By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the Author)

Edited by Will B.

Chapter 55 - It's a Touchdown

The is Brian.

I went to my room and sent Mr. Johnson an email. It will be interesting to see how quickly he responds. While I was at it, I sent one to Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod and one to Vicky. I'll have to remember to check my email after dinner.

When I got to the kitchen, Derek and Lauren were eating a sandwich with some chips and a drink so I decided to join them. When I sat down, I inquired, "What are your plans for the afternoon?"

Lauren answered, "I have cheer leading practice at one. Why don't you keep Derek company and mess around while I'm at practice? Practice should only last for about an hour. We can make plans after that."

Derek took over, "I have a football in the trunk of my car. We can toss it around while we're waiting for Lauren."

I nodded, "I'm not a football player, but we can kill some time and you can keep your throwing arm in shape. Let's get this mess cleaned up and then I need to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth."

We got Lauren to the school on time, and there was no one on the practice field which was adjacent to the school. So Derek and I went there and started to toss the football back and forth to each other. I got bored with that and went to Derek and suggested. "Why don't we pretend like there are 20 other players on the field and make it more interesting. Throwing it back and forth like we have been doing is making my arm tired."

"I'll pretend that I'm a wide receiver and take off down the field toward the end zone. Let's see if you can get it to me." I tossed the ball to Derek and took off running toward the left corner of the end zone. Derek let the ball fly and it looked as if it was going to be over my head. I made a diving catch and held onto the ball and landed in the end zone.

I jumped up and yelled at Derek, "Do you suppose you could throw the football so I won't be black and blue from having to dive for it?"

I tossed it back to him and he didn't even have to move. I walked back to him, "This time I'm going to run a slant pattern across the middle. Maybe you can drill it into my stomach so I don't have to stretch out and fall on the ground."

I tossed the ball to him and took off. He reared back and threw a pass that was behind me and I reached back and scooped it up before it hit the ground and took off running toward the goal line. I walked back to him, "Look, Derek, I'm exhausted. Let's do an end around and you take off running and I'll see if I can get the ball to you."

I threw the ball to Derek, and pretended like I was going to run down field. Instead I turned and ran toward Derek and he threw the ball to me and I started to run as he took off down the field. I stopped before I reached the imaginary line of scrimmage and threw the ball to Derek as he was running. He didn't even have to break stride as the ball landed in his hands.

Derek was walking back toward me, "Man, you should be on my team. We need someone like you."

We were interrupted by an older man who walked onto the field, "Ben, why didn't you do things like that last year for our team?"

I looked to see who was talking, "Coach Mitchell, I'm not Ben. I'm Brian."

Coach Mitchell was not about to be stopped, "So, you're Brian. Why aren't you playing football for us this year? Who is your friend here?"

I was almost at a loss for words but I wasn't going to let a high school coach intimidate me, "Coach, my friend here is Derek Cannon who happens to be the quarterback of the Westside Warriors in Omaha and he is here visiting my sister, Lauren. Coach, I will be starting high school tomorrow as a freshman, so how could I be on the football team and I am not into sports. I have other interests."

Coach Mitchell caught us by surprise, "Oh so you're one of those pansy boys who is afraid of getting hurt?"

Derek started toward the Coach. I held Derek's arm, "Derek, I'll take care of this."

"Coach, I suggest that you watch your language. In case you don't remember, my Mother just happens to be the President of the School Board and you are already on probation after your outburst last year at the playoff game. I'm not sure I would want to play for a coach with filthy mind like yours. Come on Derek, Lauren should be just about finished."

Fortunately Lauren was ready when we got back to the parking lot. Derek hugged me, "Brian, that took a lot of guts to do what you did. You just taught me a lesson."

Lauren looked confused, "What are you guys talking about?"

I shook my head, "Lauren, Derek can tell you later. Derek, please take me home and I'll find some food for dinner. Derek, when do you plan to leave?"

Derek nodded, "I need to leave right after dinner. I have choir practice tonight."

Derek stopped in front of the house and I climbed out and when I went into the house the phone was ringing. "Hi, this is the Benson residence, Brian speaking. ... Oh hi, Mr. Garrison. ... Sure, I'll be glad to come mow your yard. I'll be there in twenty minutes. Do I need to bring a lawn mower or anything? ... I just bring myself feeble self."

I quickly went to the bathroom and took off for Mr. Garrison's house. I was finished with the yard in less than an hour. I was glad I had something to do to take my mind off of my encounter with Coach Mitchell. I finished and Mr. Garrison tried to pay me. I shook my head no, "Sir, I can't take any money from my brother's father-in-law. Call when you need anything else."

When I got home, I tried to find something to fix for dinner. I decided to fix ham and scalloped potatoes with some corn on the cob that was in the refrigerator. That took care of the entrée and then I went to look in the refrigerator in the garage and there was a watermelon, cantaloupe and some fresh grapes so I decided to fix a fresh fruit salad.

I had everything ready and went to take a quick shower before I started to cook since we didn't eat until 6:00. I could hear the phone ringing while I was in the shower but chose to ignore it.

When I got back downstairs, the phone started to ring again. I picked it up and made the usual welcoming spiel, "Hey Brian, this is J.R., we're here in the quad cities and checked into our hotel. This place is like a castle. I'm going to go swimming while your brother and Grant do whatever it is they do. Ben wants your Dad to call him. He has something to tell your Dad. I'll talk to you later."

I hung up the phone and wondered to myself, `Why couldn't Ben tell me and I could tell Dad.' I guess I'm just a fourteen year old nothing. I was putting dinner in the oven when Lauren and Derek came in. Derek asked, "Brian, what can I do to help?"

I shrugged my shoulders, "Everything's ready, except someone needs to set the table. Why don't you two go get Grandmother Gleason and bring her here for dinner?"

Morgan came in just as they were leaving, "I'm going to go take a shower. I smell like a horse. I'll be back to help as soon as the horse smell goes away."

The parent's arrived home just as Lauren and Derek arrived with Grandmother Gleason. Morgan was helping me in the kitchen and was talking a mile a minute about some cute boy she met at the stable. We finally were eating and Dad started, "So Morgan, what did you do today?"

Morgan was very laid back, "Oh I went with Andrea's family to the ranch and I rode this beautiful horse. Why won't you buy me a horse?"

Mother was laughing, "Cat, where would we keep a horse? Besides, we can always go to Nude Dude Ranch or the Tumbling T Ranch in Texas if you make the honor roll."

Dad looked at Lauren, "So what did you and Derek do today?"

Lauren shrugged, "After lunch, I went to cheerleading practice and then we went to visit with some of my friends."

Dad looked at me, "How about you, son?"

I was at a loss for words, "After lunch, I went and entertained Derek while Lauren had cheerleading practice and they dumped me off and I started to fix dinner. Oh yeah, I mowed Mr. Garrison's lawn and J.R. called and said they arrived safely at their hotel and that Ben wanted you to call them. What else is going to happen to a fourteen year budding artist?"

Derek was sitting there almost splitting a gut, "Mr. and Mrs. Benson, what Brian forgot to tell you was that he scored two touchdowns and gave me the opportunity to score one, before he told Coach Mitchell to stuff it when the coach suggested that he needed to play football. I'm surprised that Coach Mitchell and his staff aren't here washing Brian's feet and hands,"

The conversation was interrupted by the doorbell and Morgan went to answer and returned with Coach Mitchell and two other people who I didn't know. He looked at me, "Brian, we need you to quarterback the junior varsity team this year. From what I saw today, you should be the starting quarterback on the varsity squad but because you're just a freshman, that probably can't happen."

I felt like I was being drilled by nine sets of eyes. "Coaches, I want you to listen and listen well. If I play football, and I get hurt, I will hold you personally liable. I am going to be gone the last weekend of the month and that is not negotiable. I may need to make some other trips and football will have to take a back burner. My ambition is to be an artist and I have no desire to be a football player. I'll talk to you tomorrow, after I get my class schedule. Let me show you to the door."

This is Beau.

This was a side of Brian that I had not seen before. He made it clear that he wasn't about to be bullied. I figured everyone needed a break from the tension. "People, I hate to eat and run but I have an important meeting at the church. We are thinking of hiring a fourth pastor and I am on the committee. Your mother has a school board meeting so we may be late."

Derek looked at the clock, "I need to go too. I told my parents that I would be home for choir practice. Thanks for everything. I hope you will permit me to come again. Brian, I will be waiting to hear how your encounter with the big bad coaches turns out."

This is Brian.

Everyone left and I'm stuck with the dishes. So what else is new? Morgan must have felt sorry for me because she started to help me which was not typical. When we finished, she looked at me, "Brian, is it okay if I go to Karen's house for a while?"

I looked at Morgan, "Cat, I have no problem if you want to go visit with Karen. Just make sure you're home by nine o'clock. We have school in the morning."

I couldn't foresee any problems, since Karen lived directly across the street.

I went to my room and was reading my email. I had a sweet note from Vicky and a note from Mr. Johnson saying he would be glad to put Chris', J.R.'s and Chase's artworks on display. He said he was going to talk to Uncle Rod and Uncle Hank about how to get them there as quickly as possible.

I had a note from Uncle Hank, "Brian, have all the new artwork available in your back yard at ten tomorrow night and Jaime will be coming to pick them up. He'll deliver to Mr. Johnson's gallery. Let us know if there is a problem."

I decided I had enough today and went to bed.

This is Ben.

As we were driving, we stopped at every other rest stop so we could change drivers and passengers. On our lunch break we approached by some good looking guys who asked if we were interested in having some fun. J.R. put them in their place very quickly, "Sorry guys, we're on the way to my wedding and I need to reserve all my strength for my wedding night."

When we checked into our hotel room, it was large and had two king sized beds. J.R. decided it was ludicrous for us to have two rooms and promised to disappear if we decided that we need to do things that he shouldn't see.

J.R. had talked to Brian, and I was wondering if Dad would call. I was almost asleep when my cell phone rang. "Ben, this is Dad. Brian said I should call you?"

Finally, "Dad, we decided that we didn't need two rooms, so we have changed the reservations to one room with two king-sized beds. I just wanted to alert you so that you can make sure that your credit card reflects the refunds. We are looking forward to our day in Chicago tomorrow, J.R. can hardly wait to visit the Chicago Art Institute and the Cubs game should be a blast. Talk to you tomorrow."

This is Beau.

I was waiting for Becca to get home. It was a long meeting. Of course there is probably a lot of business since the school year starts tomorrow.

I was getting concerned though, because it's almost eleven o'clock.

I heard the garage door and looked at the clock and it said 11:09. Becca came in and slammed her briefcase down so I knew that this was not the normal mild mannered Becca. I knew she was going to want to talk.

"Beau, get me a Tom Collins and make it strong."

I thought to myself, `This must be worse than I thought.' I knew I was going to hear all about what happened.

Becca didn't waste any time, "Beau, I swear some of the people in this town are even worse than those people we encountered in Ithaca. There was a big hassle about teaching a sex education course in the middle school and another about even talking about drugs in the schools. I swear, some of these people have had their heads buried in the sand for a century and a half or else they're wearing blinders. I'm so glad that my term is just about up and you had better believe that I'm not going to run again."

I put my arm around Becca, "Becca, that's what these groups are counting on. They are trying to drive you advocates for the children out of office so they can push their own agenda. I'm guessing that Mr. Waite, the so called pastor at the New Day Church was involved."

Becca looked at me, "Yes, but how did you know?"

"His name came up at the church meeting tonight. It seems that he has drawn in some of the fringe members from our church with his ranting and ravings about the evils of today's society. Look, we can't let people like him and his kind win. They want the churches to be responsible for running the schools and not the government. There would be no equality in education and many children wouldn't even be afforded the opportunity to go to school at all. The thing that bothers me the most is that they don't want the states to regulate the requirements for teachers."

Becca pulled away from me, "Maybe you should run for the school board."

I started to laugh, "Can't you see it now? Here I am involved with the church finances because of the Tillison foundation. The people would come out of the woodwork to attack me. No, I think it is better that you stay involved since we will have children in the schools for at least six more years."

To be continued.

Author's Comments: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might want to visit

Will's Comments: WOW! Or "WACK! (For What a Chapter. Kiddo!" I hope Coach Mitchell gets his and I hope Becca stays on the school board. But not to worry. Our own Estimable Ed will make it all right. I think. I hope!

Darryl's Notes:

Why do I get the feeling that there is going to be a battle royal happening with those bigots, and that is going to get pretty messy.

I notice that Brian is still pretty insecure in his own mind. He really needs to realize that he is a good person and not just a powerless fourteen year old.

I think the art show that will be coming up soon should cheer him up some, and hopefully the other guy's work will impress a few people as well. Now that Mr. Garrison and Mr. Gordon have moved to Fremont, Maybe they can help Brian gain a little self confidence. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.

I wonder what will happen to Ben, Grant and J.R. on their trip to Ithaca, and I wonder how well things will work out for them in and out of school there. I am eager to see the next chapter.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher