Father and Son Reunion
"After we left you and Luc, he asked if I'd like to drive to a special place. When I said it would be great, we drove out to Mavis' and he suggested I saddle Princess and ride to Senhor D'Cruz's place and join him there. When I got there, he had saddled one of the Mangalarga Marchador, a beautiful almost-white horse with black tail and mane. We rode along the bridle path for a while, then took a barely recognizable trail into the woods.
"We rode some distance from the house, where Cândido said we should stop. We did and he built a small fire and then smothered it until it was just embers and tossed something on it which produced a thick smoke. He told me to 'wash' in the smoke, which I did. When I started, he was singing/chanting something and as he sang, he placed a small tin on the embers with a bit of water in it, added some things to it and when it boiled, he set it off the fire. I guess it was the smoke or maybe the chanting, but I kinda went to sleep. While I was asleep, I must have been able to follow his instructions, because I am sure I drank the 'tea' he had made because when I woke, it was gone and I had a very strange, but not bad, taste in my mouth. I do know he breathed on me and smelled my armpits and blew on them. Cândido asked how I felt and I felt very relaxed, warm, and knew everything would be all right. I bet my afternoon was more interesting that yours," he smiled.
"I'm sure it was," I agreed, "but I had a good one with Luc. I am even more assured that he will guide Blankenship LLLP well and take care of his relationship with Cândido."
"Do you know anything about the Bororo?"
"Some. When I learned Luc was married to one, I dug around looking for information about them." Josh laughed, "I even read Claude Levi-Strauss, but I would never tell Cândido that. He wonders how anyone can write at length about people whose language he neither understood nor spoke and with whom he spent very little time."
"Cândido showed me a photo of their wedding. He dressed as he would have with his mother's people, handsome and elegant with feathers, body paint, piercings and very little else, but definitely someone who could only be pushed so far."
"I warned Luc about allowing Blankenship LLLP to consume his life. I think he got the message this weekend," Josh chuckled. "I think they tried to make up for any love-making they have missed while they have been here."
Alex looked at me, grinned, and said, "One of these days we're going to start catching up."
Josh and Alex drove to the airport to pick up his dad and Paula. Father and son had a tearful reunion while Mrs. Bledsoe looked on, concerned. Mr. Bledsoe then hugged Josh and introduced him to his wife. Josh drove them to Vic House where Gertrude hugged them both. She had supper ready and after they ate, Josh and Alex drove the Bledsoes to the hotel where they were staying until the following day when they could get in the B&B where they finally found a vacancy.
Tuesday and Wednesday Alex had morning appointments with Shawn and told Sandra, his personal trainer, he would not be in in the afternoon. The first afternoon, the two left right after lunch and drove to Mavis' where Mr. Bledsoe took one of Mavis horses and Alex rode Princess. They rode slowly as Alex told his dad what had happened in the seven years he had been hidden by his mother. His dad told him he had hired several skip tracers over the first five years before he finally gave up. "Bull Marino found you? You know he is legendary?"
"He and Mr. VanWinkle, both over seventy, are a deadly combination," Alex replied. "I shudder every time I realize just how much luck was involved in my being found and rescued. Kinda ironic that Ms.Crimshaw ...."
"Yeah, your ex-wife and my birth mother had her name changed back to her maiden name. I don't know how she did it, but she had mine changed as well. I have a new birth certificate, social security card, etc."
"Sounds like forged documents to me," his dad said. "You were over eighteen, so you would have had to appear in court. I'll have a lawyer check into that."
"If it wasn't really done, then I'll need to get records changed at the university and see what can be done about social security since I paid into it while I was working."
"If it wasn't really done, I'll have someone take care of that. If it was, you'll need to go to court if you don't want to be a Crimshaw. Also, I think I'll alert someone and see how she got the fakes."
Later, when Alex mentioned that to him, Josh said in a flash, "The ID Enterprise at New Beginnings! They had a very sophisticated setup for producing identification badges. I bet fake documents made more money. I guess there was no end to the dirty work done by that bunch. I'll get Pete on it since it's in his county."
Alex debated showing his dad photos of New Beginnings Clinic, but asked himself what purpose that would accomplish and could think of none, so he didn't.
By the end of the week, any anger Alex had about his father had disappeared. He told him he would most likely be living in North Carolina in a month or so which would mean they could see each other more often than if they were across the country from each other. He learned his dad was a vice president in a financial concern and was having trouble with the runaway speculation other concerns were riding. Wednesday and Thursday, he was back on a regular schedule and his dad spent the day with Gertrude.
While Alex was spending time with his dad, Josh got busy doing things he had set aside once he had Alex in Boulder. He had gotten together with Walt shortly before he and Cam flew back to Berkeley to take Luc and Cândido home. He asked him about moving to Sentinel Mountain and he was all for it since it would get Cam away from some 'friends' who were older and rougher and who he, therefore, was trying to impress -- with disastrous results.
"It might be more of an inducement if you tell him you will be training pilots and he'll be included if he can show the level of maturity a pilot needs. Prue told me you had outfitted the company plane as an instructor's aircraft and that it was not being used. Get things together and you can move whenever you're ready. I guess Cam will be in school."
"When he doesn't ditch. Josh, I'm too old for a teenager."
"Well, you'll have a lot of help on the Mountain, I'm sure. For the time being, you can stay in the house. Winston, Susan, Mrs. Mason and the boys will be there until their house is completed about Thanksgiving. There may be a house near Boys' Camp you'd like. There are several small cottages there for staff when the camp was operating. They are away from the camp and everyone else so you have your privacy. You might find a place you like better overlooking the airfield. You can look things over and decide. Should you want to have a house built, it's be near spring before it's completed. The Mustangs and ponies will be leaving Utah tomorrow. Winston, Sally and Brenda are accompanying them. Susan shipped everything they were taking except for a few clothes. I'll need you to fly them to Sentinel Mountain next day or two. Since they will have minimum luggage and the boys are small, you can take the company plane."
"Boss, I could, but I won't leave Cam here by himself. I'd be lucky if I had a house still standing and he was just locked up when I got back. Also, I really do need a co-pilot."
"Cam a little guy?"
"Compared to some of his hoodlum buddies, he is, but they are eighteen or older. He's a large sixteen-year-old who still has growing to do."
"I guess the company plane would strain under that load."
"Plus we have mountain flying and I'd rather not trust it."
"Mind flying commercial to Boulder? Well, who doesn't mind flying commercial these days with the insane security, but ...."
"We can fly out of Oakland to Denver. It's not as bad as San Francisco and we'd also avoid fog preventing a takeoff."
"That's a three-hour flight -- you lose an hour -- then by the time you get your luggage, everybody pees, and get here, you will have spent five hours on the trip. Plan to leave day after tomorrow and take a break here before flying on as you'll have four and a half to five hours flying time to the Mountain or come mid-afternoon tomorrow and stay over. Choice is yours, but work it out with Susan." Walt told him he'd take care of the trip, not to worry and Josh assured him he wouldn't. "By the way, if you want to make that a long weekend for you and Cam, feel free, just let Janie know. Also, I'll need you to pilot for a long weekend after this. Unless things don't go well, Alex and I are flying to the Mountain for a long weekend so Alex can have a look at the place. Leave here late Thursday and return late Tuesday. We'll know next week."
"The company plane is ok with that since you can copilot."
"Well, there'll be only you flying to here."
"Let me worry about that."
"Fine, I will."
"I'll wait until I hear from you before telling Cam."
"Probably a good idea."
When Josh hung up, he called Pete and asked him how things were going.
"Thanks for the tip about the possible document faking operation. There was an inner room with paper, copies of official documents, everything, to create a person. Just added to the list of charges. That intensified the Feds involvement. I asked them to do a special search to see if they could find proof Alex's Crimshaw identity was created. A couple guys thought that was worth the effort, but the head honcho was a first-class jerk and said they didn't have time for 'personal service.' I took him aside and suggested he pay back some of the time we had saved them 'or is turnabout not fair play? I guess we'll have to let the citizens decide that after they hear about it on tonight's news.' He said, 'You wouldn't dare!' and I assured him I would. While I was explaining the way of the world to him, the two guys had been working and found Alex's folder with copies of everything. You can tell him he was never a Crimshaw and the Feds have taken care of his tax, social security and college records. He'll be happy to hear that."
"How's he doing?"
"Ok. He had one bad episode last week. His dad's here this week and I'm sure that is another load off his mind. Before I let you get back to protecting the noble citizens of Jefferson county, seen Nelson?"
"How's he doing?"
"Kinda lost. He has an idea of what he'd like to do, but sees no possibility. Neil's upset about that as well. Since he's doing courses online and has cut back on his dating, guy's bored blind, but apparently the sex drive hasn't diminished." Pete laughed. "Neil would have a cow if he heard Nelson say it, but when I asked how he was doing, he said, 'Pete, I tried reading the Book of Mormon to help me stop jacking off, but all it means is I have to be careful when I switch hands or I'll drop it on my cock.' If you have any ideas, I know he and Neil would appreciate it. Heck, so would I."
"I do as a matter of fact, but I haven't worked out the details. I'll keep you posted."
Josh called Neil and found him frustrated about Nelson. "Josh, he's a really talented kid, hard-working and, I guess, mostly doing without, but I did tell him he could at least wait until his mom and I were asleep before rocking the house. He feels trapped here and I don't blame him. I can kinda see where he gets his feelings about Copper county, but I love this country, so I don't understand it all. His mother thinks he's being unappreciative 'of all we've done for you.' Thank God, he ignores her."
"Neil, I know he's eighteen, on the one hand, I don't think he'd make a move without your permission, and on the other, I think he could be of use on Sentinel Mountain. We have broadband now I'm told, so he could continue the classes he's taking now. Once he gets the general courses out of the way, we'll talk about the next step. Well, we'll talk about it before, but money will not be a problem. He's a great young man and, I agree, has much potential which will go to waste in Copper county. Alex and I are flying to the Mountain weekend after this and I'd like to take him along. We're leaving late Thursday and returning early Tuesday. How are you with that?"
"Overjoyed," Neil said, "both about the weekend trip and future possibilities."
"Fine, I'll call him."
"You can check the line he uses for the computer -- the mention of broadband would get you anything. For that I think he'd become celibate!"
"Good talking to you, Neil."
"Good talk .... Oh! How's Alex?"
"Making progress on a long journey."
"Hang in there, both of you."
"That you can depend on."
Josh called the computer line and found it busy, but didn't call the regular house line, he didn't want to deal with Caroline Rogers. He had never met the woman, but Neil had said enough about her to make him not want to deal with her. Pete told him Neil didn't know how bad it really was. "He still has romantic ideas about her, but Nelson says she nags him and Neil constantly."
Walt would arrange the flight and get the group ticketed, so Josh didn't give that a thought. He knew Walt would also call Janie, so he didn't, after all he accused Luc of micromanaging and was discovering he could easily slip into doing the same. He had time on his hands and decided he's bike out to Mavis' place, after grabbing a sandwich at a sandwich shop, and go riding. Prince had done very well being sedate when he and Alex were riding, but both man and horse needed to be let loose.
When he arrived, Prince was nowhere to be seen, so he whistled after opening the corral gate. Prince and Princess thundered from the back of the pasture. Prince was tossing his head and snorting as was Princess. You could almost see the disappointment on her face when Josh was alone. He put an arm over Prince and stroked Princess for a few minutes before leading the stallion into the stables and saddling him.
The regular bridle path was designed for gentle riding, not the kind of riding Prince and Josh needed to do. Mavis had made sure there were no holes for a horse to step in for about four yards just inside the fence for those who really needed a run. Josh gave Prince his head and the horse snorted and leapt forward in a flat out run. Both man and horse were one powerful animal. Prince must have run a mile before Josh even attempted to slow him to a gait he could have sustained for hours, but still covered the ground. He finally slowed to a slow walk so the stallion could cool down as he rode back to the stables. He had ridden two hours when took his horse to the stable, curried and brushed him until his coat was glistening when he turned him back in the pasture.
He was still standing by the corral fence, watching Prince and Princess greet each other when Mavis joined him. "Good ride?"
"Harvey called and invited me to join you for dinner tonight. Said Alex hadn't gotten you on your phone."
"I turned my phone off when I came out to ride."
He hit the speed dial number for Vic House and when Gertrude answered, asked if she knew where Alex was. She told him he was with his dad and Mrs. Bledsoe, she thought, driving in the mountains. She gave Josh Mr. Bledsoe's number and Mrs. Bledsoe answered. When he identified himself, she said, "Oh, Alex has been calling you." Josh heard her say, "Alex, Josh on the phone."
"Josh, and you are sexy Barefoot Boy?"
Alex chuckled, "Barefoot Boy with shoes on. Whassup?"
"Went riding and turned my phone off. When I got back, Mavis said you called about dinner tonight."
"I did. You'll be there won't you?"
"Dad got a call early this morning, nine I guess New York time, and needs to leave tomorrow. If you can, we'll drive them to the Denver airport."
"Don't see why not, but will you miss another appointment?"
"No, not even gym." Alex kinda giggled, "They have to be there at seven."
"Barefoot Boy, you tricked me."
"One of these days," he laughed.
"Got some news you and your dad will appreciate," Josh said. "What time's dinner?"
"Seven. Will I see you at Vic House? I'll be back around five. Oh, Dad says this is a coat and tie kind of place."
"What are you going to wear?"
"Dad bought me a sports jacket to wear with chinos, which I noticed are getting a bit snug. Bye."
"Later," Josh replied and had just shut the phone when it rang again.
"Josh, June VanWinkle."
Jesse and Scott
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