....the more you two are around each other, the more you'll fall in love in little ways and that's why I'll allow you to name your first born Jeremy!”
Everyone laughed and she made a mock punch at my shoulder. After that, she hugged me ,“You're like a little brother to me in so many ways. I'll trust your opinion of him....I already know he's built like a brick shit house!”
“Hon, he's going to be shy at first. You just be patient.”
She gave a nod, “I will probably be also.”
“You've got the advantage. This is your home territory and you'll be able to take him to all your secret places where you find beauty and share them. Just keep the bibs off him!”
She laughed, “That's what I plan on doing....in the bedroom!”
We all laughed and I said, “I understand, but get him a pair of sweat pants and a sweat shirt if you want to know hot. That man's ass there in a pair of sweats.....my God!”
giggled and Stu blushed. He said, “I happen to be in the room
“Oh I know! And yeah, you look better out of bibs also!”
He laughed, “Not happening!”
“Oh I think I can get you out of them! It's getting you into them that'll take some doin'!”
He smiled, “Let's not put me in them and I promise to stay out of them!”
I smiled, “Ok, so it's a nice thong!”
He smiled and giggled, “You keep your little butt in a thong!”
Donna mock waved a fan on herself and said in a fake southern belle voice, “The thought of that is stimulating!”
I said, “Hon, until I saw him in sweats, I've never thought I'd like to see a man in a thong until then....and then, man oh man!”
She giggled ,“Buy two. I'll put Danny Wayne in one!”
I smiled, “Call him Daniel. He gets upset if we call him Danny Wayne....When he started that Daniel thing, I called him Daniel-son like Mr Miagi did in that movie.”
I went into the other room and asked, “Ready to sign?”
He made a frown, “I messed up and did the same thing again.”
“Just order it. If I like this one, I'll probably buy it and that way, we're not having to wait.”
He gave me a look, “Ok.”
“You fill the front tank and I'll fill the back. We're probably going to need them driving to get the guy I need to pick up tonight.
Other than that, don't give me a lot of those protection packages, I'll not be able to use them with it being used for construction use.”
“We'll cover it here. No one's going to bother you on it.”
“Ok, if you think I can use it, but if I can't, you'll never get me in another deal like that again.”
He gave a nod, “You call me when you need it serviced and I'll get it handled.”
“You schedule maintenance on it the last Friday of every month. I'm not going to work my guys on that day, we'll be doing something fun while they're on the clock.”
He nodded and did the paperwork. Stu and Donna came in and within five minutes, I was signing and paying.
When we went out, I told Donna, “Come with us and I'll get us lunch. We're probably going to find my Mom and Dad are starving to death waiting on us in a restaurant!”
drove over to the barbecue and when we got to the table, Mom asked,
'What took so long!”
“He pressed the wrong thing on his computer and ordered another one rather than took this one off his inventory. They got that straightened out and then, he went ahead and did it again. Finally, I told him to go ahead and leave it be and that I'd probably buy it when it came in if I like this one...which I will.”
She said, “We had the sampler platter.”
gave a nod and we all ordered. Right when I was wiping off my chin,
the cell rang.
“This is Bud Martin of Minnesota Cabins. We're at the airport.”
“We'll be right there.”
I said, “Guys, I've got to go get them. I'll meet you out at the cabin.”
Stu said, “Ok, I'll drive the Range Rover.”
I drove the truck over to the airport, got out, and everyone's hand. “I'm Jeremy Blue. My partner is back at the cabin, but we've got an extra special surprise for you in the fact that my Mom and Dad would like to speak with you about building theirs' while you're down here. It's right next door, so it should be handy.”
They looked surprised and we drove on out to the cabin. When I pulled up the lane, I said, “These are the cabins. As you can see, they're the oldest in the area...built in the 1940's
Up here on the right is my Mom and Dad's and on up there is ours.”
I pulled in behind the Range Rover and we got out.
When we got inside, we pulled the table from against the wall and got seats for everyone. I said, “I'll be right back with a couple more chairs.”
I drove over to the other cabin and got a couple of chairs and brought them back. Stu came out ,“I let your Mom and Dad go first. Theirs will be the simplest for them.”
We went in and Mom and Dad had laptops as did the guys. They were discussing a lot of everything and then, the one guy started talking about site preparation. Mom said, “Give that to Jeremy here. He's got a construction company, so he'll be good doing it.”
The guy said, “Let's go out here and look everything over.”
We went out and he started telling me what they'd need for grade and how much room. I said, “I'll get it for you. When do you think you'll be able to begin?”
“We've got the logs readied. All we need to do is bring them and build on site.”
“My Mom and Dad aren't going to know to ask this, but I want all the logs sealed down here. If you won't do them, I'll have guys here doing it. They don't split when they're sealed and they don't weather as hard. I'd prefer a separate stain so we can get extra penetration, but we can do that afterward if you need that.”
“We do all that.”
“These cabins will be down this week. We're donating them to some needy families and we'll have them taken apart and rebuilt in very little time.”
“It's going to be a mess. It looks like you can move them a lot easier than doing tear downs.”
“We'll get it done. It's me getting a crane under and lifting.”
He asked, “Why not do your own construction?”
“I would if it were stick built, but it's not.”
“We'll have these ready to move in within six weeks. Us having the crews down for two makes it all the more handier.”
“You're going to need a lot of logs for the theater.”
“We've been discussing the theater project and what we think we can do and can't.”
“Here's what I'll tell you. The central part of the theater is going to be easy. We can do concrete up and then put stone up to the rafters and ceiling. You're not going to like what I've got to say about that, but I'm going to insist on 8/12 pitch. It's a big space and we need snow load off rather than having it on. I'm not about to climb up there and shovel steel roofing, so you're going to have to design that with a pitch which will get us the rigidity.”
He nodded, “That'll make it better.”
“Everything else is pretty standard, but we're going to ask for porches out off those wings. You can build them, or we can, but I know they're going to be immense.”
“We can...what's that going to entail?”
“Be thinking about a covered deck with at least 60 wide and 200 feet depth. Your joists are going to have to be 12” on center because I'm not putting a lot of people and picnic tables on 16”....not in commercial use.”
He gave a nod, “I don't blame you. What's it going to be used for?”
“Outdoor dining. We're going to have restaurants on high volume snacks and grilled food as well as live entertainment. They're going to be coming on and staying as well as dancing on it.”
“12” on center is the way to go. My only worry is covering that span.”
“Don't be afraid to go with steel girder if you need to. We can dress it up to look like logs or whatever, but the object here is safety first, functionality second, and then decoration....We're going to insist upon longevity because we're looking at something which will be around for another 50 or more years.
When it comes to safety, you give me what I can use to get in fire suppression because I'm definitely going to have it...but inside, we're going to need stone veneer or cast concrete looking like stone because I'm going to be shooting fountains and flame throwers up beside it.”
looked shocked, “Inside!”
“Yeah, we're going to have glass panels between the audience and the side walls, but we're going to have water jets shooting up in chase patterns as well as flames in chase also.”
going to be mind blowing!”
“It's all within reason. It takes me having the ability to hang exhaust I can get everything out. I can put those outside and control with computer dampers or valves to suck, but underneath in there, I've got to have chilled water so we're cooling that floor and keeping it so it feels like air conditioning.”
“That'll make the concrete slick.”
“It'll make it so I need to have vents blowing to keep that floor dry. They're not going to mind if we're putting on a show which has them amazed...but you'll get to see that in a little while.”
“I thought it'd be like Dancing Waters.”
“That's what it's like now. It's ran it's course and now we're using fan mist, fogs, lasers, projections, and holographic 3D projectors along with plasmas and lots of special effects and lights to have everyone feeling like they're IN the show rather than watching it 2 dimensional.
You'll see holograms and 3D coming out over the audience and you'll see flames and fire used in ways which will have you wondering what we can do next. All I know is I've got a budget of $40 million for this and we'll use every damned bit if I need it.
My goal here is this....When you see their shows, you were entertained. When you see ours for roughly about a third of the price, you're going to be enthralled and excited to get home and tell everyone else about what you just experienced with us rather than them.
If you think I'm bullshitting, you figure this...Right now, we can seat around 4 or 500 in that place safely. We're building a 5,000 seat theater which we'll fill six times a day.
The way we can do that is this....two matinees are going to be different than the three evening shows. For the last five minutes of each show, we're going to be advertising the 10pm show which is rock and roll in nature rather than country and patriotism.
Kids and younger people are going to see it and want to come back. The older generation is going to be teased enough with 50's and 60's music to have them wanting to come back because I'll have Elvis up there being projected so you feel like you saw something and I'll have Aretha's soul pumping into you with those seats and the bass that you felt her rather than were entertained....and yeah, I'm only getting to do one show with 5,000 seats, but you'd best bet that I'm plannin' on fillin' 'em and having him tell me that we should've built 7,000 seats...which I might just go ahead and have the space to fill.”
“You might want to do that. You're talking about something which is sounding to me like it's WAY better than Imax!”
“It is. Imax is 3D, but this is immersion 3D. It starts off with you seeing it up front and then, we'll have the twin towers fall and have that smoke rolling out in heavy fog. That's when I'm going to have a Harley ride out on that fog and go into flames and water out there beside you. People are going to see that and go “WHOA!” because they weren't expecting it, but all along the way after that, I'm going to have 3D ghosts from Casper the ghost coming out over the audience and laser battles fighting Star Wars out over that audience, so it's going to be immersion.”
“Build 7,000 and have space for 10... Word's going to get out and you'll need it.”
“Parking...We've only got so much space. I'm begging parking space he didn't know he had and he's thinking I'm great, but getting them parked and keeping them entertained outside while they're waiting on the current show to get over is where I'm held up.”
“Oh man, now I understand!”
“It's a chore. I've got it all done up so that we're doing it, but when you say 2,000 more people inside, I've got to have parking for at least 750 cars outside.”
“We'll do it, but it's going to be hell if someone has a fender bender. It's going to take parking like you'd never believe, so I've got to have lot police who can get it done. We'll pull 'em on in long lines parking right behind one another and then, you know if you got there last, you're last to leave unless I can get us a different egress...which I might've thought of today...but I've not been there to see if it'll work.”
“It sounds amazing.”
“It's putting together a house of cards. I'll get it done and I'll have it super glued so you're not sorry you came afterward.”
“That sounds like the best way.”
“It's the best way, but I need those porches. We can have 'em lined up outside being entertained by outdoor shows with water cannons and all that, but if it's raining, they're going to want to be on those porches and at that time, I'm going to have to have picnic tables up in the air so I've got a cattle run for everyone to be better....but just remember that rain here is our enemy because it gives us about 20% turnout versus whatever we get otherwise.”
We went inside and he shook his head and smiled, “He was just telling me about the show guys! What they've got planned, I DEFINITELY want to see!”
Stu smiled ,“It's amazing.”
Mom and Dad finished and then, Stu and I showed them the blueprints from Mom and Dad's house. I said, “Guys, we want this living room. Rather than having huge wings, we want suites and that's it. It's still going to be in the neighborhood of 8 bedrooms, but he'll have an office and I'll have one and we'll probably have a billiard parlor and a home theater in it....so we'll have four bedrooms, but it'll be huge.”
Surprisingly, with the blueprints, we had less time than Mom and Dad. When we finished, I said, “Ok, I promised you guys a show, so let's go up to the theater and show you the old way versus the new way.”
We loaded up and went into town. At the theater, I walked them around the lot ,“Ok, this is where the front parking lot will be. Back there is where we want the new one constructed.
The new one is going to be every bit as wide as this parking lot. I want it big and I want it looking like a log cabin barn.”
We walked down and I pointed. “Clear down there where that grove of trees is, is where we own. It's going to take that for one parking lot. Out here in this ten acres is going to be water show before the show. On this side, we'll have an old mill stream with Hatfields and McCoys battling it out. It's quiet and serene and tranquil, but water cannons, and all sorts of light and smoke puffs as well as sound tells you it's a bunch of ghosts fighting the battle over and over.
On that side, we're going to have a pirate battle. The ships will be stationary and you can be up there on them choosing your sides. All this will be water lagoon a foot deep full of water cannons and sprays.
You walk around and meander in line. You're entertained and you totally forgot you've been in line.
Up there are going to be jumbotrons. It's advertising the holiday shows as well as our 10pm rock and roll show. You'll have a lot of advertising with our General Store and the snack shops also, but all this is going to be on a loop of 30 minutes...You'll see it once unless you're super early and then, you'll get to see it twice...but when it's not popping, that line over there will be forming for the next show...The front will be where you're let out.”
I went on to explain what we want for theater and how it will be set up and Stu continually got surprised.
When we went in, I said, “This is it. Let's have you grab some chairs and then, you'll see how it worked for the last 20 years....and then, be expecting to be amazed.”
Stu went up to the booth and I stay down. Stu said, “I'm putting them both on. We'll have a 20 minute show and then, it'll go into the new one. I'm coming down there so we can all experience it together.”
We got to watching the show and at the end, the sound totally changed and suddenly, we were into the new show. When the ghosts came out over us, I even ducked! I knew we had 'em.
The flames got to popping and at the end, the house lights went up and I said, “Ok, that's all of it with the exception of the lights, lasers, flames and water being out here in the audience.”
looked surprised, “HOW!”
I pointed along the sides ,“Walls but glass walls out about 6 feet. Behind that wall, we'll have water chasing and flames chasing. The lasers will be up and all along we'll have lights embedded which will have you feeling like you're either in a disco, or being a part of the show.
I'm excited about it because when they said we could do stone with logs above, I instantly thought of the fire being along the walls and water jets shooting up and dancing along the aisles. It's that POP which suddenly has people going from watching it to being immersed in it like that 3D effect you saw out over the audience.”
She smiled, “I wasn't expecting it, but that damned World Trade Center falling and me feeling like I was right there with all that fog had me with tears!”
The guys were all as excited. Everyone was telling each other what they liked and I stood there quiet. I said, “Guys....$12 bucks. You'll pay $36 down the street for a show and here, you'll get it for $12 bucks.
I'm willing to bet each one of you will go home thinking of this show and I'm willing to bet that when you're offered the 10pm rock and roll show, you're going to look at each other and want to be here.
The thing about it is we're advertising the two afternoon matinees as being different than the nightly performance. I think you're going to see this and see the 10pm one and find time in your afternoon to come to those on either Saturday or Sunday.
In the end, I'm getting that $36 from you. It sneaks up on you, but I'm gonna get it!”
Stu laughed and they were all saying how they thought it was going to be a success.
I said, “Ok, I offered you motel rooms. We own the motel next door and we own most of these businesses in this part right here.”
Bud said, “Get us the blueprint for this project and we'll get you an estimate.”
I gave him a nod ,“Ok, what about the houses?”
He said, “We're going to confer about it and get back with you tomorrow.”
I took them next door and got them suites. When I got back over to the truck, Stu gave me a look. I said, “I know Stu...You don't have to say a thing. I'm making another call.”
Dad came over, “Call Ed Martin. You lost these fuckers when you explained the size of the new building. They want to be a part of it, but they have no clue how in the hell to do it.”
I looked up Martin Construction and dialed. There wasn't an answer and I looked up Ed's home number. When I called, his wife answered and I asked for Ed.
He came on the line, “Hello?”
“Ed, this is Jeremy Blue. I'm down here in Branson and need your construction company as well as an architect to build a theater.”
“Ummm, we're scheduled with construction all the way until February of next year.”
“That's fine. I'm still going to need to have this job done.”
“I might be able to be there on Tuesday, but I'll be in meetings all this week except for Tuesday.”
“Ok, we'll see you on Tuesday.”
“I have an architect I can send down there.”
“That'll be great.”
“Is it a standard theater?”
“No, it's Vienese Waters. We're expanding and building a 7,000 seat theater with enough expansion we can get another 3,000 seats in.”
“Ok, I'll call Krewson and get him heading that way. Can I give him this number?”
I hung up and looked up Morley Taylor's home number. I didn't find it and dialed Louis' cell number. He answered, “Hello?”
“Louis, it's Jeremy. I need Morley Taylor's home phone number.”
He was quiet ,“Let me see if I've got it.”
He was quiet a moment and then said, “I'll need to call you back. I think it's in my phone and I don't know how to do that.”
I hung up and told Dad, “Marten is scheduled until February.”
“I'll do that after I speak with Morley Taylor.”
He said, “I'll call Dave Bleigh.”
I turned to Stu, “You're seeing us pulling people out of our hat. I'm even going to Alberici in St. Louis, so you know I'm playing no favorites.”
I saw Eddie's spirit ,“Eddie's standing at the door of the theater. Go speak with him.”
Stu looked surprised, “Really?”
“He can't come out here.”
He went to the doors and went in. Mom came over, “Who's that man in the theater?”
“You're looking at a ghost. That's Eddie.”
She looked surprised, “Oh!”
“He only shows when he's needed. Right now, he's probably telling Stu what construction company we need.”
Mom walked toward the doors and went in. My phone rang. “Hello?”
Louis gave me the number ,“You don't know where you got that number.”
“Never knew and just got struck stupid!”
He chuckled, “Thanks.”
Stu came out walking fast. “Alberici.”
“Great, I just got his number. You just let me do this deal.”
I dialed the number and it was answered, “Hello?”
“This is Jeremy Blue. My partner and I own the Venetian Waters in Branson. I'm needing a construction company to build a theater and need a blueprint to do it. I can show you what's needed, but I can't build it. If you can get it built by Labor Day for less than $15 million, you'll get whatever profit you make.”
“Any idea what it's going to take?”
“Concrete wall construction, but those walls are going to need to look like either logs or stones. I can draw it out and I can tell the architect what's needed, but it's impossible for me to build.”
“Can you pick my architect up there in an hour?”
“Be there and pick him up. He'll be on a plane with my logo on it.”
“I'll be there.”
“What else are the bonuses? I've got several thousand men on the unemployment line.”
“Here's what I'll do. Get it for us a month sooner and I'll give you a million more...two months sooner, two million more. Get it for me by Memorial Day, I'll pay you $25 million.”
“Make that $30 million and we'll have it done.”
“Thirty million and you've got a deal.”
Stu swung around, giving me a look. I said, “I'll be out at the airport.”
He chuckled, “I'll be on that plane too boy. You're throwing money around like it's nothin'!”
“You chewed off a bit of chaw like it was nothin', you gotta swaller!”
He laughed. “I'll be there.”
I hung up and Stu said, “WHAT THE HELL!”
“Babe, Memorial Day weekend, you're going to be in that new theater. We're not waiting until next year, we're getting it done damned fast. He's not heard the stuff we need, so be prepared for me to go through the spiel once again.”
“Stuart, 7,000 seats times 6 time 12 is damned near half a million a day income. In 30 fuckin' days, I've got that $15 million. By the end of the summer, I've got the cost of the theater and us a profit of $15 million.
At $12 bucks a pop, we're going to have 'em fillin' the joint. You're going to be begging for those 3,000 extra seats by July 4th and I'm going to tell no there's no fuckin' way I'm lettin' you go into the morning to do shows....You're going to do what we can and you're going to be damned happy doing them.”
He smiled and gave me a hug. “I don't think it can be done.”
“Don't bet against a better. I might get your ass in a thong yet!”
He laughed, “If you have it done, I'll do that damned dance for you! But if he doesn't, it's not.”
“You've gotta give me the right to tear that one down.”
He asked, “Can it be done any other way?”
“It can be done, but them working on a parking lot which is full of building and us planning on opening with a building in our parking lot is gonna be rather bad.”
He looked torn and I said, “Ok, keep it up and we'll tear it down when you know you're in the clear, but I'm going to have to get people on paving those side parking lots and bringing it all in that way and putting it down.”
“I just want to be sure.”
“I understand. I don't blame you. I'm talkin' big shit right now and don't know if it can be done. Just to be assured, what color of thong?”
He smiled, “Hot pink.”
“Ok, but your ass is gonna look good in that!”
He laughed and Dad came over, “What are you two doing?”
I said, “Alberici is bringing his architect over and we're drawing up the theater.”
Dad asked, “Did you forget about Danny Wayne?”
Stu said, “Call that pilot.”
I dialed the pilot. He answered, “Hello?”
“Hi, this is Jeremy Blue.”
“Jeremy, rates triple on Sundays They're doubled on Saturdays. The only way you get a standard rate is if I took you someplace on Friday.”
“Ok, this has to be. I gave my word I'd get someone here, so I gotta get him here.”
He sighed, “Where to?”
“Ok, take him to Branson?”
“That's going to be right at $5,000.”
“I'll pay it when you get here.”
“I'll be there in an hour to an hour and a half.”
“He'll be there. He'll probably have clothes and lots of things to move here. His name is Daniel Wayne.”
“Ok, make sure he's there.”
“He will be.”
I hung up ,“$5,000. He charges three times on Sundays...and double on Saturdays when he hasn't taken you to that destination on Friday or before.”
Stu said, “That's steep.”
“I'll pay it. I don't like it either, but you can best bet that I'll be learning to fly one of those things. What we're paying to get him here is probably what it costs to learn.”
Stu gave a nod, “We need it done.”
I pulled my phone and dialed a number from heart. It got answered, “Hello?”
“I need you and as many asphalters in Branson as I can get.”
“What are you laying?”
“Two parking lots which are going to be about twice the length of Walmart's parking lot. I need eight inches and I need curbs on those edges. We're going to need it cleared and we're going to need underlayment of gravel under it, so whatever you think that will be.”
“Do you know the dimensions?”
“Probably a mile by six hundred feet back.”
“Oh sheesh. You're talking a helluva lay.”
“Anyone wanting to fuck me on this can stay home, but I need 'em here and I need those damned things laid in less than two weeks.”
“Now, what can I expect for costs?”
“Let me make some calls. I know five crews we can get there....You're talking about quite a bit of money.”
“I know, but I know if I ask for a good job and don't get it from you, there's going to be hell to pay.”
“You'll get a good job. Let me do some quick math....You're probably talking at least $4 million.”
“Get 'em down here.”
“They're going to want money up front and they're going to want food and a place to stay.”
“I'll provide the place to stay and I'll provide the lights, but you're going to have to have them working from as early as we can until as late as we can. I'll also be hauling and having asphalt hauled so the guys are able to keep things moving...”
“Where are we needed?”
“Vienese Waters on the strip. Pull in on that lot and we'll start first thing in the morning.”
“Make it noon. It's going to take me some time to get people rounded up.”
“Tell your people I'll have quite a bit of equipment here tomorrow. AND, I'll have laborers but they're not going to work 16 hours for $100....You're going to have to pay 'em $300.”
“If you can get permission, we'll go 24 hours a day if we can have a batch plant running that way.”
“I'm making calls also.”
“I'll see you in the morning.”
I hung up and asked, “Dad?”
“Can you drive a truck if I buy some?”
“Stu, you can also, can't you?”
“Mike's going to get as many of the asphalters as he can to be here by noon. My job is to get laborers and to get that batch plant to stay open 24 hours a day. I'm calling Donna.”
Dad said, “Call Danny Wayne!”
I dialed Danny Wayne's number. He answered, “Hello?”
“It's me. Go to the Bartlesville Airport and have everything there in an hour to an hour and a half. There's going to be a white plane with a black and a gold stripe down the side there to get you.
He'll bring you here and we'll have you ready for work first thing in the morning. I'm praying you've got a Class A or a Class B.”
“Good, you can drive a dump truck. We're going to be working our asses off starting about noon tomorrow.”
going to need boots.”
“You'll have whatever you need. I need to call and get laborers.”
“I'll be out there. I'm almost already packed. I don't think they'll mind me leaving my car there for a few days.”
“Call the police and double make sure. If need be, I'll send you that way with a car hauler. You'll be able to buy a good used car in a week and a new one in a month.”
“I need you here to ride shotgun as a supervisor. It's worth it to me.”
I rang off and dialed Donna. “Hello?”
“Hon, I need laborers.”
“Hi Jeremy...What do you need laborers for?”
“We're laying asphalt 24 hours a day until I've got parking lots. I'm also going to need the asphalt batch plant around here to stay open 24 hours a day and I'm going to need lots of gravel damned fast.”
“How many laborers doing what?”
“Laying asphalt. It's hot, it's not fun, and it's paying $300 a day for a 16 hour shift. I'll feed them and I'll make sure they've got everything they need, but if they can hold a shovel and lift asphalt and do that sort've work, I'll certainly take 'em.”
“You're going to have a family reunion if I tell them that!”
“Hon, give me everything but that yellow crock pot and I'll be fine!”
She laughed, “Ok, what else do you need?”
“I'm going to need a LOT of weed killer and a brush hog to knock down weeds and trees. We're clearing that lot and we're going to be doing a LOT of work between now and the time it's done.”
“I'll have 'em there....and I'm calling the guy who operates that quarry right now.”
“Tell him I want that one mix....It's the new kind.”
“He'll know what you're talking about.”
I rang off ,“She's going to have laborers here.”
I turned to Mom, “Mom?”
“I'm going to ask you to do me a favor until this is over. I'm going to need you getting horse troughs and icing cold drinks. We'll have the Burger King providing the quarter pounders, but I'll get chips and I'll get the bottles of soda.”
Stu gave a nod and asked “Where are we getting the trucks and equipment you're wanting?”
“Over at Springfield there was a place which had the trucks, trailers, and equipment for sale. We'll buy what we need and we'll rent other things like those lights and everything else...”
He said, “What's needed first?”
“The first thing we're going to need is rooms at that motel. If you're going to be buying us motels, get to making calls. We're going to need rooms.”
Dad said, “I can work on getting it leveled if you'll drive a dozer.”
“We'll have 'em.”
My cell rang, “Hello?”
Donna asked, “Do you need that cut as soon as possible?”
“I've got someone who will cut it with a tractor and a gang mower as a service of the county if you'll let him. The county also wants to know what you're doing with the run off?”
“There's that creek back there. I'm making spills every now and then in the curbing and putting the water into it.”
“Ok, they'll be out there tonight if you'll be there.”
“I've got an architect and a construction man I'm going to be walking around. Would you ask the county if they'll they'll paint these parking spots if I donate money into their coffee fund?”
can get that. It's not often I send out a Hail Mary, but you're
getting one done for you. You're going to have so many people you
don't know what to do!”
“A lot of this is going to have to wait until I can get a dozer and some dump trucks tomorrow. We'll start hauling gravel and we'll have it good.”
“Let me get the county's road people over there. You're forgetting you've got family babe.”
“Hon, I know I've got family, but I don't want anyone in trouble.”
“You just be happy with what you receive and bring it back to the family. You're doing a LOT for them right now.”
“Where are you right now?”
“Where do you need me?”
“In about two to three hours I need you at the airport. Danny Wayne is arriving in by my pilot and will have a lot of stuff. He's going to need to go to Walmart to get things he needs like boots and whatever, but if you'll meet him, I'll get you the money to pay the pilot and get him what he needs if you'll run him around.”
She chuckled, “Ok.”
“And tell your Dad I'm having a bunch of asphalters in who tend not to work with licenses to do those parking lots. For that matter, I don't have a license myself, so we'll do what's needed tomorrow if I can find time.”
“I'll make calls for you and get you covered. You might find they're looking for you on your property....but be ready to pay the man when he's mowing that for you back there.”
“That's no problem. What do I pay him?”
“Here's a big pointer. If you pay a man like that in beer, he tends to stay real happy working for you.”
“So get him a lot?”
She laughed, “Slip him a $50 bill and give him a couple of cases of Bud.”
“Ok, you might have to pick up those at Walmart when you're takin' Danny Wayne shopping. It's about time for me to go to the airport and get my architect and contractor here.”
“I'll head in and so will my Mom and Dad. They want to meet your parents.”
“Ok, they're here.”
“I know, that's why I'm telling them to come on in.”
We rang off and I turned to Mom, “Donna's having her parents come in to meet you and Dad.”
Mom nodded, “Ok hon.”
I turned to Dad, “The county road department is sending a man with a tractor and a gang mower to mow that lot. They're also sending their man to see about the creek and they're also going to paint stripes on the lot when we're finished. I got scolded for forgetting I've got family who will help and because I'm helping them make cash money, we're getting a lot of stuff thrown at us free.”
smiled, “It sounds like the Anderson clan up
He looked surprised and Stu said, “When they have a barn dance, it's full. We went to one and I can't begin to tell you how many people we met...and I've lived here for nearly 32 years!”
I said, “I've got to go to the airport. If those people show, tell 'em we're getting everything we can, and I'm getting the contractor and the architect.”
Mom asked, “What can I do now?”
“Go out to the cabin...In the bottom of the closet down at the bottom is a pillow case. In that pillow case, you'll find a brown paper bag full of money. I'm going to need that.”
She looked shocked and I smiled, “No one knew it was there except for Stu and I....besides, it's roughly a hundred grand.”
Dad laughed and Stu smiled. I said, “If you see Donna, give her $6,000. Five of it will be for the pilot and one will be for her to get Danny Wayne what he needs.
You might take the pickup truck to get sodas for tomorrow. I'll have the Pepsi and Coke man called to start getting that wholesale, but tomorrows will need to be full price.”
Stu said, “Hon, let me make a call. I'll get everything here.”
do what you can. I've gotta go!”
I hopped in the pickup and drove to the airport. While I waited, I dialed Mike. “Hello?”
“How much luck are you having?”
“I've got eight crews right now. One of them doesn't know if his spreader box will work, but he's going to bring what he's got.”
“Ok, here's what I've got. I've got a man heading to mow it right now. I've also got a dozer on it's way right now. The county is going to be hauling rock for me and I'm going to do all I can to have us a level lot by the time you get here tomorrow.
The batch plant will be staying open 24 hours a day. The quarry will do likewise, and we're putting on new blend.
In regards to laborers, you're going to see more than you've probably ever seen come out of the woodwork, but you don't run anyone off....remember we're working 24/7 and we'll need people around the clock.
Stu's getting what he can so everyone's got food and eats, but tell them who have equipment trailers that I might need to get them to drive with me to Springfield so we can get whatever equipment we need.
IF that man who has the broke down spreader will agree to lay right and use the one I'll be getting like it's his cherry, I'll let him use it to spread, but we're going for high compaction and we're going for a lot that I'm not going to have to relay in a few years.”
“What's the rush on this?”
“Right now, I'm sitting at the airport waiting on Alberici and his architect to get here. He's being paid to have us a new theater built by Memorial Day where there's none right now...do you have your computer in front of you?”
“Go to YouTube.”
I heard some clicking and then, he said, “I'm there.”
“Go to Disney's World of Color video and watch it. It's about 27 minutes long. Think about that and think about the Pirate war out at Treasure Island Casino and think about the fountains of Bellagio.
That World of Color is what we're going to be presenting inside for about an hour and twenty minutes...except ours is way cooler.
Those outdoor shows are what we're having outside for you to watch as you're waiting to get into the place. On each side of the place, we're going to have snack shops and huge porches for you to eat on. You're going to get LOTS of real good food for damned cheap. Down here, that's unheard of, but I want people seeing the prices we charge and loading up and coming back.”
I heard the music ,“That's the Disney version. Tomorrow night, I'll show you what we're putting into the theater and that way it'll let you know what we're doing.”
“Michele wants to know if you're going to need her for anything down there?”
“Yeah, tell her to come and I'll get you into a suite. Stu's buying some more motels right now, so we're going to have everyone a nice room and we're going to keep you guys happy. You just be ready to lay like you wouldn't believe.”
“We are. Right now, this is a Godsend for us because a lot of people have their equipment in hawk and a lot of 'em have fines they've got to pay.”
“The Sheriff here is turning his head. He's like family to me now and I've already gotten word to him we're working without papers, but I promise you that by tomorrow, you'll have papers and you'll be legal to work here.”
“Thank you for acting so quick. This means a lot to us...but I'm going to ask you to do something for me before you guys pull out.”
“I want my drive down there asphalted all the way up to our place....I'll pay for it, but it's not as high priority right now.”
“When you get here, you're going to see a lot of things which don't make sense. Just understand it's all family helping family and it's people who are paying us back for putting people to work and letting them make money.”
“I told everyone about the way we're paying and here's what they're going to throw at you. They're going to ask if we can pay them $200 for 12 hour shifts rather than the 16. It comes out to being about the same, so I think it'll be fine.”
“I've no problem with that, but don't send anyone away because they'll hold that grudge against me. If you can't use them, you let me know and I'll find something for them to do because I'm going to be building a building and having you lay my parking lot also. That is included in this, so don't let them think otherwise. It's just that I might need to have them pave me a street and if that's needed, we'll do it and I'll pay extra...but I think the city and county will probably be happy to do that for us.”
must be nice!”
“We're doing a lot for the family. You just be telling those guys that if they think they're going to fuck around with the girls, they damned well better be ready to be held for a shotgun weddin'...and that ain't no joke. And if they've been down here before and fucked around, I pity their asses if they made promises or knocked any of them up because they'll probably be getting married or killed.”
He laughed, “I don't know if they have or haven't....This is one helluva show!”
“We're putting on a show almost 3 times that length for $12 bucks. It would probably let you know that I'm spending about $35 million on this and we'll be in the black by Labor Day if we've got it ready to go.”
“I'm pulling all the stops out and giving the customers a lot of bang for their money.”
I saw the jet come in ,“Ok, Alberici is here, so I need to get off here. When are you leaving?”
“I'm waiting on my ride now. As soon as I get to the dump truck, I'll be heading that way.”
I might use you tomorrow to get some equipment driven this
“That's no problem....Just have us a place to sleep when we get there, I'll be bringing Michele and that's it.”
“How many heads of the crews will there be?”
“I'll get you guys the one bedroom suites reserved.”
“We're going to need money to start on.”
tomorrow morning. I've got about a hundred grand right now in cash
and probably will have that spent before the bank opens...That should
tell you how much we're getting done over night!”
The plane pulled over and I said, “Ok, they're throwing open the door of the jet. I gotta get out there. I'll see you when you get here.”
I rang off and went out. I recognized Mr Alberici immediately and went to shake his hand. He recognized me, “Well I'll be damned! IF it isn't the little kid!”
I smiled, “Yup, I'm down here now.”
He said, “Kiddo, we're going to need hotel rooms.”
“We're getting them bought. So far, we've got a motel and a half, but I've got rooms filling in the motel right now...as I've got people coming in to lay our parking lot so you've got good to drive on rather than sinking in.”
He gave a nod and turned, “This is your architect Brent Bryant.”
I gave a nod and shook his hand, “Hi and thanks for coming. I know I'm giving you a terrible presentation, but I know what I want up here. I'll sketch and you work with me and we'll get it done. Let's go get started.”
We drove in and when we pulled on the lot, I saw the truck with the dozer already on the lot and the back acreage being mowed. The Range Rover was gone, so I knew Mom was going to get the money.
Rather than walking, I drove out and showed them what I wanted. The architect asked, “Any idea how long this property is?”
“No clue. I know we own it and it's been owned since it was all nothing here but pasture and woods. All those buildings and businesses up there are ours and what isn't was sold to where they are now...and that's it. We own all this back here and I plan on having it as parking and building.
Stu wants to keep that one there until the new one is in walk in shape, so I told him we'd wait for the demolition at that point.”
We went through and he said, “Ok, here's what I need to tell you...The building you want is going to come in fine, but if you're wanting us to do all the fountains and installations, it's going to be another $4 to $5 million...and that's just a rough guess off the top of my head.
What I'm going to do is I'm going to make a lot of calls and see what I can learn and get the suppliers we need to get the job, but really, I don't know if I can.”
“Before you do that, I want to show you something and get you a video tape. Ok? That way, you can see the show we're going to be putting on and know that's just the stage, not the theater itself.”
Stu came over ,“We need to talk for a second.”
I said, “Ok, but first, meet Mr Alberici and Brent Bryant. Brent's our architect and Mr Alberici is our contractor.”
I turned, “Guys, this is Stu, my partner. Excuse me for a moment.”
We walked away and Stu said, “Jer', I need to know what you're wanting to spend. The more I speak with people, the more I'm learning we can buy.”
“Get what you think is worth the money. Save me back $50 million and consider the rest what you're allowed to spend. I'm not worried because I know we've got a lot more coming in with those other policies and I know we're going to have what we want.”
He smiled, “You're trusting me a whole lot.”
“Hey, you've got my heart. If I can't trust you with money after that, what the hell good is it? Now, stop thinking that way and know I'm in for the penny, in for a pound.”
“So far, I've spent about $90 million. I'm going to bargain a little bit more for the McDonald's restaurants because there are several of them and I think I can get him to come down a few more million before he sells.”
“Don't give up the deal though....IF you think you're able to move him, switch tactics and ask him, “Ok, we're not seeing eye to eye on that price, name your lowest rock bottom dollar you'll take and we'll have a deal.” IF he won't move, take the deal...you're not going to get him to move, but if you see his eyes shift when he tells you, counter offer with less.”
He smiled, “Is that how you do it?”
“That's how I do it and they ALWAYS shift their eyes if they'll take less. If they stare back at you, they won't....You might find you're off a couple hundred thousand from what he's willing to take as bottom and that's fine....Just know I'll support you with whatever....and you do the same. I had nothing when we met and I'll have more now, so I'm considering us winners all the way.”
He smiled, “I love you.”
“I love you too. Go deal your ass off.”
I walked back over and Mr Alberici smiled, “I'm glad you dumped who you were with before. That one there is who you need.”
“You're right...and it's amazing to me how many people tell me that now. I just wish everyone had told my ex what an asshole he was to his face in front of me while we were together...it might've sunk in a little more!”
He laughed ,“Everyone's too polite.”
“I understand. I'm usually that way also.”
He said, “Jeremy, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to bring my people down here and we're going to do all we can to get site prep going and have you everything ready when we agreed.
You're going to have to agree to come up another $2 million. I'll split the difference on that price with you, but YOU have to buy your restaurant equipment. I'll build you a good building and I'll have you everything you want, but I only hope you make money when you are finished...You're sure blowing it the way you're going.”
“Mr Alberici, here's what I'll do. You order those extra 3,000 seats and get them installed. I'll pay that extra $5 million and we'll have everything the day we open.
The way I figure it, by Labor Day we'll be in the black financially. Just as soon as word starts going out, they're going to flock in here and I'm sort've stacking the deck that happens...”
He pointed, “Pay that $5 million and I'll get you your building built down there and have it with a his and hers bathroom in the thing and whatever walls you need.
Our deal will be that I get you fencing up and IF you find you're in hot water financially, you deed that to me before you go bankrupt so I can store some equipment here.”
I looked shocked ,“Equipment! Oh man, I'm gonna ask you for some!”
He smiled and I began listing equipment I knew we needed and all the trucks. I said, “If you have that you'd like to sell, I'll trust you it's operable and I'll buy it sight unseen because I know you're trustworthy.”
He gave a nod, “I'll have it here for you in the morning. I really wish you'd came to me about this parking lot before you hired a lot of fly by night operators.”
“They're good people if they know you. If they don't, you get screwed hard. They've known me since I was little, so I'm at an advantage
Let's go watch the show and then, you'll see what I'm envisioning in action. Ok?”
We went up and I saw Donna pull on the lot with Danny Wayne. I said, “Excuse me, my cousin is here. He's going to be my right hand on this, so I need to go say hello.”
I took off and went to the truck and hugged him. He smiled and gave me an eye roll like he liked everything with Donna. He said, “Thank you dude.”
“Come on in and I'll show you what we're building. Mr Alberici and Brent Bryant the architect are just going in to see it for the first time, so we'll have them seeing it with you.
Donna said, “I want to see it also. Have you seen my Mom and Dad. I see their car over there.”
“Probably with Mom and Dad and maybe Stu....but Stu's probably still buying stuff.”
“I was meaning to speak with him before he did that.”
We went in and I heard the show running. I said, “Ok, let's go on in and I'll have you guys watch it from the beginning.”
We went in and I saw it was already into the new part. Lasers and all sorts of special effects were popping all over the place and the music was intense. We got everyone seats and got them sat down. I looked up in the booth and saw Jerrett. I waved and he waved back and stopped the show. He asked over the PA, “Do you want me to start it over?”
I nodded ,“Everyone, we're going to start over. Mr Alberici, the contractor, and Brent Bryant the architect need to see this. I hope no one minds.”
The Sheriff said, “This is amazing! It's hard to believe we're going to have something this good here.”
I smiled, “Yeah, but I need to let everyone know what they're about to see.”
I turned, “Everyone, the first part is the old show. It's showing you what is here now and then, it'll show you the new building and then, it goes into a lot of computer generated effects of what you'll see here when it's built.”
I made the motion to restart and Jerrett got it going. The music started and I heard Stu's voice begin the show. When Eddie's voice came on, I went up the stairs to the office.
“How's it going?”
Jerrett turned, “I'm officially working for you now.”
“Great. It's going to be one helluva ride.”
“I love it. This is going to blow everyone else out of the water....literally.”
We watched and when it got to the introduction of the new part, I was spellbound because it showed the update of everything with Eddie's voice over announcing it as the new show. It showed the outdoor shows and it showed the building from all sorts of three dimensional offerings like you were looking at it in actual time, but you could tell if you looked close it was all computer generated.
Jerrett said, “I don't know who put this together for you, but they know their stuff!”
“A very special person did this. I need this put on DVD.”
“It's already happening. I hope you don't mind.”
“I don't. We need copies.”
He pointed, “I love this part...when the towers fall and that Harley comes out, it's such a shock they duck!”
Sure enough, it happened and when the Harley came out, it was like a member of the Patriot Guard rode out on the billowing cloud. Everyone ducked and then, it went into the flames and bombs of a plane flying during the Shock and Awe operation.
After that, the effects and water started and it went really 3 dimensional. I said quietly, “Eddie, you impress me each and every time.”
Jerrett turned, “Eddie's doing this?”
“Learn from him because we're not going to have him at the new building. Once this one is down, he'll be gone.”
“Stu's now seeing him, but I want you knowing something....Stu was diagnosed with Kidney and Pancreatic cancer yesterday. He had biopsies taken and we've got a really kick ass doctor, but the chances are still that we could lose him.”
He looked shocked and I continued, “Right now, we've got to be there for him and we've got to make this load light. You're going to be here with him acting in my place when I can't be and I need you there learning from Eddie every step of the way.
You and I are going to be super close in this and I want you knowing that we've got to be tough.
IF you hear me going robotic like this in the tone of my voice it's because that's how I do it when I'm doing all I can to hold it together.”
He came over and hugged me ,“It'll be ok. I'll be here.”
“He's not broken down yet. I'm going to be doing all I can to keep him moving forward at every moment...but I need you to know what's going on so you can step in if I need you. Ok?”
“That guy down there with Donna is my cousin Danny Wayne. I'm playing matchmaker there, but for this project, he's going to be my right hand man out there on this...and you're going to be my right hand man for keeping an eye on Stu and being my voice in case we've got to be in St. Louis....
The problem here is we've got to be everywhere at the same time. Starting tonight, we're going full speed ahead and you're going to see things happening the likes of which you've never seen them before.
Tomorrow, we're rolling in a bunch of asphalters. We're going to have the parking lots on each side going down so we've got places to park and that we're not sinking equipment. It's also going to be a staging area for the building and all the things they bring in.
While that's going on, we're moving into the motel right there because both my Mom and Dad's and Stu's cabins will be getting moved to wherever the people live who are getting them. Out there, we've got two gorgeous log cabins being built and the contractors for those are in the motel right now....so they've got to go to the airport tomorrow.
Other than that, we bought a building in St. Louis which is a brew pub. That is going to be shutting down in two weeks and we've got to have the brewing equipment pulled out of there and brought this way.
Sometime in there, the doctor in St. Louis is going to hopefully have an injectable drug for Stu which will be the biopsied cancer they pulled out being mutated so that it can go back in and find the cancer and kill it. IF that works, we've kept him. If it doesn't, we're going to lose him and really, that's when I'm going to be a basket case.
Other than that, down at that end of the lot back there, we're getting a new building built for the construction company I'll be operating. Technically, that's still on and I'm the contractor on this and they're the subcontractors, but I'll tell you I pulled back on this because I needed movement and I needed things moving damned fast so we've got Stu seeing transformation happening and not thinking about himself.”
He was nodding ,“I'm here. You say it and I'll be there to do it.”
“Ok, My Mom and Dad are down there. I'm really proud of them because they saw they were needed and came swooping in. Mom's going to be working in the background and so will a woman I know by the name of Michele. You'll meet her and what I want you doing is I want you working with me so that we've got this moving forward.
What I mean there is this...This project is going to be moving 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. I'm treating it like we need that parking lot here and we needed it here yesterday, so it's going in with gusto.
Mom and Michele will be feeding and getting them drinks and everything they need to eat. We'll be feeding them Burger King and whatever fast food we own, but I want them having big things of chips and I want them having all the drinks they can put down their throats because asphalt is hot and it's not fun.”
not going to be able to be here, so that's where you come in....When
we go home, I want you stepping in and you being me and if anyone
gives you any shit, you pull out your phone like a samarai sword and
you call me....believe me they don't want me going into bitch mode on
them....not at this time!”
He smiled, “Ok.”
“Logistics is where we're going to be pressed. We've got a bunch of contractors and we've got a lot of things. We've got to have motel rooms for them and all that's got to have receipts so we can write it off. If anyone gives you shit, you call me and I'll make shit disappear and if need be, I'll make their job disappear in doing so.”
“YOU need to have a truck. I realize you're going to need a lot, but I reward you and Danny Wayne good and few others...but keep 'em moving and above all keep them working.”
I saw Stu come in with a man ,“Damn, I wonder who that is!”
Stu looked up and I said, “I'll go down there to see who it is and what's needed.”
went down and Stu took us out in the lobby. He said, “You've
got people out here!”
I said, “I wasn't aware, but now I've got to play catch up.”
He said, “City Engineer here.”
I gave a nod, “Ok, we're watching the show as to what it will be. I've got the architect and the contractor in here who will be doing the work.”
He said, “My main question is what you're wanting to do and how you're wanting to do it.”
“Which direction? I've got eight things going right now and need to know which direction you're talking about.”
He smiled, “Our focus right now is that creek and what you're doing with the run off.”
“We're laying asphalt and we're going to have curbing. There are going to be several breaks in the curbing which allows it to go to the creek. You name where you want that and I'll get the concrete runs needed so we don't have wash outs and problems.
In regards to up at that end, we need a street. This street there is going to be called Stuart Reddington Way....Don't like that, tough...It's not going to be negotiable.”
He smiled, “Ok!”
“I want that street so we've got an intersection and can use it as egress from this lot over there and making traffic flow smoother.”
He asked, “What about that direction?”
“I don't know. I hadn't thought that far yet. I know we'll probably need the same thing and yeah, I'll get us a street up there, but I'm going to want it where there's a light so we have good flow...As I see it, you tell me where the city wants it and I'll get it there even if I gotta tear something down to make it possible.
In regards to all this, my focus and that architect's focus is like this...Safety first, function second, beauty third, and business last. IF we build in everything else, we'll have business as first because I know we took care of the rest.
What I need from the city is a water main coming in. I'm not so concerned about what leaves here because we're reusing water and what water that gets spilled will be most likely run off.
I'm going to have the city asked for a lot of green funds because we're going as green as we can. It doesn't look like it, but we are...and you'll be seeing that. Other than that, I don't know because I'm sort've blown away because you're shaking your head yes and I was expecting argument.”
He smiled, “You hiring the high power contractor you hired already tells me you're professional and are doing what we need right the first time. We don't see Alberici in here EVER but I know if the state trusts his company to build everything they do in regards to bridges, overpasses, and highways, we certainly won't have a problem here.
I don't know the architect, but you having one is a step ahead already. You'd be amazed at how sloppy some people are.”
I realize that and I'm going to tell you upfront that we're buying a lot of these businesses. IF you doubt structural integrity on anything, let me know. I'll have it shut and I'll have BOTH of us as well as yourself and the best in the business in there inspecting it. Money doesn't mean a damned thing to me if what we bought is going to kill someone and get us a bad reputation....I want word of mouth, not CNN putting my face up in headlines.
In regards to all of this, I realize this is a shock and it's sort've been sprung and I also know we're doing this without licensing until tomorrow, but Stu will tell you that less than a week ago, this wasn't even a figment of our imaginations and now, it's moving forward full speed ahead....and one other thing...”
I turned to Stu ,“I don't know what you've bought yet, but something inside me is telling you that there's an open acreage over there that's 87 acres which is for sale. You're to offer $225,000 for it and that person will sell. Get it because we're going to be putting a hotel on that puppy which is sort've like the Las Vegas hotel Excaliber.”
He looked surprised, “Really?”
“Yeah, the guy is already back on the taxes two going onto three years. He's a land speculator and that offer is going to come when he's got someone breathing down his neck on a different property and threatening to shut the doors if he doesn't have the $200 grand NOW. Him seeing that $25,000 extra is enough he'll do it even though he's losing damned near twice as much as he's made.”
I got my phone and started punching numbers. “This is the man's number...”
I handed the phone to Stu and turned to the City Engineer. “I know that seemed weird because I really need to go check my pants right now! I've had strange things happen in my life, but I've NEVER had something like that happen...It's like voices in my head were screaming at me not to pass this one up!”
He looked surprised, “Really?”
I nodded, “One thing I've learned is this...Listen to what you hear inside and it'll help you along. Ignore it and it'll say “Piss on you” and go to someone else who will listen.
At this point in the game, I'll listen because we've got nothing to lose. Land around here is too valuable to pass up deals like that, so I'll gladly take it!”
He nodded, “It was strange, but it's interesting.”
I said, “We need to get back in there. I hear the Grand Finale happening and right after that, the house lights are going to come up and they're going to want to speak with me.”
“How can you tell?”
“Feel the building shaking? That's the bass and it's really pumping when it's doing that.”
We walked in and sure enough, everything was in full out extravaganza! He said, “WOW!”
I leaned into him ,“This is what it's going to look like when the new building is built. I just went with 10,000 seats rather than 7 because I think we can sell 'em at $12 bucks a seat.”
“3D movies at home cost the same. I want them thinking they got way more than that here.”
Suddenly, the block letters came out on the fog announcing “THE END” and suddenly, the fountains went back to gentle sprays and the house lights came up.
It was funny because Mr Alberici was all smiles and standing up applauding.
I said, “Come on...It's time to get in here and get 'em moving on their excitement.”
walked over, “So, what did you think!”
They were all talking at once and I said, “That's the show minus the special effects out in the audience that I want.
All along the sides I want glass walls six feet out so we can have flames and water chasing up and down the sides.
IF possible, in the aisle, I want troughs and water chasing so people are seeing they are immersed in the show rather than it being up there and 2 dimensional. There's a lot more than 3D happening, so I'm calling it immersive 3D.
You've seen the new building and everything the way we want it and now, you've seen an example of the show we'll be able to put on with it. In this example, you saw the rock music, the cartoons for matinees, and the regular country music...so don't think it's always going to be like this.
You WILL ALWAYS see patriotism and you'll always see we're going to pull at your heart strings and have you crying and laughing but always spell bound and walking out of here to tell everyone to come see this first and last.
At $12 bucks a person, I think you're going to get your money's worth. For that $12 bucks, I want you walking out and telling everyone that this is the MUST SEE show on the strip and everyone else is the....”Ehhh” one to see.”
Everyone was excited and they were sharing it with each other. I said to Brent, “I'll get you a DVD and any time you want to experience it here and see what's needed, let me know and I'll make it possible....”
I paused ,“One other thing, up there in that concrete, I want LED lights in chaser bars so that when the music is bumping, you're feeling like you're in a disco. Back there, I want white LEDs so that when we pop them, you feel like lightning just happened.”
He smiled really big, “I'll get you everything you want. You having it like this shows me so much that I'm going to burn a lot of the midnight oil and bragging I got chosen.”
Mr Alberici gave a nod, “I'd like to have the DVD he gets so I can show my guys before I ask them if they want to work on this project. I'm to the point I'm ready to be here personally just so that when it's finished, I can see it in person and know we got it for you.
Up until we saw this, I sort've thought you were pulling my leg, but now, I'm wondering if that 10,000 will be enough seats!...ANd at $12 bucks, my God...You don't even get a decent hamburger for that in the city!”
I said, “I want people so blown away they're all like this...It takes that so that by the time they get home and tell their friends about their trip, they're still excited and wanting to tell everyone.”
He shook his head, “I love it....I absolutely loved it!”
I shook my head, “Now we've got to get it built!”
He smiled, “It'll get built.”
I said, “I need to ask you a question.”
“Getting the land leveled out there and graveled. Can we get that equipment down here so I can get on that and have it ready for the asphalt to get started?”
“I'll call and get everything heading this way. If you need, I'll get people starting on it first thing.”
“I'll need that....By the way, this is the City Engineer.”
I introduced them and they started talking. I walked over to the Sheriff and his wife and saw they were actively in a conversation with Donna and Danny.
Mom and Dad walked over with me and I put my arm around Donna's shoulders. “So, how's it going!”
was all smiled, “Need you ask!”
I smiled, “Great.”
She nodded, “Look at him get along with Mom and Dad! I think Dad is really sunk because there's no argument with him!”
“Good, I'm really glad because he's a heckuva nice guy through and through.”
“I can tell. It's nice because it's not forced. It's like getting into a nice old worn pair of jeans and knowing you're going to have a great day.”
I gave a nod, “That's Stu and I. I know how you feel.”
Danny turned ,“Hey cuz!”
He smiled really big and pointed with his thumb, “This place is a gold mine!”
“We gotta hope.”
He turned to Donna, “What do they have for ice cream around here?”
She listed the places and he said, “Can we go get some? I'd like to walk with you, but I want to get to know your Mom and Dad better.”
She said, “We'll do that.”
Mom and Dad turned to me, “That sounds fun. Where's Stu?”
“Out buying land.”
Mom gave a nod and Jerrett came over. I said, “Mom, this is Jerrett. Jerrett, this is my Mom and Dad.”
She turned and saw him and instantly, I knew she thought he was a babe. I said, “Jerrett is my right hand man here so that when I'm not able to be here, he'll be here with Stu. I'll have Danny for the construction and Jerrett for the show side, so when in doubt, he'll be the one who is my voice and hold as much weight as me on things.”
She asked, “Does Stu know this?”
“Yeah, he's he one who suggested it. We met Jerrett working at Home Depot and he was so helpful I instantly wanted him to work with me in the construction side of things.
He came and was so knowledgeable and such a quick learner in the control booth that Stu wanted him up there, so we hired him together to be our third everywhere....That should tell you how much we like him.
The fun thing about it is I know without a doubt that he'll be there for me and for Stu so we're not without someone throughout this time period.”
She gave a nod ,“I'll need your phone number Jerrett...You call me Mom and we'll be fine.”
He smiled ,“Ok, I'm told you're going to be backup strategist on things.”
She smiled and hugged my shoulder to her ,“I'm doing what I can....and I guess you are also, so we're going to be good for them.”
He nodded ,“I'm looking forward to it.”
I told Mom, “Jerrett is who is programming when Stu isn't. His ideas are incredible. Some of what you saw in the show are what he's done.”
Jerrett smiled ,“Some of it blows me away even!”
I said, “It's going to be a lot easier with the new controls and computer system. You'll be amazed....
You'll have the ability to have a list of effects on the side and all you have to do is think, “I want this” and you can click, drag, and drop. It'll pace itself with the music and beat and make it so you don't have to do everything piecemeal like it was.”
He looked surprised, “Oh man, that'll be WAY quicker!”
I asked, “Are you going to be ok tonight?”
“Yeah. What do you need me to do?”
“I've got to go out front and see what's happening and then, it's basicly wait and see who arrives.
I do know Danny needs a room and I know we're going to need eight single suites at the motel for our asphalt supervisors.
Other than that, I've got to see how that man on the brush hog is doing and get him paid.”
We went out front and Mr Alberici came over, “We're going to get going. I want to get back and have everything moving this way. Be expecting an army to arrive first thing.”
“Ok, give me a call so I can have rooms for them.”
He nodded, “I will.”
I turned to Jerrett. “When that man comes off that brush hog, pay him $50 and those two cases of beer.”
“Yeah, Donna says a lot of 'em are fine with the beer, but I figure $25 dollars an hour to mow is pretty good.”
“He probably burned $30 in fuel.”
“Ok, pay him $80!”
He smiled, “Ok.”
I turned to Mom and Dad, “I'm going to take them to the airport. I'll be right back.”
We got in the truck and Mr Alberici said, “The city is kissing your ass....I hope you know that.”
He chuckled, “As soon as I get back, I'm going to be on the phone. You'll have your equipment here and you'll have your land being cleared and leveled first thing in the morning.
Let them do it and let them tell you when it's ready so no one screws it up.
I'll be sending Brent over here with everything he needs. He'll be staying on and guiding our people through this until the end.”
“Great, I appreciate that.”
“When you're finished building this, I want you considering the possibility of building these in other cities and locations. He's wise to move away from the Dancing Waters thing and going to this...You're going to clean up.”
“I'm glad you're believing in it. I knew it was special, but until I saw the 100% acceptance, I thought it might just be me being over enthusiastic.”
“No, this one is one helluva gold mine. I'm saying for you to run with it and that's not something I often tell someone. If it's money you're worried about, let me know and I'll get you some backers in here.”
“No, we're doing this debt free. My partner is out buying up a lot of things tonight and we're hedging our bets that the more we own down here, the better off we'll be when the economy comes back.”
“Man, debt free???”
“Yeah, I had a very dear friend pass away and leave me a fortune. I'm throwing it into our company and knowing that we don't HAVE to work, but I'm choosing to work at something I know I'll love.”
He was nodding, “Do you need anything else?”
“Yes, but it can wait. My priority is this right now.”
“You're smart. I was reluctant, but now I'm all excited.”
“We've got a lot of exciting things up our sleeves. I'm hoping all of them will be money makers, but it's like a jigsaw puzzle. It all have interconnecting pieces and this is the primary one.
I looked up at Brent in the rear view mirror ,“I want ground source heating and cooling in this building. I know I mentioned it, but if you need me to slam the brakes on getting piping under the asphalt, let me know.”
Mr Alberici said, “I'll send over some piping. It can't hurt to have it already in place.”
I said, “Our next thing will be a building which has some cool things in it. I'll explain it all to Brent and that way, he'll know. It involves hot water to all the businesses and motels to act as heating, but it's not ground source. I hope it will be some day, but for now, we're going to be producing electricity and making hot water from it.”
By this time, I was at the airport and pulled in. Mr Alberici put his hand on my arm, “Explain it to us. IF we need to get the piping in, we'll go ahead and do it. That way it's already there.”
“Ok, here's the thing....As you know, this is a really big area of old time stuff....
One of our displays is going to be an old steam tractor. We're going to be demonstrating things and making things from wood and burning wood as the source of the steam.
Having the PTO (power take off), I want us to be using that to turn the turbines that you'd normally use in those giant windmills to produce power. It should have the torque needed and it should be able to put the power back out to the grid while having people pay us to make products.
Part of that power will be used to operate a few big electric motors which will turn water hammers. I don't know if you're familiar with what water hammers are, but on YouTube, they've got some and without heat or any fossil fuels, it makes steam and hot water.
I figure we can produce hot water for our restaurants and motels with it. We can also heat the places with it and that way, we're getting something for nothing aside from the investment.
The side benefit we've got is we're able to save ourselves a lot of money and have popular products going to the customers.
Once we've got the power, we're going to be moving that income from that to an ethanol plant which cooks the ethanol an entirely different way.
You see, right now, ethanol is made like corn liquor. You mash up corn, put water in it, let it ferment, and then extract the alcohol out of it and low and behold, you've got ethanol and a bunch of ground up corn they use for animal feed...nothing else.
You're probably unaware in Russia, they use the beet root. In latin america, they use sugar cane. In other parts of the world, they use other things, but in America, it's corn when we have the prospect of being able to use a lot of other things as well.
The reason we don't use other things is because the starch and the sugar content in corn is what makes it produce alcohol so easily. Well, we have milo and grain sorghum which is used for animal feed before it even goes into alcohol production. Why not use it? The reason they don't is because the people from Iowa grow more corn and because of that, they went to Washington and got corn as the subsidized way to go about it.
Here, we're going to buy milo. It's cheaper and at the end, we can feed our animals and chickens which are grown closer. And here, we can extrude that by product into pellets used in pellet stoves to heat our homes and to heat that still which produces the ethanol.
In short, I'll tell you this....AMerica is the most wasteful country on the planet. We'll cut our grasses and rake our leaves to burn them whereas we're recycling paper! Why not recycle the leaves and grasses into those pellets and burn them? Why not employ people do go about doing that? Why not take our sewage and pelletize it and burn it? Ooh, we can't have the place smelling like shit, can we? Well go outside of a landfill sometime and ask the neighbors if it smells like shit and they'll tell you it does...so what gives?”
was laughing, “Kid, you make too much sense!”
I smiled, “I'm gonna take shit off everyone and make billions. You'll see a line of trucks out there all full of sewage being pumped into our kilns and you'll see a plume of smoke from the dehydration and wonder how we're able to do it without using so much electricity to heat the mash...It's because we're doing it by burning shit!”
He kept laughing and I said, “When they ask me how I made my billions, I'll tell 'em the shit cycle! Shooting High Intense Turds!”
They both really laughed really loud and I said, “Ok, I got you to laugh. In a week, you'll forget the lousy joke and remember that show...Go figure!”
He smiled, “You're right.”
I walked them to the jet and we shook hands and gave hugs. Brent said, “I'll be back down here first thing tomorrow.”
“I'll be here.”
When I was finished, I went back to the theater and saw Mom and Dad. Mom said, “Come on, let's get Stu and go get something to eat for dinner.”
“Where's he at?”
She shrugged and I dialed his phone. He answered, “Hello?”
“Where are you at?”
“For which one?”
“Fuck the man, either let him have his throat back Mr. Bulldog, or pay him!”
He laughed, “Ok hon!”
“We're wanting to go eat. You can let us know what you've gotten bought when you get there and yeah, I sort've expect a Big Mac on there, so tell the man he's lucky you're being so charitable because I want fries with that!”
He chuckled, “He's not bending and his eyes are all over the place.”
“Hand him this fuckin' phone!”
I heard a “Hello?”
“Listen up. That man across from you has cancer! IF you do not get real with him, I promise you that you'll have my ass down there and when I get there, I'm going to have your banking records in my hand and know what you will and won't accept!
You negotiate in good faith or I'll tell your fuckin' bankruptcy judge you spit on an offer he made! ASK HIM to show you his voice recorder and you see exactly what I'm going to play for them!
NOW, you give him the deal and you stop being such a selfish jerk! GIVE THAT PHONE BACK!”
Mom was smiling real big and Dad outright laughed. Stu came back on the line and I asked, “Where are YOU right now?”
“Up the street at McDonald's.”
“I'm heading that way. IF I've got to eat a Big Mac for supper, you tell that man I'm giving him the shit sandwich he doesn't want delivered!
Now, call your banker in front of him and tell him you want the name of the bankruptcy court's liaison and yeah, you ask the banker loud enough that son of a bitch hears!”
I hung up and Mom started laughing, “You're terrible!”
I turned and asked Dad, “IF you're negotiating with someone and their eyes are bouncing all over the place, what's happening?”
Dad said, “He's broke and he's trying to con you to make a living for him!”
“That's what's happening up there! Now aren't you glad I learned so damned well! You REALLY need to school that other son of yours!”
He smiled and gave a giggle. Mom came over and gave me a hug. “Thank you. You love him when he's not even here.”
“Yeah, I do. Now let's go rescue him!”
We hopped in the truck and when I pulled on the lot, I blocked the Range Rover and got out. I walked in and walked over. Stu looked up and I said, “I'm here, move over.”
He did and I sat down. I stared the man off into his eyes and asked, “Are you on drugs?”
“Ok, we've got it established you're stupid then! I'm about to hire the investigator who's going to tell me everything down to the last freckle on your ass. When I have it, I'm going to systematically fuck up your life by calling your creditors and tell them what you were offered.
You see, I've got nothing to lose....Or do you? This man here is too fuckin' polite to do that bullshit but me??? I could give a rat's ass less....You see, I don't give a damn if I make a reputation in this town as being a hard ass, but him....He wants to be known as the nice guy.
Fuck with my heart asshole and I'll fuck you back in so many ways you won't even begin to know how badly you got fucked!”
I turned to Stu. “Make your final offer. If he doesn't accept, get up from the table and let me have his ass on toast in the morning. I guarantee you what's scrambled by lunch won't be those eggs he's serving on that pathetic slice of ham!”
I turned back, “You listen to this offer and you listen good. It's the last fuckin' offer you get before I destroy your God damned life!”
Stu said, “$14 million.”
I finished....”Take it....or leave it!”
The man looked down and I knew we had it won. I slammed my hand on the table. “ANSWER!”
He looked up at me ,“Ok.”
I gave a nod, “Be thankful we're seeing you at your attorney's office tomorrow rather than dealing my way!”
I got up ,“Come on, hunger makes me a bitch!”
Stu smiled and shook the man's hand.
When we got outside, he was laughing so hard he couldn't walk. “Man!”
I walked over ,“Babe, until I showed, I was the wolf behind the door. When I showed up and looked him off in his eyes, I became real. You would've been there all damned night because he had everything to gain. Now he realizes he had something to lose and I showed him.
Tomorrow, we're walking in with that $14 million cashiers check and some vital information. His lawyer is going to have him propped up to believing he's going to get something else. When I call the first creditor in front of them, that man's going to realize I meant what I said. When I hang up and announce I'm calling the second one, he's going to realize I'm systematically fucking up his world in front of him AND that lawyer. He'll jump on that check like it's a life raft because he knows I'm sinking him as I said I would do.
OUR ADVANTAGE is I know this game....You see, Mark's my lawyer and we talk a LOT about how the game's played.”
He looked surprised, “Oh man....You've got the inside knowledge!”
“And going into that or ANY negotiation makes you the winner before you get there. When we get to the restaurant, you watch how I do this....and learn....PLEASE learn.”
He smiled, “Ok babe. Where are we eating?”
“I'm getting a nice big steak tonight. You name the place.”
“I'd follow you just to watch that ass!”
He smiled, “You're going to be the one I'm watching walk to that truck!”
I went back to the truck and got in. “When we get to the restaurant, I'm showing Stu how the OTHER game is played. We got them for $14 million.”
Dad asked, “How many?”
“I don't know yet, we're still playing the game.”
“Yeah, but before I call Mark, I'm waiting to get to the restaurant to show Stu how it's done. I think I succeeded in scaring the hell out of the both of them with my performance in there.”
He laughed and Mom said, “Oh man! You learn too much from your Dad!”
I followed him to the restaurant and when we walked in the door, I handed the hostess a twenty. She gave me a look and I said, “Tell your bus staff I need bones for my dog. She's been home all day being promised a treat and I want her thinking I'm the best daddy in the world.”
We were seated at a quiet table. When we sat down, Stu said, “You should've heard him! I thought he was going over that table!”
Dad laughed real loud. Mom said, “Stu, he would've. He learned from his Dad and his lawyer how to play the game.”
I said, “Now watch this....”
I put it on speakerphone and dialed Mark. He answered and I said, “I've got you on speakerphone. We're in negotiations to buy some McDonald's restaurants. The man's broke and we're taking it into his lawyer's office....Tell me who his biggest creditors will be.”
Mark started listing them and gave phone numbers as well as names to speak with there. He said, “IF you need to call me in that meeting, feel free to do so.”
“I will....Speaking of which, I've got Mr Alberici as our contractor for this down here.”
“Yeah, you'll probably get a call telling you how much he loves the show. I know he's going to be calling to brag how much he's getting me for profits, but when you're finished listening, you tell the man we'll be in the black from it by Labor Day....AND we'll have a profit of about $20 million.
I think he's thinking I like to throw around money, but I'll tell you the man's hurting....He's bringing in an army to build this and mentioned having 2000 men on lay off.”
said, “Oh man!”
“For us to get something built by Memorial Day that would normally take six to eight months to build, that should tell you how many he's putting on.”
Mark said, “He's hurting.”
“Well, now you know who's bailing him out this year, but I'd gladly do so to get the theater I was expecting next year for this season.”
“I don't blame you.”
“Well, thank you. We're going to eat dinner, but we're going to have to teach Stu the art of negotiating. I feel like a pit bull that walked into a chihuahua fight. Stu says he thought I was going to go across the table...Little does he know!”
laughed, “I'm surprised you didn't!”
“I had him. When he went from that bobble head look to looking down, he was gone.”
Mark really laughed, “Let me know how it goes....”
“I will....And Mark?”
“I'm getting a crew to go in and put everything into storage. When we've got it moved out, it'll be yours.”
“Have a good night.”
We rang off and I said, “Stu, we're not a normal family. Mark's Dad was the best lawyer in Missouri...and I'm not making that up.
Back in the day when $1 million is like $20 or $30 million now, he was ONLY accepting $1 million and up lawsuits.
Because everyone loved him so much, we all were drawn in to hear about his latest successes and because we were family, he'd tell the secrets of how he'd win before they knew he'd won.
Dad there listened and learned. I sat there and listened and learned. And so did a lot of the rest of us.
You'll know that when I go in, I go in with one thought on my mind....NOT that I've won, but how much I'm going to get in concessions because I won. You see, it's not a question of whether you'll win or not, it's about what spoils the victor gets...and IF he has that in mind, he's confident the win is going to him.”
Stu said, “That's a good point!”
“Knowing that when you go in makes you confident. When they put up a fight, it only succeeds in pissing you off and deciding you're going to get more spoils. The problem there is when the person is broke, you don't get more spoils, so you've got to go for something else...Either their self respect, their dignity, or whatever. In this case, we're going for his trust and belief in that lawyer.
You see, he believes in his lawyer to the point he's going to go in and hide behind the man. He doesn't think I'll do anything else because he gave you what you wanted and wants to try extorting something else through his lawyer.
What you should know is you've got a witness in that deal and that's me. With us saying in a court of law the agreement was made for $14 million and him agreeing to that, the rest is all fraud.
The key there is this...You DO NOT want to call him on the fraud because that's letting the little mouse have a way out of the cage....He can flip you the bird and walk out in cuffs. Playing him between the rock and the hard place is where it is...Playing his lawyer's fear of losing his license by perpetuating the fraud is where Mark said for us to call him...You see, we just won before we walked in by knowing to call Mark and having him in our pocket to call tomorrow....Essentially, it reloads the gun.”
Stu smiled, “So you know how to do all this?”
I smiled and Dad laughed. I said, “Stu, you're going to learn a little thing my Dad has had to deal with in regards to me since I was little.
At the age of five or six, I'd be in there listening to Mark's Dad. I'd be listening and I'd be learning like it was the holy grail in regards to lessons. About the age of eight, I started using what I'd been taught. I'd bully the bullies with it and start winning concessions to their victims and taking cuts for myself.
Teachers started seeing me getting pay offs and saw me being a little gangster. My third grade teacher told my fourth grade teacher and suddenly, my butt was in the principal's office.
Dad got called in because I was negotiating against the principal and not backing down to...quote...learn my lesson. You see, I knew I could call Uncle Marion on the phone and win.”
Everyone laughed and Dad said, “I go in and as soon as I saw that look, I knew what he was doing....He was imitating Marion! His arms were folded and that same scowl was on his face.”
He made the pose and everyone laughed harder. He said, “You don't know how I wanted to yank the kid out of his chair and tell him to save the theatrics for court! BUT in a way, I thought, “Man, this kid's got this principal in his sights and either I teach him he CAN win, or I make him think every adult will win against him no matter what.” So I sat down and asked for the entire story.
When Jeremy opened his mouth and started telling me everything he had done, I turned to the principal ,“His Uncle is Marion Bassinger. His Uncle teaches him how to win in court and how to negotiate. He's only doing what he's learn is successful, not being a racketeer or a little gangster...future lawyer maybe, but not what you think.
Well, the principal heard that and suddenly, he's patting Jeremy on the back and on his side. HE'S going to the teachers and telling them what he's doing and who he's emulating and suddenly THEY'RE on his side!
Well, word started trickling back to Marion who when he heard it laughed his ass off! He started taking Jeremy into the negotiations and would coach him. They'd win and then, it became a big story around the house when the stories got retold.
Throughout his life, he's done it and he's learned to hone it and he's been using it, so now you're seeing it come about again.”
Stu was smiling ,“And seeing him in action was crazy! He walked in and asked, “Are you on drugs?”
Dad and Mom busted out laughing and Stu smiled ,“The guy said “NO!” and then HE sits down and crosses his arms ,“Ok, we've got it established you're stupid then!”
Everyone busted out laughing again and Stu shook his head, “I damned near fell out of my seat laughing! I was like, “Oh man Jer', you've just told this guy I've been working so hard to wear down he's stupid!” I thought we'd lost for sure!
THEN, he unleashes a bunch of stuff at him and when he turned to me and asked, “What's the offer, I told him the offer. He turned and slaps that table and yelled, “ANSWER!” and I thought,”Dude, RUN!”
We all laughed and Stu giggled, “When he said he'd sell, I was so shocked!”
said, “Stu, here's the thing. IF you negotiate and you're up
against a wall, always have someone you can call into that
First of all, it gives you the psychological edge because it shows that guy you've got outside support. Second of all, it gives you breathing space whereas it doesn't that other guy. Third, it might give you the edge by having that other person give you a pointer you hadn't thought about before.
Police use that tactic all the time. It's typical good cop/bad cop stuff.”
said, “Oh ok!”
“You calling me let him know he was dealing with good cop and that I was bad cop. Me having you hand the guy the phone was me showing him that you were holding me off him....Me walking in that door set in motion the flip side of the coin. Needless to say, I've got to come off a bit unhinged.”
He laughed real loud. “You could've forewarned me!”
“Now you're learning.”
Our food was served and we began eating. My phone rang and I silenced it. We continued eating and then, when we finished, I gave it a look and dialed Mike. He answered, “Hello?”
“We're at Rolla. I thought I'd tell you I'm following in a convoy of Alberici trucks...I wonder where they're headed!”
“Does the equipment look good?”
“That's what I'm buying from him....or it should be. He told me he'd send that down and said he'd have his crews arriving tomorrow. We DO get to have his people here so they can help level this parking lot, but all that equipment is what I'm buying.”
“That crane also?”
that damned thing is huge!”
“It's one of those eight wheeled ones. The white over red.”
“I'm going to be lifting a LOT with that thing. We'll be lifting boulders into place and also lifting structural steel.”
“Is the dozer there?”
“Yeah, a dozer and a front end loader/backhoe and four trucks with 32 feet dump trailers.”
“That's for the asphalt. There should be at least three dump trucks also.”
“There is. They look to be fairly new Kenworths.”
“They're four years old. He depreciated them out and now, he's selling them to me.”
“They're nice. It looks like all of them have 20 yard beds.”
“Twenty four yards. We'll be hauling in gravel with them as well as those dumps.”
“Oh ok! Did you buy one of those earth movers also?”
“No, those are his. They're going to me leveling out the field, but I'm seriously hoping they're bringing lights.”
“It's up here. There's a flatbed semi with eight of them on it.”
“Good, we'll have plenty of light.”
laughed, “We could play football with that much light!”
“Nah, it'd be hard with all the equipment driving through!”
We rang off and I told everyone, “They're South of Rolla...All of the equipment is heading this way plus some I didn't buy.”
Stu asked, “How much did you buy?”
“Three million dollars worth...I spent more than I had planned, but he was giving me such good deals I bought extra.”
“What do you classify as a good deal?”
“Ok, here's how he does his accounting. By the time it's four years old, it's depreciated off the books.”
Stu nodded ,“That's what you're supposed to do.”
I said, “Wrong. You're supposed to take it to zero, but if it's still got some appraised valuation at the scrap yard, you're supposed to keep that on.”
Stu said, “Oh! I didn't know that.”
“It's creative accounting. I don't know if you're supposed to do that or not, but if you get to be a mega corporation and you're forgetting you've got billions and billions of dollars worth of land like a bunch of them have, you ought to be shot because your accountant slaughtered you.
The way I see it is if you're able to get some scrap value from it, it's got that much value to you on the books. Keep it there.
What he did was he gave me equipment which is right at that scrap value. I bought four year old Kenworth tractors for $5500...so rather than buying two, I bought eight.
On and on through everything, I did that and the agreement I've got is his guys get to paint over the names and I have to repaint the equipment so that it has my own look.
What I'm going to do is I'm going to paint the red at the bottom of the white all burgundy. When I repaint the white, I'm going to go with gold and have brilliant white reflective for my company name and logo.”
He asked, “And you spent $3 million getting deals like this?”
“That's why there's a convoy dear.”
Everyone chuckled and Stu said, “Thank God I wasn't buying you'd be filling that parking lot right now!”
“I know. Now tell us what you bought?”
“We got that land over there you saw. We also have four more motels, three theaters, and nearly 20 of the fast food not counting the McDonald's buy.
In the McDonald's, there are 17 restaurants. I think three of them will probably be closed, but we've got to check things out.”
“17 restaurants for $14 million. That's one helluva deal. I'd been screaming too if I were that man!”
“I figure $1 million each for the usable ones...nothing for the ones we'd have to shut.”
“Here's what I want you to do. The ones which are doing bad, you hold a meeting. You tell everyone they're fired in a month if you don't get ideas which keeps the doors open.
My best guess is they don't have a dollar menu and they're not working it. It's either that, or you've got bad management and a lot of employee theft. Either way, I'd tell everyone they're fired if you shut the doors. You don't need the bad managers and you certainly don't need the other employees.
The thing there is this....UNLESS you go in, don't shut a thing. You might find something which is a simple fix.”
“You're going to go with me, these are yours also.”
“Ok, but I'm looking at it like nothing's mine. If I get to thinking about it being all mine also, it does weird things to me....You'll find me at Dairy Queen at three o'clock in the morning binging.”
He laughed, “Don't think I haven't been there!”
Everyone laughed and Mom said, “Stu, I'm ready for a good binge!”
We all laughed again and I took us over there.
Here's one thing I've noticed. More and more in little ways, I can tell I'm falling hopelessly and madly in love with him. It started with me publicly telling everyone he's my partner and now, it's us standing closer together than I EVER would've with David in public.
At Dairy Queen, I said, “Babe?”
“I'm responsible for paying for the restaurant equipment in the theater. I thought you should know that because it's going to come in at probably $500,000.”
“That's ok. It's two full kitchens of equipment.”
“I want you to know I'm value pricing that food. Nothing's going to be more than $2 bucks.”
We ordered and mine is a one of a kind treat...a peanut buster parfait made with chocolate ice cream and crushed nuts rather than entire peanuts....double fudge.
The girl gave me a look and I said, “They charge me 50cents extra for the extra fudge and crushed nuts in Hannibal, but be sure to put the swirl on top because they don't do that up there and I keep thinking it should be free.”
Stu said, “It should.”
“They dropped that when they dropped the swirl as their logo. It pisses me off every time I go in, so I ask for the swirl...fuck 'em.”
Stu said, “I'll speak with the company tomorrow. My people will ALWAYS make it with that swirl!”
We got our treats and went to sit down. Mom said, “I love the design of the Brazier building. It's so nice I hope they don't ever change it.”
Stu said, “This was Eddie's idea. If it had been me, we'd had a Jack In The Box here. I'm glad he overruled me because this is one of my favorite out of the bunch. For some reason, I like everything better.”
“Over there on the other strip, I want an A&W done up so it's like a Sonic. I love their root beer and for some reason, their sandwiches always taste best.”
Mom said, “I thought you'd say a Subway.”
I nodded, “I love those also, but down here, we'd have to be in between two motels for it to really sell a lot of food.”
Stu chuckled, “We own four of them now.”
I gave a nod, “We'll eat there.”
He smiled, “I know we will! Not until I ate them with you did I understand the concept, but now, I'm spoiled on them!”
Mom asked, “What's so great about them? I've been to one in my life and didn't see much except expensive sandwiches.”
I said, “Mom, here's what I like about them. A foot long sandwich completely loaded down with a salad is basicly your sandwich and your salad all at the same time. IF you went into a nice restaurant and ordered the same separate, you'd be paying $8 or $9 bucks.
With me, I load it down to the point of absurdity and the entire time, I'm thinking....”This is only 1100 calories? And this has something like 8grams of fat??? Get out of here!”
I fill up with one and make it sloppy good until I'm absolutely gorged. Then, I have them make another to go home with me so that I'm snacking on that healthy one while I'm doing everything else.
Yeah, I've spent $11 on food for the day, but at the same time, I can see why Jared lost all that weight. ..He could gorge and not be filling himself with gobs of junk.”
Stu said, “Until he showed me the way he makes them, I thought they were expensive also. He had 'em make ours and I really enjoyed it. I know there's a lot of vitamins and everything in it and not until he mentioned it, was I aware I'd eaten spinach and like it.”
I said, “Here's why I got started. A long while back, they had a special of 2 of them for $8. I thought that a really good value, so I started going in and getting them. With inflation, 2 for $11 isn't that bad.
Since then, everyone's went to the value price dollar menu, so it's brought their prices back down, but their mistake was allowing me to see I could get something healthy and filling for that price...so now I'd prefer to go there when I'm up home.
Down here, you've got me spoiled for the barbecue, so I prefer to go there, but we don't have a good barbecue place at all up home.”
Mom said, “Let's eat at Subway tomorrow. I want to give it a try.”
Stu said, “You can go with me when I do everything. From the sounds of it, Jer's going to be busy.”
Mom smiled, “I'd like that.”
We left and went up to the theater. Jerrett came over, “Here's your money back. He took the beer and told me if I over paid people like that, I'd never have any money to run the show.”
I smiled, “I understand, but I agree with you...pay 'em what they're worth. You'll be seeing me slip this money into their coffee kitty at the shop when I'm personally dropping off the Thank you card and tickets for the free shows.”
He said, “That man is running the dozer out there. I don't know how he's seeing, but he is.”
I gave a nod, “We've got a lot of our equipment about to roll in here. When they get here, they're going to be setting up lights and working it out there. THEN, they're going to be laying in underground water pipe and then, they'll asphalt.
Other than that, we'll be driving trucks and getting the gravel laid. I hope they allow us to spread the gravel with their asphalt equipment so we get a good level lay and can get it compacted with all the equipment. It'll hold up longer and it'll give us what we need.”
I pulled my phone and dialed, “I'm calling him to see where they are now.”
Donna and Danny came on the lot...and Mike answered, “Hello?”
“It's me. Where are you now?”
“We're within a mile of the Branson turn to come into the strip.”
“Man! Ok, we'll get out of your way.”
I hung up and whistled. “Everyone, move your vehicles, we've got LOTS of heavy equipment rolling on the lot in just a few minutes!”
We moved vehicles and it seemed that I'd no sooner parked that Mike rolled on the lot. They parked and got out.
I walked over, but not before I got hugged by Donna. “Thank you.”
“Ok, I'm about to put him to work. We've got lots of equipment rolling on the lot here real fast and I've got to have him driving a truck.”
“Whatever you need me to do, feel free to ask.”
“Here's what I need. I need four horse troughs...the metal kind...and I need LOTS of ice. We're going to ice down sodas and I need cold drinks for everyone.”
She nodded, “Brand new?”
“I'd prefer that. Used ice sorta sucks.”
She smiled real big, “I meant the horse troughs.”
“Yeah, and the metal kind also. They last forever and the plastic ones don't. We can have them for family functions after all this and it'd be better.”
She gave a nod, “Ok.”
“When you get back, give it to Michele and Mom. They're the ones who are going to be over food....IF I don't put Michele on a piece of equipment.”
She said, “Whatever you need me to do. I want to be close to him.”
“I know dear...”
She smiled and had a glint of a tear in her eye, “Jer', I'm going to say thank you over and over again, but you don't know what it's like to have someone give you that look like he wants you.”
“Wrong, I have it now and you don't know how bad it sucks when you see others having that look and you're stuck in a loveless relationship. It rips your damned heart out and it makes you hate that one you're with all the more.”
She shook her head, “You know the feeling then. I'm happy for you, but I was so lonely.”
“I know. I'm glad you've got him because he was also.”
She nodded, “It sounds like your ex and his should've been together.”
“Move him off of talking about her. I talk about David also, but now I've got my point across and I'm moving forward.”
She nodded, “Everyone talks bad about David. I want you to know Danny really grilled him!”
“He probably did, but let's let him get to know Stu and know I've got the best now.”
She nodded, “I've told him everything I like about Stu and why I think you're going to have a super great relationship. He wants to meet him.”
“He will. It's but the first day in the rest of your life with him!”
She smiled real big...”Ok, we could talk all night about what I feel. I've got to get a move on.”
I went over to Danny ,“Our equipment will be here real fast. When it gets here, I'm going to want you driving a truck and getting gravel. I'll be driving one and Dad will be also, but I want Mike starting to lay the gravel the right way so the others who show will be doing it also.”
He gave a nod and I said, “Ok, let's go meet Mike. I want you treating him like he's the leader of the asphalters because he will be in my eyes.”
We walked over and I said, “Mike?”
“This is Danny. He's over the construction side of things. He's having you as the leader of the asphalting crews...You let them know that and we'll have it trickle down that way...BUT, if Jerrett here says something, you should know it's coming from my mouth because he's going to be over one of the shifts as am I. If Stu tells you something, you put it up there with God because that's where I'm putting everything he wants in this....He's letting me have nearly everything to say about all this, but when he speaks, listen and do whatever unless it makes absolutely no sense and then tell him why it doesn't.”
He nodded, “Ok.”
“Mike, I want gravel spread by you. It's compacted that way and it makes more sense than having a loose pack.”
“That's what we're doing. I'm not going to have this collapsing on you.”
“I appreciate it. Now, what I'm doing is this....IF Michele will drive equipment, I'll put her there. If she doesn't want to, I'll put her with Mom and they can handle the food.
Someplace on here is going to be food...and lots of it. I want everyone getting all they can eat and everyone getting all they can drink, but if they want beer, I'll provide it, but it stays to a six pack a day...no more. I'm not going to have the police called over anyone.”
He nodded, “I'll pass that along and agree. You've been around me too much to know how it goes.”
“Tell 'em if the police are called, they'll see me in court getting their money. With the judges and all the law and most of the town being a part of this clan, I think I'll win...and the second they're called, they've went on the side of me they don't want to be on. Until then, we're gonna have a lot of fun and we're going to be treating everyone like they're the next dollar.
One other thing...the county road crews will be hauling gravel and doing a lot of work here. They're us and they're family....and yeah, I'm going to introduce you to everyone as my family because you are....be expecting to be brought in and protected like such.
Danny here is with Donna. Him meeting her parents tonight and getting their blessing sort've made him a prince in the clan because she's certainly the princess....Look to the Sheriff and his wife as royalty because that's how they're treated.”
Danny interrupted me ,“Look to Jer' here as royalty in that family because he brought about more healing around here in less than a week than there's been in 40 or 50 years. I've met lots of the family tonight and each one of them talks about him like they're in total awe of him.”
I said, “It's because we're used to being a family up home. Without the Anderson clan, we'd have a lot less and although loving some of the younger ones is hard, the older ones who have some sense deserve all the love they get from us.
With Danny, he comes from a family which has values, so he'll do good. And Mike here, he has a huge family, so he knows what it's all about....so I think he'll do good with him.”
Mike asked, “Whereabouts do they live?”
“If you head south, southeast, and southwest from here, you're going to run into them. It's to the point that I log where they live on the GPS so I know how to get back there....since most of them don't have phones.
We're going to get them phones and we're going to get them internet and cable television. Yeah, it costs a lot, but in a lot of ways, it's educational so I now know I'm a scofflaw.”
Danny smiled, “A WHAT?”
“A scofflaw is someone who partakes of bootleg liquor. I got drunk on my ass the other night and sorta made everyone laugh, but I'll save that for later. Here comes the rest of my equipment.”
I could hear all the diesels coming and when they started pulling in, I stopped the first one ,“Tell 'em to pull in like a truck stop. We'll never get 'em all in here if we don't!”
He said, “Mr A says to tell you this is all your equipment. He said you made an agreement for less, but he wants you to have everything we've got here tonight.”
“I'll have to call him and thank him.”
“We're supposed to get everything set up and going.”
“When you get the dump trucks empty, I'm going to drive one and I've got some other drivers who will be driving. My main goal is to get it leveled and then, we're going to start getting the gravel coming.
I've got a bunch of asphalters coming, but Mr Alberici is going to have me some underground water piping coming, so we're going to trench that in.”
He said, “It's going to take a while to get this leveled. Who's that out there on that dozer?”
“He's good people....He'll work with you, but treat him good because he's doing a lot of that work there for free...Well, he's gonna drink some beer also.”
He smiled, “A lot of us will!”
“Here's the deal. I don't know who your construction foreman is, but you tell him 6 beer a day...no more than that and if the police are called, you're fired...and yeah, I'll see to it you're fired when I call Mr Alberici.
I'll buy the beer and I'll buy whatever people like, but I'm not buying any fuckin' imports...You can drink American!”
He gave a strong nod, “I agree there!”
“I'm providing the food and I'm providing the motels. You're welcome, but remember we're saving the nicest motel for the paying guests, but all the rest are going to be for you guys to have your own rather than shacking up together.
IF you want your families here, that's great, I'll put 'em on something to earn, but we're operating 2 12 hour shifts and I'll show you who is what around here.”
“I'll get you the construction foreman when he gets here.”
“Until then, you're him....Let them know and if they don't like it, I'll make that call to Mr Alberici. From the sounds of it, he's got plenty waiting to work.”
He gave a strong nod ,“We're thankful to have it also.”
“Here's the deal....and you let 'em know...I'm gay and so is my partner. Tell your guys the first one who calls me a faggot or him any names gets fired, but if I hear them call him a name, I'm breaking their jaw and kickin' their ass. I'm well off into the martial arts, so I'm not afraid of anyone's size.
You tell them ALSO that I've got a bet that you're going to be finished by Memorial Day weekend and IF I'm made to dance in a pink thong, each one of you guys is gonna shove a fuckin' $20 dollar bill in it. I'd much rather see him dancing and us knowing I won and can operate this through this summer than me having to dance and knowing we're losing money.”
He smiled, “Ok. I might have you tell 'em.”
“You tell 'em that I might just have a thong for the construction foreman to dance in if I lose this damned bet.”
He laughed, “Ok!”
“No, don't tell them that....They might like to see him in one!”
He really laughed, “I'll tell 'em they get to see it if we come in on time!”
“There ya go!” I patted him on the shoulder and climbed down.
The trucks....each and every one of them were gorgeous. All of them looked like they were brand new and all of them made me happy I had made the deal.
Jerrett, Mike, and Danny came over. Dad came over and then, Stu did. I said, “Guys, I've got to find out if that gravel pit is open and who we speak with there.”
I dialed Donna, “Hello?”
“Hon, where is that gravel pit and are they opening it for us?”
“I'll call him. It's going to take me driving you out there the first time, but it's easy if you learn in the daytime.”
“I'll get it on my GPS and that way, I've got everyone else's programmed in.”
“I'll be there real soon. They're going to start getting us the palleted ice because they had to count all of it by hand.”
“I'm glad you bought this heavy duty truck. It's sure squatting. I've got 2 tons of ice on it alone.”
She giggled, “We're going to have the soda for them!”
“The next thing I'm going to ask for are picnic tables. I need someone who knows how to make the things damned sturdy and I want the wooden ones rather than the metal.”
“240 of them, but they HAVE to have routed edges. I don't want splinters.”
“I know someone, but I'll have to see about that many.”
“Buy about 10 of them right now. We can get the rest in about a month.”
She laughed, “Ok! You were saying you'd have the money spent by morning and I doubted you! I'll never do that again!”
“We need to have the Coke, Pepsi, Anheiser Busch, and Miller man called also. I've told these guys I'll give them a 6 pack a day and no more. They've been told that if the law is called on them, they're fired...and I'll see to it they are by calling Mr Alberici.”
“No one's going to bother them.”
“Tell the law here that if they're called, to come, but to find the guilty party and bring him to me. I want them seeing I mean what I say.”
“Ok, but it's going to be hard to get someone to bother your guys.”
“Just the same, if they're fighting in one of my motels, I want someone arrested.”
“I don't blame you one bit!”
“I'll have a meeting with the men about that. We're going to check these motel rooms out and if there's anything wrong, we're going to make it right. At the end, we're going to check things out and that's when I'm going to dock people fines for what's happened.”
I rang off ,“Everyone, you heard me on the bullshit. We'll have a meeting and I'll explain it once and then, we're going to ride on 'em.
Mike, you tell the asphalters their stuff goes outside. They're no different and if I've got floors which have black shit all over 'em, you guys will buy some carpets.
I'm going to have guards on those walks and I'm going to have you guys leaving boots outside. IF your boots are stolen, the guards will be buying you some out of their pay. That tells you who's going to be seeing it in their best interest your stuff isn't fucked with, but in turn, I've got some damned nice motels and need them to stay nice.”
He nodded ,“I'll run the law down to them.”
hate being that way, but from what I've seen of some of those
ignorant sons of bitches, they get stupid mighty quick....and to save
hassle, you put Michael in with Martin and tell them fuckers that if
they bug anyone else, they're fired!”
“Neither one are on this trip. I told 'em the entire crew wouldn't be allowed if they were thinking about bringing them.”
“Good....but you tell 'em drug use better be out of our eyesight and better stay in their room. The second I see a syringe, I'm going to take it to the law for finger prints.”
He nodded, “I don't think we'll have a problem with that with them gone.”
I nodded also. “I think you're right, but I've got to cross the bridges now. I told myself a long time ago if I were their boss, I'd handle it like I am now and you see what's happening.”
I turned to Dad, “Mike and I never did any of that. I named the names who were the pushers. With me providing the beer, I think they'll keep it to rights. Now you know what we put up with when we were on the road...and why we kept to ourselves. We always seemed to come home with money and outside of a few, the only other men who came home with money were the drug men.”
Donna came onto the lot and Dad said, “Son of a bitch! She's WAY overloaded!”
“I'm not worried about it. They're promising me it'll be maintained even though it's on a construction crew.”
She drove by and I saw the trailer hitch was about 4 inches off the ground. I said, “I'd sure hate to see that truck if she had a trailer on that ball!”
Dad shook his head, “I've never seen one that over loaded!”
“2 tons of ice on there. I think the next one ought to be an F450 or 650.”
The guys laughed and I said, “Ok, let's find a way to unload her and then, we'll get trucks to drive.”
We walked over and started throwing bags to the four troughs. It didn't take long and when we had her empty. I said, “Ok, let's get our trucks and get to hauling gravel. Until we've got spreaders spreading, we'll dump in a pile out there at that end where we know we'll be out of everyone's way. We can use Bobcats or Backhoes to carry it.”
The one guy came over, “We need to see about using your truck to pull the lights to where we need them.”
I pointed at the Ford ,“Danny, go tell Donna she's driving my Range Rover out to the quarry and for her to let this man have the Ford.”
Danny took off and I said, “I'd let you drive the Range Rover, but it's not covered under my company's insurance.”
He nodded and I said, “Tomorrow, I'll have my Bobcat and SporTrak here. It's under the company, so you can use it as the 'go fer' truck. Both are brand new, so YOU protect them like they're your own.”
He gave a nod ,“I will.”
“We're going to need trucks to drive to haul gravel. We're going to dump them out there where we're going to build that street. IF you want us to build that street first, that'll be fine, but it'll mean we have asphalt hauled and then, we'll have to switch over to the gravel.”
He said, “I think it'd be better to have the street.”
I gave a nod and turned to Mike, “Are you ready to lay some asphalt?”
He smiled, “Yeah.”
“I've got a spreader over there. IF you'll have Michele run one and you run the other, we'll get 'em the asphalt.”
He gave a nod and I said, “Mike, I'll see you're paid.”
Donna walked over and I said, “Ok, do you have some on a short list who can act as laborers?”
She said, “Let me make a call.”
“We're building that street up there, so we'll be hauling gravel and then, asphalt.”
Stu asked, “Hon?”
“Are you going to be working all night?”
“IF you need me, I'll be here with you. IF not, I'll go home and pack.”
I turned, “Jerrett, you go with him. Make sure he doesn't need to carry a damned thing!”
said, “Jer', I'm fine!”
I gave a nod, “You'll be better as long as I'm not being made to worry.”
He smiled, “Jerrett, let's take your car. He's needing what we've got here.”
He came over and hugged me and then, they left. I turned to Mike, “He was diagnosed with Kidney and Pancreatic cancer yesterday. The doctor says we've got a fighting chance, but if you see me watching out for him like that, you know....and yeah, that's why I'll beat the hell out of anyone who treats him bad.”
Mike said, “I'm standing beside you. The tone of your voice just told me more than anything.”
Donna was standing there in shock. I turned, “Donna, that's to stay under your hat. Now you know why I danced like I danced in answering you this morning. You're family now to me, so you get told the truth....but you make sure the skunk stuff stays out of my bed!”
She smiled, but her eyes were misty.
I said, “Ok, let's focus on what we can and make it so he's not thinking about himself. The more we keep him moving forward, the more we have a chance of beating this thing.”
She asked, “Where is he going?”
“St. Louis University. They've got a doctor there who takes the cancer out, grows it, and then, mutates it so that it sees cancer just like it as something to be killed. They reinject it and then, it goes after itself.
Right now, they've got him on pills which are supposed to put it into a holding pattern until they get it grown and mutated.
The doctor said it's real likely he'll find the kind he's got and get it switched over, but for right now, we all know pancreatic cancer is what kills you.
Don't treat him different. Love him but treat him with kid gloves and let's just get through this so we can all say we kicked it's ass.
As you see, right now, if Stu says he wants something, I give it to him and don't ask a thing. IF he says he wants to work physically, he's going to have Jarrett with him or myself.
Jarrett knows the story and now all of you do. Don't put it out there, but don't have him putting up with a bunch of bullshit.”
Donna said, “We'll all be there for him.”
I countered, “Donna, don't put it out there to the family until he knows....Not your Mom, not your Dad, not anyone....I know it's unfair, but let's not have him dying until we know we're going to lose the battle.”
She nodded, “Thanks for letting me know.”
“I have to. I know there are going to be times when you see him around Jarrett and wonder what's up and now you know...” I turned, “Now, let's get this thing on the road.”
Mike said, “I'm riding to the quarry with you.” He turned and gave a whistle and Michele yelled, “What do you want?”
“Come to the quarry with us! We're going to program in the coordinates and then, we'll know how to get there.”
She said, “I'll drive the dump!”
Donna turned, “She knows how to drive something that large?”
I smiled, “Donna, the difference down here from up there is the good old boys teach their wives how to drive dump trucks like that as it's one less person to pay on the crew. The wives are rewarded because they get to go out on the road with their guys and it keeps the chances of him finding lot lizards.”
She laughed and Dad said, “Don't you let your Mom hear you talk like that!”
She asked, “Is it that hard to drive?”
“Nothin' but a five speed taller than a normal truck. You have to count on braking a lot sooner, but other than that, there's nothin' to it.”
“I'll teach you.” Danny said. “He's right, there's nothing to it except what he said.”
I went over and the guy said, “These trucks here are ready to go.”
“I'm taking this one.” and then, I went over ,“Dad, take that one and Danny, take that one. Mike, if you want to follow in that one, we'll all get there.”
He nodded, “They're damned nice trucks!”
Donna drove the Range Rover and led us out over the vacant lot up close to the lights. When we got to the area where the street would be, we turned up and then went out to the highway and up to the road which would take us to the quarry.
When we got out there, I got weighed in and then, went over to the side and parked. I went into the office ,“This is for the project up on the strip.”
He said, “I know who you are.”
“Here's what I'm going to tell you. IF they say it's for the Falls, they get the load. IF they don't, pull them over to the side and make them pay for it because they aren't us. I'll tell you they'll do it but once and figure out that if I'm making them pay for the load, they'll pay or they'll not be so stupid on their next job. Now, are you mixing the new blend of asphalt here?”
“Then we don't need your asphalt. I know there's a place down by Springfield and we'll get that there.”
“Then you'll pay full price for the rock.”
I smiled, “I guess we will....for these loads. And then, we'll go right on past to someone else. I was assured you would be having the new asphalt blend, but we don't need anything less.”
He shook his head, “I don't know who told you that!”
“It doesn't matter, we won't need any more rock. I promise you that for the $4 million we're buying, we'll certainly be getting it where we get what we want.”
I dialed Donna and when she came on, I said, “We're getting gravel here this one time and then, we're going to where they offer the blend of asphalt I need.”
“He said they had it!”
“No, he's charging us full price for something he can fake. There's a reason they have the new blend and that's because if it's cut with junk, it falls apart and if it's made right, it falls and packs just like concrete it's so tight. The companies made that so the batch companies wouldn't hold it to the layers that they got a bad batch when they cheated them. Needless to say, I don't need this. We're taking the rock we load and finding a new plant.”
“Let me make some calls.”
“Ask specifically for the new blend. I'll know it by smell and if they attempt to load us with anything else, I'll dump it on the ground in front of them and drive over it to show them it's not what they said it was. Tell him he had but one time to lie to this family. He said he had it.”
“That's ok, we're getting the gravel and not getting anything further. Come up and pay this man for what we get.”
I hung up ,“She's coming to pay you in cash for what we get right now. I think you'll find you had one time to lie to this family and then, we'd start having everyone get it elsewhere.”
Donna walked in and walked over. “Go load your truck Jer', I'm going to make some calls in front of him.”
I went out and saw Mike already coming back to the scales. I waved him and he stopped. I said, “Clear your coordinates. This place doesn't have the new blend.”
He gave a nod, “Ok, where will we be getting it?”
“IF I've got to drive to get it at the one place down by Springfield, we will.”
He said, “Let me make some calls.”
“Mike, I know the stuff by smell. The second I smell something different, I'm dumping the load in front of them and driving over it just to show it doesn't pack worth a damn. I'll not allow myself to be screwed the first time, so know I won't be screwed at all.”
He nodded, “There HAS to be a place closer.”
“This man just put himself out of business because he said he had it. I'm halfway tempted to walk back in and buy the fuckin' place just to be assured I do business with someone who gives me what I want.”
“Then do that! He can't want more than $5 million for it!”
I walked in ,“Donna, excuse me. He knows he's out of business, let me see if I can make a deal here.”
I stared at the man ,“What do you want for the place?”
He said, “It's not for sale. I'll make enough sales to people who want to buy.”
“You're one dumb son of a bitch. I've got THE 8 crews who do the most work down here working for me. IF I tell them they're going to be arrested if they buy from you, you can safely bet they won't buy a God damned thing!
You'll find that I don't play worth a damn with people who I know I can run out of business. You were asked, so I'll leave now....Pay the man Donna.”
She said, “Call the banker. Buy his loan from the bank and you'll have it.”
I turned ,“9am, you be at the bank to pay off your loan or I'll have it. I'm not getting that man out of bed when I got him out of his home on a Sunday to deposit a check. He knows I've got the cash, you damned well better also.”
He spat out, “You want to God damned place, you pay $2.1 million. That's what I owe on it!”
I pulled my phone and dialed Stu. He answered, “Hello.”
“At 9am, you meet this quarry man at the bank and buy it for $2.1 million. As soon as you get it bought, get out here and tell the people to spray the asphalt he's got on the ground.
I'm going to tell him right now to his face I want the number for that company which sells the blend. We'll have what we want or we won't have a thing to sell.”
“He's got good gravel. His problem is he has the old blend. I won't touch the stuff and won't let anyone else I know touch the stuff.
With us buying the place, I know we'll have good quality asphalt being laid in this area and will own the quarry. It's a rough way to go, but I guess the best thing is we know we're getting it wholesale now!”
He laughed, “Ok!”
“So that's $2.1 million. I'll bill the gravel and when we have it bought, I'll forgive it.”
I hung up ,“Be at the bank at 9am. He's buying a lot of different places tomorrow and will have you paid. IF the bank is holding your note, you be ready to sign it over to him and know that I want that shit you call asphalt sprayed on the ground here and the number of that company which sells the good stuff so I can assure myself I get what I want.”
“You don't have the batch plant to run the stuff!”
I smiled, “I'll have it rolling on the place at 9am or sooner. IF you're not there, you'll be arrested for fraud....I'll be wearing that badge! I'll pray I get to blow your head off!”
“I'll be there.”
“WE're hauling gravel out of here. Bill me, I'll forgive it when I own it. IF you shut the fuckin' place when we leave, I'll plow my way in....”
Donna was giving me a look and I said, “Donna, make calls and get someone who wants a job and knows the business in here to operate it. I won't have a liar working for me.”
She nodded and I said, “I'm going to get my gravel.”
I walked out and walked over to Mike's truck. “I now own it. If you know the place down there we bought that good stuff from, ask them what their blend is. I know it's Polymer Tire Blend, but they have several to choose from.”
“Ok. Now I've got to make a call to get a batch plant.”
He laughed, “They're not cheap!”
“They're not cheap at midnight on a Sunday night!”
He really laughed and pulled onto the scale. I dialed Alberici. He answered, “Hello?”
“It's Jeremy. You're going to wonder if I've lost my damned mind!”
“What's going on?”
“Well, I need a batch plant.”
“Concrete or Asphalt?”
“Oh hell, make it both!”
He laughed, “Ok, with a concrete batch plant, you need mixing trucks, blowing trucks, and possibly a pump jack.”
“Yeah, but right now, I need a polymer asphalt plant for warm mix.”
“Let me make a call. I know where there's a concrete plant, but it's rusty.”
“I'll take it. I'll get it up to Hannibal and have Industrial Painting sandblast it and get it painted with paint that won't go rusty.”
“You'll be money ahead. It's rather cheap, so you'll do good with that. Get it there, but it won't be finished fast enough that I'll be able to use it for your place.”
“That's ok. I'll have it for the new hotel I'm building.”
He laughed, “Use Brent to design it and I'll build it!”
“Ok, we'll get that done!”
He said, “I'll make a call on that batch plant. What are you going to need to get it going?”
“I don't have a clue. I need a man who knows how to operate it and I need it here.”
“I'll get it there and get you a good deal on it. What's there?”
“An old blend unit.”
“Ok, you can use that as a holding tank for the new blend.”
“I really appreciate this.”
“No problem. You're helping me and I'm helping you. That's the way it should be.... Now, I'm going to ask you another question.”
“What do you need for your business?”
“A business. I've got what I bought from you, but not much else.”
“You're going to need a mechanic and you're going to need to get those trucks painted so you're not seen as a division of me. I'll help you get this going, but you always defer to me if we go head to head on contracts.”
“We're going to make an agreement right now. IF you need me, I'll be there, but we'll make a dividing line for the highways at the Fort Leonard Wood exit. You get what's south of it and I'll take what's north of it. I'll get you on those contracts, and I'll show you how to make federal contracts and bid proposals, but you keep your business good and always make sure you pay your men.”
“Ok, but I want us agreeing on something else.”
“Should I take this back up around Hannibal, we've got to have a dividing line. You and I both don't have many friends up there when it comes to those people and I'd like nothing better than to move them on out of the business.”
“You and me both. Here's what we'll do. We'll work on them and get the contracts. When we've got it so we're able to get in, we'll split it so that we're both benefited. I'll take Interstate 64 and you take Interstate 72. You help me on what I need and I'll help you on what you need and whomever's interstate it is, gets the cut.”
“But you concentrate on getting that down there under control. You've got a gold mine and you've got everything you need.”
“I understand that, but I'm not going to stay trapped down here if it all falls in.”
“I don't blame you there....So let me get this call made and see what I can do and how fast it can happen.”
“I appreciate it.”
“Jeremy, when it happens, I can almost guarantee you that he'll want cash.”
“Ok, how fast do you think it'll be here?”
“I'm going to see if I can get it there tomorrow. It's going to take a day to get put up and you'll have your asphalt on Wednesday. It's going to take you having a truck which will allow you to go to those terminals and buy the stuff, so you're going to need one of those.”
“Do you have one?”
“Not to spare, but I'll find you one. Going used on one isn't anything you want to do.”
“Ok, if you find them, buy me two. I'll need one as a spare so that I can run 24/7 here.”
He chuckled, “I like how you think!”
“The object is to make money, not shut it down and give away half my time.”
“I've never thought of that, but you're right!”
“Hiring those crews is something I'm finding easy to do right now. I'll be doing all I can to keep it sustained, but we're going to have to talk about contracts outside of the state and all the equipment I'm going to need in order to do it and do it easy and fast.”
“I thank you. I'm glad you're being a mentor. At least I know I've got someone who's done it and has done it right.”
“I sometimes wonder in this day and age when I've got people on lay off.”
“It's a sign of the times. You're now learning they'll come to places like this and work if they want a paycheck.”
“Yes, but we've made this deal.”
“I'll help you if you help me. That's where it's at.”
“Ok, I'll get off here now.”
I rang off and took on the load. When I was finished, I hopped out of the truck and went over to the guy on the loader. He waved me up and I climbed up on the tractor and opened the door. He stared and I said, “I just bought this quarry. At 9am, he's to be at the bank to make transfer.
Until then, if he tells you to shut it down, you disregard him and call me. You're on my payroll now and we're going places.”
He nodded and smiled, “I need your number.”
I gave it to him ,“Call me now and I'll have yours...and by the way, what are you making per hour?”
“It's $20 an hour, but I'm supposed to be making more because we're in this 12 hour shift thing.”
“Ok, we'll get this worked out. I'll see you guys are happy, but be prepared to see a new modern batch plant for asphalt here and also a concrete plant here.”
He looked surprised and I said, “The concrete plant isn't going to be the best or the newest, but we'll make concrete. The asphalt plant is going to make the best or we won't be selling the stuff.”
“I'll keep us running. We've all known he was about to go under.”
“His not having the type of asphalt I needed put him under. He lied to get me as a customer and then thought I'd be ignorant and not know the difference. The thing about it is I know just by smelling it that it's different. One smells like turpentine and the other smells like gin.”
He laughed ,“I guess, I've not smelled the other!”
“You will until you're sick of the stuff, but it makes such a better product you instantly know it's better when you lay it on the ground.”
I got down and drove up to the scales. When I was through, Donna was there to flag me down. She climbed up on the truck, “Are you cooled down now?”
“Yeah, he lied and that pissed me off.”
She nodded, “I wasn't happy either.”
“Donna, in this business, you've got one time to make a first impression. Me selling substandard stuff leaves the door open for someone else to come in selling the good stuff. I'll never go into a business where I know I'm selling second best....it's stupid.
With the way this is going, we'll have the new batch plant here as well as a concrete mix plant here. I'll have the equipment for both and I'll have this land so I can put equipment out here to get the jobs needed to keep everyone employed.
Mr Alberici and I just made a deal on territory. From the Fort Leonard Wood exit south, I get the interstate bids and we'll be making them and keeping them because this just put me in the business to make it wholesale.
When you see our employees making $50 an hour for general labor and moving up from that, you'll understand it's a whole economy....truckers make more, and equipment operators make more also. We'll get our people to doing those jobs and we'll get them so we're able to do a lot of them.”
She smiled, “And that's why we love you. You're not afraid to think of us and do something to show you're thinking of us.”
“Hon, it's all about helping everyone up and keeping us on the level until the next. We'll make it as long as everyone feels like they're doing good. When they aren't, we're in a world of hurt.”
She gave a nod, “That guy will be there. He doesn't know how you're going to make a profit, but I already see you're way beyond what he was doing.”
“Laying a parking lot and laying a highway are very similar. To do this, you're seeing my people putting in the best effort. You see everyone doing it right because I've been in it long enough that I know what's right and what's wrong.
The only reason I'm not still in asphalting is because the money sounds good when they're saying you're going to make $100 a day. What they don't say is the days are few and far between and that they're shysters and you're most likely going to be arrested.
The messed up thing about it is it's so easy to be legit, you can't figure out why they're not doing that. All I can say is it's the gypsy in their blood and those sorts of men would rather be out on the road screwing someone who isn't their old lady and screwing a customer than not.
With me, I'm going to have us out on the road and I'm going to have us doing it legit. The way to go is federal contracts and state contracts. The way to go is not being afraid of being insured and getting everything done right so you can get those contracts.
We're going to be bidding on interstates, states, and yeah, we'll be doing county roads and bridges. It's called a living and I'm going to be making one even though I don't need the money. I need something more than that, I need the family.”
She nodded, “And we need you...and we need Stu and I'm scared.”
“Hon, to say I'm not would make me out to be a liar. I've found the best man I've ever known and within a week, I'm risking the loss of him.”
“I know! When I heard you say that, my heart was torn!”
“There's a chance. I've got to keep ahold of that thought and I've got to make it so that we're fighting and he's keeping positive thoughts that we're going to win, or we've lost him.”
She nodded, “I'll do all I can.”
“Just keep the secret until he's ready to tell it. I don't need people bringing him chicken soup and saying, “Oh you poor thing” because that's writing him off before we've been told it's not possible.
For us to give up before we've fought isn't something I'm willing to do...but you'll see me doing little things to keep him going...constantly looking out into the future rather than thinking about what's here.”
“Ok, I get that.”
I took a deep breath ,“Hon, I'm working my ass off. Had you asked me what I'd do if I won the lottery, you'd heard me say a lot of things other than working my ass off, but right now, I need to work my ass off in order to keep the man I know I need, so that's what I'm doing.
What's damned funny is this....on paper, we're probably the richest couple in this area and I'll tell you the money doesn't mean a damned thing if I've lost him, therefore, I'm dancing the jig and making everyone not see what's really scaring the shit out of me.”
She nodded, “Don't stress yourself out to the point that you go down.”
“I'm not. I'm working tonight to kick this thing off and then, I'm working tomorrow to kick it off on day shift and then, I'm going home with him and we're going to veg out and really, that's a lie because he's at home packing so we can get those cabins torn down and then, we're going to be living in a motel, so home isn't home...”
She shook her head, “Why do that?”
“Hon, he wants nice things also. He saw my Mom and Dad's house and fell in love with it. We're going to build something really similar out there and we're going to build a nice house on the back of the theater so we've got that view and don't have to worry about traffic and fighting it in order to get to the theater.
Whatsomore, we've got to clean out a house I inherited up there and get the furniture put into storage down here. That way, I can have that sold and not be thinking about it being too much. The good thing is that right now, I'm cutting what needs to be cut and I'm keeping what needs to be kept and doing those decisions with an instantaneous decision....I'll tell you that's not how I normally do things. All I know is he matters more and any thing which requires time away from him right now needs to be dealt with swiftly.”
“Then why buy this?”
“I can have this operating without me. It keeps my road time down and it keeps me closer to him in case he says he needs me...or Jarrett says he needs me.”
“You say this about Jarrett, but I sense something else.”
“Ok, this is total honesty, but you hear what I say first...Ok?”
“Stu said to me yesterday that if anything should happen, he wants me to be with Jarrett.
I instantly hushed him up on that, but here's what I know...
Jarrett has a head for the theater. He's damned good at it.
Right now, Jarrett can be there learning from Stu and at the same time, he's being my eyes and ears so that if something should happen, we're not finding him dead on the floor.
I would much rather have Jarrett there than not. I would much rather have Jarrett taking the load off Stu and you're seeing me using him in that manner.”
“I know. SO how do you feel about Jarrett?”
“He's cute, but he's not Stu. I like him as a person, but he's not Stu...and for me to think anything else isn't right...because I only want Stu.
I'm hoping Jarrett's relationship takes off. I'm hoping Stu stays well. I'm hoping for so much, but here's what I don't like.
The doctor yesterday left that door open that it might not be possible for him to find the thing we need. I'm not sure of the percentages, but him leaving that door open is scaring me....I don't like things which aren't a sure thing.
For Stu to say that tells me he heard what the doctor said also. You and I both know him saying that had to be his way of leaving the barn door open so that I could leave if it got too tough...He doesn't know me and really, with what I feel, there's no fuckin' way.”
She nodded, “I understand why he did it also, but he knows what he's got with you and I think it's his way of telling you that even if he doesn't make it, he wants your life to go on so you don't get lost in the despair like he did.”
“I can't say how I'll react. All I can say is I already love him more than I ever did Dave and I'll tell you I already feel more about him than I ever did Dave. I already ACT different than I did when I was with Dave and I know that's just what's happened in this short time.
Give it more time and I know I'm going to love him more, feel more, and act in ways which has me growing up more and more each day.
I can't say it's fear, but it's more hope than fear...but you don't have death knocking on the door when it's normal and right now, we've got that.
For me right now, it's me making people's lives right and doing all I can to help people so that when I need them, they'll be there...When it's learned, I can do what's needed and not feel one ounce of regret.”
She nodded, “And you're not going to cry one bit...I can tell that now. I can tell you want to, but you're toughing it out.”
“Hon, crying is failure. It's me giving into it and it's me when I'm down and have given up. When you see me crying, it's going to be one bad fuckin' day because it's meaning I don't have any other options.
Until then, God gave me the money and I'm going to use it for however I need to in order to get another day or until he says he doesn't want that day because it's not worth it.
That's the day you'll see me crying because I can't love him so much that I'm selfish.
Until then, I'm fighting. Until then, you're going to see me being tough when I've got to be tough and you'll see me being gentle when I've got to be gentle. You saw tough a moment ago and you see I don't have patience for bullshit.”
She chuckled, “It surprised me! It was like this little bitty guy unzipped his jacket and let out a beast!”
“And that's what I'm doing when it comes to death. You see, I know death and I know what it looks like. I've faced it down before and it takes that beast inside me to kick it's ass.
Right now, I'm showing Stu that inner beast is fighting for him and I've seen the inner beast in him come out and believe me hon, when that man shows it, stand back!”
“Yesterday in St. Louis at the brew pub we bought, he was ruthless with that man. He laughs at me about my comments, but I'll tell you I was deflecting bullshit because I felt like I was on the defensive for a few things.”
“Ok, I bought this place while I was supposed to be out buying him some sweat clothes. It's right across the street from the place I bought the sweats and really, I think his feelings were hurt that I wasn't sitting there in that waiting room waiting when I was out doing business.
He got upset with the guy because the guy's business plan was way messed up and they lost a lot of money.
Me, when I see we're buying a place for around a $150,000 which is worth about $4 and a half million, I'm going to do that deal.”
“Well, I think he was pissed at the man while his feelings were hurt with me, but as the day went on, he realized how damned long he was in that office getting the biopsies taken and that's when he cooled off.”
“Yeah, Me running and doing those things didn't take but 45 minutes. I came back and spoke with my Mom and Dad and they had time to drive 2 ½ hours to St. Louis and be there before we got out.
In that time, I did a lot of stuff on the laptop to the point that I had to plug it in and have power. He now sees that and now I think all is forgiven.
What totally sucks is this doctor is different than most doctors I know. He puts you in a waiting room and lets you stay there forever. Most doctors I know allow the family to be there and no one gets bored.”
I decided to switch subjects, “SO, tell me what you think about Danny.”
“Oh man...Give me another couple of dates like that and I'll be head over heels in love with the man.
What I like about him is he's clearly a man who is a man. He has a quiet strength about him which says, “Me man, you woman” and yet, he's so kind, caring, and attentive and SEXY that you don't know how many times he had me wanting him!
We went out on a walk and he put his arm around me. I loved it and then, he began putting his hand on my ribs and rubbing and I'll tell you it was like FIRE! But rather than being easy, I put my arm around him and pulled him closer.
All the while this was happening, we were carrying on this conversation about what we want and what we had and how we want it and indirectly, he's telling me “I want you” and I'm there!
When he put his hand on my hip, normally I'd tell the guy “Hey, back off asshole!”, but with him, it was one more thing which felt right!”
“He's clearly into you and you're into him. My advice is to decide and do rather than waste time. I know that sounds tactless, but hey, Stu and I were going to wait and take this slow and if at the end of the summer we wanted each other, we'd make love. Well, that got busted all to hell the night before last and I'll tell you I've NEVER had a man who's done things the way he's made me feel!
What's interesting is he says the same thing. I know he loved Eddie and I know Eddie loved him and I know they were together from when they were young until Eddie died, but little things, he did and then, he'd ask, “Was that ok?”
I'll tell you it's feeling like a keg of dynamite went off and he's like, “Ooh, was that ok?” and I'm arching my back off the bed!”
She laughed, “Well alrighty then!”
I smiled, “I know that was way too much information, but hon, when you have one man you've been with who touches you and makes you feel like he's painting you with a paint brush with his hands and breathing like a God damned baboon, quiet and right is WAY SO MORE than ok!”
She laughed and kept giggling. She said, “I'm so glad for you guys...but hon, you told me his ex was a bitch and I was sort've like, “Yeah, that's biased as hell family talking” but when that man talks and I hear the tone of hurt he had, I hate the bitch!”
“Can I say something about you versus her? And sort've be blunt?”
“She's a bitch. I know you've not seen a picture of her, but I'll describe the two of you in looks. She's Tanya Harding and you're Nancy Kerrigan. You're beautiful and she's the one who just oozes hateful manipulative creature.
When they got married, I was like, “Ok, what's wrong with this picture? What does she have on him that he married her for?” That's just the way she acted in the ceremony and during pictures. It was like “La la lala lala...I got him and you didn't!” and it was like “spoiled little bitch marries unsuspecting farm boy” as a headline for that marriage.
As it went, I saw him go from smiling and happy to brooding and unhappy acting. We've got some video footage and some day I'll show it to you because that's the day it went from “What's not right?” to “I hate that bitch for what she's done to him”.
What's great is this...Looking at you two, it's like you're the perfect match. You'll meet his Mom and you'll see instantly why I love her so much....She's herself. She's BEAUTIFUL acting inside and out. She's clearly no one's fool. And she's the first person who openly said she hated his wife....That should tell you all was not well.
When he went and suddenly got into the military, I was like, “Ok, he's an idiot. He should've sent the bitch instead of him, but he's suicidal and now, he's going to end it.”
What I know now, I think he already realized something was up between his so-called best friend and her and if not, I think everyone was delusional in what they were feeling.
To be honest, I think he and she clearly realized it was a mistake. I think he brooded in it and I think she flirted with the friend.”
“I have a question.”
“Why was he friends with that guy?”
“Hon, here's why....Think about it and you'll understand. Danny Wayne grew up on a farm being the man of the family. Really when you're MADE to be the man of the family rather than asked to be and when you're moved from a town where you're successful and your family owns a business which's successful, it doesn't make sense to you to suddenly go from having family all around you to moving clear over to bumfuck and living in the middle of nowhere.
What else that happened was as soon as they got there, the job promise collapsed and his Dad went on the road working for a different company and only being home maybe a week out of seven weeks.
He and his brother were ignored. He and his brother were told to be the men. And he and his brother were patted on the back for being on the football team even though his Dad wasn't there to see it.
Him gaining that friend was him grabbing onto what he had in Hannibal. The friend's family owned the exact same type of business. The friend's family let him work there on Saturdays. And he cultivated that friendship trying to hold onto what was normal to him about his family when it was together.
The thing there is this....Danny got caught up in high school politics. He's on the football team and he's damned good looking and built. He's hopelessly straight, so when little blond cheerleader used him as a social step, he willingly did it....not realizing it was a train wreck in the making.
We lead up to now and you see where we're at. I've introduced him to you and he feels at home with you. You're gorgeous and really, you offer him home in a way which isn't big city, manipulative, and anything except real.
I think he sees that. I think he's got eyes because he's attracted. I think he's going to fall hard for you because you're what he needs rather than what's not.”
“He's already told me that in different words, but I didn't know why he did things the way he did, but now it makes sense. It didn't make sense, but now it does.”
“I think he sees that as a failure and his wanting to be a game warden is psychological. It's self imposed exile....to want to be out in the woods and it's the sense of right and wrong with him being on the right side of things.
The thing there is he doesn't have a thing he needs to be self exiled about. We all make mistakes, but I'll tell you it's damned hard to admit it's a mistake. I lived with a man I detested for 8 years before the line got crossed and I decided enough was enough....but hon, here's what I'll say and yeah, I'm gonna be blunt again.
When you're having a dream about being with a blond gorgeous stud and you're having sex in your dream and it's everything you're not getting in your relationship; it's not right. When you're about to cum in that dream and you wake up because a man's nuts are smothering you and he's giving you head in your sleep and it pisses you off, it's not right. When you consider it to be a violation of you personally and a rape rather than something romantic, it's not right.”
She started laughing and I said, “IF Stu ever does that to me, oh man....it's right. I'll reciprocate and it's DEFINITELY not rape!
But at that point in my life, what was romantic and someone trying when I hated the air he breathed and would've considered him cluttering up the place if he laid around and died, it's not right.
What gets me is this...I lived in a relationship that was dead for too fuckin' long and now, I've got a man I want to live and now, you see it's got me fighting like hell.
Had it been David, I'll tell you I'd had his ass shipped to a hospice so fuckin' fast that your head would be spinning.”
She busted out laughing,
I smiled, “Hon, I'd been there for him, but I would've insisted to the doctor...”We do NOT want life saving measures!”
She laughed real loud again and I said, “That's the difference. Now I want the man I'm with and back then, I'd put banana peels all the way to the grave to “ease his transition”.”
She laughed again and shook her head, “You're a nut!”
“I really hated him. I'm so glad it's over and now, I'm doing all I can to save this one.”
“I know. It's just funny how life is sometimes.”
“This isn't funny hon. It's scary.”
“I know. I'll be there for you and I'll be there for him. I'm getting over the shock now and I understand where you are...I'm rolling up my sleeves and I'm putting on my boxing gloves to fight this thing beside you.”
“It's going to take that.”
My phone rang and she said, “They're probably worried about us.”
I answered, “Hello?”
She got off the truck and my Dad asked, “Where the hell are you?”
“I bought the quarry. It's taking that in order for us not to have to drive back and forth to Springfield to get the type of asphalt we need.”
“Is that smart?”
“Yeah, in the long run, it's brilliant. In the short term, it's damned good. It sets us up to have gravel, sand, and stone we need for concrete as well as asphalt and it sets us up to get federal highway contracts.”
“Is that what you want?”
“In so many ways, yes. In a lot of ways, not right now, but there are times you don't get to pick the timing of things, but right now, I'll take it and I'll delegate it and know we're in a better position because we're getting this wholesale versus retail and having to work with that markup.”
“So what's needed?”
“We're getting a batch plant we can use. It'll be here tomorrow and then, I've bought a concrete mix plant which needs to go to Industrial painting to be sand blasted and made to look new.”
“Ok, those things are pretty good. We were just worried about where you were.”
“I was guaranteeing that I still had employees over night. I don't trust the man we bought it from and now, I've got them.”
“What happened with the man?”
“If I told you that I had the new mix of asphalt and would stay open all night and then you get here and don't smell the sort've asphalt you need, are you going to question it?”
“Well, he didn't have what we needed. He lied and thought I'd be too ignorant to recognize the difference. Needless to say, he was caught in the lie because Donna was the person he told the lie to and suddenly, she's making calls and telling everyone not to do business with the liar.
He saw what was going to keep him afloat suddenly go down the tubes and I was there telling him that I'd be at the bank buying his loan.
Anyway, he put the price at about half of what my spot guess had it being worth and Mike's spot guess also...so I didn't even negotiate....I needed him to agree to being at the bank at 9am, not negotiating with me.”
“Well, we've got that and we'll have the batch plant here tomorrow and we'll have the thing constructed by Tuesday and up to running on Wednesday.”
“In the meanwhile, we can spread the gravel and get it compacted and that'll be fine, but I'll use that asphalt I don't want on that city street, but I won't use it on my parking lot.”
He laughed, “Ok!”
“I'm heading that way now.”
“Stu's at the motel bringing the first load from the cabin.”
“Ok, I need to make some time to be with him and get him to bed.”
“You need to be there also.”
“I can't....Not tonight. I've got to get this up and running and have the day shift up and running and then, I can have tomorrow night with him and veg out.”
“I think you're making a mistake. I think you're showing him work is first and he's second.
Rather than saying that, I'm going to throw it in your court. IF you were sick, and if you were unsure of things, would you want him gone and you sleeping alone? OR, would you want him there holding onto you and being what you wanted rather than putting THINGS in front of you?
You decide because I hate to sound like your Mom and say “you don't sound like the kid I raised” but I'll tell you that you need to get your head out of your ass and do what's needed not wanted.”
“Ok, I get it and I'm glad you called me on it.”
“Jeremy, it's about showing a united front....not dividing. Right now, you need the front.”
“I understand you're wanting a future and I understand you're wanting things in your future, but you've got to decide if your relationship comes first and if so, keep it there.”
“Ok, I'm getting it. I'm glad you're waking me up because I don't like what I see and really am ashamed of myself right now.”
“Jeremy, don't be ashamed. You weren't allowed to get there, so you've corrected the mistake.”
“I'm on my way and parking this truck. Is there someone there who can drive it?”
“That guy you had out there helping him move.”
“Ok, I'll get in there and have a meeting and we'll regroup. This is backwards from what I wanted, so now I need to redo it.
My thought was to kick this off and then have us pull it on through tomorrow and then, cool it off.”
thinking is tonight is the night to get it grouped together and then,
tomorrow, kick it off rather than tonight.”
“Ok, I'm being over enthusiastic and letting it potentially fuck up my life. I need to step back and do this right.”
I got the truck to moving and rang off. When I got there, I went over to Mike ,“I need to stop this. I'll explain why and then, you'll understand.
Part of me wants to kick this off even though it's not ready. The other part of me needs to regroup and have my shit together and not screw up my life.
Right now, I'm delegating my relationship with a man I know I want and damned near had him going to bed without me. For me to do this, I need to say tomorrow is the day and we'll get it going.”
He nodded, “Ok, I see what you're doing and agree.”
“I'm going to ask Jerrett to drive the truck. IF you want to park 'em, I'll park 'em, and if you want to lay that other asphalt out there, that'll be fine with me too because it's the city's worry and not mine.”
He smiled, “You're heartless!”
“I'm a realist. My concern is there at that property line. When you go onto my property, it's where I want the good stuff and that's that.”
“But if you put your guests out onto a gravel road to get up there and they think the city doesn't support the place, it's really tacky.”
“Ok, we'll put the good stuff on it, but right now, we're going to have to lay the gravel Monday and Tuesday and then on Wednesday we'll have the asphalt we need.”
“Are you sure it's going to be up?”
“I can't guarantee a thing because it's not in my hands. Until I know it's here and it's going up, I can say it's going to happen.”
“I know we can lay the gravel in two days barring rain. If it rains, you're going to have a mess.
My thought is to lay it and spray it with hot tar. IF rain happens, it'll be fine and if a lot of rain happens, you'll be fine except for maybe the edges.”
“Ok, so I've got to get a hot tar truck.”
“And hot tar mix.”
“That's easy. I'll get the truck.”
“How many trailers are you going to be getting for the mix?”
“Two brand new trailers. I want one and a spare.”
He nodded, “Good thinking. For fast lays and for long lays, you want two. You're going to have to have drivers who can get to fill them as soon as they're emptied, but it's going to really go well.”
I gave a nod, “So, what do you want to do?”
“Lay gravel, but let's get everyone here so they're not thinking I'm doing all I can to make myself look better than everyone else.”
“Ok, that's fine.”
“Show us to our room and we'll get some sleep and start over.”
“I'll get you there, but I need to explain how things are going to Jerrett.”
I drove down to the gathering site and found Jarrett. I said, “Thank you for tonight.”
He nodded, “No problem. Your heart has to be aching.”
“Hon, for me to be here right now is pure insanity...so what I'm going to do is I'm going to explain how it's going to go and then, we'll do this right.
YOU are my eyes and ears when I'm not here and you're the one who carries what I need done forward.
Tonight, I need you here. I've got LOTS of things happening and we're going to have more equipment rolling in.
Those guys are out there dozing and prepping and then, tomorrow, we're going to lay gravel and then, Tuesday, we're going to lay gravel. We're prepping it and we're spraying it with hot tar and then, hopefully, on Wednesday, the asphalt part starts.
To break it down, we've got 150 strips we need laid which are each a mile long. That's like laying 150 miles of single lane highway and getting it done for $4 million and expecting quality....totally fuckin' insane.
Where we are is we've got 8 crews coming in and doing the hot work. Tempers are going to flare, we're going to have crews which don't jive. We're going to have unskilled with skilled and some are going to work their asses off and others are going to not work, get tired, or walk off the job.
Each one is family. Each one is a human being. Each one has feelings and needs to have his or her needs met.
NO ONE is allowed to belittle another person on this...The second you hear yelling, I want that person in front of me. The second you hear name calling, I want that person fired...and if it's a crew, fire them and get our people moved to other crews who will work them with respect.”
He was nodding and I said, “We're working 24/7 until this gets done. I'll tell you it's going to take about 10 days, but if someone's machinery breaks, we've got to get in and pull that machine out and get our replacement in there and put them all back to work.
I'm being sent a mechanic. He thinks he's only working on my equipment and I'll tell you now his job title is mechanic...Work him on whatever machinery is broke whether it's ours or not. IF someone doesn't want him touching their machinery, nod your head and point the way off the property. They'll get the hint they were here to work and work as a group. They'll play hell suing me to get the money when we've got the deck stacked like we do.”
“Get everyone rooms when they get here. We're going to have a meeting and then, we'll get started. Tomorrow is going to be a half day of work because they're going to arrive about noon.
I'm working 6pm to 6am. You're working 6pm to 6am and you're probably going to have to call me a lot.
IF you hear a motherfucker's name is Martin, you call me. IF his name is Martin and he's wearing glasses, walk over and ask his last name. IF he tells you it's Whiston, you point and fire the whole fuckin' crew.
I was told he would not be here and I was told his crew was told point specifically he and his co-hort Michael would not be on this project. IF he shows, fire the whole crew and call me, then call the Sheriff.
IF that happens, you'll see a side of me which no one wants to see. I'll probably have names thrown at me and I'll probably kick some ass and a whole lot of ass when that happens....and yeah, stand back because I'm going to be succeeding when I'm kicking that ass.
The reason there is drugs. They're the suppliers and they're the salesmen. They work on a job and they somehow always make the money because everyone's using and they're the bad news.
Fights happen in their rooms. Users think they get screwed the less money they have and dope men always give less and less the less money they know you have....and somehow, when payday happens, it's all better and they're going like gang busters until mid-week when the fights start happening again.
The problem there is I've seen it all too often. I've hated it and constantly had to grit my teeth and tell myself I wasn't the boss, but if I were, I'd do something about it. Well, I'm the boss now and I'm one of the owners now so you damned well bet I'm putting my foot down and the other one off into someone's ass who needs to go off the place.
In short, I'll tell you this...This isn't something you're going to be viewed as the best person on the planet. You're the person with the whistle when it's 3rd grade recess. They know you're the one who stops the bullshit and games and all the tantrums....Treat 'em like adults and don't put up with childish bullshit and games...They'll certainly test you.
For me to say that, I'm going to predict one thing. I'm predicting one person's shit is going to break down with such regularity that we'll rebuild their piece of shit machinery and patch them together that they'll leave here and operate for another 4 months before it's back to being a piece of shit.
I'll predict we kick one group off the place and you'll see me put the biggest strongest motherfuckers on their crew just to make them look like pussies and they will STILL call names and cuss them like dogs because they're that quality of people....and yeah, I've whipped their asses before and yeah, they don't like me as much as I don't like them...but they know I'll punch a motherfucker in the mouth who calls me a name and cusses me like I'm a dog.
I'll also give you some history on this collective bunch. I've worked for four of the groups and have successfully not went to jail with two of them by the grace of God. The first time, I had the stomach flu so bad I had to stay in the room. They went to a job and got arrested. It took me running across 3 states to get their bond money together, but as soon as they were bonded out, I went one way and they went another.
The other time, I was driving a truck and the other guy driving pulled up and was having his load spread while I was at the batch plant. I'd JUST gotten filled when I got the news to dump the load because they'd all been arrested. If you ever are on the road and you get told to dump the load, it means to drive to the person's house and dump the load in their driveway and block the son of a bitch because it's going to require them to have it cool to shovel it and it's going to be a block of asphalt when it's cooled.”
He laughed and I said, “I did it because of this...IF you agree to get a driveway and then, you call the police on me, you're the motherfucker in the situation, not me....And like it or not, you DID agree to paying too much for the fuckin' driveway, not me. So fuck you hard because you fucked me hard in getting me arrested.
Once again, I bonded them out and hauled ass.
There's another group here who is more girl than you and me combined. They're all married and yet, they go out on the road and just so happens, they get drunk and wind up in each other's beds or do the group thing.
I'll tell you I fucked with one of the guys who will be there doing all he can to get eye contact with me and I'll tell you he was a damned good lay....and I'll tell you if he wasn't married, it'd be on like Donkey Kong because that man is beyond un-fucking-believable in bed.
Where it was for me is this...They got pissed off because I only wanted one of them. I looked at the others as like the weird version of the seven dwarves...too old, too disgusting, too fat, too God damned gross, too demented and perverted, and the other one was too fuckin' short dicked to achieve penetration.”
He laughed real loud and I said, “The one was too hot to be with that group...and what's mind blowing is this...My Mom dated his Dad in high school and said he's equally as hot in the sack and she'd probably married him if he hadn't two-timed on her.”
“Yeah, but she had eyes for my Dad and got together with him, so that was cool.”
“Will I recognize the ones you're talking about?”
“Yeah, nine chances out of ten you will, and then, there's the Fogles....”
I took a breath ,“Here's what you've got with the Fogles...You've got a group of a man, his son, his nephew, and his step brother. The man is ick, his son is yuck, the step brother has prison bitch written all over him and is....and the nephew is GORGEOUS and doesn't look like he should be with that bunch.
I'll tell you in the right circumstances the nephew fucks around and I'll tell you he and I made out in the parking lot of a famous strip club in Atlanta. We went there and I was told, “Come on, it'll be fun!” and that lasted long enough for me to pay $25 to get in the door go and sit down and pay $12 for a drink and then have some skank's cooch put into my face!”
He busted out laughing and I said, “Sorry, but when it looks like a the Suez Canal and you're not in Egypt; it's skank.”
He really laughed and I said, “What's even more fucked up is this...I was sitting there totally grossed out and the bitch reaches down and spreads it open. I'll tell you I never came so close to hurling in a woman's pussy before or since!”
He really laughed and my Dad got to laughing. He said, “Son, I can hear you over here!”
I laughed ,“Well Dad, you know what happened in Atlanta!”
He laughed ,“Yeah, you went to a parking lot and made out with Eric Fogle!”
I laughed ,“Yeah, but we got interrupted because Jimmy Fogle decided to get into a bar fight and get them bounced out. We had about four seconds to get straightened up in the back seat with steamy windows and both of us acted like we were asleep....yeah, right!”
I said, “Jerrett, just watch the lot and when people show up, let me know. I'll be up in the room.”
I went over and Dad said, “Find out where we can get some Pepto Bismal, your Mom isn't feeling so good.”
“I'll be right back!”
I drove over to a convenience store and came back to their room and Mom said, “It must've been something I ate.”
I took one look at her ,“Get dressed, we're getting you to the hospital.”
“No, it's not that bad.”
“Mom, does your arm hurt?”
“And you're sick of your stomach... Just because you're not laying on the floor dead doesn't mean you're missing the signs of a heart attack! Now get dressed and we'll get you there!”
I turned to Dad, “Have her in the truck in five minutes. If you've got to carry her there because in one hour, she'll be on a gurney being carried to an ambulance and by morning, she'll be dead. I'm not joking!”
I went next door and went in. Stu was on the internet dressed in his silk boxers. “Babe, get dressed. We gotta hurry.”
“What's going on?”
“If I were sick of my stomach and grabbing my arm, and pale as a sheet, what am I pantomiming?”
“We need to go, Mom's there.”
Dad? I just saw him!”
grabbed clothes, “Call an ambulance!”
“Hon, I'm going to help get her down the stairs.”
“Use the elevator!”
“Ok, meet us downstairs.”
I went over and went in without knocking. Mom said, “Jeremy, I'm just sick of my stomach, that's all!”
Mom! Look at me! IF Dad were grabbing his arm, sick of his stomach and white as a sheet....Where would you be?”
my way to the hospital or already there!”
“Get your clothes on or I'll carry you out as you are!”
She said, “Ok.”
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is it.”
“Child birth is always a 10. This is probably a 9.”
I rolled my eyes and Dad said, “I'm going to get the Range Rover. Give me your keys.”
I handed them to him and he went out the door. She nodded, “Thanks.”
“Jesus, when did this start?”
“About thirty of forty minutes ago.”
“Ok, we're still inside the golden hour. We'll be fine.”
I dialed Mike. “Hello? Where'd you go?”
“Mom's having a heart attack. Come up to my room and use the guest bed for tonight. I doubt if we'll be there.”
“Ok! Where's your room?”
“Are you standing down in the front parking lot of the theater?”
I walked out of their room and walked up to the end railing and yelled down, “Up here! I'll leave the door open!”
“We'll be right up!”
Stu came out and I said, “Leave that open. Mike and Michele are going to be in the guest bed. I've not had time to get them a room.”
“Right there on the other side of your parents.”
“Ok, show it to them. I've got to go back in and help Mom.”
I went back in and believe it or not, she was brushing her hair! Mom, you're beautiful. DO YOU want to be the most beautiful dead woman right now or alive?”
you're losing it!”
“Believe me, I'm sane in an insane world at this moment. I swear if I took lessons from you, I'd be brushing my hair and applying lipstick in the middle of a heart attack!”
She smiled, “Lipstick doesn't become you!”
“Ask me that when I'm doing mouth to mouth Tilly!”
She started to the door and stumbled and grabbed her chest. “WHOA! There's a ten!”
I scooped her up and carried her like a baby. Don't ask me how I got the door, all I know was I was moving. Stu said, “Wait!”
“Babe, you get to the truck NOW! She's went from 9's to 10's on the pain scale.”
I got to the elevator and she said, “Jeremy, you're a strong little shit!”
“And you're going to stay with me.”
Stu got on and punched the button. He took one look at Mom ,“Oh God!”
“Stu, when we get to the truck, you get the back seat reclined. I'll get her in, but we don't need her flat and we don't need her upright....reclined will be fine.”
The doors opened and Stu ran out to open the door of the truck. I backed through and got her to the truck and in. As soon as I got her in, Dad took off and the door mashed my hand in it's slam. It opened and then I happened to shut it with my other somehow stepped away from the side without being hit.
Dad didn't stop and Stu's door flew shut on his leg and they went around the corner. I took off for the Ford and saw Stu's SporTrak there.
I dialed 911 and when the operator answered, I said, “This is Jeremy Blue. My parents just left the motel in my Range Rover moving to the hospital. My Mom's in a full blown heart attack and we need the hospital notified they're coming in.
I'm following in Stu Reddington's SporTrak, so I'll be there shortly.”
“Where's Stu Reddington?”
“In the back seat with my Mom. Now, if you'd like to know, she's already passed out once from the pain and was having sickness of stomach, pain in her left arm, and pain 9 out of a 10 on the scale until she walked and then, it went to 10 and she passed out. She's pale as a ghost, so let 'em know to be prepared that they've got one coming in.”
“Stay with me.”
“Hon, call the Sheriff and tell him Jeremy Blue's Mom is having a heart attack if you don't believe me. I'm driving with one hand that got mashed in the back door of a truck as my Dad took off. Stu's probably got a sore leg, because his door slammed on it.”
“I'm calling now.”
“I'm hanging up now. I need to drive this buggy!”
I hung up and within moments, my phone was ringing again. I thought, “Jeez, 911 down here has he best damned tracking system ever!”
The Sheriff said, “Your Mom's having a heart attack???”
“IF your dispatcher called you before the hospital, I'm pissed.”
“No, she called the hospital and then me...”
“Yeah, Mom's having a heart attack.”
“I'll be right there.”
I went into the turn to go to the hospital and damned near rolled the truck. IF it wasn't up on two wheels it should've been, but I straightened it out and felt the whump of wheels landing...or so it seemed. I don't know because about that time, I hit the curb and went up on the grass with two wheels. I saw the Emergency Entrance and went that direction arriving just in time to see them wheel her stretcher into the entrance.
I pulled up behind the Rover and got out. Dad asked, “What happened to your hand?”
“It sorta got crushed when you took off without the door shut.”
“Stu's leg ok? He wasn't all the way in either.”
Stu said, “I'm ok.” and walked to the entrance with a limp
We went in and the lady looked at my hand ,“This way.”
“Don't worry about me, just take care of my Mom.”
“We are hon, you go in this room.”
She turned, “Stu?”
He nodded ,“Take care of my mother-in-law.”
I dialed Jerrett. He answered, “Hello?”
“I'm at the hospital. My Mom's having a heart attack and my hand's crushed. Come and get this phone and we'll be fine with you answering it.”
“Ok. Are you at the Emergency Room?”
Now I swear I wanted to say something smart assed, but at a time like that, I just couldn't think of a thing to say! “Yeah....Customer Service at Walmart didn't know how to handle it.”
“Oh hell, just get to the Emergency Room!”
I hung up and Stu smiled in the door, “You ok?”
“Step back about half a step and let me see that butt. I'll live, but my hand regrets this because I can't touch it! It being my left hand, you're gonna have to do your own reach around.”
He smiled real big, “You behave!”
Mike came in and walked on in the room they had me in. “You ok?”
“Yeah, but don't go to Customer Service at Walmart...They'll tell you Band-Aids are on Aisle 23.”
He smiled and I heard Stu laughing. Mike asked, “How the hell did that happen?”
“My Dad took off without the door shut. Forward momentum at high speeds real sudden shuts doors on defenseless hands. Doors bounce off defenseless hands if they don't suddenly comply, but the door will shut if the pain wheels you around and you sort've punch it with said hand...or something like that.”
He asked, “How's your Mom?”
“Well, her hair is perfectly brushed, lipstick is applied and she's having a heart attack. She's sure she's looking good for the doctor's right now, so she's fine.”
He giggled and I said, “Seriously, she's he only woman I know who applies makeup and beautifies before going to the hospital during a heart attack!”
“You gotta be kidding me!”
“I told her I'd have to consider that a lesson and she said lipstick wouldn't do a thing for me! Then, she sort've doubled over and said it was a 10 on pain level and by the time I got there she was falling from passing out. I scooped her and away we went.”
He shook his head, “What needs done back at the site?”
“I'm waiting on a call from Alberici. He's supposed to call me back about the price of the batch plant and then, I don't know how I'm to get him the money, but he said he imagines the guy will want cash.
To me, that says the equipment is assets in someone's bankruptcy and really, I don't care if it's cheap enough. It's not like someone's going to be there reading serial numbers....and really, I can say I bought it a few months ago, but I've managed to lose the paperwork.
What I'm doing is I'm going to give Jarrett the phone and he can take calls until 9am when Stu's going to need to be at the bank....or I will.”
Stu came in, “I will.”
My phone rang and I answered, “Hello?”
Mr Alberici said, “He wants $230,000 for the batch plant and all the equipment he's got. He's got spray trucks, mix trucks, and a few pieces of asphalt equipment. All of it was brand new last July. Do you want it?”
“I want it, but here's the thing. I'm in the Emergency Room and my Mom's having a heart attack in the next room. If you need me right now, that can't happen.
If you'll take someone else to get the money, Stu will be at the bank and can wire it to you at 9am.”
“Don't worry about it. I'll cover it and get it to you. The trucks are coming loaded with mix and there's another truck which has a bunch of ground up tires in it to add to it.”
“Ok, do we get a guy who can operate it?”
“I've got someone who can do that.”
“Ok, what's needed?”
“You're going to need to borrow a few semis from me to get it there. Once there, we're going to need to use your crane to upright and off load it to where you want it.”
“Ok, send it this way and I'll have someone out there to greet it or have myself there.”
“You be there. You only get one mother.”
“We'll get it there and I'll personally handle this. You just agree to operate it.”
“Ok, I appreciate it.”
“Your closest place to get mix is in Oklahoma, or Rolla. I'm not sure which would be closest.”
“Me neither. Is there a way I can have storage tanks for that mix?”
“You can, but they have to have a wall around the tanks.”
“Ok, I'll get that done. I'd rather have a bunch of that on hand and have the trucks hauling it so I can buy in bigger batches.”
“I need to get off here. The doctor's coming to look at my hand.”
“What's wrong with your hand?”
“It got shut in the door when my Dad took off with my Mom.”
The doctor said, “I'll need you off that phone and taken to x-ray.”
“It's not broke. I've had a broken hand before. This isn't broke...it's just crushed.”
He smiled, “Crushed means broken.”
“Could you put a touch of Demerol right here in this arm? It's throbbing, but I know it's going to hurt like a bitch in a little bit.”
“You're the woman's son next door?”
“Yes, and if you dare say that I don't look pretty as she does, it's because I wasn't standing in a mirror prepping myself to come to the hospital during a heart attack like her.”
He shook his head smiling, “She's a very sick woman.”
I saw Mike turn smiling and Stu was shaking his head quietly giggling.
The doctor said, “I still need that x-ray.”
“Ok, show me where to go and I'll get the x-ray. You owe me a shot of Demerol right here though.”
“I might have to do surgery. You're not getting Demerol.”
“It's a good thing you don't have a hand that looks like this....You'd probably suck doing that surgery!”
He smiled, “Come on, I'll take you to x-ray.”
“I betcha say that to a lot of people. If you'd embroider it on the back of that jacket, it'd have you speechless!”
Stu said, “Jeremy, cool it!”
We went down the hall and into x-ray. The technician got the x-rays and I kept 'em in stitches making each one into a pose. We went back out and I saw the x-rays up on the screen. Sure enough, my middle finger and a couple of my bones in my hand were broken. I said, “Doc? Could I get one of those hot pink casts put on my finger and not my hand?”
He smiled, “You want a glamor cast also?”
“If you do jewels, that'd be cool.”
The guys giggled and I got serious, “So are you going to do surgery? Do you think you can save it? Or do you think I'm ass out on this go round?”
He gave a smirk, “It looks like you'll need a cast and then, you're going to need to have some pain medication.”
“You owe me Demerol!”
He laughed, “Come on!”
We went down to a little room and he said, “I'm going to put this in your palm and position your hand like this. This might hurt a little...”
“...OR a LOT!” I grunted.
“Or a lot.”
The nurse smiled, “Doctor, I think he has you beat on comedy.”
I asked, “Think about this...could you dip it in that one stuff that's rubber like those gloves? If you'll do that and let me put it in an ashtray around here, it'll be an all purpose cast!”
“We don't have ashtrays around here.”
“So you'll dip it in the rubber?”
She laughed and he smiled, “No rubber.”
“No fuky fuky!”
She busted out laughing and he gave a guffaw.
He said, “I'll be back with a double of Demerol.”
“It's not that bad doc, I've seen worse!”
He got to laughing and went out. She said, “Kid, you're good!”
Stu came in ,“They've given your Mom some things. Her pain is down and she's looking better.”
The doctor came in, “Hi Stu...How do you know the comedian here.”
Stu said, “Oh man....let's see.... Do I claim you now or let him butcher you?”
“He no use rubber, no fuky fuky for him!”
Stu smiled and the doctor laughed. I said, “Doc, Stu and I are partners. He's the Dean Martin to my Jeremy Lewis.”
The doctor said, “I've known Stu for a long time, but I've not met you before.”
I put my voice into John Wayne ,“Well, I came ridin' into town one day and he said “Howdy Partner” and I said, “Ok, we're partners.”
I pointed ,“If you'll let him, we can put a corn on the cob skewer right here.”
“Have you ever eaten corn on the cob one handed? It's a mess I tell you a mess!”
He smiled and Stu said, “He's in pain. He attempts to get people to laughing when they're in pain, so he's doing it now.”
I said, “Shush....You'll give the secret away!” I pointed at my arm, “By the way, double of Demerol right here. If you offer a whiskey chaser, I'll take one. If not, I could use you putting a Swiss Army knife right in my palm here so the cork screw can fit the bottle I'll need with all the pain you dish out around this place!”
He asked, “Are you really in pain?”
“Pain is what I felt when the door slammed on my hand. It's also what I felt when I punched it to get it shut as my Dad played Mario Andretti in my Range Rover.”
“Is that your Range Rover out there?”
“Yeah, is it dented?”
“Must not be mine then. I swear mine should have a dent in it where it bit the hand that gasses it.”
He said, “Nice truck.”
“You can probably buy one with the bill I receive.”
Stu started laughing and Doc smiled, “I was thinking a little Ferrari.”
“I was thinking a little rubber, but I'm still fucked on that Demerol!”
He laughed, “I'll get you the Demerol.”
I turned to Stu...”No fashion colors, no bedazzlers, no rubbers...he's not gay.”
Stu busted out laughing and Doc really laughed. The nurse out at the desk was really laughing. Somehow, I knew she was listening in on the conversation.
I saw Jerrett up at the desk ,“Stu, would you take my phone to Jerrett. I'm going to have him handling all my calls until further notice.”
I handed him the phone and he went out. The Doc asked, “You that busy?”
“Prize fighter by day, concert pianist by night....my agent's gonna love me!”
He started laughing and asked, “Seriously, how do you know Stu?”
“Partners as in lovers? Or, partners as in business?”
He looked surprised, “I knew Eddie. I'm glad he's found someone.”
“Me too. You don't know how many doors I knocked on until I finally got found!”
He smiled and I said, “Seriously, if you're a friend of his, it's good to meet you. You picked a helluva time to meet me, but I guess it's as good of a time as any.”
He smiled bigger. “We've been friends for 15 years. He lost Eddie. My wife and I did all we could to help and then, I lost my wife about 6 years ago and since then, we've not seen much of each other, but I still think of him as one of my best friends.”
“No, I've been busy raising my son.”
“How old's your son?”
“12. He's autistic.”
“Bring him by some time.”
He gave me a look and I said, “Seriously, bring him by. Unlike some, I view people as people, not with a judgmental heart.”
He gave a nod and I asked, “What's his functioning level?”
“Who has him when you're working?”
He gave me a look and I pointed, “Could I have you leave a spot for my Rolex to be seen through it?”
He chuckled, “NO!”
“Damn, I was thinking about the Styx song “Too much time on my hands” and thought it'd be cool if I could say I had too much time IN my hand!”
He smiled, “When you're playing the piano.”
“Playing Chopstix singing no fuky fuky!”
He giggled and the nurse came in with the shot. I said, “If you aren't a sight for sore eyes....but thank God for the Demerol.”
She chuckled, “Morphine.”
“Morphine constipates me....you'll have to give it a backer of Ex-Lax...”
She laughed and I said, “Doctor?”
“Call me Seth...”
“Ok Seth, call me Jeremy....”
He smiled, “Ok Jeremy.”
As soon as the morphine hit, the pain went away. I said, “Ooh, that's good! I should be able to play Chopin any time now!”
She giggled and Stu said, “Seth, meet Jeremy. Jeremy, meet Seth.”
“We've met. Within fifteen minutes of meeting him, he had me in shooting nude pictures of my hand!”
Seth started laughing, “I need to put a cast on it.”
“I'll tell ya Seth, right now, a cast is what you're going to need because morphine will knock your dick in the dirt.”
Seth smiled ,“You get your choice of blue or white.”
“I'd have you ask my Mom if white before Easter applies in casts, but she'd probably tell you to start at my lower jaw and work up!”
He and Stu laughed and Stu said, “Your Mom's doing LOTS better.”
“Great. Is her doctor as cute as mine?”
Stu looked shocked ,“That's a loaded question. If I say no I'm sunk and if I say yes, I'm sunk!”
Seth laughed and I smiled, “Babe, I'm giving you a hard time....”
He smiled and Seth said, “I'm glad to hear you found someone Stu.”
I chuckled, “Here's how it went. I got in the boat the day before and went up and down with my little dog in it....no takers.
Then, the next day, I sat out on the dock with my laptop and suddenly he's out there with his laptop....As you know, you can tell a lot by the size of a man's laptop.”
Seth laughed and Stu said, “I never thought of that! I'll have to get a Palm!”
“Too late, you need a server.”
He smiled and I said, “Ok Seth, you gotta wrap me up with that gauze, but if you'd put a tube of KY in my palm before you do it, I promise I'll thank you!”
He smiled, “Who gets the KY?”
“I figured I'd need it when I got the bill.”
Stu laughed and Seth smiled real big. He shook his head ,“You're quick!”
Stu said, “You'll have to bring Adam around to meet him.”
Seth said, “We'll have to do that sometime.”
Seth gave me a glance, “My son.”
“Bring him by and he can see all the construction equipment at the theater. I'll see that he gets a ride on everything.”
Stu gave me a look like “SHUT UP!” and Seth said, “Adam's autistic.”
“Bring him by. I'm sure he'll enjoy seeing everything. Who watches him when you're here at work?”
“Good. I take it they've been watching him for a while?”
“How's he with animals?”
“Real good, he's never met one he didn't like.”
“Gypsy will like him. She's real good with everyone except mail men and then, she turns into Cujo.”
“How big is she?”
“She's a cocker spaniel. She knows a lot of tricks, so we'll show him how to get her to do things and then, she'll like him plenty.”
He smiled and Stu said, “Gypsy's one in a million in regards to dogs. It's like she's talking to you with the looks she gives you.”
When the cast was finished, I said, “Seth, thank you. You couldn't be any better unless you were a Veterinarian!”
He looked shocked and both Stu and I started laughing. He smiled, “You're terrible!”
“Someday, I'm going to make millions making designer casts. It should be so simple as to have the ability to slip on a Lycra sleeve over it. I can think of a little paw for dog lovers or claws for cat lovers or sayings or flames, or logos of famous companies and then it'd be designer. We could call it Casts of Thousands....You'd get a cameo percentage of course.”
He walked with us and I went to Mom's room. Mom saw my cast. “Ooh, what happened to you?”
“Mario Andretti there didn't wait until I got the door shut before he took off.”
She looked shocked and I said, “Your makeup's ruined.”
“It never lasts in this environment.”
“That's ok, You look fine anyway.”
“They're keeping me for a few days for observation.”
“Ok, but if you think it's associated with that restaurant we ate at for supper, let me know...I'll see we own the place.”
Stu said, “We do!”
I smiled, “See!”
Mom chuckled, “Keep him on his toes!”
Stu looked shocked and I said, “I like him better off his feet. He slips in the shower.”
Everyone laughed and I turned to Seth ,“Mom, Dad, this is Seth. He's an old friend of Stu and Eddie's. I was trying to get him to bring his son, Adam, to the theater so we could show him all the construction equipment.”
Seth said, “He gets sensory overload.”
I gave a nod, “I'll tone it down for him. We'll do one piece of equipment at a time so he gets to see everything and sees what it does before we show him something else.”
He gave me a look, “That might work.”
“Give him a chance before you protect him from everything. I know how to tone it down from full fledged glitter to just a twinkle or two.”
He smiled, “Ok.”
The doctor came in, “What do we have here?”
I held out my hand, “Jeremy Blue and this is Stu Reddington, my partner.”
The doctor smiled, “We all know Stu! He's on the board here!”
I smiled, “I'll see he does something good around here then....like getting a direct shot from that intersection over there to here. Me having to drive a bunch of curves and corners and follow road signs when I'm bouncing off curbs in his brand new truck is ridiculous, but then again, he'll probably realize it when the alignment is all out of whack.”
Stu looked shocked and I said, “Extended warranty babe....but I don't know what my blood did to the interior.”
He said, “We'll get it cleaned.”
Mom's doctor turned to her ,“So you're Mr Reddington's Mother-in-law!”
Mom smiled, “I'm his 'nother mother. The day he gets treated like a son-in-law will be a bad day for him!”
He chuckled, “I see!”
I said, “We're going to go out here and wait.”
Mom said, “You can go ahead and go. Leave your Dad here with your Range Rover and he can get back.”
I gave a nod, “Ok, I'll take Stu and we'll be in sometime tomorrow.”
We gave hugs and kisses all around and went out. Mike and the Sheriff were out in the waiting area. I said, “They're going to keep her for observation.”
Mike gave me a look and I nodded, “A fancy way of saying, “Uh, we don't know if she had a heart attack or not. If she died, we'd said it was one, but we don't know.”
I took a breath ,“I hate to seem biased, but healthcare doesn't impress me much. I used to think if you went to the big city you got better care and now, I realize unless you're willing to be in an experiment, you don't seem to get much choice anywhere.”
Stu said, “Everyone's getting better.”
“I'm glad you're on that board because I'd probably tell them the truth....That you can put lipstick on a hog and put a blond wig on it, but when it comes to swine, it's best on a plate.
I've got to realign your truck because what makes sense out there isn't there...and really, you're doing a great job producing jobs and decorating up the place to look more successful to attract more doctors, but in the end, it's more of the same...”wait and see medicine”.
I turned to the Sheriff ,“If you ran a Sheriff's department that way, you'd be out of office and we all know it....A place gets robbed and you're going to wait and see if it happens again. If not, you'll prescribe something like “get better insurance” or “Get a guard dog”....They'd stare at you and say, “Catch the motherfucker!”.”
He nodded, “You make sense, but it's not going to change.”
“She'll be told to go back to Hannibal and see a cardiologist who will run her on a treadmill and because it's 2 weeks later, if she doesn't die on the thing, she's healthy as a horse and it must not be her heart.
she's willing to spend another $18 grand, she can get a heart cath
and they might find a blockage, but they could do that with an ultra
It's all a money game. Either die or pay up.”
I turned ,“Stu, I realize it's an honor being on the board, but it's class warfare here. Ask the sheriff what happens to those in the family who don't have good insurance and he'll tell you they've got to sit this one out...It's not really fair.”
I nodded, “Mike will tell you I'm tired and when I'm tired, I get bitchy. Tonight, I've got a hand that's throbbin', and my Mom damned near died. I'm not in a good mood and I'm tired....that's fairly lethal.”
Mike gave a nod, “That's when I usually tell him to get to bed.”
Stu smiled, “We're going to do that.”
I hugged the Sheriff ,“Thank you for coming. It means a lot to us. I know you're going to say it's because we're family, and really, it's because you're a damned good person and care.”
He hugged me back, “Thank you.”
I turned to Mike, “Ok, let's get back to the motel. I've packed a helluva lot into tomorrow and I'll be damned if my Mom is going to play back seat to it. I'll burn up a phone and then, just as soon as I can, I'll be out here....and yet, I can't even tell you if Stu's taken his pill today or not. Something's wrong and it's me.”
Stu said, “I took my pill. I don't feel good, but compared to your Mom, I'm feeling it's just the same as you...I'm tired and we need a good night's rest.”
“Let's get back to the motel.”
Mike said, “I need to catch a ride with you.”
The Sheriff said, “Jer', I need to speak with you privately for a few moments.”
I gave a nod ,“Stu, you and Mike see if you can drive that truck with the front end like it is. If you can't, we'll get it realigned tomorrow...or at least put in for realignment....I'll ride with the Sheriff.”
We went out and I saw the Range Rover still sitting there running with the hazards flashing. I said, “Ok, I'll park it and get Dad the keys.”
I pulled it around and parked it, chirped it, and got the keys ran in to Dad. “Here's the keys. It was still running out there where it was stopped.”
He nodded, “Ok.”
“I'll see you tomorrow.”
When I got to the Sheriff's car, he said, “About what happened out at the quarry.”
“Word is you unloaded both barrels.”
“Word should be I got lied to and the man should've never put Donna in that spot. Fortunately, I didn't hold Donna responsible for that lie he perpetuated, I held it to him.
Yeah, I unloaded on him, but IF you consider it strong arming, I'll tell you right now that I view what happened as putting the option to bail out on the table and to let me do something better.”
“What exactly happened?”
I told him the story and he said, “First of all, Donna's not told me a thing...this came from the man's mouth directly. Now that I know what's happened, I agree....and I'll tell you he relation of family who went to one of our family members and told the story different.
What WE need to do is we need to tell them what happened directly. I don't want anyone thinking bad of you and I'll tell you I was really wondering if I'd misjudged you...Now I know I'd acted the same way and so would anyone of honor.
I don't know the kind of asphalt you're talking about, but I know roads down here are real pathetic until you get to the interstates and their asphalt. I just figured it's because they used more.”
“Here's the difference....the old way of making asphalt is basicly like making graham cracker pie crust. You put some wetting agent in with a bunch of dry and you press. It makes a road, but it's porous as hell. If it's not wet enough, you get dry crumbly flakes which is what happens when it falls apart, OR, you get too wet and that's what happens when you see it shining in the sunshine because all the solid is settling and the oil is rising up and being sprayed off your tires until it DOES dry.
With the new way, you put polymers in and you put recycled tires into that mix. It's like adding eggs and oatmeal to the graham cracker pie crust...It's better and when it's heated, pressed, and molded, you get some really good stuff.”
“The reason the interstates are better is because they drive down to Springfield and get the new kind. It looks like black concrete it's so pretty and nothing like what's around here.
Me, I know the wearing factor of the stuff and want what I want on that parking lot. I know in 10 years, if we keep it looking nice on top, it's going to be there and the cost of it's maintenance is going to be minimal.
Fortunately....or unfortunately if you're a businessman, there's no other option rather than the new. When they have to rip up the old and it all gets recycled, it'll be replaced with the new and you'll see people being shown that I knew what I was talking about, but that's going to take 10 years.
What you should know is I can be a heartless prick and I can tell them the truth and I'll even smile and tell them I'll walk away from that deal. He can stay in business and I'll run him out of business the old fashioned way...I'll provide a better product and they'll see the two laid down side by side and realize the new is well worth the money. By then, he'll be out of business and I'll have that fuckin' quarry through bankruptcy court and you'll have a lot more victims...not because of shady layers, but because of the one man there.
It's damned funny when people want to blame the one laying the pitiful shit for it falling apart but will buy a replacement from a different man who buys from the same source. It's like buying an old nag from honest Joe and buying an old nag from shyster Pete....both bought their old nags from the sale barn and no one's blaming the sale barn for having old nags.”
He chuckled, “I'm glad you showed me the difference and I'm glad you let me know not to blame the contractors. You're right...if given good quality from the beginning, both probably would have the same reputations. Now I know who to blame.”
“It's that way in a lot of things....horse tradin', car tradin', and a lot of professions which there are shady and good....I think the only GOOD salesman is the one who has honor to stand behind the product and give customer service.
With me, I happen to know what's good up front and refuse to be sold the bad. I've got one time to do this and can't afford it falling apart during a season because it's going to decrease our income.
I realize no one else can afford to be down due to bad treatment either, but I can't see where me treating the guy any different would've gave me quality.”
“Tomorrow, you're going to have a LOT of the family standing in front of you. State your case and I'll have that man standing there next to you. I think IF we had a chance to lay the two side by side, they'd immediately know the difference.”
“I'll have someone drive to the place down in Springfield and pick up a load of it. We'll lay the street out there with the new and it'll be up against the parking lots of the Dairy Queen and the theater down there. Both will look pathetic up against it and I can only hope those lots there are brand new.”
“They're not. I'm trying to think of a brand new lot with which you could lay it side by side and prove your point....”
“I'll just tell them the difference. If they believe me, they believe me. If they don't, I feel sorry for this whole area because those asphalters all know the difference and will have just gotten showed a bunch of people with suckers on their foreheads....Heaven help 'em after that, but that's what I was trying to keep from happening down here.”
“Moonlighting and lots of fraud. I'll tell you now I'm going to be calling you on some things and I'll tell you right now I'll be firing probably one entire crew and possibly up to three of them.
If you think I'm going to be nice when I do it, you're going to see me being as nasty and cut throat as you've ever seen anyone. They'll be told to leave and they'll be told to see me in court in order to be paid and they'll know up front I've stacked the deck by having the family on my side, but now...IF the family chooses to believe that bastard out there, I'll....well, you just turn your head in the morning because I'll probably beat that bastard senseless in front of the bank.
IF he wants to lie about me, I'll definitely make a point no one gets it off.”
“Do it in front of the family with words. They love you and I think them hearing this is sort've got them confused. Let's not blow this thing up any different than it needs to be, let's get it settled right.”
“And you know as well as me that as soon as he gets that $2.1 million dollar debt off his back, he's going to run like a scalded dog!”
“I'm going to keep his ass standing there waiting for the family to show. Anyone who doesn't like it needs to realize you were in the right on this and I'll stand behind you.”
“The problem there is I didn't even explain it to Donna as to why. I told her one is way better than the other and that was that....I'm sure she's wondering if I'm a wolf in sheep's clothing also, but at least we had a real super good conversation afterward.”
“She loves you. I imagine there's very little you could do that would change that....and you bringing this man into her life just strengthened that.”
“He's a damned good guy.”
“I know that. It didn't take me long to see it and my wife saw it also. She's happy as a kitten in the milk parlor right now and is already talkin' about a weddin' and havin' grand kids again!”
I laughed, “That's going to be one spoiled kid!”
He laughed, “Don't we all know it!”
We pulled into the lot and he said, “Don't fret. Forewarn Stu and let's prepare ourselves for what's to come.”
I got out and went up the stairs to the 3rd walk and down to the room. When I got inside, Stu came over and hugged me, “All well?”
“No. And right now, we've gotta have a talk so you're not blind sided at the bank.”
“That man who owns the quarry is out tellin' lies about how the deal went down. He's the family member of a family member and is telling family and confusing them with lies, so now word's going out that I could be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Tomorrow, he MIGHT try playing that at the bank. IF he does, you stare at him and say, “Well, I won't do business that way! You keep your land and quarry and we'll just have to buy another!”. He'll instantly know he's bankrupted and the banker will know he just lost that investment.
IF he does the deal, good. We move forward and it's our's, but the Sheriff is dragging him over here for the meeting with the family and having me explain my side and explaining the difference in asphalts.”
“I already know the difference. I've seen the new kind in St. Louis and out on the interstate and now that you've said it's the different stuff, I know it's way better.”
“They don't. That's the problem. It's going to take me explaining it in terms they understand and then, they'll know, but even then, there's going to be that one little doubt.
What's bad is this....You know and every damned business here will know that our lot is the new stuff. It's going to lay there and lay there whereas their's is crumbling and having to be laid over or having to be ripped up and relaid in years to come.
The thing there is everyone wants to blame the contractor but no one wants to blame the supplier. He's the supplier and everyone else is getting blamed.
For us, I HOPE they'll listen to reason and I hope they'll realize I fight for everyone on all sides and when someone unscrupulous steps in my gun sights, I blast away without care or consideration as to who exactly they are....IF it's family, if it's not, it doesn't matter because one thing matters, what's right.”
“Tell them that. I never realized one little thing would blow up to be so big.”
“It's people trusting and being told a lie that makes them think otherwise. The problem is my first instinct is to beat the hell out of the man for lying about me and it proves nothing, so we've got to let peaceful destruction take place where I get my chance to defend myself.”
“Can you do it?”
“Yeah, but the day for that is tomorrow and I've got to shag ass and do something which is going to cost me a lot in order to do it. I'll do it, but you wince along with me when it's happening.”
“I've got to send our trucks to Springfield and get some loads of that new stuff and lay that street out there in between the Dairy Queen and the theater. They've got to see it for themselves and they've got to be told why it's different.
What's bad is I'm using a decision you made to prove I'm right and I don't like that.”
“Do it. We can't change the past and I didn't know. If I did, you can best bet that I'd not bought it.”
“Let me make a few calls. I need the city, county, and some business people there seeing the difference also. IF I'm going to sell my case to prove it's better to those who are judging me, I'm going to sell my case to future buyers and ask them if they'll do business with that man again or if they'll do business with me and the new.”
“I'm now going on the offense....That's good. I've been on the defense and now, I'm turning it around to aim all my barrels.”
“I'll tell the banker to be there also. When I do it in front of that man after cutting him loose, he's going to know what I'm up to and he's going to see that business just got ran out of business.
While I'm at it, I'll call some theater owners and get them there....I want them seeing this for themselves and understanding everyone's been in the same bed and now, it's time to hold who's responsible as being responsible.”
I dialed the Sheriff. He answered, “Hello?”
“I'm on the offense now....Not only do I want the family there, we're getting theater owners there as well as the banker and I'm asking you to help me get city, county, and buyers who buy the asphalt there to hear the difference.”
“Damned good thinking!” He chuckled, “You're on the offense and I'm liking this more and more!”
“As I see it, when I explain it, I'm having those who've been duped and I'm having future customers there.”
“Can I call in other contractors?”
“Yeah. Please do.”
“I'm getting started on that now. You have me nearly laughing I'm so happy!”
“I'm laying that street at my expense tomorrow to show them the difference. If that doesn't tell you the extent I'll go to clear my name, nothing will.”
“I'll speak with them about compensation for you. What are you naming that short street?”
“Redemption Road. It's short, but it only takes enlightenment to prove it's point!”
He laughed, “Ok!”
“Thank you for believing in me.”
“Jer, I'm believing in you because it makes sense to do so. I'm glad you took the time to defend yourself and I'm glad you had the points you did to make it so easy.
When we have everyone there, it's going to be damned embarrassing for that man, but I think everyone's going to like your style all the better. Don't be surprised if you don't get elected for something around here!”
laughed, “Not happening! I'm not running!”
“Oh bull, your name will be on everyone's brains and when they ask who the best man for the job is, our family will immediately want you!”
“Well, I'll have to tell them not to put me in for Sheriff!”
He laughed, “I'll have to spell your name for them just to be assured they do!”
“Nah, I can't do that for you at all....It wouldn't happen. I'd concede the victory to you and that's all I'll tolerate.”
“Thank you. You could've said a lot of things, but right then, you told me how much I mean to you and I thank you.”
“It should've been evident, but I'm glad you now know.”
We made our calls and by the time we were falling into bed, we had a guest list which was long and varied. We woke a lot of people up, but I think they forgave us when we had what we needed to say, said.
Write Me A Love Story
Notes From Retta:
From My Keyboard To Your Heart,
The author, RettaMichaels copyrights this story and retains all rights. This work may not be edited, changed, or duplicated in any form, media [ known or unknown ], without the author's expressed permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. RettaMichaels does NOT give editorial consent in order for this to be published. If it is deemed unpublishable in it's context, permission much be granted before publication or changes occur.
Trademark Notice – 2011 by RettaMichaels
“From My Keyboard To Your Heart”,”'Retta”,“RettaMichaels”.“Retta”,“Rhett”, and “Rhette” are all Trademark of RettaVonnMichaels L.L.C. None of these trademarks may be used, or authorized without consent.
Disclaimer: All individuals depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons, locations, or incidents is purely coincidental.