Carl was stuffing his face. Aunt Clara had made what he thought of as her best meal, meatloaf and mash potatoes. He was listening with half an ear to his Mom.
“Yes I signed a lease earlier today. We went by on the way home from school so Carl could look it over.”
“Grace there was no rush for you to move!” Aunt Clara gushed as she put another piece of meatloaf on his plate.
“Well I knew that Clara, but Carl was uncomfortable sleeping on the couch. He’s uses to his own privacy.”
“Huh?” Uncle Rick looked at Carl a moment. Carl tilted his head toward Peggy who was concentrating on her desert.
“Egh HUD!” His uncle eye brow headed toward his hairline as his eyes twitched toward Peggy.
“I like him being here. He’s the smartest person I know. I can get to sleep when he is here. I just lay down next to him and I fall right to sleep.” Peggy innocent comment had both her parents staring at her then back at Carl. He looked at both of them and nodded slightly.
“Oh well then if you found a place which you can afford and he will be more comfortable then we have no right trying to keep you here.” Aunt Clara was all right with the idea now that she thought she understood.
“Well Carl, I’ve got your house all bundled up in my warehouse now. I built a staircase up to the front door so you can get in. I made a slide from the front room window to the floor. So all you have to do is set things you want on the slide and they will slip down to the warehouse floor.” Uncle Rick said, as he took a bite of his desert.
Both Aunt Clara and his mother stopped talking and then stared from his Uncle back to Carl.
“Staircase?” His Aunt asked.
“Slide?” Carl’s mother asked.
Carl looked at his Uncle who was looking at him with a spoon halfway to his mouth.
“Uncle Rick, why don’t we go by the warehouse and let them see what you are talking about. Then we can all go by our new house.”
“Great Idea, son! That way they can see everything and make plans for moving your things into the house.” Uncle Rick recovered quickly.
It seemed like seconds, an all of them were piling into the truck and car heading to the warehouse first.
Carl stood back as Uncle Rick showed his wife and Carl’s mother the bundled up house. There was a strong and sturdy staircase going up to the front door of the house. Uncle Rick had cut the plastic away from the door and had opened it.
To the side going in the opposite direction of the stairs was a wooden slide with sides leading from the front room empty window casing, to the ground floor of the warehouse. There were a few items resting on the floor where Uncle Rick had tested the slide.
Both his mother and Aunt Clara were standing there with wide eyes and gaping mouth saying basically the same thing. “Oh My God!” over and over. Peggy was standing between them with a big smile on her face.
“I told you, Carl is the smartest person in the whole universe!”
Carl headed up the staircase and was soon inside their old home. As he explored he found it was a mess! Broken glass, shattered wood casements; his room was just as much a shambles as the rest of the house. Then he dug deeper; his clothes were mostly just mixed up with the debris in his room. His computer monitor did not appear damaged. He began to separate all the parts of his computer set up. Soon he had it all sitting in the hallway. After moving everything to the front window, he leaned out.
“Uncle Rick can you pull my things off the slide as they get to the ground?”
“Sure son, give me a second to get over there.”
Soon Carl was letting one piece at a time slid down the wood trough. His Uncle pulled them off and to the side as soon as they neared the bottom.
Then Carl dumped clothes he found that didn’t appear to have anything wrong with them.
Peggy had joined him and had done the same thing for his mother’s clothes. Then they stood in the doorway into the kitchen and stared. Carl turned and looked at Peggy who slowly looked back at him.
“Peggy, don’t ever cast a major spell without a circle! The only thing that saved my life was that the spell effect was confined within a circle.”
“Yeah, Carl this looks like you got hit with the Enterprises main phasers!”
There was nothing that could be salvaged from the kitchen!
They turned and exited the house. Mom and Aunt Clara were folding clothes and packing them into garbage bags. Uncle Rick was putting all his computer equipment in the truck bed. Afterward he laid the garbage bags of clothes on top of the equipment.
Uncle Rick backed his truck up to the garage doors. Mom and Aunt Clara went into the front door while Carl took the keys and opened the garage doors. He then showed them the garage entrance into the house. They dumped the garbage bags in the wash room. Then he showed them the stair way to the basement and upstairs. Uncle Rick froze like a light had exploded in his head.
Peggy ran down the stairs to the basement, she uses to visit my laboratory all the time when she came over. Carl could hear her “Cool! Neato!” as she explored it. Then she ran back up the stairs but continue to the upstairs. “Wow, Neatorama!”
Carl and his Uncle carried the computer equipment up the stairs and into his room.
Later, all of them met up in the den. His mom and Aunt Clara were discussing the placement of furniture in the den. The chairs, bookcases and the desk that would be put in the room.
Uncle Rick had look through all the rooms upstairs and now entered the Den after looking the rest of the downstairs over.
“Grace, can you afford this? It must cost a fortune?”
“Only $500 a month I paid the first and last month of a six month lease.”
Both Uncle Rick and Aunt Clara stop speaking and looked at each other.
“How?” Was the only word spoken afterward by Uncle Rick?
“It has been haunted for at least the last four years. The original family was all murdered by a gang during a home invasion.”
“The real estate actually sold the house twice, but the first family let it go into foreclosure; the second family was all in a hospital and started a law suit over hazardous environment.”
“They settled but then found themselves with an unsalable house, so they tried to rent it, anything to remove some of the red ink in the books on it. I signed the lease with an option to buy at $60,000.”
Peggy spoke up “Haunted?” which was echoed by her parents.
Carl’s mother looked over at him.
“Not anymore, I took care of that earlier. I also put up some very strong wards. No more home invasion will ever happen here again.”
“I am planning on going down to the Real Estate Company tomorrow and make them an offer of $50,000 with a clear release for the house with an ‘as is clause’ I expect them to fall all over themselves to sign the contract. Then I will get the mortgage for 15 years, and the payment will still be less then what we are renting it for.”
“Then when the insurance check comes in we will pay off the mortgage on the old home and have plenty left over to furnish this one.”
“Wow, that’s good! The lot will be yours free and clear. Yes!”
“I want to move in here with Aunt Grace and Carl! This place is neat! They got two extra bedrooms upstairs!”
“Nope ain’t happening Peggy! You can have a sleep over every once in a while, but if we lived together, we’d start fighting. I love you like a sister, but just like a sister if you were in my pocket all the time we would fight. Think about it.”
“How many friends of yours tell you about their horrible brothers? I don’t want to be the horrible brother. If it was necessary, that would be one thing but this is not. I will come over and sit in your fairy garden with you plenty of times. In fact, you can design one for us.”
Her face which had been squinting up like she was getting ready to cry cleared. She then smiled, “I will make you the best garden in the world.”
Everybody took a sigh of relief. Then Peggy came over and hugged him, looking up at Carl she said.”Brother? I like that.”
The next day his Dad came back from his business trip. But when his mother got through telling him what she had done he relaxed. He took them all out to eat that night. In the conversation over the meal and afterwards, both Carl and his mother kept all mention of magic completely out of it.
His father was very pleased that Uncle Rick wanted Carl to work for him part-time. So that part was good to go. His Dad finally had to go with his Mother to sign the new mortgage. He came home and just wandered over the house in a daze.
Finally, he came out of it.
“Grace how did you get the price so low? This house is worth at least $200,000 at the minimum!”
“Yes dear I agree, but to the company my release to take the house ‘as is’ was worth the discounted price. You see they been sued once over the house, and had to foreclose once, and they had not been able to rent it to anyone for more than a month.”
“There is nothing wrong with the house. Rick went over it with a fine teeth comb.”
“It just that reputation, one person hears something and passes it along, now we have two people talking and it builds, then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Every accident, everything that goes wrong, builds the bad reputation.”
“The talk started when the original family members were all murdered by a gang of home invaders.”
“So we get the best luck in the world.”
“At your age I would have killed to have a setup like your room. You have almost a separate apartment with your own entrance. For this to work don’t make me be the bad guy here.”
“I won’t Dad. I will be busy mostly studying, but I am thinking it will be easier on you, for me to have my own entrance that doesn’t disturb you if I come home late.”
“Late? What are you talking about?” His mother had finally heard what he and his Dad were saying.
“Grace, he’s going to be going on dates soon, he might be late some nights.” His Dad stepped in.
“I see. Well here’s the deal, when you are gone leave your door open. I will never go into your room if the door is open. If close I expect you to be in the room and answer when I knock. If no answer, I will open the door and look inside.”
“With those conditions, you are now responsible for cleaning your room and getting your clothes washed and dried.”
Then Carl started to laugh, “A Deal Mom.”
“Dad, a months until I can get a license, then a car.”
Carl’s days in school had improved. It took him a week to be almost hundred percent recovered. In the meantime, Laura kept walking with him to classes. Afterward, they continued to stroll through the hallways of the school together. She did not walk to his classes that she was not taking anymore. But she did wait for him and he did the same for her when either of them got tied up with the teachers after class.
Then one day a week or so after his recovery from the accident, the four dumb jocks came strolling down the school hallway shoving the other kids out of their way. Carl spotted them when he and Laura were in the middle of the hall.
He had thought of what he would do if this or something similar happen. The problem was he never thought about Laura being with him.
“Hey it’s the twerp. Lets thump the twerp some more!” with that they diverted and headed straight for Carl.
He did not wait, “Hey it’s the low riders look at them showing themselves like the perverts they are!”
In his mind he did the equation ‘A = coefficient of friction plus B = slippery’.
Suddenly the group slipped on the floor as their pants slid down their legs and settled around their ankles. The real bonus with this is low riding pants were against the school dress code.
Now nobody saw them, wearing low riders. But his loud voice saying so and pointing then tripping over their pants convinced every student in the hall that they saw all four jock strutting down the hall with their pants hanging low.
When the teacher on hall monitoring reported the incident the principal was on hand in no time. When the jocks could not keep their pants up even to get to the office, he was convinced as well.
Carl heard later that they had gotten a 5 day suspension.
As they waited for his mother to show up Carl asked Laura to go out to dinner with him that Friday and a movie afterwards. “Of course I will go!” was her answer.
His mother drove up at that time. She had come to expect them to be together and drove straight to Laura house.
Carl got out as well and bends down to talk to his mother. “Mom I going to stay a minute or two, I be home real soon.”
His mother smiled at him and nodded, then drove off.
Carl took Laura hand as they walked up to the door. Inside she introduced him to her mother.
“Mom, this is Carl Black. He is in most of my classes.”
“Mrs. Tarleton, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Well it’s nice to meet a friend of Laura. Would you like a soft drink or some milk?”
“No thanks ma’am. I wanted to ask your permission for me to take Laura to dinner and a move this Friday. The dinner would be at 6:30 at Tucks and the movie would start at 8:10 at the Newton. I will have her home by 11:30.”
“Why you have really plan it out. I will say I think you are doing a splendid job of settling my nerves. Laura, is this, what you want?”
“Oh yes, Mom.
“How will you get to the restaurant and then the movie and back home?”
“Either my Mom or Dad will take us and return to pick us up.”
“Well in that case I will say yes; you may have the honor of escorting my daughter that night.”
Carl floated the entire two blocks back to his home.
That night, Carl joined his Uncle Rick at his warehouse where they laid out a sheet of plastic cut from the roll Carl had used to help move his house to the warehouse. Then they drove for three hours to another town two hundred miles away.
They drove up to the heavy equipment place and around to the rear, where a guard let them in to the back lot. Soon his Uncle was showing him the Caterpillar. He began to cuss.
“What wrong Uncle Rick?”
“Somebody has started disassembling it; it looks like some of the parts are missing.”
“Did you buy it as it was?”
“Yeah, I did, I mean I knew it was not working. But all the parts were here. It was still fully assembled.”
“So it was yours at that time?”
“Yeah. I’m going to get my money back. This was done after I bought it.”
“Don’t worry about it Uncle. Just stepped back and be my look out.”
Carl stood up and began to walk around the huge Caterpillar. Three times he circled the big machine chanting all the time.
‘One piece it was and will be again.
Many pieces make up one piece
All pieces know their place from many
Let there be one!’
He kept chanting over and over as he circled the machine with the completion of his third circle there was a flash of light and there before them was a complete Caterpillar tractor. It had a shovel on the back and a blade on the front.
“Egh, Carl, that not what I bought. Mine did not have the shovel on the rear.”
“Well it did to start with. Do your purchase order or bill of sale states otherwise.”
“No it just state model number and serial number of the machine.”
“Well then help me with a piece of plastic sheeting Uncle.”
It took two of them hardly any time to get two sheets of plastic draped over the caterpillar. Then Carl did his three circles chanting the same chant he used the previous week to move their old house into the Warehouse. He pulled a sun ball out for the energy he needed and then there was a flash of light. The Caterpillar was gone.
Uncle Rick and Carl quickly got into the truck and drove back to the rear gate where the guard looked the truck over and waved them through.
Later back at the warehouse Carl and his Uncle were studying the bundled wrapped Cat.
“Do you know what was wrong with the machine Uncle Rick?”
“Old age I reckon. Poor maintenance, broken parts, wore out. Kind of like some people I know. What I will have to do is replace the parts that are broken, clean up the ones that are still structurally good. Oil and grease the moving parts then start it up and see if it will be good.”
“Wait a minute Uncle Rick.”
Once more he began to circle the bundled up tractor; around and around three times once more. There was a bright flash and a brand new Caterpillar excavator stood with a blade on the front and its articulated shovel on the rear.
Carl turned to his Uncle who was standing there mouth gaping once more. “There you go Uncle as good as new.”
“My god boy! How did you do that?”
“It’s magic Uncle Rick. I just made everything new. All the pieces has the original serial numbers. It just the pieces have been restored to its original condition.”
“Boy I bought that at salvage for the metal price. With what you did I can get top line used price that’s a $200,000 piece of machinery now. We will make about $160,000 on this one machine.”
Carl did one more thing before leaving that night. He set up wards to protect the whole property and inner wards for individual buildings and major pieces.
He was tired when he arrived home that night. It was later than normal as he stepped up to the garage door. He turned and waved at his Uncle as he pulled out. Stepping into the garage he lowered the door. A light had automatically come on when he opened the door.
He unlocked the door into the house and then locked it behind himself. Up the stairs he went then into his room. Shutting his door behind him he smiled knowing his mother would see his door closed if she got up anytime at night.
He took a warm shower then fell into bed; slept like a rock.
My thanks toTxAgBand59 for his editing and proofing help. But the final results are mine and all criticism should be loaded onto my shoulders.
© Virgil Lee Fuqua III and ‘vlfouquet.wordpress’, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Vlfouquet and Virgil Lee Fuqua III with appropriate and specific direction to the original contents.