Busted Axle Road
Chapter 72

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

Ever since Kirsten had Susan, she had been staying home days, with only an occasional stop by the office, to exchange copy and computer disks, but more often, Mike brought them out to the house on the lunch hour.

Tiffany was now old enough to really be a help with Susan, so after some discussion, Kirsten agreed to let her stay home for a few days and try it out, rather than going to the day-care center out at the club.

That still meant that Henry still had to be taken to day care each day, and the job fell on Mike most of the time. The chore had to be done before he went to work, and the driving time involved had all but cut out Mike's regular morning visits to the Spearfish Lake Cafe. Since Henry was a dawdler about getting around in the morning, sometimes it took shouting and fast driving to be able to make it to work on time. Mike looked forward to school reopening, since that would mean his mornings would be a little less hectic, and he could resume his regular coffee calls.

Once in a while, though, Henry got his act together in the morning, and Mike was able to salvage a few minutes for a quick cup of coffee at the Cafe. It felt good to be able to walk into the Cafe, sit down, and catch up on the talk around the table.

By August, the upcoming high school football season had become a regular part of the discussion, but even it was often buried in the talks of the sewer separation project. Since Mike followed what was happening with the project about as closely as anyone in town, when he could make it in for coffee he was usually quizzed about what went on. It soon ceased to be his favorite topic, but since Ryan Clark was at the coffee table most mornings, it took some of the heat off of Mike.

This morning, though, when Mike took a seat at the table across from Mark fortunately the topic was football. He hadn't even gotten his coffee ordered yet when Clark was asking, "What do you think of this McGuinniss kid at quarterback? He's only a sophomore, for Christ's sakes."

While Mike let Varner handle the other sports, he'd realized long before that football was a big enough deal in Spearfish Lake that he felt more comfortable handling it himself. "Looks pretty good," Mike said. "He's got an arm on him, he's quick and accurate. If he gets an incomplete, it's because the receiver screwed up."

"Yeah, but why the hell did Hekkinan pass up that Johansen kid? "He's a senior, after all."

"In this town, a Johansen is supposed to be a quarterback," Mike said, "Whether he's got an arm, or not, and that kid doesn't. He doesn't make for a bad running back, but he hasn't got the brains to adapt when things fall apart."

"The Johansens did produce a few dumb ones," George Lindquist agreed. "But everybody in this town remembers this kid's granddaddy. Best quarterback we ever had, back when Gil Evachevski and him were playing. It's hard to believe that's going on forty years ago."

"People do remember," Clark agreed. "How's the team looking?"

"Well, if they can beat Coldwater, then we'll know," Mike said. "That's always a pretty good barometer for the season."

"It would be nice," Lindquist agreed. "It's been a long time since we beat Coldwater. Anyway, Mike," he went on, changing the subject, "I'm glad you came in today. I was going to call you later, anyway. The Donna Clark Foundation Board met last night, and they decided to go ahead and fund that book of yours on the Warsaw fire."

"Hey, that's great," Mike said. "Full funding?"

"Every cent," Lindquist said. "What's the chances we can have it out by the first of November or so, so we can catch the Christmas shopping season."

"Pretty good," Mike said. "After Mark converted it to IBM for me back last May, I sat down whenever I got a slow afternoon at the office, and went back through it. I didn't have a spellchecker with the Apple, so the 286 at the office found a few misspellings, and I cleaned up a few rough spots. I held off on getting it camera ready, until I knew it was going to go. I should have a slow day today, so I could get started on it, if you want us to take care of printing it."

"That's what we'd figured on. You're going to print it right here?" Lindquist asked.

"No," Mike said. "We'll get it camera ready, and ship it off to a specialty house. We can't handle the bindery work here, and it's cheaper to have the specialty shop do the whole job. If it's a work project, rather than a screw-around project, it gets a higher priority. We ought to be able to ship it off in a couple of weeks, and we ought to have it back six weeks after that. Allowing a week or two for shipping and slipups and whatnot, you ought to have it by the first of November."

"Couldn't ask for better," George replied. "Use lots of photos, if you can."

"Sure will," Mike agreed. "Fortunately, I've got a file of photos I earmarked for the book long ago, so it won't be a problem. I'm going to be glad to see this baby in print."

"Makes you feel good, huh?" Mark commented.

"Yeah," Mike said. "When I was a kid, I had plans to write a whole shelf full of books. I think every newspaper writer does. But, it never happened for me. This'll be the first. It's not going to be a best seller, or anything, but it'll be nice, anyway."

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