Human Man
Chapter 17

Copyright© 2013 by Refusenik

The orange door to the climate controlled storage locker rolled back with a bang. Scott turned on the light and memories came flooding back. The pieces that had populated his teenage years didn't require much room. His first apartment's furniture was wrapped and covered with blankets. In the far corner, the Yamaha motorcycle was carefully stored away. Between were boxes, but for so little it sure took up a lot of room in his heart.

Joseph Black had a second key for the locker. During Scott's enlistment, Joseph had kindly added the occasional box sent to Fort Stockton from some far off locale.

At the front of the storage locker was a chest. Scott knelt and opened the lid. He held the red watch box, remembering the longest summer of his life. The silvery watch with its black face and three sub-dials was as perfect as the day he'd taken it off.

He put the cheap runner's watch he'd been wearing to one side and pulled the stem on the Speedmaster. People didn't appreciate great mechanical watches anymore. Everything was battery driven or 'perpetual' motion. He understood their convenience, but a hand-wound watch was a thing of beauty. Scott set the time and tried to close the bracelet band around his wrist. He ran his fingers over the links in the band. Mr. Piotrowski had said he'd need the extra ones someday. They were in a small glassine baggie in the watch box, exactly where the wise old Marine had placed them.

He hunted around for the right tools and made the adjustments to the watch bracelet.

He had another stop to make before he left Fort Stockton. The trip home had been a good one. The shooting trip to San Angelo had been the release he needed and reconnecting with his friends a bonus. They took fourth overall in the Friday tournament. Eddie took third in the novice class, and Scott took high master—all on his own, no unusual abilities required.

Scott parked in Honour's driveway. The front door opened and Jobe came loping toward the SUV. Five-year-old Cathy and her younger brother Joey trailed the shepherd.

"Slow down," their mother called.

The children paid her no heed.

Scott squatted on his heels and rubbed Jobe's neck. The dog sniffed at his former master and woofed softly. Man and dog communed silently.

"That's my dog," Cathy said.

"He sure is," Scott said. "Thank you for letting him go running with me while I was visiting."

"He likes to run," Cathy said.

Joey waddled over and grabbed a handful of fur.

Jobe turned and licked the boy.

The boy stepped back and tried to rub his face with his chubby little fingers.

Honour shook her head and used the end of her t-shirt to dry her son's face. "Jobe had a unique method of training my children."

"You could write a new parenting book," Scott said.

"Are you heading back?" Honour asked.

"I'm going to grab a late-lunch in Midland. If I don't dawdle too much, I should be in Levall before dark."

"Remember," Honour said, "we're taking the kids to my parents for Christmas, but I hope to see you at Thanksgiving."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Don't call me ma'am," Honour pouted.

"I respect my elders."

Honour pointed a finger at him, "You're getting coal."

"I beg the young lady's forgiveness."

"Better," she said, "drive safe."

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