Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

1st line...should it be perhaps.., 'will I?

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

I hope it's nothing (serious?)"

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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
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Daniel Morgan [3]

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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

November 6th, 1968

Daniel and his mother were making the normal trip to the Parkwood Hills Foodland store just down the street that afternoon the day he got a really neat “early Christmas gift,” as the storeowner had put it. They’d walked into the small neighborhood convenience store when Elmore Garrison, the man who ran the place, walked up to them with a grin on his face and asked the ten-year-old what he was hoping to get for the upcoming holidays.

       “Isn’t it a bit early?” Marie asked Elmore, although she’d already known on previous rounds to get milk and butter through small talk with him and conversations with Evan of his intentions. “There isn’t even any snow on the ground yet.”

       “It’s never too early,” Elmore said with a warm smile. “Daniel, I think I might have something you may like.”

       “Really?” Daniel said, boyishly intrigued. “I was really hoping for the new Four Tops album, or maybe even the upcoming Beatles album.”

       “Weren’t you hoping for a bike?” Marie encouraged him. “If you were really, really good?”

       “Yeah, I’ve been helping in the kitchen and doing the dishes every night,” Daniel said eagerly. Something about this entire situation made him think something was going on – something good.

       “You should come with me then,” Elmore said, and beckoned them both towards the back of the building. They reached the end of the aisles, went through a storeroom door, and down a flight a stairs off to the side that led into the store’s basement. Down there, a bicycle stood on a kickstand in the middle of the big room, set far apart from the storage boxes and other basement paraphernalia.

       Daniel gasped. “Oh, my gosh! Where did you get this?”

       “It used to belong to my boy,” Elmore said. “He outgrew it though, and now I think you would have a lot more fun with it now that he’s too old for it.”

       “Oh, boy!” Daniel crowed in excitement. “Mom? What do you say? Mr. Garrison, how much does it cost?”

       “He’s giving it to us,” Marie said with a smile. “There is no cost.”

       “That’s right,” the store manager agreed. “Consider it an early Christmas gift.”

       “I’m off the moon! This is amazing!” He turned to Elmore. “Thank you so much, Mr. Garrison! This is fantastic!”

       “It’s no problem,” he smiled. “Get up on it, see if it fits you.” Daniel happily stepped forward, took off the kickstand, and sat atop his new bike.

       “This is so awesome.”

       “Now,” his mother said. “This doesn’t mean you can stop helping me with the dishes every night now, right?”

       “Of course not, mom. This is…I don’t know what to say. I’m just so happy. Are we taking it home with us?”

       “Yes. But we’re walking it. I don’t want you riding down Meadowlands just yet. Mr. Garrison, thank you very much for your generous donation. Can you please help us get it upstairs?”
       When Marie and Daniel arrived home that afternoon with the bike, Rose and Edwin, Marie’s parents, were there, visiting and looking after the younger children. They both gasped at the boy’s early Christmas gift, and Beatrice, now five, gave it one look before returning to a rerun of Sesame Street. When Evan came home, he joined in Daniel’s excitement and said, “Now you can go anywhere you want, son.” Leonard, the one-year-old third child of Evan and Marie, eventually returned to being the centre of attention though, and the excitement died down.

       Taking Evan and Marie into the kitchen that night after dinner, away from the children for a few minutes, Edwin leaned back against the countertop and said, “You guys are just about complete now, eh? No more children?”

       “Well, we think we’re happy with three, so I guess we could say yes,” Marie said. Evan agreed.

       “I wanted to ask because of the trust fund I want to set up. Rose and I are well-off but we won’t be around forever.”

       “Don’t say stuff like that, dad, you’re not that old.”

       Edwin brushed her off. “This isn’t really an issue yet, but Rose went for her checkup the other day, and the doctor found something. In her breast.”

       Marie suddenly became more alert. “What?”

       “Something. They don’t know yet. I’m not trying to cause a fuss, especially when you two have your hands so full these days – especially now with Danny on that bike – but I’m only letting you know. And I want to set up a trust fund for Daniel.”

       “I hope mom is all right. What are we looking at in terms of the trust?”

       “On his eighteenth birthday, the boy will get ten thousand dollars.”

       “Dad, that’s a fortune! We can’t accept that for him.”

       “Nonsense. As for Beatty and Leonard, they’ll each get five thousand.”

       “Dad! Listen to yourself! Spending twenty thousand dollars on your grandchildren? That’s way too generous!”

       “Be that as it may, I’ve already set it up. I want to send them off well before Rose and I pass on, and I’m going to damn right make sure of it. What good is money to a dead person?”

       “Dead? How can you speak of death like that? You’re only sixty-five.”

       “I won’t be sixty-five next year, or the year after, won’t I? Listen. I know that’s a difficult thing to accept from us, but there’s conditions. None of  the children will have access to their money until they’re eighteen, and only for educational purposes.” 1 comment

       Evan said, “That’s so gracious of you Ed. I have a feeling about Daniel.”

       Edwin smiled. “He’s your miracle child, isn’t he?”

       “We’re proud of him,” Marie said. “He’s such a good scholar. All his teachers have nothing but praise for him.”

       “How about Beatrice?”

       Evan looked at his wife. “She’s just started senior kindergarten. We’re hopeful, though. I think all our children will be great.”

       “Just wait,” Edwin said. “All that’s left to worry about is their teenage years, and hopefully they’ll come through that without much damage. If they’re lucky.”

       “We’ll brace ourselves,” Evan said with sincerity.

       “But please dad, don’t talk as if you’re nearing the end. And keep us updated on mom, okay? I hope it’s nothing.” 1 comment

       “It probably is, it probably is. Keep us updated on the kids, all right? If you need anything, we’re a short drive away.”

       “Thanks, Ed. And thanks for everything. I think Daniel will deserve it when he does, the way that kid keeps impressing me…he’ll be the answer.”

       Marie smiled. “We can only hope.”

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