Honor Thy Mother & Thy Father Ch. 14byProlonged_Debut10©
Note: This is a work of FICTION! Although the areas this story takes place in are real; all of the landscapes depicted, the people described, and everything else this story uses to make it enjoyable reading for you are NOT REAL. As you read this story, try to remember:
59. Happier Days
Patricia had finished putting away 1000 pounds of feed into the loft of the barn, using her new forklift. The heavy equipment store manager had offered to give her lessons on using it, when he brought it to the ranch. Patty had taken the users-manual home and read it overnight. As she closed the cage around her, the manager started pointing out the features of the machine. Patty said, "Let me take it for a test ride."
He watched her do things on the forklift that a 10-year veteran could not do any better. When she finished he asked, "How many of these have you driven before?"
"This is my first one, but I read the entire manual last night. I just knew it would be fun."
"I have never heard anyone call driving a forklift fun before."
"I will not be using it that often. If anyone in this area is in real need, and wants to borrow it, let them know it is available."
"They could drive off with your forklift, and you will never see it again."
"I will take them inside, and put their names into my computer. I will show them what will happen to them if they do. I guarantee you they will bring back my forklift."
"Okay ma'am, I will keep it in mind. If you need anything else just give me a call."
Patricia used the forklift to pick up the huge round bales of hay and separated them all over her property. The horses were looking better, but still on the skinny side of healthy. The Vet had it given them a complete work over, and they were now on vitamins and minerals to bring them back to health.
She had a blacksmith re-shoe all of them.
The residential lawnmower company she had come out to mow the entire 35 acres, told her she was out of her mind.
Patricia asked him if he was averse to making money.
"No ma'am, I'm not, but this is going to cost you a fortune every time I am here. It is going to take me eight or nine hours to do this place and that is six people working full-time. It is going to cost you $900 per cut, and that is only an estimate, until I get the first cut out of the way. If it takes me more time, I am going to have to charge you more money."
Patricia responded, "Let's start out at $1000 a cut. However, if I see one clump of grass left by your mowers, you are fired. If you are men leave any long grass stems around the fence posts, you are fired. If you break anything, you are responsible for it. If you do a good job you and your men will get bonuses at Christmas. There will always be drinks available for you in the barn. I expect your blades to be sharp, every time you start this job. I want my property to look manicured. Whether I am here or in California, the bank will pay you. Someone will always be looking over your shoulder. I want to make this property look like a golf course fairway. I want my property cut once a week. If I like your work and my property begins to look like I want it to look, next year we will start out at $1200 a cut. If it needs fertilizer, don't wait, fertilizer it. If it needs to be sprayed for bugs, get someone to spray it. Stay with him, and make sure he does every square foot with insecticide, not water. This property is your responsibility. Present the bill to the manager of the bank, and he will pay you on the spot; no questions asked. If you screw me, as my last foreman did, you will be in jail, just like he is going to be.
When the weather starts to cool down, and the grass stops growing you can reduce the amount of cuts as necessary. When it snows I want the driveway clear the day after it stops. No excuses will be accepted. I want the horses to be able to go out the front and the back doors of the barn. Is that clear?
"Yes Miss Parent, I understand."
"Good, you may start as soon as you put new blades on all your mowers."
Every night she dreamed of her mother. She talked to her mother, in her dreams, and asked her what she wanted from her. Her mother always answered, "I want you to be happy." She answered her mother saying, "Mom, those days are over. You are gone, dad has his own life, and I have no one. I am going to get the property back to where it was, and then I'm going to sell it. I thought I could keep it, but it hurts too much. I walk over to where our beautiful house was, and all I can picture is you dying there. I have to move on; to where, I don't know, but I can't stay here much longer. I will go crazy."
One night she was sleeping, and her mother came to her, and said, "You should let the horses out of the barn, there is going to be an earthquake tonight."
She mumbled, "Mom, New York does not have earthquakes."
Patricia rolled over, and fell off her bed. Her head popped up off the floor, and looked around her room. It was pitch black all around her. "Mom, that was not funny."
She hit the light switch. Everything in the room was normal. She checked the alarm for the motorhome and it was on. The air-conditioning was functioning normally. Now, she was wide-awake, with nothing to do. She remembered the earthquake dream, and decided it could not hurt to let the horses out for one night.
She turned off the alarm, and walked outside into the muggy night air, turned on the lights in the barn, and opened the stalls. Most of the horses were sleeping. She went to each one and woke them gently. From the looks in their eyes, they did not want to be bothered by her. Eventually they got up and went into the pasture.
As an afterthought, she moved the forklift out of the barn, also. She walked back to the motorhome, locked up, and went back to sleep.
At 4:57 AM, for the first time in 108 years, New York experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which started in the Carolinas went through Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and into Canada.
For the second time that morning, Patricia found herself on the floor of her motorhome. "Mom, enough already, I got the message the first time. I let them out. "
As she climbed back into bed, an aftershock hit. She said, "Holy shit!"
She screamed, "Mom, what do you want from me. I can't take it anymore. Leave me alone; just let me die in peace."
Moments later she smelled smoke, and she did not know where it was coming from. She threw on her jeans, zipped up her boots, threw on a blouse, and ran outside. Thankfully it wasn't her motorhome, but the barn was ablaze. The south side was totally engulfed, and she knew there was nothing she could do to save the structure. The motorhome was only 20 feet from the barn. She could not get it down off its mounts, get it started, and move it away to safety, if the fire decided to come its way.
She grabbed the water hose and started wetting down the area between the barn and the motorhome. Every time a spark flew, she wet it down. Within five minutes, the entire barn was engulfed in flames. The heat was intense, but she would not back away. She would not lose everything again.
In the distance, she heard fire engines, but she did not know if it was for her fire or if someone had a house fire.
The fire blew out a window in the barn, which knocked her back into the motorhome, hitting her head. She was on the ground, dazed, confused, and disoriented. Someone grabbed her by her arms and pulled her away from the heat and flames of the fire. He called for a paramedic, and when a bright light was shined into her eyes, she lost consciousness.
She woke up in Glens Falls hospital 90 minutes later. She was being treated for minor burns and scratches, on her hands and face, and a mild concussion. The doctor looked at her and asked, "Exactly how dumb are you, trying to fight a wood structure fire with a garden hose?"
"I wasn't fighting the fire. I was trying to save my motorhome. I lost everything else; I did not want to lose that also."
"What is your name? You did not have any identification on you when you got here."
"My name is Patricia Parent. Laura Parent was my mother."
"Oh God, I knew your mother. I'm so sorry."
"How am I doing?"
"You have a mild concussion. We are going to keep you here overnight to make sure nothing happens to you. You will look like you were out in the sun too long, because of your fair skin, but otherwise you will have no scarring from your exposure to the fire. The Fire Department said you got the horses out in time; that was very brave of you."
She could not say what she wanted to say, so she lied. "I was outside walking, when the earthquake hit. I ran to the barn, because the horses were nervous. I let them out. Afterwards I went inside the motorhome to try to get some sleep. I did not smell the smoke until moments later."
Two police officers approached her, and asked if she was well enough to give a statement.
She said she was, and the Doctor left them alone.
Patricia looked at one of the officers, smiled, and said, "Have you done any boating in the Hudson River lately?"
The officer replied, "I'm sorry ma'am, I don't know what you're talking about."
"Officer, I'm sorry to say you have a very distinct accent, and the scar on your lip is the same as the one on the man who fished me out of that river. At least now I can place the name and the face, and thank you properly Officer Meisner."
"Patricia, your memory is going to get you and me in trouble. You have to keep quiet about these things."
"Sam, all I did ask was if you did any boating. I didn't know that was a crime."
"Your mother always said you were a pain in the ass."
"If that is all she said about me, she was being very nice that day."
"What happened to your place today?"
"Do you want the truth, or do you want what I told the doctor."
"Tell me the truth, and I will write down what I think the insurance company will believe."
She told him the story from beginning to end, and he said, "I need a chair."
"You told me you wanted the truth, and that's the way it happened."
"If I checked your motorhome, how many pounds of dope would I find?"
"If you find any, I will give you $1 million in cash, tax-free."
"Were you drunk or anything like that?"
"They took my blood; you have my permission to have it tested."
"Patty, I don't believe in ghosts."
"Sam, until I got home, I didn't either. I have prayed to my mother. I have talked to my mother, before I go to sleep. I dreamt about my mother. I had never seen an apparition of her, or been kicked out of bed by her, before tonight. All of this is new to me, and it scares me to death."
"Patty, I don't want to be offensive, but did you have anything stressful happen to you lately."
"Since we met the last time, it has been nothing but a one stressful event after another. You have probably read about them, either in the newspapers or in your police reports. The kidnapping of Stephano Valentino, I arranged it. Bruno Valentino turning state's evidence, I was instrumental in creating it. The men, who killed the eight officers in Sedona Arizona, were after two people. I was one of them. The newspaper reports about the NSA, the IRS, the DEA, and a few other federal agencies breaking into the FBI computers, and college kids leaking the information to the press, that was part of my team. The three mob bosses turning themselves in to the U.S. Attorney that was me too. I used myself as bait to take down Bruno Valentino, and I have offered myself as bait to the FBI, to get people arrested and put in jail. Everyone won, except those eight police officers, and me. We are all dead. They are buried and I will be soon. I think that is why my mother is talking to me. That's why I bought the motor coach. I thought if I did not stay in one place too long, I would be a moving target. When I got here and saw the condition of the property, and the horses I could not leave it that way. That was when I saw my mother standing in the driveway beckoning me to come home. I thought she wanted me to fix up the place, like it was before she was killed. I don't know what she wants from me, but I just can't stay here; if I do, I will die."
"What will you do now that the barn is burnt down?"
"The horses need a place to stay. I will build a new and better barn. Do you know a good architect, here in town?"
"Yes, I do. I will have one stop by the hospital this afternoon."
"You have an architect that makes hospital calls."
"He's my nephew. He makes hospital calls, because he is just out of graduate school. This will be his first commission."
"Okay, whenever they get a room for me, send him there, and we will talk."
In the middle of the afternoon Patricia was resting in her room when there was a knock on her door. A very good-looking young man walked in carrying a briefcase, and a box. He said, "Hello, my name is Bradley Goodman. My Uncle, Sam Meisner, asked me to come by, Miss Parent."
"Come in, and please call me Patty."
"Call me Brad."
"You'll please excuse my appearance; these hospital gowns are not noted for this style."
"I believe that is why my uncle sent you this box."
Patty looked inside and laughed. "Brad could you wait outside for a moment. Your uncle has a very good memory."
She took off her hospital gown, and put on her new pajamas.
"You can come back in now."
As he walked back into the room laughed. "Are you sure you did not prefer the hospital gown?"
"No, this covers much more of me, and it brings back a lot of good memories. Your uncle knew me when I was child. I used to run around the house in pajamas quite like these. I am amazed he found them in an adult size."
"I must admit that he you do look cute in pink and white bunnies. How can I help you otherwise?"
"Your uncle probably told you my barn burned down, earlier this morning. I want you to design and build me a new barn for 16 horses. The same height as the old one, but not made of wood or anything flammable on the exterior. I want concrete block or poured concrete walls. I want a steel roof, with solar panels. I will design the layout for them for maximum voltage potential during the winter months. I want the barn to be self-sustaining. Positive ventilation fans on both sides, forced air heating for the winter. All the electrical wiring is to be run through steel conduit. I want pressure-treated wood for the stalls, but non-toxic to the horses. There must be hot and cold running water run to each stall, with hose bibs connectors, septic tanks and a top-notch fire suppression system inside. I don't want any of my horses to die in there. There needs to be sleeping quarters for two people plus a full kitchen. If there is anything I forgot put it in."
"You are building a very expensive barn, Patty. When do you want these plans ready?"
"I'd like to see them by visiting hours tonight."
"That's impossible, no one could do that."
"Is your computer in that bag?"
"Yes it is, why?"
"Does it have a CAD feature on it?"
"Yes it does."
"May I borrow your computer?"
He sat down at the little table in her hospital room, and watched her put the CAD program through its paces. What she did not know about city, state, and federal code, she more than made up in design modification and flair. By the time her dinner arrived, two hours later, the only problem she had not solved was one of the bedrooms was still partially outside of the building, because of the kitchen.
Brad told her to take 6 inches off the size of the stalls on that side of the barn, and her problem was solved.
"I will have the layout of the Solar Panels for you in one week. I have to call a friend and ask him about some design specification for them."
When she stopped 70% of the work on the barn was done. He had to do the electrical, heating, and plumbing work, but she had done everything else perfectly. He looked at her and said, "What are you doing tomorrow?"
"Getting out of the hospital, and surveying the damage."
"Do you need a ride?"
"Yes, I do."
"You are single, right?"
"Yes, I am single."
"Are you to be hungry tomorrow night?"
"Am I hungry now for tomorrow night?"
"Isn't now a perfect time to ask?"
"Are you asking to take me to go out to dinner with you?"
"Isn't now a good time to ask? It means you will eat a light lunch, because a handsome young man is going to take you to dinner and dancing."
"I thought it was just dinner."
"Time marches on, and dinner only takes an hour or so. It does not fill up an entire evening. There is no sense wasting all those hours."
"Don't you have work the following morning?"
"Yes I do, but I have a very understanding boss."
Patricia laughed, "I guess that boss must be you?"
"Heavens no, I just got out of school. My mother owns the business, and she wants grandchildren."
"At the beginning of this conversation it was just dinner. Then it was dinner and dancing. I stop there. They'll be no dinner, dancing, and grandchildren."
"Patricia, what kind of a mind you think I have?"
"Do you really want me to answer the question, or should I call your mother?"
"Don't you dare call my mother? If she hears I have a date, she'll put a ring on your finger."
Patricia hadn't laughed that loud or long in quite a while. It felt really good.
"I don't know what time I'm getting out of here tomorrow. I also don't know if I have any clothes left to wear. They did not tell me if my motorhome was destroyed or not."
"I would hate to keep you waiting for me in the morning. I could sleep with you tonight, if you'd like?"
"Are you thinking about your mother's grandchildren again?"
"I can't sneak anything by you, can I?"
"I can see that I am going to have to keep a close eye on you, Brad. You are not to be trusted."
"It is funny you should mention that Patty. Several young women, from my high school graduating class, wrote that in my yearbook. I never understood why until now."
"You are going to have to learn to lie better than that, if you want to get the commission to build my barn."
"Okay Patty, let's try this. If you're motorhome burnt down, and you have no clothes to wear, we can have dinner at my place. I will put soft music on my stereo, and we can dance in my living."
"Brad, can I have your mother's phone number please. I want to know if you were born with a one-track mind."
"Patty, I must not tell a lie. I love the pajamas my uncle bought you. However, very soon I am going to be as hard as nails, because I am going to be looking at your breasts."
Patricia looked down to see all but the two top buttons on her pajama top had become undone. She screamed, grabbed the material, and turned around. As she did this, the top two buttons popped open. She screamed again.
A nurse came running into her room to find out what was going on. Brad told her that Patty was having a clothing malfunction.
She walked over to Patty to see what happened. She saw her attempting to button up her top. She looked at him and asked, "Did you do this to my patient?"
Brad replied, "Not guilty ma'am, I never laid a finger on her."
Patty told the nurse it was true, and asked for a hospital gown. The nurse put it on over her pajamas. Brad was really disappointed.
"Tell Sam, if I thought he did that on purpose he would be audited by the IRS for the rest of his life. As far as your 'Indecent Proposal,' you may be cute, but you are not Robert Redford; so my answer is no. If you wish to pick me up tomorrow and take me out to the ranch that is acceptable. I will go out to dinner with you, but I will play the rest of the evening by ear. If I find out that you have 'Roaming Hand Disease' or you are a 'Vampire,' I must warn you that I spent last year working for the FBI and its director, Michael Free. You can call his switchboard and give them my name if you don't believe me. You will go to a graduate school on the eastern end of the island of Cuba. You will get a marvelous tan and no one will ever know where you are."