I hope you enjoyed this little story, that is if you started it from the beginning. I can’t believe I squeezed 18 chapters out of a simple thought. I had fun writing it several years ago and perhaps I will start another one. I have several ideas floating around in my head. But that is for another time. In the mean time, enjoy the final chapter.
It had been a little over a week since the whole adventure with the Great Ethan Allen had unleashed a chain of events that had thrown the entire Noorman family into chaos. David thought upon the events that had unraveled to get them to this point. For a brief moment, Tracy had thought that her husband was an accomplice in a bank robbery, Daniel and Whitney thought that David had buried a body, Sam was upset because her popularity had been ruined. And worst of all, David had blown his precious three day weekend digging up a rusty refrigerator and almost getting a ticket for littering in the process.
It had been a quiet day at the station. The only call they got was from a nice old lady who thought she had seen smoke in her house. When the firemen got there she carefully walked them through each room asking if they could see the billowing smoke along the ceiling. After a thorough search. No one could detect any smoke or flames. The smoke detector was fully operational and there was no steam or cooking smoke that had set it off. One of the firemen noticed that the lady had poor eyesight and that she was possibly seeing clouds of smoke through here smoky lenses.
It was calls like that that David enjoyed. Leave the real fire and destruction to the younger guys. David was like that once, but now he would rather help out little old ladies than go toe to toe with a raging fire. Tracy was grateful too. She was to the point now where she did not worry about David getting hurt or maimed because he was trying to be a hero where there was no hero needed.
The clock was rolling around quickly now and in a few hours his shift would end. The rest of the crew was out killing time washing off the trucks. They always washed the trucks to pass time and to keep their image squeaky clean.
David had told several guys about the weekend adventure. Several of them did not believe him. They figuring it was all made up or that David was going to spring a punch line on them at any second. Even after he insisted that it was all true. They all had to comment on how they would have played out the scenario differently.
“After that cop would have left, I would have turned around an reburied it.”
“Oh yeah? Well I would not have went out there with my family and dug it up in the first place.”
“Well, I would have hung up on the ‘friend’ and went right to bed. That would have prevented it from happening all together! “
David reasoned that that did seem like the best coarse of action. If he had just hung up that phone, he could have gained several hours of sleep and a full weekend all to himself with no other pressing issues. Then again, he would not have been able to catch up with his old friend after a long separation. It was true that Ethan had gotten him into some interesting situations. But David had reciprocated them several times himself. It was good to relive some of the old times and after that night was over. They now, unwittingly, had another story to add to their basket.
Before long the time had walked around another hour and David shift had ended. He grabbed his gear and clocked out, waving to the rest of the crew as he pushed through the door. He walked over to his truck and could still smell some residual aroma left over from the most recent cargo. A fragrance of lemon scent car wash and decomposing fish bait. He smiled at the thought while opening the door and climbing inside. He bucked up his seat belt then turned the key. The truck started with a strong roar and he shifted it in gear and backed out, Heading home.
It was one of those trips where everything goes by in a blur. David’s mind was on auto pilot as he drove the familiar roads home. He allowed his brain to wander at the weekend and he could not help but smile at every event. Like the time they he and Ethan had went on that infamous camping trip. They never made it to their destination and everything that could go wrong, did. It was a story right out of the pages of hellish vacations. David had told the story many times to his kids and, as with all stories, the embellishments kept getting bigger and grander after every telling. Before long, David and Ethan were running naked through some forgotten campground with a bear chasing them. None of that was true. But it was a great story to tell the kids.
This new story had it’s moments. And with a little imagination, I could prove to be quite a tale to tell some grand kids some day. The kids were getting up there in years now. And telling them bed time stories were quickly becoming a thing of the past. Daniel might still have a few years left. Whitney maybe less. But Samantha had already outgrown the magic and had begun to take control of her own reigns. It was soon to be the end of an era.
When it was all said and done, the family was not that much worse for ware. They had survived the endeavor and had actually gained some quality family time without having to spend a fortune on hotels, gas and entrance fees. David looked back and could still see little Daniels face, covered with dirt and grime, smiling as if he were playing with his best friends in the back yard.
The miles faded away and a twenty minute commute had seemed like it had taken only a few moments. Before David knew it, He was pulling into the familiar driveway that he called home. He pulled in and turned off the engine. He looked up to see the shovel rack in the daylight with all the tools neatly hanging in their proper place. Tracy finally had her shovel back. All of the shovels still had some residual dirt clinging to their blades; a token reminder. David scanned around looking for the blue shovel he had purchased as a substitute.
He found it, but it was not hanging in the small open shed next to the house. Instead, it was being used by Whitney in the yard. David unbuckled his seat belt and opened the door. He climbed out, grabbing his lunch and jacket.
“Hey kid! What you doing?” He called to Whitney as she stepped on the small shovel sinking it into the earth.
“Hi Daddy! I’m digging!” Whitney shouted back.
“Digging holes! Duh!” Whitney turned over the small clump and started the process again.
“Huh!” David looked after her. She seemed lost in her own little world. Luckily the shovel was too small to do any permanent damage to the lawn. And there were no pipes of wires that traversed their lawn that could be in danger of being accidentally found. The yard maintenance was really Tracy’s field, and unless he wanted to take up mowing the lawn again, he preferred it that way. He waved at her as he walked up the sidewalk to the door.
David opened the door and was greeted by the cat as he flopped his jacket over the chair and empty lunch bucket on the table. Tracy was busy reading the paper.
“Hi hon! “ She spoke to the room as David entered.
David could hear the sounds of laser fire and explosions coming from Daniels room. He picked up the cat and stroked it as he pulled back a chair to sit down. He placed the cat on the table and the cat responded by walking in small figure eights, brushing back and forth against David’s hands.
“Did you know that Whitney was digging holes in the yard?” David asked still petting the cat.
“Yeah, She’s been doing ever since she got that new shovel. It’s like she is possessed!”
“Aren’t you afraid she is going to turn the yard into a moonscape?”
“No, She fills the holes back in after she digs them. It aerates the soil.”
“Have you asked her why she is doing it?” David asked mundanely.
Tracy lowered the paper and smiled at David “She says she’s practicing for spring.” Tracy let out a laugh
David followed almost giddy from lack of sleep and the thought that his Daughter had fallen in love with digging. He picked up the rag doll cat with his two front hands. “So you’re name is Eliot? I’m sorry to hear that kitty. I would have called you a cool name. A real cat name, Like….Fluffy!”
The cat continued to purr indifferent to the name. Tracy and David both laughed. “Fluffy?” Tracy giggled
“What’s wrong with that? “
“I don’t know….Fluffy? Of all the names. Fluffy?”
“It’s better than Eliot.”
“Maybe slightly. But not enough to change it now.”
David looked around the kitchen. Samantha was not yet home and there was no food on the stove. He sniffed the air hoping to catch a whiff of some seasoned aroma that might give a hint as to what was for dinner.
“What we eating?” David grunted in the primal caveman style.
“Pizza! I didn’t feel like cooking, I ordered out. It should be here right as Sam gets home. If I timed it right.” Tracy continued to read her paper. There were more mysteries to be solved today. Someone had found a car that had been reported stolen. It was parked along the river with the keys still in the ignition. The police had no suspects at this time, but there was a theory that it was possibly some kids on a joy ride.
Tracy glanced through several pages in the back. The newest headline caught her eye that a white fallow deer was spotted close to Grand Haven walking around the roads along the Grand River. Tracy’s mind began to race wondering if it was an escaped deer from someone’s private herd or if it was a mutant albino deer. She had never heard of a fallow deer before. Was this a breed of deer or a rare deformity in white tail. She read the article that was sketchy at best on the details. She decided to clip it out and do some research later online after dinner.
David got up and walked over to the Daniel’s door. He could hear Danny talking to someone as they played their video game. Between the laser blasts and rocket launches, He could faintly hear their conversation. They were talking about the weekend’s adventure. David stood by to listen for more details but after a while decided to head back to the kitchen.
“Who’s in there with Danny?” David asked.
“Mark from across the street.”
“They are talking about the weekend.”
“Oh yeah, Danny’s become quite the story teller. Much like his father I would guess.” Tracy raised an eyebrow. Looking up at David
“Well where is this food? I’m starving!” David opened the fridge looking for some fast consumables.
The roar of the bus announced to everyone that Samantha had arrived. Daniels door flung open as Mark ran out the back door. Daniel came in the living room and turned on the television to catch the last few minutes of his favorite cartoon. Whitney came running in, Kicking off her shoes and garden gloves that she had borrowed from Tracy. Everyone looked out the door.
Sam climbed off and skipped down the sidewalk to the front door. Behind her, a pizza delivery car pulled in the driveway.
Tracy reached for a twenty dollar bill and handed it to David.
“Why me?” He asked
“Because you are the man.” She answered swiftly.
David grabbed the money and walked over to the door. He opened it just in time for Samantha to come skipping in. She was followed closely by the pizza delivery driver.
“Hello my wonderful family!” Sam greeted with a musical voice.
Everyone stopped to look at her. Tracy stopped reading to stare. Whitney and Daniel looked as if hypnotized. David blindly reached for the pizza and handed the delivery guy the money without waiting for change. Even the cat froze in his tracks to look ad Samantha.
“What!” She asked, pulling off her backpack and hooking it on the peg.
Everyone snapped out of their trance and continued on with their previous errands. David carried the pizza boxes over to the dinning room table and opened them for display.
“Pizza is served! Grab your plates and let’s eat!” David commanded.
Daniel was the first up with plate in hand. He nimbly grabbed a slice of the everything pizza and pulled the stringy mozzarella cheese on to his plate. David also grabbed a piece before he had a plate. He took a bite of the dangling tip before it dripped off onto the floor. Tracy and the girls soon followed, carrying their plates in hand.
“Great! I’m Starving!” Sam blurted out.
Once again, Everyone stopped and looked at Sam. Sam became immediately aware that she was the focus of everyone’s attention.
“What?” She asked defiantly.
“Ok Sam, What happened to make you so happy this fine evening?” Tracy asked. “Did a cheerleader break her leg today?”
Sam grinned evilly instantly. “No,” She started. “This is way better. The best looking boy in the whole school sat with me for lunch! And when his girlfriend came over, He totally told her to get lost! And she was the most popular sophomore in school!” Samantha beamed! She looked like she was about to float away.
“What boy is this?” David asked aggressively.
“Brian Jacobs!” She swooned. “He is so sweet and nice and hot and popular and everything…”
“Well, you’re too young to date him. And I want to meet this guy so he knows the rules before you do so much as study together.” David shot out.
“Daddy! This is so yesterday. I can’t possibly hook up with any boy now. It will ruin everything!”
Tracy looked up between bites at the sparing that David and Samantha usually did at the dinner table. “So how did you meet this guy?”
Sam took a deep breath. “Well, When everyone thought that Dad had killed Andy because dad thought that Andy was my boyfriend, the news spread real fast and before I knew it I was the girl that no one could have because my Dad was a psycho. So Friday this guy Brian sits with me because he was sitting with this boy that I wanted to talk to and the boy I wanted to talk to had to leave because he didn’t want Dad to kill him And that left me with Brian. Then Christy comes and tells Brian that Dad will kill him if he is seen talking to me and he had to leave but secretly he told me today that he was getting sick of Christy telling him what to do and he really liked talking to me. So today he sat with me because some guys dared him to because they still think that Dad is psycho even though everyone knows that Andy showed up at his grandmothers house Monday and that Dad really didn’t kill him. But that doesn’t matter ever boy still thinks I’m the touch of death and that it is the ultimate sign of bravery if they talk to me. Well, Brian came over and Christy told him to leave me alone but he told Christy that they were over and he told me all about it. Now everyone is talking about me and Brian and if we are going to get together for the next dance.”
David’s head spun as Samantha rapidly shot out the details of the high school drama. “What was that about a dance, again? “
“Don’t worry Dad, I’m not going to the dance.” Sam looked at the pizza and selected one of the biggest pieces from the cheese only one.
“So they found Andy alive and well then?” Tracy asked
“Hmm? Oh yeah! I don’t think he is not going to be in school for a while though. He is probably going to live with his grandmother or something. “
“Why aren’t you going to go to the dance?” Whitney asked.
“Because she knows I won’t let her!” David offered.
“Dad! “ Sam shot a defiant glance over at David. “That’s not why! I can’t go to the dance because I don’t want to only be the known as the girl who is Brian’s girlfriend, I have to be known as the untouchable girl in school. Not attached to anyone ever.” She announced proudly.
“And this is a good thing?” Tracy asked.
“It sounds good to me!” David applauded.
Sam looked over at David with a sinister grin. She didn’t mind if he took credit for her new found niche of popularity in the high school social circles. She was no longer a nobody. She was one of those rare individuals that could travel among the levels sitting and talking with whom ever she wished. It was a very special niche that few could aspire too. It was better than being homecoming queen, better than being class president, Better than being the most popular girl in school. Because, everyone of those titles had their limits. With Sam’s title, She had the potential of being the most wanted girl in school and could achieve all those other titles as long as she didn’t blow it and choose a boyfriend. It was only a small positive side effect that her position would also fit nicely with what her father wants.
Soon the pizza was all but gone and David and Tracy cleaned up the greasy boxes from the table. The kids all ran into the living room to watch a movie they had been waiting for for several days now. David sat in his chair and Tracy sat on the couch next to him. The kids were reclined on the floor in various positions that most adults would cringe over merely at the thought of attempting. David thought back the consequences of that one September Evening and how the results were not as bad as first imagined. Whitney had found a new hobby and possibly a passion once Tracy introduced her to the ancient art of planting. Daniel was becoming quite the story teller in his own right and Tracy had solved all the mysteries she had set before herself. The final mystery being what befell Andy Jaltima: The missing neighbor.
And then there was Sam. Her once purgatory of humiliation and isolation had now become her salvation. She was becoming the most popular girl in school. And best of all, She could remain sweet and innocent ‘till she got married, At least David hoped that would be the case.
And then there was David. Although one might question the positives that come from being known as a psychotic killer of your daughter’s boyfriends at the local high school. David actually took comfort in the new found fame and title. There was a certain mystique in knowing that the biggest, baddest football players were scared of you and terrified to date your daughter. Nope, David was sure he would grow to enjoy the designation.
Before long the movie was over and the kids were milling around the living room flipping through channels. Tracy picked up her paper again and started reading while David rocked back and forth in his chair petting the cat. Daniel looked up at his parents.
“Dad, are you going to do anything with the Great Ethan Allen ever again?”
David looked up and thought about the question, rubbing his chin with his free hand.
“Hopefully not for a very long time!” Tracy interrupted. Looking over at David with a doubting look.
David nodded, “Yeah Danny, Probably not for a very long time.”
Daniel lowered his head in disappointment that was obviously not the answer he was looking for. Just then the phone rang.
Everyone looked up as Samantha ran for the phone. Whitney raced her for a bit but Sam was faster reaching the phone several seconds before Whitney had the chance.
“Hello?” Sam answered. “Ah Just a minute.” She covered the receiver end with her hand and jumped up and down. “Dad! Ethan Allen is on the phone! Or should I say: ‘ Great Ethan Allen’.”
David got up to take the phone. The entire family followed him. Whitney and Sam were jumping up and down and smiling as if it were a call from Santa Clause or the President. David reached for the phone and held it to his ear.