The Legacy Ch. 05bykingkey©
The next morning I woke up feeling half starved. While I was rummaging through what was left of the snacks I had picked up for the drive down here, there was a knock on the door. Opening it I found a grinning Mark.
He held up a thermos of coffee, and a paper bag as he said, "We thought you might be hungry. Sally sent me down here with coffee and an egg sandwich, to help tide you by."
After inviting him in I said, "Sally is a real lifesaver! I was just scratching around, and thought I was going to have to have a breakfast of potato chips and Pepsi."
Mark laughed and said, "That doesn't sound like too healthy of a breakfast. So what are your plans for this morning?"
"Well, after I finish this delicious sandwich, I plan to go to town after supplies. This place is not nearly as bad as I'd feared. You've done a great job watching out for it, and I really owe you and your family. It could've been a hell of a lot worse, if it wasn't for you."
"It wasn't too much work; besides which, we were being paid for keeping an eye on the place."
"Yeah, but to most folks 'keeping an eye on the place' would just mostly be to make sure it didn't burn down, or somebody didn't decide to squat in it. Your family went way beyond that. I thought I'd end up living in a motel room for the next couple of months, but you have kept this place so I can still live here, while doing the work. It might get a little messy while doing it but I've lived in a hell of a lot worse places. It sure beats living in a tent.
"From what I can see, a few bundles of shingles and getting that window fixed, will make this place weatherproof, again. I'll try and get that done in the next couple of days. Other than that, it just looks like some minor repairs in the living room, to change out the few damaged pieces of sheet rock and some new carpeting. Then, after I've changed appliances in the kitchen and upgraded the cabinets, the place will be just like new."
"Are you thinking about selling it, or are you going to hang around for a while?"
"I haven't really made up my mind, yet. On the way down here, I stopped in Claysville, where I met someone. I've never really met someone like her, before. I'd kinda like to see where things go with us."
"You mentioned something last night about some sort of trouble in Claysville. What was that all about?"
"I got tired of driving so I got a motel room in Claysville and decided to have a drink. This stupid drunk decided to beat on his girlfriend, right there in the bar. Well, you know I wouldn't put up with something like that, so I ended up knocking him on his ass. When I was leaving he took a shot at me. I was able to work my way around behind him and disarm him. The police finally arrived and carted his ass away. The next morning the girl, Laurie, showed up at my motel room. She let me know that the police had only charged him for disorderly conduct and released him.
"The guy should have been charged with attempted murder, but he was driving around town with a rifle threatening to get even with me."
"He tried to shoot you, and they only charged him with disorderly conduct?
"It turns out his father is a powerful man, the District Attorney for that county. Anyway, instead of having to keep watching over my shoulder for him, I went to his house to try and apprehend him again. It turns out his father was unaware of what had happened. To say the least, he was not pleased with his son. He let me know where to find him. I captured him, and the two people he was trying to get to help ambush me. The father's the one that tried to get me to take a job with the Sheriff's Department, there in Claysville."
"Oh, so that's what happened! And what about the girl?"
"That's what I'm still trying to figure out. We went out to dinner and found that we really like each other, and would like to see each other again. The main trouble is she lives there, and I don't really have a place to live until I get this fixed up. So, right now, that's kinda my driving force. I want to get the work done here, so we can see where this goes."
"That really seems fast! Are you sure about this girl? After all you only knew her for two days."
"I know it's fast, but who knows? I'd at least like to see her again."
"Well, I gotta be getting back. I'll stop by this afternoon, after I get chores done, and give you a hand. Sally wanted to make sure to remind you about dinner, tonight, too."
"I'll try to make it, but I have a letter from my Uncle Jim telling me I need to see a lawyer named Crawford, in town. Something about the trust fund paying the upkeep of this place, and a letter from Dad that the lawyer is holding for me. I don't seem to remember a Crawford in town. Of course, Wheeling really isn't that small a town. You got any idea where his office is?"
"Yeah, he's fairly new to town. Been here about ten years, but seems like a pretty decent guy. His office is the one that pays for the upkeep on this place. It's pretty easy to find. It's a big white house just off Main and Sycamore, got a sign out on the front lawn. You can't miss it."
"Thanks. That should be easy to find. I'll go there after I'm done picking up the rest of the supplies from the lumberyard."
"That might take you a while, because the lumberyard's gone. There's a Home Depot just off Main, though. They should have everything you need."
He said his goodbyes, and I told him to thank Sally for the egg sandwich and coffee. After he drove off, I hopped into my truck and headed to town. Driving through town seemed quite strange. There was very little left that I remembered.
Chuckling to myself I thought, "No shit, Jake, you've been gone for twenty-three years! Things don't stay the same."
I finally found the Home Depot. It looked like nothing I'd ever seen before. This place had everything. Last time I remembered, if you wanted wood and building supplies, you had to go to a lumberyard. Here you can buy lumber, tools, carpet, and even the appliances I wanted. Walking through the store, I noticed that I could even buy the kitchen counters and cabinets, all premade, and the prices were cheaper than I could manage by making them myself. It looked like my kitchen was going to have a complete facelift. After wandering around through the store, I finally located a manager to help me.
I said, "Hello! I'm not sure how things work, here, but I need a lot of things, including appliances. By any chance, do you deliver?"
He said, "Yes, we do deliver... within a fifty mile radius. But we charge you, unless it's a large order."
"My place is just outside town. Do you know where the Wilson Farm is? My house is right next to it, sitting back a ways."
"Yes, I know where that is, but it hasn't been lived in in years. Some folks have been trying to buy it, since the last people living there, moved to Florida. But everyone that inquires about it is told it's not for sale. How'd you ever buy it? I know Mark Wilson takes care of the place," he said, then looked at me strangely.
"My family has always owned it. It was my father's home, originally; then my Uncle and Aunt lived there for a long while, before they retired to Florida. Now it's mine."
Still looking at me funny he said, "Jake? Is that you?"
He looked familiar but I couldn't place it until he said, "We didn't know if you were even still living, you were gone so long. It's me, Ron Davis."
I would've never recognized him. Gone was the skinny kid that used to hang out with Mike, Mark, and me, while we were in school. Now he was about fifty pounds overweight, balding, and wearing glasses. Almost as if he was a whole different person.
"Ron? I would've never recognized you. Last I remember you were just a skinny kid who used to follow us around."
He laughed and said, "Jake, you got to remember you've been gone for over twenty years. Whatever happened to you? You never came back. Are you back to stay, now?"
"Yeah, I guess you're right, it has been awful long time. You remember Judge Tyler said it was either prison or the military. While I ended up joining the Marines just like my Dad and Uncle Jim. I only had to serve for four years, but I decided to make a career of it. I've only been out a few days now. I wasn't sure what I was going to do, until this lawyer showed up saying that I still own my dad's place. So here I am. Mark has been doing a good job keeping the place up. It still does need some repairs, though, and there are a lot of other changes I need to make."
"Well, we should have most everything you need, here. What did you have in mind?
"I know, basically, what I need to start with. My trouble is, I'm not sure I really have the skills to do it. The Marines didn't really teach much about carpentry. From what I've seen so far, I've got a leaky roof, so I need to fix that first. I saw where the sheet rock got wet, and I'm going to need to change about to a half a dozen sheets. Then I'll replace the carpet, at least in the living room. Also, since I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the place or sell it, I'd like to change all the appliances in the kitchen. Maybe add new flooring, counters, and cabinets, too. I'm not sure how long this is going to take, since I really don't know what I'm doing."
"I think we can help you pretty much get everything done. As for the carpentry, we've got a bulletin board with all kinds of people looking for work. It's the off-season, so there are carpenters and handymen just barely making it. I'm sure we can find you someone to assist you that knows what they're doing. Come to think of it, you remember Dave Jones? He's an all-around handyman, and from what I understand, his wife just had a new baby; so, he really needs some work. As far as your flooring and carpet go, we sell that by the yard, uninstalled or installed. Our crew does quality work at a very reasonable price, so you won't have to worry about that, either. The cabinets and counters we also install the same way, so that should take away a big worry."
I thought this would take a lot of pressure off my mind. I knew the job would be done a hell of a lot better than I could do it.
I said, "Ron, I think it's a great idea you have to keep me from doing everything myself and making a mess of it. Do you have Dave Jones phone number? I'm not really sure what all I need until I talk to him."
Ron took me into his office and found Jones' phone number. I didn't really know Dave Jones, since he was a couple classes behind us in school; but if Ron recommended him, he should be pretty good. I made arrangements for him to come out later that afternoon, after telling him what all was the most major things that needed doing. He said to at least get the pane of glass. We could fix the window today. He said to pick up at least six bundles of shingles that would match the roof, too. That should at least prevent any further damage while we were getting the rest of the house fixed up.
After talking to him, and hearing his professional attitude, I felt a lot better about hiring him. Ron walked me through the store, while we were picking out the cabinets, carpet, and flooring I wanted. Then came the big-money items: new stove, refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, and a set of laundry machines. I could tell this was going to take a big chunk of my savings. Ron pointed out that if I decided to keep the place, I would need them; and if I decided to sell, it would bring the value of the place up. I kept my mouth shut, as he had a point.
I went ahead and ordered and paid for all the appliances. He said that it would make it a lot easier for the cabinet installer to have all the appliances there, so the man could work around them. It would make the cabinets and counters fit that much better. He also told me that he could have the appliances delivered and installed, later that afternoon. They would even dispose of the old ones. All of this got me thinking. Instead of taking months to have my house livable, it should only take a week or two. I wasn't really worried too much about all the outside repairs. Face it; it's pretty hard to mess up building a fence, or just nailing a few boards, or sheets of metal.
After making all the arrangements for the flooring and cabinet people to come out, measure and give me an estimate, I headed for my truck, feeling pretty satisfied with myself; although my bank account had a serious bite taken out of it.
I started heading back home, when I remembered I still had to stop and see that lawyer. I turned off on the main street, and finally found the house that Mark had described to me. I suppose I was expecting some fancy law office, but this was just like somebody's home. After knocking on the front door, it was answered by a man in a wheelchair.
When I said I was looking for an attorney named Crawford he said, "I'm Dan Crawford what can I do for you?"
I introduced myself, saying, "Pleased to meet you. I'm Jake Thompson. I had a letter from my Uncle stating I needed to get in touch with you about the property I inherited. He also said you had a letter for me, from my father."
He invited me into his office and pulled out a folder with my name at the top and said, "I've been handling the upkeep of your property from the trust fund your Uncle set up. It will take me a few days to balance the books on everything, and make sure all the bills are in and paid. Then I will have a check cut to you for the balance, and turn everything over to you. I've also got a sealed letter for you from your father along with a couple of other items."
He handed me the letter, with a set of keys, and a large sapphire ring. I thanked him for the care which he had given to my family and assured him that if I had any other legal matters I would come to him first.
I had just passed the city limits on my way home, when suddenly blue lights were flashing in my rearview mirror. I couldn't think of anything I had done wrong as I pulled off to the side.
A young deputy walked up to the door and said, "Are you Jake Thompson?"
After I handed him my license and registration I said, "Yes, I'm Jake Thompson, what have I done, Officer?"
He responded, "You're not in any trouble. Sheriff Johnson put the word out, that if any of us ran across you, to let you know that he would like to speak with you."
I looked at my watch and discovered I still had a while until I needed to meet with Dave Jones about the repairs to the house, so I said, "I got a little time, right now. Where's the Sheriff?"
After following the deputy back to the station, he led me to a door marked 'V. Johnson, Ohio County Sheriff.'
Opening the door I said, "Sheriff Johnson? I'm Jake Thompson. I believe you wanted to speak with me?"
He said, "Come in. Yes, I did, but I didn't expect you to drop everything and come in straightaway. I received a call from my cousin, Mark Wilson. He said that you might be interested in becoming a deputy. I remember some of when you were here, before. Didn't you get into some kind of trouble, and have to join the Marines?"
He seemed pretty straight up, so I explained about getting into a fight with Sid Spelman when we were in school, and beating him half to death. His father put a lot of pressure on the judge to have me sent to prison because my training made me a deadly weapon. Judge Tyler gave me the choice of either prison, or four years in the military, so I picked joining the Marines.
He chuckled and said, "I can understand that. Sid's an ass. You know he holds a grudge, don't you?
"Sid is nothing but a bully. I'm not going to give him an excuse to use the law against me. But, if he decides to try something; I figure I kicked his ass once, I can do it again."
"So what makes you think you might want to become a cop? Were you with the MPs while in the Marines?"
"No, I spent twenty-three years in force recon. I'm not really sure what I want to do yet. I just thought with my military training, about all I could do was either become a bodyguard or find a job in law enforcement. I thought maybe you had an opening with a SWAT team or something."
"Hmmm, I hadn't really thought of that. Your training is probably better than anyone else on the SWAT team. Sid won't like it. SWAT comes under the County jurisdiction. We don't need to use it much; so I'm not sure how much work you'll get, besides training. So, you'll have patrol duty, mostly. As a deputy, he'll not be able to fuck with you," he said, chuckling to himself.
After letting him know that I still had a lot of work to do to get my house ready I agreed to work for him, starting with twenty hours a week. Heading home, I got to thinking that he probably hired me mostly to piss off Sid, but that was all right with me. From what I understood, Sid Spelman was still the same asshole now, that he'd been in school, he just had more power.
Pulling in front of my house, I noticed Mark talking to someone in an old Ford pickup. Getting out, I was introduced to Dave Jones. Apparently he and Mark were old friends.
Mark said, "Jake! I see you hired Dave here, to help with some of the repairs."
"I thought since I didn't know shit about how to do these repairs, I'd get an expert. Dave, it's good to meet you."
After all the introductions had been made, Mark headed for home. I showed Dave what all I thought needed done.
Dave said, "Since I see you've got the roofing material, and a new pane of glass for that broken window; we can at least get the place weatherproof, today."
Dave had started on the roof, while I started cleaning the broken glass out of the window; when a delivery truck from Home Depot pulled up. They had my new appliances. I went to supervise the installation. I noticed although they hooked up the stove and the washer and dryer set; they only plugged in the refrigerator, and had not hooked up the icemaker, or installed the new dishwasher. I asked them about this, and they said that they would be back to install the cabinets in a couple of days, after the new flooring had been installed. This way, I would be able to use everything in the meantime. Then, after taking measurements for the cabinets, and the new carpeting for the living room, they took off. Going back outside, I saw Dave had finished patching the roof, and was just finishing glazing in the new window pane.
"Damn, you're fast. I thought it would probably take the rest of the day."
"It wasn't really that big a job, just replacing a few shingles. The hard work will start tomorrow with the sheet rock. That will take a couple of days, since we'll need to let the plaster dry before we paint. I got some time left, today. Why don't we go ahead and pull up the old carpet, and check underneath. That shouldn't take too long. We went in and Dave started cutting the carpet in four foot wide strips, so it would be easy to roll it up and haul it outside.
I thought, 'Damn, I'm glad I hired him. I would've probably just rolled it all up. I'd have ended up with a hernia, trying to wrestle the whole thing out by myself.'
After getting everything outside, I thought I'd just order a large dumpster to be delivered, instead of making countless trips to the dump. He asked about doing the carpet in the rest of the house, when I told him most of the upstairs was full of furniture from down here. It would be a real pain to get to it, right now.
Then I remembered the keys I had picked up from the lawyer, and went to check Dad's study. One of the keys fit. When we opened the door, we found that the carpet looked as if it had just been replaced, so that was good. Dave asked about the dining area, so I told him I thought it'd be a lot easier to just have a hardwood laminate installed. It had originally been carpeted, but I thought this would be easier to keep clean.
As we were washing up I said, "Dave, I'd offer you a beer, but unfortunately I forgot to go shopping while in town. I'll have some tomorrow, though."