Disclaimer:  The following story is a work of fiction.  If you are offended by descriptions of homosexual acts or man/man relations, please exit this page.


Copyright© 2002-2009 by Tulsa Driller.  All rights reserved.

This is a story of men who have two common interests.  You will see that they love the land where they live and work, but it is also the story of young men who love other men and their coming of age in a culture of prejudice and misunderstanding.  It is a story, which deals with difficult and often disturbing issues but, nonetheless, issues which must be confronted in today's society.

This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons.  Any similarity to actual persons or events is entirely coincidental.  This work is copyrighted© by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author.  It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.

PLEASE:  In a perfect world AIDS doesn't exist.  My characters have unprotected sex.  I hope you use proper precautions because I'd like you to be around to read the last chapter of this story.

Tales from the Ranch 2
By Tulsa Driller and Corrected and Proofread by BoxerDude

Chapter 15: Sunday March 24, 1991

"Dad!" Bryce practically screamed as he flew out the door into his Dad's arms.  He immediately burst into tears.

Brigadier General Clark Barnett wasn't prepared for a direct hit and almost stumbled at the impact of a 16 year old boy hitting him full force.  He hadn't seen his son for 3 years and was shocked at how much he had grown and matured.  Giant sobs were coming from the near-man in his arms.

He turned his head toward the other fellow in his company, Major Lawrence Scott Pratt, known to everyone as Scotty, who patted Clark on his back, nodding his head in approval.  He and Clark had thought the boys might be hostile toward them, not knowing what Isobel might have told the boys.

Finally Bryce calmed down and was able to turn loose of his father.  He stepped back a little so he could look at his father, who was dressed in civilian clothes.  His always short hair was now mostly gray.  

"Dad, I didn't know you were going to be here," Bryce said.

"Didn't your mother tell you?  I talked to her on the phone a week ago yesterday morning and told her that I was coming to see you, along with Timmy and Pete."

"No, I remember her getting a phone call and she was upset, but she was already drunk and mad at me anyway.  I went over to grandpa and grandma's house to see if I could get something to eat because we didn't have anything here."

"I sensed that she was already in her cups.  She begged me not to come here, but I told her that I'd be here at 9 this morning," Clark told his son.  

"Yeah, she stayed drunk all week, but at least she wasn't ranting and yelling at us.  Grandpa came over about 2 o'clock yesterday, but he couldn't do anything with her, so he went back home.  We ate supper at their house.

"Listen, Bryce.  I need to talk to you about something very important.  Why don't you put on some better looking clothes and Uncle Scotty and I'll take you out for breakfast so we can visit.

That was the first that Bryce had really become aware that someone was with his father.  Clark spoke up, "Bryce, this is my cousin, Major Scotty Pratt.  He serves as my aide."

The man and the boy shook hands.  Bryce thought he remembered the man he was introduced to.  "Okay, I'll be right back," Bryce said heading up to his room.  He knew that Tim and Pete would sleep for another couple of hours and there was no telling when his mother might wake up from her alcohol induced stupor.  
After Bryce disappeared into the house, Clark and Scotty stepped inside.  The place was filthy.  Clark walked to the kitchen.  There was little food in the cabinets – various kinds of soup, oatmeal and canned spaghetti.  Clark felt his eyes tear up.  `How could his wife treat their sons that way?' he wondered.

Scotty was also astounded.  This was going to be a very interesting day.  He gave Clark a quick peck on the lips and a hug.  "It will be okay," he told his lover.

Soon Bryce was back from changing clothes, but not looking much better.  It appeared that clothing purchases, probably for all the boys, would have to be made today.  

"Are we ready to go?" Clark asked as he turned toward the door.  He closed it as they left to get into the car.  Scotty got behind the wheel and Clark directed Bryce to get into the front seat.  

"Okay, where's a good place to have a big breakfast?" Clark asked his son.

"The Village Inn is just down the street about 8 blocks," Bryce replied.  He loved to go there because they had wonderful pies for dessert.  He directed Scotty to the next street and told him when to turn the next corner.  After a few blocks they were at the restaurant.  Clark was thinking about the subject they were forced to discuss over breakfast. They had ridden in silence, except for Bryce's directions.  Scotty could tell that his partner was pretty upright about this and rightfully so.

It was still early on a Sunday morning and the restaurant wasn't busy.  Scotty asked the hostess if they could have a table away from the other customers as they had some important matters to discuss.  His request was honored and there were at least five tables between them and the nearest people dining.

Clark and Scotty ordered black coffee and Bryce asked for a big glass of orange juice as they were handed menus.  

Clark began to speak as they looked at the menu. "Bryce, it's time that we should be honest with each other because that is going to have a big impact on how this situation with your mother is handled.  Have any of you boys received any of the money I've sent for birthdays and other special occasions?"

Bryce shook his head `no'.

"That's what I thought.  Your mother gets a total of $1,300 a month from the Air Force for dependant living expenses.  Some of that comes out of my salary.  In addition, I've sent money for Christmas, your birthdays and things I knew you needed money for, like school events and clothes.  That's probably another $150 a month."

"She is stingy with our lunch money, nothing extra either.  Then last week I asked for $3 to buy a gift for my pal's Dad for a surprise birthday.  She turned me down, so I ate less lunch that week so I'd have money to buy a gift.  The newspaper had an article about the party and my picture was in the paper standing by Dale; the party was for him.  Mom came unglued and forbid me to have anything to do with those people because, as she said, they were all queer.

At that statement, Clark and Scotty looked at each other.  They each nodded their heads.

About that time, their server, who was named Chad, came to pour coffee, deliver the orange juice and take their orders.  They each ordered one of the skillet meals that the Village Inn is famous for - next to their pies.

"Okay, we have some serious things to talk about this morning.  In the first place, Bryce, I need your promise that what we talk about this morning is for your information only – to help you understand what is going on, okay?"

"Yeah," Bryce responded, not knowing what he was promising, but he had to trust his father.

"Good, I know we can count on you and I don't want you to discuss this with Tim and Pete because they aren't old enough to understand."  He hesitated.  "This afternoon we are going to have an intervention process with your mother.  I don't think she will commit herself for treatment of her alcoholism and mental problems, so your grandfather and I have signed the papers to take her into custody and see that she receives the help she needs.  This isn't going to be a short process, she needs psychiatric help and she needs it badly before she drinks herself to death.  I'm just sorry that you and your brothers haven't received the care and attention you needed, but since I was in Germany it wasn't possible for me to monitor the situation.  

"Now, I'm in the beginning stages of retiring from the Air Force.  I've recently been promoted to Brigadier General, assigned to Bergstrom AFB here in Austin.  This base is currently assigned to the Air Combat Command and will be closed sometime in 1993.  It's my responsibility to work with the city and the Air Force to transition the base to civilian usage.  After that is accomplished, my retirement will take place.  Scotty will also have his 30 years in and can retire at the same time."

Bryce nodded.  He wasn't sure what this was all about.

"Now, the thing that we need to keep to ourselves..." Clark told his son.
     "Okay..." Bryce was hesitant.  He understood the need for his mother's treatment and was proud that his father had been promoted.

About that time their breakfast meals arrived at the table.  It took Chad a couple of minutes to serve the steaming platters, pour more coffee and check if anything was needed immediately.

"Bryce, you are old enough to know the term homosexual, aren't you?"
     "Sure, three of my best friends have two Dads," he proudly said.  "They are all such neat people, too," he added.  "Does that mean that you and Uncle Scotty...?"

"That sounds interesting," Scotty said.

"Would it bother you to have two Dads?" Clark questioned his son.

"Heck no.  I hope you get to meet all these guys, because you would think they are awesome, too."  

"Maybe we will, since Scotty and I are going to be stationed right around the corner from Williamsport," Clark told his son.

Secretly he was pleased this was going so well.

"Well, Bryce, there is only one problem and your grandparents are going to help with part of it."

"What's that, Dad?" he queried.

"With your mother in treatment, probably for several months, I can't leave you and your brothers to care for yourselves."

"Dad, we're not going to have to move again?"  Bryce was afraid.

"No, nothing like that.  Your grandparents can help care for you, but their house isn't really large enough for you and your brothers to live there.  I'm thinking that we need to find a housekeeper who will keep the house clean, see to it that you have two hot meals a day and that you are on time for various appointments and activities."

Bryce was eating like he hadn't eaten in three days.  The truth was that other than for the snacks at the party for Matt's birthday last evening, he hadn't had a real meal since Friday noon at the school cafeteria.

"Bryce, the thing that you need to be aware of and not talk about to anyone is that your Uncle Scotty and I are more than cousins, which we really are.  We've had a homosexual relationship going on for several years.  Scotty got married quite a few years ago, but that didn't last.  Your mother and I have had a loveless marriage.  I've tried my best, but we've stayed married for the sake of you boys.  Your mother's problems have not helped, but she was smart enough to keep quiet about our relationship because she knew she would lose all of her benefits and that I would be bounced out of the Air Force on a dishonorable discharge.  That would have left all of us near destitute, something that would follow me all of my life."

Bryce was sitting, listening to his father.  He didn't blame him a bit for what was going on with his mother.  The only thing he blamed her for was that she tried her best to keep all contact with his father to a minimum, making him and his brothers think their dad didn't love them or care about them.  Now he was finding out that wasn't true.  It didn't bother him that his father was gay and that the good-looking man with him might be a second father.  He really thought that was a neat idea and he hoped that they could meet Dale and Craig, Eddie and Tom and Joey, Forrest and Matthew.  He thought that would be so neat.

"You mean that if you and Mom weren't married now that we'd really have two Dads? He questioned his father.

"Something like that, regardless of me being married to your mother.  We've been able to keep this a secret for many years and I just hope that we can keep it that way for another three years, when we will both be out of the Military.  Then it shouldn't make too much difference," Clark told his son.

"So, what do I need to do?" Bryce asked.

"In the first place, I don't want you or your brothers around this afternoon when we take your mother to the treatment facility.  Can you take them to a movie?"

"Sure, but I don't have any money."

"That's something we are going to have to discuss this afternoon.  All of you need an allowance for your school lunches and other things you need to buy, like presents for birthday parties and allow you to go out with friends for a bite to eat or a movie."

This news excited Bryce.  He'd never had enough money to just take what he wanted when eating in the cafeteria.  And if he was invited to go somewhere with his pals, several saw to it that his way was paid.

"Yeah, I can handle that.  How much of an allowance are we talking about?" he questioned.  This was the best news he'd had in a long time.

"Why don't you think about what you need for lunch and spending money and we can discuss it at dinner tonight," Clark told his son.

"All right!" Bryce almost yelled, giving Clark and Scotty high fives.

Several patrons in the restaurant looked around to see what was going on.

Clark and Scotty had big grins on their faces.  And the best part was that Bryce was not hostile toward either of them, so they probably wouldn't have any problem with Tim and Pete, either.

About that time Chad came to check on them.  He asked if they wanted anything else.  Bryce immediately said, "Dad, can I have a piece of their Fudge Nut pie?  It's so good."

"Sure, I'm comfortable with what I ate.  How about you, Scotty, any pie for you?" He grinned.  Scotty used to have a weight problem until he finally got it under control.  Now he acted like the food police every chance he could.

"No, but Bryce is a little on the thin side.  I guess it won't hurt him to indulge once in a while," he replied, his eyes sparkling.

"Coming right up," Chad told them and disappeared toward the cooler where the delicious pies were kept on display.

"Thanks, Dad, you're the greatest," he said getting tears in his eyes.  His brothers and he seldom got to go to restaurants and almost never got to eat any dessert.

The men finished their meal and stood up.  Scotty left a tip and Clark headed toward the cash register with the other men following.

As they got into the car, Bryce noticed it was new.  "Nice wheels, Dad," he said.

"This is a rental car.  Both of us sold our cars in Germany rather than to ship them to Austin.  We're both in the market for new vehicles, but first we have to get settled.  I'll be assigned the base commander's house, but I'm afraid that Scotty is relegated to Bachelor Officer Quarters.  But, they are new apartments and more comfortable than what is on most bases."

They arrived back at the house.  Tim and Pete were in the front yard playing tag with the two boys that lived next door to them.  They spied the car coming to a stop at the curb.  Then Bryce got out of the car, followed by the two men.

"It's Daddy!" Tim yelled.  He was only 11 years old the last time he'd seen his father.  He started running toward to the car.

"Daddy?" questioned Pete.  He ran to where his brothers and two men were embracing each other.

About that time, Isobel made her presence known and started yelling at her boys to "get in the house right now and stay away from those queer men."

Clark started toward Isobel, who turned around and fled into the house, slamming the door behind her.

     * * * * *

Dale, Craig, Forrest and Joey were seated at the kitchen counter, looking at the morning paper, joking, drinking coffee and eating some of Doris' special cinnamon rolls.  Joey had already completed two of the puzzles he liked to work.  They had all showered and were ready to dress for church, but still had almost a half hour before Joey and Forrest had to leave.  They could take themselves to church and Dale and Craig would follow in Craig's car a little later.

The morning discussion turned to what Dale and Craig had learned about Bryce Barnett's mother and her edict that Bryce wasn't to have anything to do with the men because, as she put it, "They are queer."
"You know, that bothers me a lot," Dale said.  "She's being judgmental without knowing what she's talking about."

Joey spoke up.  "Bryce is really upset about this and I don't blame him.  I don't think he has any friends outside our gang.  He can say things that he probably shouldn't, but I think he's really insecure and we just ignore him."

Forrest added, "Joey's right.  Brett can give him a glaring look and shut him up.  The rest of us just accept it for what it is, Bryce running his mouth before his brain gets activated."

All of the men laughed.

Joey agreed.

"What do you know about Bryce?" Craig asked.

"Well, not a lot.  I know that he lives with his mother and two younger brothers over on Maple Street.  I think his father is pretty high up in the Air Force and is stationed in Germany.  He told me that he almost never hears anything from his father and I've never met his mother. I think his grandparents live across the street from them," Joey told them.

Forrest looked at his watch.  "Hey stud, we've got 15 minutes before we have to leave for church."

Dale laughed.  He'd never heard Forrest call Joey "stud" before.  But, it was true.

"Ohmygosh," came out as one word as Joey started gathering up the plates and silverware.

"Don't worry about it `stud'," Dale said.  "Craig can clean up the kitchen."  He wiggled his eyebrows.

"Gee, I don't know if I know how to do that," Craig teased back.

Dale loved to tease his lover.  "I guess I'll have to show you one more time."  He made it sound as though he was exasperated.

All four joined in the laughter.  Craig wasn't sure he was being teased or not, but he enjoyed the good fun they were having.

Joey and Forrest headed to their bedroom.  It wouldn't take them long to get dressed and ready to leave for church for the preparations each needed to make when they got there.

Craig busied himself gathering up the dishes and silver so he could rinse it and put it in the dishwasher.

Dale walked up behind him and put his arms around his lover.  "You are so cute," he said running his tongue around Craig's left ear.
"You do that one more time and I'm going to drop the dishes and everything else on the floor and it will break into a thousand pieces," Craig breathed heavily, wiggling around so they were face to face.  Both were hard.

"Hey, stud of mine, do we have time to mess around before church?" Craig asked.

"What, so we can confess our sins and pray that it happens again?" Dale said with a twinkle in his eye and the famous 1000 watt smile on his face.

"Something like that," Craig said, rubbing his groin against that of his husband.  They hurriedly finished in the kitchen and went to their bedroom.  

They heard Joey yell, "We're leaving," as the front door shut.

Dale and Craig barely had time to take a second quick shower and dress so they could be at church on time.  When they got there, they joined Frank and Doris and Chuck and Susan.  It was Palm/Passion Sunday and the church was nearly full at 10 minutes before the mass was to start.

Dale and Craig were pleased to see Ray and John sitting in the row behind them and Luis and Blake were at the other end of that row.  They acknowledged each others' presence before they knelt for personal prayers before the mass started.  Paul was playing the Franck "Pièce Héroïque" for the organ prelude.  It was a fitting work, written in the key of b minor and invoking the change from Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the very somber trial before Herod when he was sentenced to death on the cross.

     * * * * *
After the beautiful solemn high mass, the Bastian family moved into the parish hall for coffee and a table full of treats.  True to form, the boys from the choir were already claiming their share of the edible loot.  Dale and Craig wondered how they accomplished that as it didn't seem they had time to take off their vestments and properly hang them up.

They greeted Blake Ritter and Luis Garza and had a short visit concerning Dale's visit to their ranch the next day.  Dale had to get things nailed down as to who was responsible for things not spelled out in the purchase contract, including the machinery that was to go with the ranch.  His first concern was to fence in the 100 acres adjoining the Spur and Boots Ranch house.  Luis wanted that land to continue his hobby of cattle breeding and Dale wanted to be able to shut off that acreage from the ranch so crops and other livestock that would eventually come from the Bar-W Ranch could be kept separated.

About that time Marty and Martin joined the four men and the topic switched to the problem of Wilford Sharpe running the Llano County Sheriff's Department.

"I suggest that you contact the Texas Rangers.  They are aware there is a problem at the Morning Star Ranch," Blake said.  

Marty agreed.  "Up to now, it's just been a simple case of harassment, but now the Bar-W Ranch is involved and that crazy old coot – there's no telling what he might try to do next.  Just make sure that you don't travel alone and be on the watch out for strange activities."

Dale didn't like what he was hearing and Craig was worried.  It almost sounded like they could be involved in a range war and there hadn't been one of those in Texas for over 40 years.

     * * * * *

Joey and Forrest went to the ranch to feed and exercise the horses.  Dale and Craig told them they would be along in about a half hour as they wanted to enjoy part of the spring day on horseback and also look at the progress on the house.

     * * * * *

Scotty Pratt took Bryce and his brothers, Tim and Pete to the movie theatre and let them off with the promise that he would pick them up when the movie was over at 4:30.

Isobel Barnett woke up again, still drunk as her body hadn't absorbed all of the vodka she had drunk the day before.  She had a massive headache and it wasn't made any better by the fact that her husband and his buddy were camped out on the front porch.  Clark had gotten a signed court order for Isobel to be taken to a rehabilitation facility in San Antonio.  The Williamsport Police had been notified and Lt. Marilyn Kolb arrived about the same time as the men from the treatment facility.  Isobel's parents were there, so it was her against seven other people.  She was not cooperative and it quickly became apparent that she was going to have to be placed in a straight jacket.  Scotty had never in his life heard such foul language and was not prepared for her ranting and raving, kicking and screaming, as they secured her.  She was making so much noise that neighbors from several houses away had gathered on her parent's lawn, like it was Sunday afternoon entertainment.  

Clark was glad that his boys were at the movies.  He knew they would have been devastated to see their mother man-handled and put into the rear of a van, where she was further secured.  He was glad that he was not expected to make the trip to San Antonio.  It would be two weeks before he or her parents would be allowed to visit.  He had no idea how long it would be before the boys could be taken to see their mother.

Right now his top priority was to get the house cleaned up so that his boys had a clean place to live.  He had secured the services of a young man, 22 years old, who was the son of another officer assigned to Bergstrom AFB.  The young fellow had gotten a discharge from the Air Force and was hoping to major in Human Behavior.  He had gotten back to the United States too late to enroll in the current semester, so was laying out a term and working any job he could find to pay his tuition and living expenses for next year.  He and his girlfriend would arrive the next morning to clean the house, stock the pantry and buy whatever was necessary for Clark's boys' needs.

At the time the orderlies were moving Isobel Barnett to the van, Dale and Craig drove up and parked next door.

"This looks serious," Craig said as they unlatched their seatbelts.  

"You've got that right.  I wonder if that's Bryce's mother they are putting in the van," Dale replied.  The men got out of the Blazer and stood on the curb, not sure what they needed to do.  They saw Marilyn Kolb approaching them and they greeted each other.

"What's going on?" Dale asked.

"Isobel Barnett won't voluntarily commit herself to a treatment facility for alcohol abuse and mental problems, so her husband is having her committed to St. Sylvan's Center in San Antonio.  She will be there for treatment for several months."

"Which one is her husband?" Dale asked as there were two strange men in the yard.

"The fellow with the gray crew cut," she replied.  "He's an Air Force General who is being assigned to Bergstrom AFB.  The other fellow was introduced as his aide, but I think their relationship may be more than that," she smiled.

"Hmmm, guess we'll go introduce ourselves since we know his son, Bryce," Craig said.

They made their way around to where the two men were standing just as the van drove out the driveway.

Clark thought Dale looked familiar, and then remembered that he had seen his picture in the paper, standing next to his son.  He greeted the men as they walked up and introductions were exchanged by the four men.

"We really want to talk to you fellows, but this isn't a good time," Clark told them.  "We've just had my wife committed to a rehab center and there are things we need to tend to here before my sons come back from the movie in about an hour.

We understand and just wanted to make your acquaintance since our sons and Bryce run around together.  Right now they are out at the ranch to feed and exercise our horses and we're going to join them as we want to inspect this week's construction on the house we are building out there," Craig told them.

"Give me your card and I'll call you this week.  I'm stationed at Bergstrom AFB and will be living on base there.  I don't want to pull my boys out of school, especially since there are only two months to go in this school year.  They are going to be living here, but I have a young fellow who is going to move in and take care of them.  We can all be together on weekends here in Williamsport."

Dale and Craig gave them each cards with their business and home numbers.

Clark and Scottie took the cards and gave them each a couple of their own.  

Dale, being aware the men had other obligations, started the good-bye process of them all shaking hands, then he and Craig walked to their vehicle.

They were dressed in Levis and boots and there were three bales of clover hay in the back of the Blazer.  That would last the horses about a week and a half, along with the other grain they ate, which was mostly oats.

They were surprised that their horses were already saddled and ready to go.  The boys had cleaned out their stalls and were just finishing in the corral.  

Craig started laughing.

"What's so funny?" asked Forrest.  He was afraid he'd done something wrong.

"That..."  He pointed to the big pile of manure. "... is a bunch of horse shit."  He was right, They needed to dispose of it somehow.

"I'm going to see about buying a used small tractor and a manure spreader.  The fields might as well benefit from the fertilizer, especially since we need to over-seed with prairie grass to improve the grazing."

"Hey, neat," was Forrest's reply.  He wanted to learn more about how to farm their land.

They mounted their horses and decided to allow them to run.  The new gate between the upper and lower property had been installed and was standing open so they could ride through.  Dale reminded the boys and Craig that they needed to make sure the gate at Gordon and Sara Marwick lived stayed closed and latched.  He knew there wouldn't be any problem, but it was better to remind them that the two properties had become one with the new gate in place.

Joey and Forrest had a sack of food for their poultry.  They dismounted at what they called "Lower Saber Pond" and were surprised that the geese were building a nest, although there were no eggs in it.  Dale didn't think they were old enough to produce eggs, but said he would check with Kevin and Jason.  Joey dumped out the old food and filled the bins with the new mixture they had with them.  The ducks immediately made their way to the bins to eat.

Craig noticed that there were two wild ducks on the pond.  "We have visitors," he remarked.
"Yeah, Dad, they've been here about a week.  The other day there were 5 of them," Joey said.

"Probably on their way north for the summer and our ducks attracted them," Dale agreed.

They got back on their horses and rode up to the house.  Dale hadn't been out to the building site for a week and was really surprised at the progress.  Craig explained that all of the stone work was completed.  The swimming pool was ready for the plumbing to be hooked up as soon as the pool house was completed and the pump equipment was installed.  The next step was to pour cement where the patio and pool deck were going to be so that paving brick could be laid to provide an even surface.  In addition, about 95% of the stone work had been completed and the chimneys for the fireplaces had been finished.  

"Look," Craig said.  "About half of the electric wiring has been pulled," pointing to the service boxes on both the first floor and the basement.

Joey and Forrest were excited.  "How soon will the house be finished?" Joey questioned.

"I think we can probably plan to move by the middle of June, although it could be sooner as Calvin Kirk has this project ahead of schedule.  The house will be closed-in in another two weeks so weather won't delay them after the roof is finished."

It was easy to see that the new kitchen and living room were larger than at the condo.  Craig explained to his family where the various appliances and counters were going to be.

The house inspection was finished and the men were excited at what they had seen.  It was going to be a huge house for four men, but Dale and Craig planned to do a lot of entertaining and they knew that Joey and Forrest and their pals would take advantage of the swimming pool.

     * * * * *

Business at Saber Computers was increasing with the second catalog being ready to mail.  Their advertising agency had purchased mailing lists from two direct mail companies and 20,000 of the twelve page catalogs were on their way to the bulk mail facility in Austin.

The first installment of $75,000 had been made to the bank in behalf of the person who backed opening the store.  Sales were high and about half of the in-store business was coming from zip codes outside the Williamsport area.  Dale and Craig, as well as David, Frank and Leland thought their new advertising firm was producing great results.  The new catalog would show sales coming from outside the state of Texas as a small ad had been run in PC World that resulted in over a thousand requests for catalogs.  Ads would be placed in other computer publications in the next month.

     * * * * *
Due to the diligence of Leland Stanton, Marty was able to buy the manufacturing equipment belonging to Sturdy Lift Manufacturing in Liberty, Missouri for about 22-cents on the dollar.  Only one creditor in the bankruptcy balked at the offer to settle.  The two sons who took over the company after their father's death ended up filing for personal bankruptcy.  They didn't realize the value of the patent they sold to Marty and the successor company.  David Perkins was unable to collect the last paycheck due him, however it became a liability in the bankruptcy and he finally received a check for $250.12 as his part of the settlement.

The manufacturing equipment, along with some raw materials was removed and trucked to Williamsport.  There it was put into storage until a building on the edge of the city could be remodeled and an addition made.  David Perkins was able to recommend someone he knew to rebuild the company and get production started again.  Within two months after opening, the facility had hired 17 employees, including two salesmen.

As a result, Marty almost felt that he had been repaid for the loan he had made to Saber Computers to get that company up and running.

     * * * * *

Craig's cousin, Larry Thomas, and his partner, Darin Weston, were due to arrive in Williamsport on Thursday, March 28.  They had made reservations at the Cattleman's Hotel upon Dale and Craig's recommendation.  The four men were excited with the impending visit, as were Craig's parents and his sisters.

* * * * *  

Author's Note:  I appreciated all of the emails you sent regarding Chapter 14.  It's great to know that so many of you are continuing to enjoy the story.  I enjoyed hearing all of your comments, but there were just too many to answer.

I've gotten relocated back to my adopted city of Tulsa and wonder why I was ever lured away from here to begin with.  

My special thanks for proofreading help go to David (BoxerDude) who has taken his valuable time to question some of the things I've written about and come up with a better way of saying it.  By oversight and in a rush to submit a new chapter, I omitted my thanks to him for proofing Chapter 14, also.

Any comments are appreciated and you can reach me at TulsaAuthor@hotmail.com.  

Thanks, David.