The Sixth Man – Episode 94

Bruises?

They drove back to Indianapolis. Wilson took Marti and Lynn to a restaurant for supper and he spent another night at Lynn’s before leaving for Atlanta.

After he was on the road for four hours he gave Drake a call.

Anything new?” Wilson said.

Yes,” Drake said. “Let me be very direct, did you and Mom have any marital problems?”

No,” Wilson said. “I mean there was a few times when she said she had to get away for awhile. She had a very heavy social calendar. She headed up charities and did work for me also. It got very demanding at times. I was doing something I loved and I think she was doing things because somebody who depends on sales has to be involved and for her it was hectic and at times a drudgery. I don’t think it was serious.”

What about you, Dad,” Drake said, “any affairs?”

No,” Wilson said, “of course my memory is not what it should be. Did you uncover something?”

No,” Drake said.

So why this line of questioning?” Wilson said.

I ran into an old roommate from college,” Drake said. “He worked for a law firm that does primarily divorces. He hated it and they hated him so he got fired. He’s a little bitter about the separation pay so he spilled his guts to me. He came across a file with Mom’s name on it. In the file are pictures of her all bruised. Do you remember anything like that ever happening.”

No!” Wilson said. He caught his breath. “I don’t think I could ever do something like that. Did your friend read any of the file.”

No,” Drake said, “but given the fact they specialize in divorces we can only assume those pictures were going to be used as evidence in a divorce proceedings.”

You’re Mom and I talked for two weeks before you and Missy came over,” Wilson said. “We talked about every confidential part of our marriage and nothing even remotely like that came up. She described me as being gentle and caring.”

Dad,” Drake said. “When you get back to Atlanta see me before you see anyone else.”

I think that is wise,” Wilson said. “Wait a minute! Your Mom went on a hiking event with some girlfriends a few years back. She took a tumble down the side of a mountain. She came home bruised.”

When was that?” Drake said.

Four or five years ago,” Wilson said. “Now that I think about it there was something strange; she never went to the hospital to be checked out. I asked her who were the friends she went with and she said her usual friends, no names. I saw one of the gals she used to take hikes and trips with and asked her about the fall and she said nothing like that happened. I told your Mom about it and she said her friend wasn’t there. I thought your Mom just might have been confused or shook up, but her friend said she didn’t remember your Mom really being there. I didn’t think anything of it because her groups start small and grow and divide. I thought it was possible they were just in separate parties.”

Dan,” Drake said. “There is something more, you seem to remember that in great detail.”

There was a quiet; only the sound of the road.

What is it, Dad,” Drake said.

It’s nothing, Son,” Wilson said. “It’s private, it’s between your Mom and I.”

I’ll respect that,” Drake said, “but if you ever want to talk…”

Yeah,” Wilson said, “I’ll know who I can talk to.”

There’s something else, Dad,” Drake said.

What is it?” Wilson said.

Think about this,” Drake said, “is it better you tell me or is it better I find out on my own?”

I have to think that one over,” Wilson said. “All I can tell you is that your mother told me she tumbled down the side of a mountain and that’s how she said she got bruised.”

Dad,” Drake said. “You have to come to grips with the fact it looks like Mom was all set to divorce you.”

In our two week before you and Missy came over we never mentioned it,” Wilson said.

What do you feel for Mom right now at this moment?” Drake said.

Wilson swallowed. “I just feel she’s a person in my life.”

Do you love her?” Drake said.

That’s so hard,” Wilson said. “I think that I should.”

Do you love Missy and me?” Drake said.

Yes,” Wilson said. “I can’t wait to see both of you. There are so many good things and warm feelings I recall about both of you.”

And Mom?” Drake said.

Wilson tapped the steering wheel with his fingers. He mouth was dry. His lips stuck together as he said, “I don’t feel it.”

That says something,” Drake said. “And we got to find out what.”

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The Sixth Man – Episode 93

thBOJBM66PDad’s In Deep Stuff

By 8:00 AM they were on the road and stopped for breakfast just outside of Indianapolis. Wilson drove toward Louisville at a relaxed pace. Lynn told him much about her life; her miscarriage, failed marriage, and a brief bout with drug abuse. She spoke at length how Marti was there every step of the way to pick up the pieces.

Marti is a good woman,” Wilson said. “She probably didn’t tell you much about me.”

No,” Lynn said.

There was really very little to tell,” Wilson said. “I’d say things, she would reach out to help, and I’d close her off.”

She said you were a private person,” Lynn said.

Not so much private,” Wilson said, “I just had nothing to say. I never told her in detail the charges against me. I was afraid if I did she would leave me. As it turned out I left her.”

If I knew you were on the way I would have never left,” Wilson said, “not in a million years.”

I used to play in my room when I was a little girl,” Lynn said, “the usual girl stuff, tea parties. My dad was always my special imaginary guest.”

I can never make it up to you,” Wilson said.

You couldn’t help it,” Lynn said. “You didn’t run away from us, you ran away from yourself. I don’t take it personal.”

Logically I see your point,” Wilson said, “but emotionally I can never forgive myself what has happened.”

It will get better overtime,” Lynn said. “I have no grudges.”

I know you don’t,” Wilson said, “and your mother bears no grudges either.”

There is something I should tell you,” Lynn said, “but you must never reveal it to anyone.”

With me memory and how it works…” Wilson said.

Lynn restrained her emotions. “Mother always kept a picture of you. It was in a private place; a place she was certain no one but her would find.”

Where was that?” Wilson said.

She had a jewelry box,” Lynn said.

White, gold trim, and about the size of a loaf of bread,” Wilson said.

Yes,” Lynn said.

I bought that for her,” Wilson said.

The velvet panel inside the lid can be removed,” Lynn said. “Behind it was your picture.”

How did you know about it?” Wilson said.

When I was a teenager mom had to have open heart,” Lynn said. “She was worried she wouldn’t make it. She told me about the picture. She didn’t want anyone else to find it.”

You mean her husband,” Wilson said.

He knew about you and it bothered him,” Lynn said. “If he ever found the picture after, if mom died, it would have crushed him. I think he knew she still loved you.”

Did he know I was still alive?” Wilson said.

Mom told him also you were dead,” Lynn said, “that was the story she told everyone.”

Well,” Wilson said, “she wasn’t far off.”

They pulled off the highway and onto a busy six lane street full of strip malls and car dealerships.

Pull in here,” Wilson said.

That’s you up there isn’t it,” Lynn said. “Arnold Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep.”

Yep,” Wilson said, “that’s me.”

She turned down a street next to the dealership.

Go to the back of the lot,” Wilson said, “and turn into the last driveway. You brought your title didn’t you?”

It’s in the glove compartment,” Lynn said.

Wilson opened the glove compartment and grabbed the title.

See the blue car,” Wilson said. “Park next to it.”

What is that car called?” Lynn said.

It’s a Viper and it’s yours,” Wilson said.

Lynn parked next to the car. “That’s too nice of a car for me.”

A round man in his late 40s got out of the Viper. Wilson walked toward him.

My god, Charles, it is you,” the man said.

They hugged.

This is my daughter, Lynn,” Wilson said. “Lynn, this is my old friend, Frank.”

They exchanged greetings.

Not a word of this,” Wilson said.

What’s going on?” Frank said.

I’m not sure myself,” Wilson said. “Do you have the title inside.”

Yeah,” Frank said. “This is strange I got a call from Drake last night; all real hush hush. Told me to be at the back of the lot with a blue Viper between 11:00 and 11:30.”

That’s why you’ll be running this dealership again in a couple of weeks,” Wilson said.

There’s a lot of strange things going on,” Frank said. “Things have changed since you, you… what ever it was you did and went.”

It’s along story, Frank,” Wilson said. “Now I want to get out of here before I’m recognized.”

They shook hands and quickly exchanged the plates. Lynn got behind the wheel and Wilson climbed into the passengers seat and they drove quietly away.

There’s some deep stuff going on isn’t there, Dad,” Lynn said.

You called me, Dad,” Wilson said. “I like that and yes there is some deep stuff going on and I have no idea how deep it is.”

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The Sixth Man – Episode 92

thOXF0SD3TWater Again

Emerson, the man I told you about who saw to it I was taken care of,” Wilson said.

Yes,” Marti said, “I remember.”

Me too,” Lynn said.

Go on,” Marti said.

He said there was one word that I said that seemed out of place,” Wilson said.

What was it?” Marti said.

Water,” Wilson said.

Water,” Lynn said, “what can it mean?”

I am afraid of water,” Wilson said. “We have a pool at our home in Atlanta. I dangle my feet and that’s it. I’ve never been in a boat on the water. The sound of rushing water terrifies me.”

What about the lady who raised you, Marcel,” Marti said. “Did you think to ask her?”

Emerson told me about water after I met Marcel,” Wilson said. “Water has nothing to do with her. If she knows something about it I think she would not have told me unless it had some way of torturing me further.”

When you hear water what do you think of?” Marti said. “What do you see?”

Just water,” Wilson said.

No,” Marti said, “You must see something more specific. There’s water in a glass, water in a pool, rain, or water in a river. You know what I mean.”

Just water all around me,” Wilson said.

Do you see anything beyond the water?” Marti said.

No,” Wilson said. “It’s water, but something keeps me from seeing a long way. Fog, it’s like I can’t see any more because there is fog or steam or something. All I know is that it makes me frightened and anxious.”

I think you have to find out where the numbers on your medallion lead you,” Marti said.

Wilson grinned with appreciation. He stood. “You two are so good to me, but it’s time for me to go. I got to find a room.”

Spend the night here,” Marti said.

I can’t do that,” Wilson said.

I didn’t mean sleeping together,” Marti said. “I have a spare bedroom.”

It just wouldn’t look right,” Wilson said. “I don’t want the neighbors to talk.”

Wait a minute,” Lynn said, “this is my dad. He can stay at my place. I can’t have my dad in town and have him staying at some sleazy motel.”

Well,” Wilson said, “I can afford better than sleazy. I can afford crummy.”

You’re stayin’ with me, Pop,” Lynn said grabbing his hand, “And we are going to talk until the sun comes up.”

I got to hit the road tomorrow,” Wilson said.

Lynn turned serious. “No you don’t. I’m taking the day off. We are going to drive to Louisville to pick out a car.”

That’s going to take some doin’” Wilson said, “but there are some complications. Briefly, no one in Atlanta knows exactly where I am except my son, Drake. There are few people in Atlanta I can’t trust. I don’t think anyone in Louisville knows I’m alive. But, I think we can pull this off.”

Wilson stepped into the kitchen and called Drake. He told him who to contact and how to arrange for Lynn to pick out the car of her choice.

Wilson and Lynn drove to her apartment. They stayed up until about 11:00 PM and rose at 7:00 AM the next day.

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The Sixth Man – Episode 91

The Good Thing

Lynn drove up in a 20 year old rusted green Toyota. Wilson and Marti were on hands and knees planting flowers. They both turned like grazing cattle to see who drove up.

If you drive over to Columbus I have a dealership that has at least 300 cars,” Wilson said. “Pick one out and drive it away.”

What,” Lynn said. “I love my little Toyota.”

Every father looks forward to the day he can buy a car for his daughter,” Wilson said.

Will ya help me pick it out?” Lynn said.

I’m giving you 300 hundred to choose from,” Wilson said standing up and giving Marti a hand.

Anything but green,” Lynn said

They greeted each other with a hug.

You work today?” Wilson said.

Yeah,” Lynn said, “at the bar. Do I smell like it?”

Yeah,” Marti said.

Well you smell like you’ve been up to your elbows in manure,” Lynn said.

If it’s okay can I take a shower?” Wilson said to Marti.

It’s more than okay,” Marti said. “It’s required and hurry up. I need one too.”

Wilson related to Marti and Lynn the events of the last month from the supper table to sitting in the living room.

It is sad story,” Lynn said.

Not really,” Wilson said. “I’ve met your Mom again. It has brought back to mind some good memories. I’m glad to have them. I’m glad I have a daughter like you.”

But your other daughter will be a doctor,” Lynn said. “How could I match that. Not so; sometimes you sense things are missing in your life. On one level it was your mother. It was in my mind someplace. There are other things yet to be revealed as if never seen and behind a curtain. You just know there is more and don’t know what it is. For me it was you. Now that I’ve met you I never want you out of my life.”

I feel the same,” Lynn said.

It’s not such a sad story after all, is it?” Marti said.

No,” Wilson said.

What next?” Lynn said.

There is something pending and strange in Atlanta,” Wilson said. “I have to settle in somehow. After that there is one more thing that I must do and that is to find out the mystery behind this medallion. I’ve had it all my life.” Wilson removed it and handed it to Lynn.

Lynn examined it. “A B C,” she said, “and “47, 03, dash, 55, 10, 30. What does it mean.”

An investigator, Willard, I told you about, thinks it is the coordinates on a map,” Wilson said.

Lynn handed it to Marti and she examined it also. “This is it. This will tell you who you are. For what other reason would you be wearing it. Who puts that around a child’s neck except a parent who loves them.”

I hope so,” Wilson said. “I want to find out where I’m from.”

Have you searched for the coordinates yet?” Lynn said.

No,” Wilson said. “Until Marti said what she said I was afraid it was an orphanage, a prison or mental institution.”

I think you know,” Marti said. “I think you’ve known all along. Everything else you have told me about your life you have forgotten, but this, I think you know.”

Wilson’s breath seemed to fade. He sunk back in his chair and swallowed hard. His right hand began to tremble.

What is it?” Marti said moving closer and resting her hand on his trembling hand.

Lynn rushed and sat on the floor next to Wilson. “Tell us if you can.”

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The Sixth Man – Episode 90

th865PE1T9The Rose

Marti turned from trimming roses on a fence when she heard a car door shut.

Wilson!” she smiled. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

I thought if I called, you would not want me to come,” Wilson said.

Marti laid her scissors on the grass and moved toward Wilson. “It’s just that you don’t know who you are. You have a family and I‘m not it.”

Can I come in?” Wilson said.

Sure,” Marti said. “Can I get you something?”

No,” Wilson said.

They went inside.

At the table or in the living room?” Marti said.

The table,” Wilson said.

Marti sat on Wilson’s right.

Wilson breathed deep through his nostrils. “It’s been and interesting month. It seems my life is a bit more complicated than I thought. And before I go further, I can’t entertain or allow you to be a part of it.”

Marti pressed her lips tight. “It is best.”

I know when things get sorted out I’ll see things differently,” Wilson said. “The parts that make up a car come from a 100 different locations. You don’t know what the car looks like or how it will perform until it’s assembled and driven for a while. Do you understand?”

Yes,” Marti said, “You will need time to recover.”

You appear relieved,” Wilson said.

I am,” Marti said.

I was caught in a moment,” Wilson said. “All the sudden knowing I was in love and had a daughter. It rushed in on my like a wave. I was overtaken and swept away.”

I have to say at first I was,” Marti said. “It had not been that long sense my husband died and all the sudden you come along.” She smiled. “Like that wave.”

Now can you tell me what’s been going on the last month?” Marti said.

Well here’s the short version,” Wilson patted Marti’s hand and smiled, “I’m not Wilson Gentry, I’m Billy Smith, and before that – I don’t know.”

It sounds like there’s a lot in between,” Marti said.

I hope there’s something before and a lot after,” Wilson said.

Would you mind if I invited Lynn over?” Marti said.

A good idea,” Wilson said.

Can we make it supper time?” Marti said.

Perfect,” Wilson said.

I’ll give her a call,” Marti said. “And if you want to, I can give you some yard work to do.”

I require constant supervision,” Wilson said.

Wilson stood. “I have some jeans in the car, do you mind if I change?”

Just as long as you don’t change into someone else,” Marti said. “You change and I’ll put a roast on.”

That sounds good,” Wilson said, “and as we work together…”

You work, I supervise remember,” Marti said.

Wilson smiled. “Just tell me all you can about the last 30 years.”

How about the short version?” Marti said. “You disappeared and you came back.”

I know that part,” Wilson said. “I’m already feeling the heartache and regret.”

Than I’ll tell you about all the good times in between,” Marti said.

It was good after noon; pleasant in every detail. Every story told by Marti became precious to Wilson. There was comfort for him knowing that Marti had a good life. She had love, family, and fond memories; that’s the main ingredients of life.

There is something about working with roses,” Mari said.

What is that?” Wilson said.

To really flourish they need someone who cares for them,” Marti said

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The Sixth Man

A Journey Through The Mind

The drive to Indianapolis was easy and unrushed. Billy needed time to think. He became more aware of how the mind works, at least his. Thoughts are random, brought to mind by outside stimulation or something that catches his fancy when thinking about some other random thing. It seldom has a logical progression to it.

He was now Billy. Billy covered the time he was 3 or 4 until he was 14. When he saw a billboard for a car dealership it forced him to fast forward to Charles Abbot. For the present it seemed like a grueling exercise. It was like knowing five completely and unrelated languages and having to suddenly think in the language that presented itself.

He reasoned that the mental labor and drudgery he was now experiencing would someday be natural; like a person who can hold a conversation with two people at the same time who speak different languages.

There was no thread that tied all things together. He thought an actor plays many roles, but it is the same actor. He puts on personality for just a while, he takes it off, and becomes himself for a while. And while the actor plays that role he remains the same person inside. No two actors play the same role the same way. They each bring something that is their own to that role. Who is the person behind these roles?

He pondered. Perhaps this exercise is not as different than what others go through; mine is just exacerbated by a terrible affliction or a benevolent psychological defense system hard at work protecting a fragile child abandoned over 50 years ago. I know the journey, but not it’s starting point nor the vehicle of my journey.

I want to find the pure waters of the source, before it became polluted. I want to see the beginnings of the trickling of my life no matter how bleak or brutal. From what existence was I snatched or rescued? Who stood me alone and abandoned me?

There were times alone at my desk I began to contemplate these things. Like a cut the body quickly repairs itself and seals off the wound. It heals and in time it is ignored and sometime never a scar. The mind is a beautiful thing. Sometimes the body does a good job of hiding a disease. The mind does the same. It is doing so for the good of the organism. The mind is a beautiful thing – I think.

Let it wonder a while like an eagle that allows the thermals to cast its course. Soar for awhile like and eagle and dive when morsel is seen on which to feast. There is no need to fight and flap your wings, allow the natural rhythms of your mind to guide you.

Oh what a wonderful ride,” he said.

And that wonderful ride was more of a journey through the mind. It captured events and recollections like laying down a net and gathering everything worthy enough to be caught and kept.

After three and a half days on the road Billy pulled into the mobile home park where Marti lived.

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The Sixth Man – Episode 88

thC6LTCD7SSigns On The Road

Billy was now headed back to Atlanta. LA was behind him. Flat arid country interrupted by billboards were on both sides of him. “Atlanta,” he mumbled. “There is something dirty in Atlanta.”

He called Drake and told him of the events since the last time they talked.

Anything new on you end?” Billy said.

Dad, please think hard,” Drake said, “and don’t answer if you are not sure or uncomfortable.”

Sure,” Billy said, “go ahead.”

Were you and Abernathy doing anything illegal,” Drake said, “or were you aware he was doing something illegal.”

No,” Billy said. “Ted and I were friends and he was my lawyer. His firm handled nearly everything for me and the dealerships. We had a great personnel and business relationship. I trusted him on every level. Why do you ask?”

You here things,” Drake said.

Like what?” Billy said.

Do you remember anything about sending cars to your dealerships north?” Drake said.

Normally I could probably answer in a blink of an eye,” Billy said, “but I can’t recover a memory by merely suggestion, something must stimulate it.”

I’ll give you some time to think about it,” Drake said.

Wait!” Billy said. “We were always doing that. If a car was needed up north that they didn’t have we’d run it up.”

Do you know how often?” Drake said.

I don’t think I handled those details,” Billy said.

Do you know who might?” Drake said.

I can’t give you a name,” Billy said, “but I’d say off hand the general manager might take care of that.”

That would be Ted Abernathy’s brother,” Drake said.

Is his first name Kirk?” Billy said.

Yeah,” Drake said.

I can’t tell you anything more about him,” Billy said, “except he’s a good manager, knows his stuff. I think Ted talked me into hiring him.”

That’s interesting,” Drake said. “Look, Dad, think some things over for the next day and we’ll talk tomorrow. If something doesn’t seem right to you jot it down and let’s talk about it.”

I sure wish I knew where this was all leading,” Billy said.

Me too, Dad,” Drake said.

How’s your mom and Missy?” Billy said.

Don’t see much of either,” Drake said. “Missy is completing med school, finals and Mom has been a little more hands-on at the dealership. She says she wants to get things back the way it was when you left.”

Like what?” Billy said.

I really don’t know,” Drake said.

How would you say the business is doing?” Billy said.

Honestly, Dad,” Drake said. “It’s running off the reputation you built. It seems steady, but it’s not growing. I’ve asked to look at sales figures and there is always an excuse why I can’t see them.”

Is Amanda Barney still running the accounts department?” Billy said.

She hasn’t worked there since you left,” Drake said. “Someone said she took a job at a dealership in Nashville.”

If memory serves me, which it hasn’t for a while, she had her fingers on the pulse of all my dealerships,” Billy said. “She overlooked everything when it came to money and financing. She was one of the few people who could step in and run the whole shebang. I even had discussions with Ted and your Mom that she would be the person to go to in a crises.”

I think it’s time for you to take over,” Drake said. “I mean clean house.”

It has to be done gradual,” Billy said. “That’s how my thoughts are coming to me.”

What if you were to bring back Amanda Barney and let her do it?” Drake said.

That would be a lot to ask,” Billy said.

People in that position are bred for this type of thing,” Drake said.

Billy smiled. “Yeah, when I sent her to the dealership in Columbus for three months she took no prisoners.”

Will you contact her?” Drake said.

Yeah,” Billy said, “but I must go to Indianapolis for a couple of days. There is some business of a personal nature that has to be taken care of.”

When can I expect you?” Drake said.

A week,” Billy said. “I’ll keep you posted.”

Love you, Dad,” Drake said.

Love you too, son,” Billy said and they hung up.

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