Chapter 8 of ? (baby?!)

[edit note: prepare photo of a shorthand note before publishing]

It’s early, but I’m awake just laying here thinking about important decisions I have to make this school year. Heather is coming in to see if I’m awake. I open my eyes as she sits on the edge of the big bed trying to not wake up the youngest boys on the other side.

“Jane, you’re not going to believe this,” whispered Heather. “Mama’s gonna have a baby!”

“Oh, come off it, where’d you hear that?” That was the last thing I wanted to hear. “I’ll never get out of here now.”

“What do you mean, where’re you going?”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. No place right now – don’t worry.”

I want to make sure she understands. “I’m taking typing and shorthand this year so I can get a good job when I graduate. Next year they’re offering a class on introduction to business.”

Heather wrinkles her nose, “What’s that?”

“Don’t play dumb with me; you know what a typewriter is.”

“Well, yes I do!” Heather is cute and matter of fact about everything. “They have one at church. I still don’t know what shorthand is.”

“Well, Little One, it is a secret writing code that few people can read. It’s pretty too – you can hide the code in drawings and paintings, and use it for a lot of stuff.” She’s two years younger, but I can’t resist using terms to remind her I’m the oldest kid. Gotta earn my birthright, right? Kids need order and consistency.

Heather thought about it for a second, “Well, I’m not sure Mom would like the idea about you keeping secrets.”

“Go get a piece of paper and a pencil, I’ll show you.” When she brought back a page from her notebook, I wrote the message in Gregg Shorthand, “Boys are cute, but God loves you.”

“Now you keep that in your pocket. When you find someone that can read it, tell me who they are.”

“What does it mean – what does it say?”

“It’s a secret – can’t tell you.”


Chapter 7 of ?

The mood at home is returning to normal after we got Kevin home. Dad seems to go out of his way to do special things as if nothing bad had happened. He’s very cordial on the weekends around us, and at church services I hardly recognize him. He gives the impression of being a saintly person full of charity and kindness. Being tall and handsome, he turns on the charm and people find him easy to like.

Mom knows she has to makes changes. She’s looking for a better job to be able to save some money. Her self confidence is lower than it should be, because she didn’t lose enough weight between having so many kids so fast.

She works at many chores, but I’ve never seen her dirty. Quite an amazing feat I’ve never been able to accomplish! When I get dirty, I stink!

She’s decided to get a better job and start saving money. Of course, Dad is against it, but he finally agreed, with the stipulation that he would not have to do anything around the house, and supper will be ready when he gets home from work. I’ve got news for him – all he does is bring home a paycheck anyway. What I want is a real father, a man I can trust that loves me – a man that doesn’t think of his family as a possession to control and treat as he pleases. A man I can respect. I’m praying, Oh, God, do you make any like that? If you don’t, could you please fix the one we have?

Sally knows only the people at church, and has little time for a few friends. Lamenting to a neighbor, “Mildred, I really want to improve the way I look. I can’t afford better clothes and these are starting to hang on me from losing weight. I know Randy’s going to have a fit when I get my hair cut off. What do you think? Am I making a mistake?”

“I think you need to go ahead and get a better job. There’s a manufacturing company that’s hiring trainees right now – call them, they’ll teach you how to do the job.”

“That’s what I really want to do so I’ll have some money to buy extra things we need. Jane and Heather could take care of the boys this summer so I wouldn’t have to pay a babysitter. I don’t trust anybody else to keep them.”

Mom got the new job!  With her first paycheck she bought two new shirts and pants for work, a pair of shoes, got her hair cut and styled – and lipstick. For women, wearing pants or makeup and cutting their hair is forbidden by the church. Dad didn’t throw a fit this time, but he was not pleased that she now “looked like a harlot.” I was so proud of her as she ignored him and went to buy groceries without asking him for money!

I find it curious at church this morning, the preacher’s wife has much shorter hair. Hmm, wonder why that happened! Mom just told me the lady gave her a tiny bottle of perfume explaining that was acceptable for married ladies to use. For the first time since I can remember, I’m thinking of her as really pretty. Besides that, from what I read in the Bible, harlots are fallen women – Mom may be almost broken, but she’s not fallen.

Chapter 6 of ? (Randy arrives home)

[Reminder to new readers: This is the draft of a fiction novel being written by the owner of this blog site and copyright. Thank you for visiting.]

Dad is scheduled to work until seven. There’s barely time to cook supper. Normally, I have it at least started by now. Mom is washing the fish while I dice up fresh cabbage. Heather is laying in the middle of the living room floor reading a book to the boys trying to get their mind off of what happened today. All they know is their brother has a boo-boo and the doctor was going to make it go away.

In a soft voice, Sally opens the conversation, “What happened today, Jane? Why was Kevin and Allen near the road?”

I’m not sure if it was from dicing the onion, or just a release, but I started bawling.

“I told them they could play in the front yard, but not with the balls. They were drawing chalk squares on the walkway and playing hopscotch. Tommy wasn’t feeling good and had gone to the back room to lie down. I was checking on him to make sure he wasn’t getting a fever and to give him a glass of water. I took my eyes off of them for just a few minutes.”

I’m not really surprised when I hear Mom say, “I understand. Things sometimes happen in spite of everything we try to do. We were lucky this time, he’ll be okay. Here, have a bite of honey bun!” This woman has never raised her voice at me, and the love I feel for her can never be deserved by any kid.

I had to blow my nose before I could say, “You’re so silly – it’s almost time for supper!”

Dad walks into the house, tired as usual. Plumbing is not an easy job when you’re good at it. Generally, he doesn’t talk much for the first hour, but he does expect supper to be ready. Heather and I fill the serving dishes and put them on the table while Mom talks to him about the situation.

Well, the truth is, Dad has a temper. Not a normal kind of everyday temper, but one that explodes like a time bomb with no warning clock.

He said, “When are you going to pick up Kevin tomorrow?”

I could tell Mom was on edge, “I don’t know yet. I planned to go stay with him tonight, but they said I should be able to bring him home tomorrow.”

Without looking at her, he said, “Tell me again where you were. Did Jane understand she was in charge while you were gone?”

“I went to get the fish and honey buns like I always do on Fridays. Yes, she knows what to do, and she did everything she could.”

Suddenly, Randy leaps out of his chair and yells at her, “Well evidently she didn’t do what she was told, or my son wouldn’t be laying in the hospital tonight.”

He’s ripping his thick leather belt out of his pant loops, and wrapping the belt end around his hand screaming for me to come to him immediately. I see Heather quickly gathering the boys and scurrying them off to the back room. I hear the door close behind them.

I stand up as straight as I can and silently walk to the living room to face his wrath. This time, I am determined not to cry.

Dad is still yelling, “I think you forgot what responsibility is, and you need a little reminder,” as he grabs my arm, with the belt buckle flying against my back, fanny and legs. I can feel the whelps swelling as the buckle cuts into my skin. I start to count silently and clench my jaw in defiance, one, two, three, four, five, six … I can hear Mom sobbing. I know she is helpless to do or say anything. If she did, he would beat her with his fists, and somebody has to be able to take care of the kids … seven, eight, nine, ten …

I look up to see my body being whipped. I turn and walk out of the house and immediately into my safe haven.

Finally, it stops. Sally knows this will not be the last. She is feeling desperate, because she knows Randy will never change. She questions every reason she ever thought she loved him, as she led Jane to the bed.

Those who could, ate the cold supper in silence.

When Sally went to the bedroom to check on Jane, her eyes were open but she did not respond; so she tended to her wounds and washed her face. Sally had seen the expression before, and she knew this kid was different.

Chapter 5 of ? (a kid in danger)

The boys know they are never allowed to play or cross the street alone. Kevin decides it will be okay if he holds Allen’s hand – looks both ways – to dash across the street to visit friends. They have actually done this before, except they didn’t connect the fact that Sally had talked to their friends’ mother, and both mothers stood by the street to tell them when to cross. Today, his idea doesn’t work out well. It is a busy narrow two-lane through street where even thirty miles an hour is fast.

Hearing the horns and loud voices outside, Jane and Heather run out of the house and across the yard. They hear a siren in the distance. A frantic man is carrying Kevin in his arms to another car. Jane runs after him while Heather grabs Allen, sitting him down on the grass checking for injuries. Finding him physically alright, she comforts him.

“I’m taking this kid straight to hospital, and not waiting for anybody,” he yells over his shoulder as he slides into the back seat cuddling Kevin with all the protection he has to hold the gash in his head. As the car speeds away, out of desperation, I begin to pray, “Please God, help us. I cannot lose Kevin. I’m sorry I didn’t watch him close enough. Please God, don’t blame him for my fault. We love him so much.”

When the police arrive and talk to witnesses, they conclude that, in his excitement of doing something he wasn’t sure about, Kevin lead his brother straight into the side of a car. They’re calling the hospital to verify Kevin is there, and get a report on his condition. One officer is clearing the traffic, and moving his patrol car to the side street next to the house, while the other is taking all the kids back into the house. They wait for Sally to get home.

It is Friday afternoon. As her usual routine, Sally is downtown picking up the special sale at the fish market, and stopping by the back door of the bread company, where she buys a big tray of fresh misshapen honey buns for a dollar. These are our treat on the weekend.

Nearing the house, Sally spots the police car. Her heart goes wild as she finally manages to park the car and rush to the house. She has no idea what to expect. An officer meets her at the door to assure her everything was under control. She automatically started looking around to find every kid.

“Where’s Kevin?” The officers explain what happened, while she holds Allen in her lap.

“Jane, are you alright?”

I tell her yes, trying to sound confident.

Heather spoke up, “We’ll stay together, Mom. Nobody will go outside.”

“Take over, I’m going to the hospital,” as she places Allen in a comfortable chair and heads for the door with her keys in her hand.

One officer stops her, “You cannot drive now – you’re too upset.”

“Well, I’m going now one way or another. Either you take me or I’m driving. It’s your choice.” Oh man, I’m thinking to myself. Please understand when she has that tone, nothing will stop her. Evidently, he’s really listening!

The lady officer stays while he drives Sally to the hospital – with lights flashing. She finds that Kevin has a brain concussion as well as the stitches, and will be held overnight for observation. He is in good hands. With the rest of the family to take care of, she leaves him sleeping, and tells his nurse she will be back in a few hours to spend the night with him. The officer finished his report, drives Sally back home, and both officers leave their telephone numbers should she need them.

My stomach is burning from the fear of the thought of possibly losing Kevin. With the realization of what’s coming next, dread grips my heart and I wish for an instant I was dead. Dad will be home in thirty minutes. How will he react to the news…

Chicken house door …

New Chicken House Door

What do you do on a chilly day when all you feel is tired and depressed? Paint and install a door for the chicken house! (Okay, to be honest my husband did the hard work of installation.) As I was marking it off and gathering the paint cans, my husband kept looking at it wondering what it would look like. Being the artistic type, it has to be unique to suit me. What my other land partners think doesn’t have any influence at all. When Mr Bull saw it, he mooed and walked away. The dogs stared at it, and said, “Oh well, that’s normal – for her.” The chickens pecked it to make sure it was real. Finally, my husband said, “Okay, eh, does it have a name?”

“Don’t you recognize a Chicken Angel when you see one?”

The Chicken Angel

Sales Tax impact on business…

Kerry Rice, Needham & Co Internet Analyst, just stated on business news that the impact of having to collect and pay sales tax on internet sales would impact Amazon’s bottom line. Amazon just fell by $40/share after market closing today. Assuming a 5% reduction in revenue would result in a 19% reduction in EPS (earnings per share).

That brought a question to my mind. Most retail business in America is subjected to the requirement of collecting and remitting a sales tax to the states in which they do business. Business must bear the cost/expense to perform this collection for the state but is not reimbursed or compensated in any way. If they are one day late in filing their remittances, they are also subject to hefty fines.

In light of that business cost, evidently non-collecting internet businesses are garnering a higher profit per share. This is an example of the bizarre movement of market stock prices. What is really going on? Who benefits in this scenario?

Does ranting help anything?

Caution: An angry post meant for The Storage Shed.

It was difficult enough in the twentieth century to identify individual human rights, and what effect each had on ‘others.’ But, in the early part, populations could survive in townships of like-minded locals. When enough became bored with being a part of any productive work, they decided that management of assets was what America needed; and judgment-making and influence would eventually lead them to positions of power. That, in itself, started redistribution of human rights under the name of progress, aka Progressive Thinking.

In a nutshell, now that power has globalized, the whole system is too complex to change one element overnight – except for the real possibility of the whole damn thing collapsing, and we start over.

Think about this – there’s a law for everything. That means there’s a consequence for everything. A person cannot even exist without an assessed tax due and payable by someone, for the land under his feet. He cannot exist, without being categorized by the color of his skin, the way he makes love, and how much tax he pays – at the same time totally restricted on how he earns a respectable living. That tells me, freedom is a myth. We are currently nothing but a commodity, and we are being forced to accept a broken economy because some group of global elites will bloody well decide our worth at any given time according to their agenda.

Every viable and sustaining society on earth has no choice but to have social concerns and responsibilities – unless they (like some countries) are willing to commit mass genocide. In order to be sustainable a greater portion of the population has to be able to maintain a healthy economy.

In Libya yesterday, a Brotherhood representative declared Sharia Law would be the only law of that land. When someone objected to the section that a thief would have his hand amputated as justice, the rep said, ‘Why are you concerned, if you are not a thief.’

At the same time this agenda is going on in the world, America is being emotionally and economically torn apart. So, you tell me, where’s the level playing field? How much equality would you be willing to share between good and evil?