Star Chamber
Chapter 3: The Lease Agreement!

Copyright© 2019 by A Carpenter's Son

November 19, 2020. Thursday:

John was sitting at a table waiting for an emergency Board meeting for the church. They were sitting around two tables in the Recreation Room upstairs. John took a good look at the room. The room was 50’ by 80’ or as John calculated about 4,000 square feet. Reverend Jacobs was smiling. He looked like a man in love. He nodded to the President of the church board Byron Simson to start the meeting. Before he started Bill’s, love interest Nancy brought in a large plate of pastries fresh out of the oven. Willa had two coffee urns in her hands and a dozen plastic coffee cups under her arm.

The President looked at Nancy, “My God Nancy, what a pleasant site to behold.”

“Thank you, Byron, Father John did a healing, now be nice to these two men, I want them around long enough to have a couple of babies.” Nancy said. The birth mark was not supposed to be hereditary, but Nancy’s Mom had a similar birth mark. Nancy had been afraid to have kids. She didn’t want to put her kids through what she had to endure all her life.

Nancy and Willa went and sat down with the other kids. They wanted to listen in on the meeting.

In front of John was two blue monster boxes. He pushed them to the center of the table to make room for his coffee and pastry.

“Father John what’s in the boxes?” One of the Board Members asked.

“Let’s find out.” John cut the tape sealing one of the blue boxes. He took the lid off and grabbed one of the tubes that was inside. He cut the tape on that and took that lid off. He pulled four more tubes out of the box, “Who is the Treasurer?”

“I’m Phillip Turner, is this a donation to our church Father John?” John was pushing the five tubes of coins toward the Treasurer.

Phillip picked up the open tube and poured the twenty, one-ounce silver coins onto the table.

“Yes. One hundred ounces of silver. This should be worth next week or the week after about $700,000. It is expected for us to see silver go to $10,000 an ounce by summer. I would suggest banking only what you need to pay the bills.” John advised.

“Are you a financial advisor Father John?” Mr. Turner asked.

“No, but I have a degree in Finance and Accounting, Class of 73 from the University of Washington plus a lifetime of experience.” John shared, “I don’t mean to offend, but I do have enough knowledge to have bought silver when it was in the teens.”

“I agree with Father John completely.” Another of the Board Members said.

“I’ll second that motion.” Another one said.

“This meeting is a special meeting called to lease a portion of our unused space to Father John.” President Byron Simson stated, “On the table is a proposal to keep safe a donation out of the bank because of inflation that is currently going on. To bank only what is needed to operate the church in the black.”

“I like that better Byron and I will second that motion.”

“All in favor, say Aye?”

All said “Aye.”

“Thank you, Father Taylor.” Byron Simson said, “That eliminates a big problem for us. Now what do you want?”

“Five-year lease on the bomb shelter with three, two-year extensions.” The rent starts at $1,000 a month with increases at $50 per month starting with the third month with a ceiling of $2,500 for the first five years leaving the six years of extensions open based on inflation. We can deduct from rent improvements to the building.

“You think Inflation is going to be around much longer?” Byron asked.

“The president has his finger in the dike. The DC Swamp is still making attempts on his life. If he goes down before that dike is fixed, then we are going to have a very hard time.” John said.

“Thank you. Back to the basement? What does it need to make it livable?” Byron asked.

The space needs: Another Bathroom. The Electrical needs to be repaired and upgraded. The fire alarm needs to be extended to the basement. The furnace needs to be serviced and maybe repaired. The water pipes need to be cleaned out and enamel sprayed inside them for the entire building. I would like to have a ceiling of $25,000 on doors and cabinets. We also need an address for me and the kids. I have a source of commercial grade carpet squares. I would like to carpet that floor. It will increase the temperature in the entire building by 10 to 15 degrees reducing heating costs possibly paying for the carpet annually.”

“Do we have heat down there?” One of the board members asked.

“Yes, we have an oil furnace down there. It hasn’t been used for ten years.”

“Who buys the oil?”

“I do!” John said, “You pay for the furnace to work properly.”

“That seems fair.” Phillip Turner said, “I suggest we write up a lease.”

There was a second and the motion passed with all in favor.

The treasurer pushed a listing of unpaid obligations around the table. John glanced at it and passed it on. The bottom number concerning obligations was over $16,000.

“How much of a shortfall does the church currently have per month?” John asked.

“We have more members since Reverend and Mrs. Jacobs came, it’s just that the numbers are down for funerals or weddings.” Byron said, “We’re seeing about $1,000 a month shortfall.”

“Advertise. What does this room rent for?” John was looking around at the Recreation room.

“$100 for 3 to 4 hours, but we really need to replace the carpet.” Byron said.

“Let me meet with Reverend Bill and he will present you a plan.” John said.

“Anything else we need to talk about?” When Byron saw no movement, “Meeting adjourned!”

“You healed all those people?” Byron asked, “And Nancy?”

John looked to Reverend Bill Jacobs and he shook his head, “I’m an empath. Which means I feel every pain that the individual has. We drove here and with help I got out of my truck only to pass out from the pain that had accumulated from those I healed. Jesus was also an empath. It is not unusual for healers to be empathic.”

“How long did it take you to recover?”

“Something like that will take five to seven days.” John said.

“Then you are still recovering?”

“Yes!” John turned to the kids, “Looks like we have a home kids with an address. We can get you back into school.”

The kids actually cheered. Another step towards security and normalcy.

John met with Bill Jacobs after the meeting. He got a list of trades and the bid on the pipes. He started calling.

The oil company said they would send out a service man to check out the furnace ASAP.

The alarm company said they would be out in two days.

The carpenter showed up within a few minutes. The hallway was twelve feet wide. John wanted shelving that would hold tons of food. Floor to ceiling. The hallway was set to handle 8 units that were 24 feet wide and 9 feet tall and 2 feet deep. John asked Kirk the Carpenter to also give a price on installation of ninety doors. I also want a steel door and wall at the entrance with a good locking system on it. It also needs to be insulated.

The electrician named Jason looked around. He started laughing when he spotted the electrical panel, “Father John, this is one of the first panels after post and pedestal in existence. You have plenty of power coming in. It may be able to handle up to 400 amps. This panel is toast, I need to replace it to bring you up to code before anything else is done.”

“The kids have learned that in order to use the oven then somebody has to stand here to reset the breaker because it goes off about every five minutes.” John said, “That’s why the chair. One brings a book when they stand guard.”

“Let me replace the panel tomorrow. You’ll be down two to three hours most without power. I know what you want to do, so I’ll set it right, then we will see what else you need.” Jason said, “I’ll only charge you time and materials.”

“Okay Jason, I’ll give everyone a warning.” John and Jason shook hands and off he went.

“Beds, I need to order beds.” John was talking to himself. He looked up the local bed factory and gave them a call. Come to find out they had a different name but still had a dozen outlets in the Puget Sound Area. He called the closest one. Forty queens size beds and eighty-eight doubles. With stands, pillows sheets, and blankets. He also was able to get two hundred four-inch pads that were 30” X 80”. John added four hundred pillows and eight hundred blankets. He listened for a few seconds then doubled the pads, the pillows and blankets.

“He called up dell computers and ordered twenty computers with office. He also called up Dish to get basic TV and a very strong computer connection. He also sent in an order to Office Depot for a giant TV and office chairs and 21 computer desks and a shelving unit for books.

Next John called up the Habitat for Washington. He got a great deal on 4,000 carpet squares with a rubber backing 18” by 18” for $1.50 apiece and they would deliver. There were three different designs, but John did not care. They would deliver next week if the roads permitted.

John called up Hobart and got a great used reconditioned freezer unit along with a commercial reconditioned refrigerator. The two units would look like mates. They would be delivered and set up.

John called up the number on cleaning out the water pipes bid. He knew they would spray an enamel coating through them to eliminate the rust they were dealing with. The water coming out of the tap was red with rust and tasted terrible. The man said he would review the bid and get a new price to John tomorrow.

John, Tony and Willa got in the truck and went down to the local Grocery. John loaded up a cart with bananas, blue berries, a box of oranges, many sacks of apples and four grapefruit that Willa promised to eat. When they went to the checkout Curtis was standing just past the register angry.

“What’s wrong Curtis?” John asked.

“She didn’t give me my change!” Curtis said angry as hell, “She did it to Frank too.”

“Go away little boy, we’re done here” The lady at the checkout sounded mean.

“I’ll find out Father John.” Willa said as she started talking to Curtis.

John paid for the groceries. Willa was standing in front of John and asked for a minute. She grabbed a Mountain Bar and held out her dime, “That’s 90% silver.”

“The Mountain Bar is $ .49 you will need more than a dime to pay for it.” The lady said.

“Mam, that dime is 90% silver, it’s worth $630.” Willa said in a calm voice.

“WELL NOT TO ME!” The lady screamed.

“Peg, we don’t shout at the customers. What’s the problem?” A man said as he was coming across the store from the back. The man had a name tag with Wilbur Jones, Manager.

“I’m Father John Taylor. I am the Director of the Orphanage under St. John’s Church. I gave each of the boys and girls a silver dime. This lady has taken in two of them for the value of $ .10 and has kept them when she was alerted, they were silver.”

Frank came in the door walking ahead of Officer Maxwell of the Seattle Police Department. He had gone next door to the small branch of Peoples Bank. He got the information that almost daily Peggy at the store brought silver in and received cash, “Will you Reverend Taylor sign a complaint?” Officer Maxwell asked.

“Yes.” John said.

“Peggy, you’re fired. I’ll also sign the complaint Officer.” Wilbur Jones stated.

Officer Maxwell grabbed his phone, “Because of the weather, I’m not supposed to arrest anyone. Let me make a phone call.”

As everyone was waiting a man came in, “Hi Judge.” Curtis and Frank called out.

“Hi Curtis, Hi Frank. Is this the new director you were talking about?” The Judge asked.

“You seem to know the boys, I’m Reverend John Taylor. I’ll be running the shelter at the Church.”

“I sometimes come down to the church to watch a game with our friends here.” The Judge said. “Sir, are you ready to take in some folks that are desperate?” The Judge asked. The Judge looked at the food John was loading up on, “I can see your working on it.”

“I’ve got a carpenter, an electrician, a man fixing the furnace and another the water pipes and we hope to put a rubber backing carpet down on the floor. We’re building storage for many tons of food. Beds enough for 600 to 700 people.” John reported.

“I’m seeing and hearing all that I need to. Thank you, dear sir. If I have power, I’m good for thirty days. If we lose our power, me and a lot of people will need help.” The Judge said, “I have a generator, but the gas is so old, even with long life the generator won’t start.”

“What’s going to happen with Peggy?” John asked.

“First offence, probably thirty days.” The Judge said. Peggy had been taken out in handcuffs and placed in the back of the officer’s car.

“What if she was given a choice of serving time in the kitchen of the shelter?” John suggested.

“If she comes before me, I’ll consider that.” The Judge looked at John, “Why?”

“I get the sense that there is a reason for what she has been doing and it may be her husband. She may have been forced into doing this.” John said, “I get the sense she has been beaten often.”

“I’ll see if I can find out more.” The Judge said as they watched the officer drive away with Peggy in the back seat.

Saturday November 21, 2020:

John had always liked to go out Saturday morning for breakfast. Steak cooked medium rare and the eggs scrambled. Along with hash browns, toast and plenty of coffee. The Buzz Inn near his home did a wonderful job. A little mom and pop restaurant were thinking about being open on Saturdays just down the street from St. John’s. John had come across them when he asked the kids what was in the neighborhood. He visited and met the man and woman who owned it. John promised them at least a $200 order if they would open for his bunch. They agreed. The couple was Ivan and Fran.

At 9:00 A.M. on Saturday morning John, Reverend Bill Jacobs and his wife Nancy followed by 11 kids flowed through the door into the West Seattle Café for Breakfast. John asked once they were seated, “How many of you have eaten in a Restaurant?”

Only Bill and his wife Nancy raised their hands.

“Let’s make this a learning experience, okay?” John asked.

“What does that mean?” Curtis asked.

“In your lifetime, each of you will eat in a restaurant, hundreds, maybe thousands of times. Let’s make it so each of you are comfortable eating here.” John said. Nancy and Bill talked for a second. John was pleased to see them change seats so each could help three or four of the boys and girls.

Menus were passed. Coffee and orange juice were poured and in front of everyone was a mini donut with chocolate frosting on its own little plate.

Next to John was 8-year-old Lucy who had Autism. John had given her a healing last night. This morning was a very shy healthy normal looking little girl. When the orders were taken, Fran the wife very carefully worked with Lucy. She ended up getting three slices of French Toast with Strawberries and whipped cream on top and four little sausages on the side.

When John was halfway done eating, he got up and circled the table asking how everything was. He got 12 “Yahs!” And one “Not so good.” Frank had gotten what John had but was having a hard time cutting his steak. John took the time to cut it up then put some ketchup on one side of his plate and steak sauce on the other side. Frank was the 9-year-old boy. Frank tried both the ketchup and steak sauce. John was pleased when he witnessed more steak sauce being poured on his plate.

“Thank you, Papa John.” Frank said.

“Your welcome Frank.” John returned to his seat to find his breakfast was missing.

As John was looking around, he had his plate placed in front of him, “I warmed it up for you.”

“Thank you very much Ivan!”

“Your welcome. Where are you from?” Ivan asked.

“We are from the St. John’s Church. These fine young men and women are living under the church in the shelter. I’ve accepted the responsibility for them.” John said.

“I’ll be back,” Ivan said as he moved to seat four others that came in. John looked around and realized there was sixteen others in the restaurant. His daughter was also waiting tables. Many of them had a coffee cup and a mini donut. Ivan was going to make it just fine. John counted about 60 chairs. Nice size little diner.

John would later learn that Ivan was an orphan growing up. On this first day Ivan did not put 2 plus 2 together yet. He didn’t realize this was the Orphans of St. John. When Curtis and Frank came in one day for lunch many things became understood. When he and his family joined St. John’s the Sundays after service would find the West Seattle Café filled with a waiting line to get in. Ivan served coffee or hot tea to those in line with a mini donut. He learned all the names of his customers and soon had hundreds of loyal customers.

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