The Match (Part 11) A Long Hidden Story

Have You Never Been Mellow?

After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?

At one time I lived 25 miles from work. I loved the drive.  I found that it was a perfect way to wind down. Even to this day I find long drives are a good way to allow the mind to ease itself. I imagine two hundred hears ago the same outcome was realized with a horse or buggy ride or better yet a stroll. I suppose the point is that ambulating in some fashion get’s a flow of blood to the brain or at least our thoughts are directed elsewhere.

Here is the final episode of my short story The Match. I hope it was as enjoyable for you to read as it was for me to write.

The Match (Part 11)

A Long Hidden Story

(Continued from yesterday.)

“It is time you know,” Lucinda said, “both of you.”

“I don’t want to know,” Rusty said.

“Me neither,” Sam said.

“That’s two to one,” Rusty said.

“Sit,” she said calmly.

Rusty and Sam sat on the couch and Lucinda in her chair.

“It was a long time ago,” Lucinda said smiling gently. “It was a different time. My parents were very strict. As long as I can remember being chaste was not an option. There was no margin for error. Sam’s family was the same way. We were in the same faith, but he was from near Philadelphia. Sam was a few years older than me. He even went to school to be a minister in our church. He got to the point of being ordained, but didn’t. He moved to Pittsburgh and into our church. We were attracted to each other right off.”

“I became pregnant and there was a rush for Sam and I to get married. My parents knew and from that day on my family treated me different. My sisters were never allowed to be alone with me or Sam.”

“Sam went to work as a builder. There was a very wealthy and prominent man in our church.”

“Let me guess,” Rusty said. “His name was Conrad Billings.”

“Yes,” Lucinda said. “What else do you know about him?”

“That’s the man my dad killed,” Rusty said. “They were in business together and he was a well-thought of in the community. He was generous and religious. Everyone I ever talked to about him thought he was wonderful and my dad killed a great man.”

“Conrad Billings raped me,” Lucinda said. “Sam did not know about it. I went to Billings and told him I was going to the police. He laughed at me. He said the police would never believe me. I went to him a couple of months later. I was pregnant and I thought it was his child. He said he would tell everybody that I seduced him. Given my upbringing it was something I could not bear. I would have been completely ostracized. I was certain Sam would divorce me. I left thinking I was pregnant with another man’s child. All I could think about was the shame to Sam, you. And my family.”

“Don’t you think Dad would have forgiven you?” Rusty said.

“I know now he would have,” Lucinda said. “Five years later there was little doubt that Sam Junior was really my husband’s child. I contacted Sam Senior. He said it would not make any difference to him, but he was so angry. He told me to never return to Pittsburgh. That’s when he killed Conrad Billings and never revealed why.”

“The reason I never came for you is shame,” Lucinda sobbed. “I was so emotionally fragile and didn’t have the strength to do what was right. By the time I had the strength and will I thought it was too late.”

“You did the right thing,” Rusty said. “And I mean that with all my heart.”

The End – for now. It is obvious the story in not complete. Speculate if you like, but sometime in the future do not be surprised if another episode or so will arise.

 

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The Match (Part 10) A Torn Photo

Daily Prompt: Fight the Power

Tell us about a time when you fought authority and took a stand against “the man.” Did you win?

The details of such a time are too long and quite boring, but it had to do with the government inspection of a property. The inspector refused to grant an approval. I cornered him and he was forced to admit he just did not like me. Than I shoved the regulation book under his nose showing him he was wrong. I then told him to approve it or we would meet at his supervisor’s office, which we did.  The supervisor agreed with his inspector. I grabbed my regulation book and went to the office of my congressman. Within five minutes I was back on the road to the supervisor’s office where his secretary stood in the parking lot with all the required approvals.

It’s nice to have a conservative congressman in an area controlled by liberal bureaucrats.

Here is the 10th episode of the short story The Match. Readers keep saying it gets better with each episode.

The Match (Part 10)

(Continued from yesterday.)

A Torn Photo

Rusty stayed with Lucinda. He submitted to tests to see if he was a match for Lucinda’s transplant.

Rusty worked at the restaurant with Sam. Three days passed and Rusty received a call at the restaurant from the hospital in Billings.

“Was that he hospital?” Sam said as Rusty walked back into the kitchen.

“Can we have the girls keep an eye on the place while we meet with Mom?” Rusty said.

They got in the car and drove to Lucinda’s.

“You’re not going to tell me are you?” Sam said.

“No,” Rusty said. “Mom’s going to be the next to know.”

“You said you had a plan B,” Sam said. “Contacting another relative.”

“We’ll discuss that with Mom,” Rusty said.

As soon as they walked in Lucinda’s house Rusty went into his bedroom. He pulled a small envelope from a suit case. Inside was the torn picture from the safety deposit box; the one of Lucinda that was taken nearly 40 years ago. He returned to the living room.

Sam stood looking out the front window. Lucinda stood nervously at the doorway to the kitchen.

Rusty handed Lucinda the torn picture that he found in the safety deposit box; the one of her only.

“Do you know this photo?” Rusty said.

Lucinda smiled. She opened a drawer in a desk. She pulled out a Bible and opened it. She held the other jagged half of the photo.

Rusty moved close to Lucinda. They held the jagged photo halves together. Lucinda’s half was of Sam Senior and between them was little Rusty.

“They match don’t they?” Rusty said.

“Yes they do,” Lucinda smiled.

“The call from the hospital…” Rusty said. “We’re a match also.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

 

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The Match (Part 9) Oh, Mother

Daily Prompt: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Do you find it easy to make new friends? Tell us how you’ve mastered the art of befriending a new person.

One must be careful how to use the term “friend.” There is a degree of trust before I call a person a friend. When I say “friend” it is not meant just a person I know more than casually.

I have many, many friends; many of them dear and loved. The mastery, as suggested, is to be a friend first.  I like people. They are wonderful. I like handshakes, smiles, hugs, and embraces. I like long chats over coffee and if not across the table than over the phone. I like tears, laughter, funny stories, and serious concerns.

I have friends far away that I only talk to by phone and I have friends who have died. Every time I think of both groups they are always smiling.

What follows is the 9th installment of the short story The Match. What is unfolding at this time is a deep love that transcends familiarity. It is hard to define and only told by narratives and stories.  If you are a first time reader or have only joined in as of late you may want to link back to previous episodes. Nevertheless please enjoy this one.

 

The Match (Part 9)

(Continued from yesterday.)

Oh, Mother

Lucinda stood like horse straining to pull a load. Her instincts were to embrace Rusty.

Rusty took a step and held his arms open. Lucinda buried herself in his embrace.

“Oh, Rusty, my Rusty,” Lucinda wailed.

“Mom, my mom,” Rusty said.”

After some sobbing by all three they sat on the couch; Lucinda between Rusty and Sam.

“How did you find us,” Lucinda said. “Was it the donor search. Did you have something to do with this, Sam?”

“I’ll let Rusty tell you,” Sam said. “I had nothing to do with it.”

“It was dad,” Rusty said. “He told me.”

“But he’s dead,” Lucinda said.

“Yes,” Rusty said. “But I came across a pencil box that I had as a kid. I used to keep things that were important to me in it. Before Dad was taken to jail he handed me a key on a chain to a safety deposit box and a pen that had the name and address of a bank on it. I kept it for years as a keepsake. I found it only three weeks ago. Dad purchased a safety deposit box just days before he was arrested. The day I left Pittsburg the box was opened. Inside was a note from him. There was a savings account book. And the most intriguing thing was the deed to 40 acres of land near Plevna.”

“How did, Sam know I was here?” Lucinda said.

“That I don’t know,” Rusty said and continued. “I got to Plevna this morning. I met a man who farms the land. He told me it was administered by a lawyer in Miles City, Proxmire. I drove to his office just to let him know I was in town and that I might take over the land sell it. When we were done talking I asked him about a good place to eat. He told me there was a place down the block.”

“I can’t believe this,” Lucinda said.

“Rusty looked at the contribution jar on the counter,” Sam said. “He looked like he’d been stuck by lightening. He saw your name the name of the restaurant and I told him it was named after your first son and that I had a father I’d never seen and he looked at me and guessed my name was Sam.”

“So you see,” Rusty said. “It all started with Dad leaving me the key to his safety deposit box.”

“I wished it wouldn’t have taken so long. I should have gone back for you,” Lucinda said. “You have every right to hate me.”

“I have no right,” Rusty said. “Absolutely no right to hate you. I’m happy I found you.”

“You came at the worst time,” Lucinda said.

“Not if I’m a donor,” Rusty said.

“No,” Lucinda said. “I can’t let you.”

Rusty smiled. “Now, mother, there you go again, being stubborn.”

“I think you know all there is to know about your mom already,” Sam said. “She is the most stubborn woman I know.”

“There is no way I’m not going to donate,” Rusty said. “You can take your stubbornness and kiss it goodbye.”

“You’ll have to take off work and you should talk it over with your family,” Lucinda said.

“I quit my job,” Rusty said “And I don’t have a family. I was married for a year years ago. We had no children.”

“I’m sorry,” Lucinda said. “I’m not. My ex went on the marry a nice guy and have three children. She’s happy. She wouldn’t have been happy with me.”

“You can stay with me,” Lucinda said.

“That’s a good offer,” Rusty said. “And I’m inclined to take you up on that, but there is other business to take care of.”

“We have a fund that will compensate the donor…” Lucinda said.

“Yes,” Rusty said. “And I understand you plan on mortgaging your home and Sam will mortgage his home and the business too?”

“Yes,” Lucinda said. “That’s the only way this is going to happen.”

“There’s something Rusty has got to tell you,” Sam said.

“What?” Lucinda said.

“Dad purchased stock a long time ago,” Rusty said. “He gave the bank permission to purchase additional stocks with the dividends and to take advantage of any sort of splits in the stocks.”

“This is all Greek to me,” Lucinda said.

“There is plenty of money to pay for your procedure or any care you might need,” Rusty said. “You won’t have to mortgage anything.”

Lucinda stared ahead. “I did nothing for this. I don’t deserve this.”

Rusty held her as she sobbed. “Yes you do, Mom.”

“I’m going to tell you what happened 35 years ago,” Lucinda said.

“I don’t want to know,” Rusty said.

“If you want to be a donor you’re gonna listen,” Lucinda said.

“You’re gonna listen,” Sam said. “So just buckle in.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

 

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The Match (Part 8) The Ride To Mother’s

Daily Prompt: Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Tell us your tried and true techniques for focusing when that deadline looms and you need to get work done. In other words, how do you avoid wasted days and wasted nights?

If it is writing we are speaking about than I don’t think one can be a writer without enjoying each step of the process.  If it requires research there must be a certain amount of joy and satisfaction attached to it. Certainly keeping in mind the finished product is important, but it is like a carpenter; he may relish seeing the house finished, but he has to enjoy driving nails also.

Yet there are times when something is or has become a drudgery. I say nothing else gets started until this is finished. Also often when throwing myself into something that appears to be a  drudgery in the beginning, it often becomes something of which I’m quite fond of in the end.

Here is such a project. It is my 8th episode of The Match. I really enjoyed writing and I hope you enjoy reading. We are nearing the end.

The Match (Part 8)

(Continued from yesterday.)

The Ride To Mother’s

Not much was said beyond that until they reached Lucinda home. It was a small place, cottage like. An elm graced the front yard next to a flagstone walk that led to a small front porch.

Sam and Rusty hesitated before leaving the car.

“I hope this doesn’t blow up in our face,” Rusty said.

“It won’t,” Sam said. “She’ll be shocked.”

“That can be expected,” Rusty said. “I’ll let you handle it.”

“You’re my older brother,” Sam said and smiled, “this will be the last time I’ll handle something first for you.”

“Our relationship is not quite two hours old and there’s already a sibling rivalry,” Rusty smiled.

“Let’s do this,” Sam said and they got out of the car and walked to the door.

Sam slowly opened the door and stepped inside. “Hey, Mom, it’s me. I got company.”

“Anybody I know?” Lucinda called from another room.

Rusty and Sam looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders.

“I just met somebody I want you to meet,” Sam said.

“I’ll be out in the minute,” Lucinda said. “Can a I bring something to drink?”

Rusty shook his head at Sam.’

“No, Mom,” Sam said, “we’re fine.”

They waited for a minute. Rusty looked around the living room. It was neat and orderly. It was a cheerful room with pictures of Sam and his family.

“Two children?” Rusty said quietly.”

“Boy and girl,” Sam said.

“Nice looking family,” Rusty said.

“Thanks,” Sam said.

“You didn’t have any children, right?” Sam said.

“Never good at relationships,” Rusty said. “After my divorce I had relationships long enough to remind me why I shouldn’t have gotten married to begin with.”

“Maybe the right gal never came along,” Sam said.

“Thanks,” Rusty said, “but I don’t think that was really the problem. I just don‘t know how to… well let‘s leave it at that; I just don‘t know how to.”

Sam reached over and touched Rusty’s knee. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” Rusty said.

The sun shined on the entrance Lucinda entered the room through. Her face was full and happy. Her stature was strong and proud; not at all like a person who might be facing life’s end. She wiped her hands on the apron around her and shoved her hand forward to shake. “I’m Lucinda Collins.”

Rusty rose from the chair. “Pleased to meet you.” Rusty said. “I’m Rusty Collins and I pray to god I’m your match.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

 

 

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The Match (Part 7) Shares

Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile

If you’re feeling blah, what is the one thing you do that you can count on to put a smile on your face?

This actually happened some time ago. I came across a website called brainyquotes.com. I found the quotes of Groucho Marx to be particularly amusing and before long I was laughing to the extent of blowing snot bubbles.

I would like to add that his diversion of mine is not the antidote to all cases of the blahs. Some are more serious. And it is never a good idea to chase all your blahs away. There are times one must face problems with resolute soberness. Seeking amusement only to solve problems is folly and not emotionally healthy.

Here is the seventh episode of my short story The Match. Many have commented positively. If you have missed earlier episodes scroll down or hit the links. So her is the episode entitled Shares.  Hope you enjoy.

The Match (Part 7)
Shares

(Continued from yesterday.)

Rusty and Sam sat in a booth for an hour. They related each other’s past.

“Look, Sam,” Rusty said. “I don’t want to dredge up old memories for our mother. She should live in peace.”

“You mean die in peace,” Sam said.

“Not if I can help it,” Rusty said. “Let’s see if I’m a matching donor. Let’s assume I am, it will be anonymous.”

“No,” Sam said. “She has to know. I think it will do her more good than anything. Think about it, she probably carries so much guilt thinking that the son she left behind hates her. To find out her son loves her and is willing to do this will do her as much good as the transplant.”

“It’s risky,” Rusty said.

“All she has left is risk,” Sam said.

“Yeah, Sam,” Rusty said. “You’re right.”

“I’ll put the girls here in charge and let’s drive over to her place and let’s break it to her,” Sam said. Sam started to scoot out of the booth. “Wait a minute, how are you with this? An hour ago we didn’t know we were brothers and you didn’t know if your mother existed. Most people have days or weeks to absorb this sort of thing.”

“I always wanted to see my mother again,” Rusty said. “But really thought it was beyond possibility. I’m ready. I’ve been ready for 35 years.”

They walked to the rear of the restaurant and ducked into Sam’s car.

“You said something about mortgaging homes,” Rusty said.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “That’s how we’re going to pay for it.”

“How much is it going to cost?” Rusty asked.

“When all is said and done it will be over $100,00,” Sam said.

“Sam, I came into some money,” Rusty said. “And I own 40 acres in Plevna. I think that may take care of a lot of it.”

“We can’t expect you to do that,” Sam said.

“Sure you can,” Rusty said. “Wait a minute let me give the bank back in Pittsburg a call. Dad left a few shares of stock. The lady at the bank said they’d be worth a lot by now.” Rusty pulled a business card from his billfold. He dialed the number on it and asked for Samantha Martin.

“Ms Martin, Rusty Collins.”

“Glad to hear from you Mr. Collins. I’ve been waiting for your call.”

“I wanted to check on the value of my stock.”

“When that was purchased your father allowed the bank to administer it. His instructions were to reinvest all dividends by purchasing more stock. So the shares you have are substantially more than what your father purchased.”

“So I’ll have a few thousand more than I thought, right?”

“Are you sitting down, Mr. Collins?”

“Yes, Mss Martin.”

“As of yesterday’s closing your stock value is between 39 and 40 million.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, between 39 and 40 million.”

“I’ll be getting back with you,” Rusty said stunned.

“This is the second time today I’ve seen you look like that,” Sam said. “Are you sure you don’t have some sort of condition?”

“She said those shares are worth between 39 and 40 million dollars,” Rusty said.

“What did you have shares in Wal-Mart,” Sam said.

“Exactly,” Rusty said.

“You’re a rich man,” Sam said smiling and shaking Rusty’s shoulder.

“No,” Rusty said. “He was your father too. You and your mother are rich too.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

 

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The Match (Part 6) Oh, Brother

Daily Prompt: In the Summertime

Theoretically, summer will return to the polar-vortex-battered Northern Hemisphere. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what are your fondest memories of Summer past?

During the summer I look forward to the fall. During the spring I look forward to the summer knowing that I’ll be looking forward to the fall when summer arrives. Did I forget to mention I like the fall? The only thing I don’t like about the fall is cider and donuts.  People talk about them all the time. The mere mention of them in any combination or in the same sentence sets by teeth on edge and my blood-sugar sky-rocketing.

We have arrived at episode 6 of the short story, The Match. It is at this point we understand the name of the story, but there’s more to follow. Thanks for keeping up.

The Match (Part 6)

(Continued form yesterday.)

Oh, Brother

Rusty drove to Miles City and talked with the lawyer, Harry Proxmire. He did not know Sam Collins and knew little about the arrangement other than administering it. He acquired the account from a lawyer who had retired and died.

thBE9JMI0GAfter a brief discussion Proxmire gave Rusty directions to a local restaurant and a place he could camp.

The restaurant was two blocks from Proxmire’s office. Rusty walked it. “Nice place,” he mused. “Could use some pollution and traffic.” Rusty smiled.

He entered a diner called Rusty‘s. He ordered steak and baked potato. It was tender, cooked just right.

“Like to have some dessert to go along with that?” the waitress said.

“No,” Rusty said. “I’ll just take my bill.”

“Here ya go partner,” she said. “Just pay at the register.”

Rusty shoved a five under his plate and walked to the register.

A man in his mid thirties came to the register. “How was everything?”

“Good meal,” Rusty said. “Best steak I’ve ever had.”

“That’s $12.75,” the man said.

Rusty handed him $15. “Keep the change. That’s at least a $20 steak.”

“Thanks,” the man said.

Rusty squinted at a gallon jar on the counter next to the cash register. There was change in the bottom, not enough to cover it and a few one dollar bills. A sign was taped on it. “For Lucinda’s Surgery.” Rusty studied it. Something occurred in him; what? He did not know.

Before Rusty slipped his billfold back into his pocket. He pulled a hundred dollar bill from his pocket and dropped it the jar.

“That’s mighty generous of you,” the man said.

“I came into some money I didn’t work for,” Rusty said. He stared at the jar.

“The truth is money ain’t the real concern,” the man said. “We can mortgage the restaurant and our homes for that. What she needs is a bone marrow match.”

“You know her?” Rusty said.

“Yeah,” the man said. “It’s my mom.”

“And you’re not a match?” Rusty said.

“No,” the man said. “And there’s no other living relatives. If we find a match the money raised would likely go to them.”

“Lucinda, pretty name.” Rusty said. “That was my mother’s name.”

“Was?” the man said.

“Yeah,” Rusty said. He pulled another hundred from his billfold and dropped it in the jar. “It’s tough to lose a mother.”

“Sorry,” the man said. “How did she die?”

“She left,” Rusty said. “Somehow that’s worse than death. They’re someplace and just don’t know where.”

“That’s strange,” the man said. “My mother was separated from her first boy years ago. I don’t know the details. She doesn’t talk about it, but she named this place after him, Rusty’s.”

Rusty stood motionless. It was as if grabbing hold of a bolt of lightening. His body went numb.

“You okay?” the man said. “Maybe you should sit. Can I get you a drink?”

“I think we both need a drink,” Rusty said. “My name is Rusty and my mother’s name was Lucinda. My mother left when I was young.”

“Nah,” the man said. He looked closely at Rusty. “You look like Mom, but how does it happen that you‘re here?”

“It’s a long story,” Rusty said. “But you look like my dad.”

“My name is…”

Rusty interrupted. “Your name is Sam.”

“Yes,” he said.

“That was my father’s name,” Rusty said.

“We are brothers?” Sam said.

“More importantly,” Rusty said. “I may be a match.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

 

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The Match (Part 5) 40 Acres

Daily Prompt: Express Yourself!

Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?

Hmm, I never thought of debating as being a creative endeavor. Although when debating I do make up facts to support my position. Some may argue, that is laying, but as the post suggests, I’m only expressing my creative abilities. In fact, laying is the sincerest form of creative writing. (first said here by me)

Seriously, writing seems to be the only endeavor for which I have ever shown any sort of creative flare. (and some doubt that) Certainly the ability to create a painting, a sculpture, or play any instrument, that gene has never seen the light of day in my family, only the desire. I can’t even draw a proper stick man, whistle a tune, or whittle a pointed stick. Well that’s not really true; all my art looks like stick men, everything I whistle sounds like the theme to the Twilight Zone, and all my whittling turns out to be pointed sticks, for which without them my family would have nothing on which to roast hot dogs.

What follows is the 5th episode in the short story, The Match. I hope you are enjoying it. There are a few more to go.

thS61ZYS5BThe Match (Part 5)
40 Acres

(Continued from yesterday.)

Rusty pulled onto the highway, drove for a while, and eventually headed west. He was a man in no hurry. He drove wherever his own inclination guided and at what ever speed the wind allowed.

Sometimes he stopped at a rest area and sat on a bench and wondered himself tired. He slipped back into the camper and rested until he was no longer able to close his eyes and then drove on some more. He drove into the night. He watched the sun rise in his side view mirrors.

Montana. Why Montana, he thought? Was it a secret passion of his father? Was it where he dreamed of some day living? It was a puzzle. Perhaps the missing piece will be there, but most likely not. His dad was always sort of a mystery and would remain so.

Rusty drove on.

There is nothing like driving that can sort a man’s thoughts. The entire act of driving is a metaphor for life; solving problems, making slight adjustments in steering, gauging speed, watching for the unexpected, enjoying scenery, looking forward, and forgetting what was left behind. Somehow it prepares and gears the mind for mediation and problem solving.

There are places in these United States that are there and it’s a mystery why. One such place was where Rusty was heading, Plevna, Montana. There was nothing there, only 40 acres of land.

He wondered how his dad even came to own it and nearly as important, why?

He wondered much about his dad as he drove. Details he was able to put together over the years from whispers and newspaper accounts. Sam owned a construction company. He had a partner, Conrad Billings. Billings was the investor and Sam actually ran the business. Billings did the books, but Sam caught him stealing from the company. Sam killed Billings. That was too simple Rusty always thought, but it was all he had.

The trial was over before it started. Conrad Billings was a well known man. Known to be generous, kind, and upstanding. The trial was two days.

That was something that Rusty lived with. Of course, few actually knew he was the son of Sam Collins, but Rusty knew. It kept him locked away emotionally for fear he might be exposed as the son of the man who killed Conrad Billings.

Montana looked like a bright new beginning. The sky opened as if forever lay in front of Rusty for his taking. There was nothing but nothing and everything including everything. The eyes could not fill with all the openness and wonder. It was flat, clean, and spacious.

With help from a local grain elevator worker Rusty was able to locate the land. He drove to the location. There was nothing on it. I was flat and unoccupied, not even a tree. Rusty shook his head. “Why?” he said.

Rusty drove to the nearest farm. He knocked on the door. No one was home. He walked to the a large metal barn. The doors were open. Rusty leaned in. There were three tractors and a large combine. He heard the sound as if someone were working on one the pieces of machinery. He heard a grunt.

“Hello,” Rusty said.

“Yeah,” a man walked from between two tractors. “What can I do for ya?”

“My names Rusty Collins,” Rusty said. Suddenly it seemed strange. It was the first time he remembered saying his name without fear of shame. “I have a deed for 40 acres of land south of your place. Do you know anything about it?”

“Yeah,” the man said wiping his hands on a rag. “My name’s Bob Chapman. Me and my dad have been farming the land for as long as I can remember. You come to sell it to us?”

“Well,” Rusty said. “I just got here and I don’t know anything about the land. Can you tell me what you know.”

“We lease it,” Bob said. “A $1 a year, we pay taxes, and a legal fee. A lawyer takes care of everything for somebody back east. I guess you’re that somebody.”

“That was something I didn’t know until a few weeks ago,” Rusty said.

“I’ll give you the name of the lawyer,” Bob said. “His office is up the road in Miles City.”

“Is there anything else you know about the land? Rusty said.

“That’s it,” Bob said. “You tell me?”

“My father died some years ago,” Rusty said. “I just recently came across his papers. He left the land to me. I don’t know why he bought it or when.”

“If you’re looking to sell it,” Bob said. “I’d appreciate it if you’d let us have a crack at it before it goes on the market. We’ll give ya a fair price.”

“You’ve probably come to think of it as yours anyway,” Rusty said. “Don’t worry I’m not the haggling type. If I decide to sell I trust you’ll offer a fair price.”

“How do you know that?” Bob smiled.

“Well, ya got me there,” Rusty said. “I don’t, but anything is more than what I expect.” Rusty offered his hand and they shook hands. “I’ll be getting back with you.”

“Been a pleasure,” Bob said. “Harry Proxmire.”

“Harry Proxmire?” Rusty said. “The lawyer in Miles City.”

“Gotcha,” Rusty said.

(Continued tomorrow.)

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