The Richard Jackson Saga: Tenth Grade
Chapter 8

Copyright© 2016 by Banadin

Note to readers: I have made a factual error that I’m in the process of repairing. I got Rick’s age confused in my head at one point and ended up having him fly solo at age 15. While not being a stickler for complete accuracy this error really offends me and will not stand. The story line will not change even the cattle rustling. I will have Mr. McGarry with him all the time. The previous chapters will be revised as time permits. Just remember; “it is all true, give or take a lie or two.”

Being sixteen didn’t seem any different than being fifteen years and three hundred and sixty four days. When I was first in my teens, sixteen was the magic birthday. That was the day you could apply for a driver’s license. I had been driving ever since I came to Hollywood, so there was no excitement to be had.

Well of course there was, today I would solo, I had an appointment with Mr. McGarry right after lunch. I would be taking the written test and then fly the aircraft. From my study habits I knew the written test would be no problem. Butterflies in the stomach about flying by myself; sure, but I would get over it when I took off.

Then next year I would be seventeen and would get my private pilot’s license with a multi-engine endorsement and would be able to take passengers. Oh yeah, I have already done that.

In Ohio I could drink 3.2 beer at eighteen and don’t forget registering for the draft, though they weren’t drafting anyone.

Twenty-one and I could drink, except I had seen what alcohol did to my Uncles. No way was I interested in drinking, at least this young.

That just left girls to look forward to. Oh, I was looking forward to that. Of course I would have to have a girlfriend. I could have a girlfriend when I met a girl. It’s sort of hard to get close to a girl when you didn’t really know any. Find a girl and you lose her to some high school quarterback named Roman. What sort of name is that?

I was having these thoughts while doing my morning run. I met the couple who took the girl with the sprained ankle to the hospital. Since they were going the other way we just waved.

Since I had no plans for the day I dressed in jeans as I thought about riding my horse later. At breakfast Mum and Dad were having a strange conversation about a land deal and should they buy the property. After listening for a while I figured out that the land deal that went bad for the Judge, Sheriff and newspaper owner was on the market again and that Dad had been contacted.

It was apparently four thousand acres out near Ontario, near Cucamonga of Jack Benny fame, and currently was all in grapevines. Mum and Dad were thinking it might be a good long term investment. Eventually it would be developed. Dad thought it would take twenty years before it would pay off, but Mum didn’t see a problem with that. At three hundred dollars an acre it would be a million two. That didn’t seem that much, if they didn’t want it I would take a look.

When I mentioned that, it seemed to seal the deal, at least for them. They were going to buy it.

We talked about the garage expansion for my shop. I hadn’t done anything about it. Before Dad and I would have laid it out on a napkin and built it. Now days we didn’t have the time and Mum wanted Jackson House to be just so. We could take a hint. I now had to find a contractor who could have architectural drawings made for her approval.

They also let me know that they were going up to Boeing in Seattle next so I was to plan to stick close to home to keep an eye on the kids. The boys would be doing their schoolwork in the morning while Mary was in school. We had the afternoon free. Maybe we could go to Disney? I wasn’t certain about that, but was sure I could keep them entertained. I wasn’t asked to help out that often.

“Am I getting paid for babysitting?” Dad smacked me up the back of the head, which reminded me of that Harmon kid.

“I take that as a no.”

I finished up breakfast and got out of there, I knew when to quit while I was behind.

I went out to the stable area where Bob the cowboy was working with Mary and her pony. He was walking the pony with Mary on its back. She had a grin that wouldn’t stop.

“Bob, has it been decided who rides which horse?”

“Not really, find one you like and saddle up.”

That made it easy. There was a bag of apples near the door so I grabbed a handful and went out to the corral where they were loafing in the sun to see if I had a new friend. Turns out with apples I had a bunch of new friends.

One caught my eye, a gelding about fifteen hands high with a white streak down his face. His color was a dark tan. He had one white sock. His configuration was good and looked like he could carry my weight. In turn he didn’t fight me when I led him back to the stable to saddle him up.

I had learned how to do this on set and the horse seemed aware of the drill. We had the normal tap in the side so I could get the cinch tight enough. It was more of a formality on both our parts. When I threw a leg over he didn’t raise a fuss.

I asked Bob if this one had a name. Bob told me there were papers on the horse in the house somewhere, but he just called him George. I asked how he got George.

“Don’t know, just seemed like his name.”

“Okay, George and I are going out to ride the trails a bit, be back in no more than two hours.”

After an hour and a half I came back after a nice ride on the park trails. We saw several runners, but no other riders.

When I brought George back I took the saddle off and brushed him down, after that I checked his feed and water, which were in good shape.

Bob asked how he rode.

“Just fine, like being in a rocking chair; a hard rocking chair that is going to make my backside pay, but all in all a good horse.”

“Been a while since you rode?”

“Yep.”

“That will do it.” As I said Bob would talk your leg off if you let him.

I went upstairs and took a shower to clean the horse smell off me.

I needed to go to the dry cleaners in Chinatown today. No time had been specified, but I wanted to get it done. Dressing in clean clothes I pinned the Queens Messenger greyhound pin to my sport coats lapel.

Taking the suit I had worn to New York and the envelope that Mum had given me I went to find her. She was in the library with Anna Romanov; they were discussing some charity event.

“Mum, I’m taking my suit to the dry cleaners. I should be back before lunch.”

“Okay Rick.”

It was a nice day so I drove my T-Bird with the top down. It took almost half an hour to get to Chinatown. Traffic in the LA area had gotten worse since we moved here. They would have to do something or we would be at a dead stop.

I found the dry cleaner with no problems. I don’t know what I expected but it was exactly what it purported to be, a dry cleaner like any other. In my thoughts on the way down I had it pictured as an opium den from a Charlie Chan movie.

Well there was an old Chinese lady at the counter. I had never dealt directly with a Chinese person before, so that was different. She didn’t pay much attention to me until I put my suit on the counter. Then she looked up.

You could tell when she saw my greyhound pin because her eyes opened wide and her mouth opened. She snapped her lips together and asked, “You have any letters for me?”

I did as instructed and handed her the package. She took it and placed it under her counter, then filled out a receipt for my dry cleaning.

“It will be ready on Friday, no tickee; no laundry.”

It was my jaw that dropped when she said that. Then she broke into a wide grin.

“I always wanted to say that.”

I laughed as she handed me my ticket.

“I won’t be here on Friday. Can I pick it up next Monday?”

“That will be fine.”

While I was near the beaches, at least compared to Hollywood I went over to Katin’s. Red headed Nancy was behind the counter. I asked her if she knew of any properties for sale on or near the beach. I was looking for a place to change and rest while at the beach, and for overnight stays when I had to be here several days in a row.

She knew of several.

“How fancy do you want?”

“I hadn’t given it any thought.”

She shook her head, “Boys.” She could have at least said, “Men.”

She pulled out the beach newspaper and circled three classified ads.

“Think about whether you want a shack to change clothes and overnight in, or a place you could actually live in.”

Hmm, I would have never thought of it that way.

I drove past the houses mentioned in the ads. Only one of them looked good to me. I realized I was thinking of something you could live in, if needed. I started to rationalize it as an investment.

I also figured out that maybe I shouldn’t be the one doing this. Mum would be much better at it to live in, or as an investment Jim Williamson. At that point I turned around and headed home.

I was barely in the house when there was a call from the front gate. Deputy Sheriff George Burrill was here to see me.

I asked them to send him to the reception. I wondered what he wanted me for. He was Dads candidate to replace the existing Sheriff who was now in jail.

Mr. Burrill seemed embarrassed and he asked if either of my parents were home. Mum was, while Dad was at his office. She joined us.

“I’m really sorry about this, but I got stuck with this job by the acting Sheriff who is also running for office.”

“Stuck with what?”

“Rick, I’m here to serve you, you are being sued.”

“Sued, what for?”

Deputy Burrill told me, “Reckless endangerment, for flying that plane without being licensed or training in jets.”

“Well for crying in a bucket, who is suing me?” After looking at the paperwork Deputy Burrill told me, “A Roy Pearson.”

“He didn’t like my landing him safely?”

“Apparently not.” I took the paperwork. Mum asked me if I wanted her to handle it. Thinking of sterling silver I told her that I would deal with it. Mum did make a point of explaining to the Deputy that this in no way affected the family support.

In turn he asked her if she or Dad could attend a fund raiser.

“I thought we had donated enough to see you through the election.”

“Oh you have, but I have to have fund raisers to generate some excitement and support to get out the vote.”

“Oh, I never thought of it that way, of course Jack and I will attend.” She turned to me and told me that I should show up at one of the more upscale events with Tiger skin in hand and share the Deputies and my story.

That thought didn’t excite me, but I agreed to do so in two weeks. At least no one knew about me and the chipmunk.

My taking care of it consisted of calling Dad and after explaining the situation asking him what attorney I should use. He didn’t know either, but would turn the problem over to one of his company attorneys.

I drove out to the airport to take my test and solo flight. Mr. McGarry had everything ready and I breezed through the exam. He had never seen me in exam mode before so it was an eye opener for him.

“How can you do that so fast?”

“I had a good instructor.”

He graded my paper. I swear he almost took as long to grade it, as I did to take it. I passed.

From there we went out to the field. I did my walk around. While doing it I verbalized everything I was examining and what I was seeing. This ensured that he knew I hadn’t missed anything. He wasn’t a mind reader.

From there I got in the airplane, went up and performed the maneuvers, then returned to the airfield for a landing. He shook my hand as I exited the plane. He signed my logbook, presented a fancy looking certificate for soloing and that was that. On the way home for lunch I realized that I had forgot about any butterflies.

Of course when I got home I was bubbling over. I repeated every up and down, twist and turn of that flight. Thankfully the flight gods didn’t choose to cause any problems.

After lunch I dropped off the papers I had been served at Dads office. He was in, so I got to take my flight all over again. He congratulated me and told me he would find me the proper lawyer.

While in the area I ducked in at my office. There was nothing exciting going on. There was a message to call Dennis Lawson the freelancer I had given an interview to earlier.

Having nothing better to do at the moment I gave Dennis a call. The phone was answered, “Lawson residence,” by a woman. I identified myself to her and asked for Dennis. She told me to wait a moment. She must have put her hand over the phone but I could still hear her. Denny it is that Richard Jackson that you were hoping would call.

It wasn’t very long until Dennis was on the line. He was slightly out of breath.

“Sorry I was out mowing the lawn.” Heh, my inside contact to the business world news lived at home and mowed the lawn for his mother.

The reason he called was to try to get a business update from me for the basis of a new article. He was very open with me about how things had been going for him. When I gave the first interview he was able to sell it to the AP, and he had caught a few small assignments but no break throughs. He was hoping to get enough from me to restart things.

I asked him if he could join me in my office. He could, it would take him an hour to get here, but I told him I would wait and not to get a speeding ticket on the way.

I spent the time waiting for him reading monthly reports from field operations. They were interesting and I learned a lot, however I had no great ideas to help.

Dennis had to have sped because he got to my office in forty-five minutes and had managed to change clothes. At least I don’t think he was mowing the grass in a sport coat and tie.

He had his steno pad out and was ready to go. I slowed him down a bit by asking a few questions about where he lived, school, etc. I had a Coke from the office kitchen area and offered him one. He accepted. On the way through I saw Jim Williamson was free so asked him to join us.

I explained to Jim what Dennis’s objective was, get a business update. So that was what went down. It turned out that the business world didn’t know how many vessels we had under construction or what governments we had joint partnerships with. It wasn’t a secret, nobody had asked.

And we hadn’t thought to tell! That got me thinking. We weren’t a public company so didn’t have to sell our image to make people buy our stock. That didn’t mean that we shouldn’t care about our image.

In my movie career I had a publicist, why didn’t the business have one? I excused myself for a minute and used the phone in Jim’s office to call my Dad. As I expected he was in his office so I got through to him right away. I asked him if we had or thought of having a publicist on the company staff. In short the answer was no, neither his company nor mine had one.

I told him I had someone I was going to try to hire. He thought for a moment and told me to go ahead and that he would go to school on how it worked out for me, and if it went well he would do the same.

I returned to my office where Jim and Dennis apparently hadn’t missed me at all. They were into the minutiae of the shipping business.

I interrupted them and told them I had a change of subject. When I had their attention I told them of my bright idea. They both thought it was a good one. Dennis asked if I had anyone in mind.

“Yes, I’m offering you the job.” You could have knocked him over with a feather.

“I don’t know anything about being a publicist.”

“Think of yourself as a reporter with a lot of inside information; oh yeah, and a salesman, selling the company.”

“I don’t know, I have never thought of anything like that.”

“I would get you together with Susan Wallace, my movie publicist so she could give ideas on what you have to do.”

“What would it pay?” I hadn’t given it any thought, so I offered what I was paying Susan. How was I to know that Hollywood pay scales didn’t translate to the real world?

“I’ll take it.” From the look on Jim’s face I had better have a private conversation with him later.

“I’m going to have you work with Susan Wallace, she is my acting/talent publicist; as a matter of fact I may have you work directly for her. I have to bounce it off her for the best way to handle this. That way you will have someone with experience to get you started.”

I tried to call Susan directly, but my luck of having people at their desk ran out. I left word for her to call me at home after dinner.

After an excited Dennis left to tell his mother he wouldn’t have time to mow the lawn anymore, Jim and I cleared the air.

I asked him how bad I had stuck my foot in it.

“Not too bad, you already pay us a high rate. To keep it even you only have to give everyone a twenty percent raise.”

“Ouch, what will that do to the business model?”

“Let’s go over it.” We did and in the total budget we had it didn’t shift things at all. This was only for the headquarters office staff. At the Division level starting with the Presidents who not only had a salary but profit sharing built in there was no need for changes, they and everyone below them down to the janitors were making more than their counterparts in industry.

This was one reason every time the word Union was mentioned it died a quick death.

“Actually Rick this was good timing. There has been some minor rumbling in the break area about how many dollars are flowing through here compared to what they make. No problems, but now you are ahead of the game.”

“How should we break the news?”

“Why don’t you tell them now? They are probably wondering why you are here today.” Who would think people would pay attention to my comings and goings, but then I am the boss.

Jim called everyone into the conference room. I didn’t make a big speech about it. I just told them since the business was going so well that it was time for a general increase of twenty percent across the board. Wow, that got their attention!

From the smiles and excited conversation I knew I had ruined the rest of the work day, so I told Jim to send everyone home except a person to take messages, and to reward them with double comp time.

Well that certainly upset the apple cart for the day. I wondered what the effects of my impulsive decisions would be. Figuring I had done enough damage for the day I returned home. I spent the rest of the time before dinner doing school work. After it’s said and done I’m still in the tenth grade. I had thought about trying to test out of grade levels, maybe I should give it some more thought.

Dinner that night brought to light some very interesting information. A reporter that Dad had assigned to find out what happened to each individual on the yacht that night had a report.

We were interested in any that might still be alive or who had descendants that might know about the sub-basement.

One that jumped out was a musician named Arley Lewis who had committed murder during a robbery, but he wasn’t alive. He had been hung in 1941 at Walla Walla prison in Washington State for the murder of a Jack Avent. Since he was twenty-nine at the time of his hanging it is doubtful he had anyone to tell about the sub-basement.

There was only one person left alive from that trip, a minor actress Eunice Carpenter nee Lewis from the 1930’s. She was now in a rest home in Ontario; CA. Dad planned on visiting there tomorrow.

I spent the evening on my schoolwork. I would be so glad to be done with this. I was beginning to see the wisdom of taking a full year to get through the material. You would have time to have a life. It seemed like all I did was schoolwork. Nothing exciting ever happened to me.

I started laughing at myself; most people would be happy going a lifetime without the events which I had been involved in. Oh well, homework still sucks.

I gave up early and read about Nurse Nelly, Emile De Becque and the Marine who fell in love with a Tonkinese girl.

In the morning I did my run and exercises, I didn’t see any ferocious beasts or anyone else on my run. I spent some time with George and a curry comb. Today there were carrots in the horse snack basket.

Mary was there plaiting Misty’s mane with ribbons. Misty didn’t seem to care as she had her head in a feed bucket. I swear she was looking fatter already, Misty not Mary.

I cleaned up and joined the family for breakfast. We had a small scene when Mary was informed that she would clean the stable off of her before coming to the table. Mary stamped her foot and said, “Oh drat!” Nobody laughed until after Mrs. Hernandez escorted her to her room to change and clean up.

Dad asked if anyone had some Blackjack gum, he was out. Since he had quit smoking he seemed to always have a stick in his mouth. How he stood that much licorice I don’t know.

Denny had one of the blue and white packages and gave Dad a stick. This gave me a chance to share an odd fact I had picked up when doing my extra end of chapter researches.

“Did you know that Black Jack gum was first made by an inventor named Thomas Adams using chiclet that he bought from General Santa Anna of Alamo fame? Santa Anna was in exile at the time on Staten Island which is now part of New York City? That is where Chiclets came from.”

Nobody knew this, nor did they care.

Dad excused himself to go to the rest home. He was almost out the door and stopped to ask me if I wanted to go along. Since I had nothing better to do I said sure.

We went in one of my T-Birds. I think Dad invited me so I would have to drive.

We found the rest home with no problems. When we asked for Mrs. Carpenter we were given a room number. The nurse at the front desk told us, “I think she is having one of her good days.”

We went to the room and there was an old lady in the true sense of the words, old and a lady. She was dressed for the day sitting in a wheel chair. Dad introduced us. She didn’t ask why we were there instead said.

“I thought this day would come. You are here about Jason Talmadge aren’t you?

“Yes we are,” replied Dad.

“Well I think I’m the last one left so it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Dad asked gently, “What happened that night.”

“We were a wild bunch and Jason the wildest of all. We loved our sex games in that basement. He loved being almost choked to death while having sex. It went too far that night and he strangled before anyone realized what was going on.”

“That’s what we thought from the body.”

“Oh you found him. I never did feel right about saying he fell overboard. We panicked and thought we would be charged with murder. Arley talked us into burying him in the basement. There was a hole in the floor that something was going to be buried in, and cement ready to use, so we used it. We took Jason’s yacht out the next day and told everyone he fell overboard.”

“The police asked a lot of questions but one of the studios got involved and the story was accepted.”

“So you have no idea of the purpose of the original hole in the basement?”

“No one did, I remember Jason being asked and he said no one would believe him if he told them.”

“Here is a new question. Do you know anything about someone trying to get into the basement through the passage from the other house?”

“That would have been my grandson Ben. I told him about the basement and how if no one had found it that there were things that were valuable. He didn’t want to go there, but I talked him into it. He is having trouble raising money to continue Veterinarian school. He went the one time, but didn’t get in and refused to go back. I’ve spent all my money here and can’t help him.”

“I would like to talk to Ben, how can I get a hold of him?

She gave us a phone number. Dad called it and had a short conversation. Ben didn’t live that far away so was coming over. We talked with the lady for a while, but as she tired her mind began to wander. I was freaked out when she started calling me Jason.

When Ben arrived we introduced ourselves and adjourned to an outside sitting area. Mrs. Carpenter was in her own world and wouldn’t miss us.

Before he got to the point Dad asked Ben about his veterinarian schooling. It turned out Ben was currently in school and had two years to go for his studies in large animals.

Dad looked thoughtful for a moment.

“Ben, do you like horses?”

“Sure that is the main reason I am taking my courses. I think they are wonderful animals.”

“We just opened a stable with ten horses and a pony at Jackson House. We need someone to care for them. I will offer room and board, a small stipend and pickup all your schooling costs.”

I have never seen anyone gasp like a fish before. I thought it was just an expression.

“Sure I would love to; it seems too good to be true.”

“Well there is one catch, we will have a contract and part of it is to agree to never mention that sub-basement to anyone.”

“That’s it?”

That’s how we got someone onsite to care for the horses and committed to keeping the secret of Jackson House. On the way home Dad and I speculated on what the purpose of the original hole might have been. We also had a body to dispose of.

Our biggest fear was that there might be another body buried under Jason. We did come up with a plan to get rid of ‘our’ body, that of Jason Talmadge. Since the corpse was not much more than a skeleton we could fit it into a box considerably smaller than a coffin.

The box would be heavily weighted on the bottom and have holes to let water in at the sides and top. We would drop it into the water off of Santa Catalina. It seemed fitting that Talmadge ended up where everyone expected him to be.

Dad and I grabbed a burger at In and Out. I loved the burgers, the fries were okay.

When we got home I decided to spend the afternoon riding. When I went out to the stable Mary was on her pony. She actually seemed to have things under control. Or more likely Misty had things under control.

George was ready to go out. He was fresh rather than frisky. That made me think about the fact we had more horses than riders. How would we keep them exercised and used to be ridden? I guess that would be Ben’s problem in the near future.

Mary asked if she could ride out in the park with me. Not what I wanted, but she is my little sister. I told Bob that we were going out for a while. He just nodded. It wasn’t my place to tell him he was headed back to his ranch soon. I had no idea if that would be good news or not for him. He never communicated!

Mary and I rode on the back paths for almost an hour. At one point she spotted some pretty flowers. I don’t know what they are called. The flowers were in the shape of a yellow star, like a star fish, between the flower petals, but slightly below it was a green star. The plant had a red berry which looked like a strawberry. It must have been too late in their season as the berries were tasteless. Yeah, I tried them and they didn’t make me sick.

Mary loved the way they look. She dismounted Misty. She picked some for a bouquet. I dismounted, tied the horses to a limb. I had learned my lesson on a movie set when I forgot to tie my reins. I didn’t have to chase the horse down, but it held the scene up for half an hour and the director was not happy. Out here it would take longer than half an hour.

Anyway I picked some flowers and wove them into a wreath for Princess Mary. She loved the thought and wanted to go directly home to have a picture taken. I gave her a boost back onto Misty and she took off, well Misty ambled away.

By the time I was back on George, Mary and Misty were around a bend in the trail and out of sight. I wasn’t concerned, but I should have been.

Within a few minutes I heard.

“Get her, that pony is worth some money.”

That got my attention. I flipped his reins, leaned forward and lightly kicked George in the side. He can take a hint. We took off. Now I had ridden fast in the movies, but it was always in wide open areas for good camera shots. This was on a six foot wide trail in the woods. I thought I was going to lose my head a couple of times with low limbs.

While it seemed like a wild ride, I doubt it was the length of a football field till Mary and Misty came into sight. I had pictured Mary being dragged from her pony. Instead there were two guys, who I will call thugs chasing Misty. Misty was no longer ambling. I was impressed with her speed. She was leaving those guys in her dust.

They didn’t slow George down at all. He ran between them, knocking both down. Now Misty was moving and so was George. The difference was George was bigger and had longer legs. We very shortly caught up. I expected to see a distraught Mary. What I got was a Mary with a big grin on her face.

When I came beside her, she reined Misty in slowly.

“Rick, are you going to get a gun and shoot them?”

“No, but we are going home and call the Sheriff.”

“I bet you could beat them up.”

“Sure short stuff, but with my luck they would already have a gun.”

“Oh yeah, we had better get out of here.”

We headed home; I kept an eye on our back trail, but wasn’t too concerned. George had really sent them ass over teakettle.

I told Bob about what happened. I asked him to take care of the horses as we headed to the house. He nodded while retrieving a Winchester lever action rifle from the stable. He jacked a shell in the chamber and told me.

“Reckon I’ll keep an eye out for those varmints.”

That was the most I ever heard from him at one time.

Dad wasn’t home, but Mum was. We found her in the library with Denny and Eddie doing school work. When I relayed what happened she stood and told Denny to get his camera.

She left the room and came back. I don’t know what she left for but her purse gave a slight metallic clunk when she set it down. She told me to call the Sheriff’s office and report what was going on. Then to see that Mary was all right, Mary who was standing right there looked fine to me. If anything she seemed happy with all the excitement. I nodded. Which meant, “Thanks Mum.”

I wasn’t going to argue with Mum at a time like this. I wonder if that was a gun in her purse. I realized that I didn’t care if it was, those guys tried to harm Mary. Notice I wasn’t concerned about Mum being hurt. If there was any hurting to be done, she would be the one doing it.

I made the call, while Mrs. Hernandez took Mary to her room to change out of her riding outfit and clean up. All the time Mary was chattering away how Misty had saved her. I also notified security what was going on and that a Deputy should be along shortly. Escort them around to the stable.

I went back to the stable to help Bob with the horses. I had some nervous energy to work off. Silent Bob as I thought of him had the horse’s saddles off and was starting to give Misty a rub down. I started on George. It didn’t seem very long before a Deputy who I hadn’t met showed up.

You could tell he didn’t support Mr. Burrell for Sheriff just by the tone of his questions. I told him what happened.

He stated. “So you saw two guys on the trail as your sister’s horse bolted and rode them down?”

I repeated what I heard them yell.

“So you say.”

About that time Mum pulled around to the garage. She had taken one of my T-Birds so it was easy to see she had passengers. She had two guys in their late twenties or early thirties in the backseat.

She got out with a pistol in her hand. It was the thirty-eight bankers special she normally carried. At gun point she brought them over to us.

The Deputy sternly asked, “Why are you holding those two citizens at gunpoint?”

“These two citizens are thieves and threatened my daughter’s safety.”

“So you say.” I think his 45’s were skipping a groove.

Lowering her pistol she opened her purse. “Here are their handguns; I had them drop them into the purse so they only have their prints on them. Their car with stolen items is back at entrance number three to the park.”

“How do you know they have stolen items?”

“The people in the parking lot looking for their stuff told me. They saw me apprehend them and watched while I searched their car.

“You searched their car without permission?”

At this point Mum got very quiet looking. She just realized the officer wasn’t her friend.

“No, I asked if I could and they said yes.”

The Deputy turned to the guys, “Is this true?”

“Yes, she was going to shoot our ... Well you know she threatened us.”

“Ma’am I’m going to have to place you under arrest for threatening these citizens.”

The one person who was absent in this exchange came out of the house.

Denny shouted, “You are right Mum, according to Deputy Burrill these guys are wanted for armed robbery.” He handed their wallets with and driver’s licenses back to Mum.

The Deputy looked like he had swallowed a whole lemon.

“I better cuff these guys and get over to their vehicle and secure the crime scene.”

Butter wouldn’t have melted in Mum’s mouth as she told the Deputy, “Thank you for your help in our time of need.” When George Burrill was elected Sheriff that guy had better look for another job. There was also another main reason he should look for another line of work.

Even I knew you do not try to arrest someone with an unknown person standing behind you with a Winchester rifle at point blank range. I gave a sharp nod to Silent Bob. This translates in Silent Bob to, “Thank you.”

He returned this with a slow deep nod which translates in Bob nods to, “Just doing my duty as any God fearing, All American man and patriot will do to protect the Wimen, Children, and those who can’t protect themselves against the nasty, dirty, lawless, abusive lowdown varmints, which can infest our great freedom loving nation.”

Lord, when Bob got going you couldn’t shut him up! I needed to change his name. Maybe Bob the Chatterbox.

Reporter Mary was all excited as she asked Denny for copies of his pictures. She couldn’t wait to write her story on the events were she was saved by Superpony Misty. She also planned to take everything to school (including Misty) for show and tell. I’m glad this was Mum’s problem.

Mum heard her out and spoke to her for a few minutes, when I saw Mary nodding I knew the problem was resolved, no Misty at school. Mum came over to me and explained instead of Misty going to show and tell, I would be, to corroborate Mary’s story. I was right, Mum would handle the problem.

I got Mary to agree to put it off until next week. She was okay with that because that would give her time to publish her story and get some excitement built up at school. Her words, not mine, Mary had been hanging with Susan Wallace for too long. It looked like with Mum’s and Susan’s help we were raising a future MI6 assassin who would be a publicity hound. What could go wrong with that?

After dinner Dad, Mum and I had a serious talk. How to dispose of the corpse was the question. We all agreed that dumping it in the ocean off of Santa Catalina was the most elegant way to handle it. The corpse would be where everyone thought it was. Dad had a rough box knocked together from two by fours. There was spacing between them to allow water to enter. The bottom was lined with lead plates to keep it down.

Dad planned to rent a boat to transport the box and just tip it over the side. Mum wondered if another craft would come into view at the wrong moment and see him dumping it into the ocean. I hesitated then suggested.

“I’ll fly over, circle the area high to ensure there is nothing that can see us then fly low to dump it. That way we would know nothing would be within our horizon.”

“What if someone saw you loading a passenger who knows you aren’t licensed yet?”

“I’ll leave from Ontario, land at a small airport with no control tower. We will do it early in the morning with no people about. If there are we will abort. Dad will get on board with the box; we fly out, scope the area, then drop the box. After that drop Dad off at the small airport, then I’ll proceed back to Ontario.”

“Sounds like a plan, let’s do it early tomorrow morning.”

Dad went out to the garage and collected the box he had brought home. We proceeded to place the bag with the corpse in it into the box. There was quite a bit of bending and twisting involved. From the snapping and grating noises coming from the bag I was glad that I couldn’t see what was happening.

Once the bag was inside the box Dad slit the bag open and pulled the bag out from around the corpse. He didn’t want anything we had to be with the corpse. What a grim sight, it didn’t look like it had ever been a living human. It reminded me of a deer that had been dead along the road for several months. Not pleasant.

Dad decided to bury the bag in the gaping hole in the floor. That reminded us that we didn’t know why the hole had been dug in the first place. So we went deeper. About two more feet down we hit the top of a wooden box. It was actually a pretty nice wooden box with several inlays.

There was no lock, just a catch so it was easy to open. There on a built-in purple velvet support lay a simple clay cup. There was no way to know how old it was. It could be thousands of years old for all we knew. The only hint was a maker’s mark on the bottom with Hebrew inscription for YHWH, luckily for us our huge dictionary had the Hebraic runes translated, I would have to look it up someday and see if there were any records of the maker, though I had no idea of where to start.

We put the cup back into the box and then placed it in the large safe and promptly forgot all about it.

The next morning after a restless night I performed my morning exercises. Running out past Bob he gave one of his nods which translated into, “Good morning Rick, it is a beautiful day, have a nice run.” The guy just wouldn’t shut up.

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