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Cadet - 23. Epilogue

The cadets would never see those hats again. Why bother retrieving them when they were not be part of any uniform they would wear in the Air Force? Pandemonium ensued. While graduates hugged and sought out friends and family, a mass of children swarmed the field to collect the discarded caps.

“Look, Uncle Ritch. I got one.” Liebe proudly held her prize out for her uncle.

“That’s awesome, munchkin. Did you go out there by yourself?”

“Nah, mate.” Owen held the delighted girl in his arms. “An older kid went out with her and Joel’s nephew, and CJ walked behind them to make sure they didn’t get trampled.”

Ritch held his hand out, and Liebe handed him the lid. “There should be a present for you in here.” He retrieved a small, plastic bag from inside the headband. “You get to keep the money too.” In addition to the cool souvenir, most kids would find a little surprise tucked in it: $20.24, to commemorate the Class of 2024.

 

“We’ll see you in a couple of days?” Brett’s hand on Ritch’s shoulder redirected the graduate’s attention to him and César. The morning after celebrating the new second lieutenant’s achievement, the family gathered to say goodbye. Once they dropped Olga, Rosario, and Sebastián at the airport, Brett and César would drive to Vail.

“You guys still gonna be there?” Ritch knew his parents had interviews scheduled with a couple of contractors, trying to select one to do work at Falcon’s Lair.

Over fifty years old, the Vail house was due for upgrades. At Owen’s urging, a better insulated metal roof would replace the aging one, and new, energy efficient glass would be installed in all windows. A modern furnace and backup generator were also planned updates.

“We’ll probably spend the whole week. Our first meetings are on Monday.” César finished loading his parent’s luggage in Heinrich and closed the rear hatch.

“Kiss Uncle Ritch goodbye.” Owen held one of the twins after already having strapped Liebe in the back seat of the rental car.

CJ had the other boy in his arms. “I’m jealous of you, bro. I can’t believe you and Lucy get to visit before I do.” While Owen returned to Washington with the three kids, CJ was headed to Malibu as one of the President’s campaign representatives at a fundraising event.

Ritch and Lucy were driving to Durango. Located in the south of the state, adjacent to the Southern Ute Reservation, the former mining town was popular with tourists. The day after, they planned to visit the Four Corners Monument where the borders of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah came together. They would be in Vail after another night on the road.

“We’ll take pictures there and with Portia. Look for them online.” Once the mini-vacation was over, Lucy would fly to D.C. with Ritch, and return to Boston after a few days with her family.

“Portia?” Brett stared at Ritch while shaking his head. “You’ve gotten worse than CJ at naming cars.”

“Hey, don’t blame me!” Ritch, with an arm around her waist, pulled his girlfriend in for a kiss. “That was all Lucy’s doing.”

Once the goodbyes were over, the young couple climbed aboard the newly christened Porsche, and Ritch grinned when the engine roared to life. He slipped the dark blue, kidskin driving gloves CJ and Owen had given him as a graduation present and nearly moaned. The supple material caressed each finger. “Thanks for coming everyone. See you all soon.” Ritch put the car in gear and stepped on the gas.

With the top down, Lucy looked back, lifted her oversized sunglasses, and smiled. The white silk scarf wrapped around her hair fluttered in the wind. She waved at the men everyone now realized would one day be her in-laws.

Ritch was beyond happy. In thirty days he would report for duty. Until then, he planned to live on the fly.

 

The End

Although I've said it before, I'd like to reiterate my gratitude to Mann, Wolf, and Parker. Their contributions made this story significantly better.

And to you, my readers, I can't say thank you enough. Each Friday the highlight of my day wasn't posting a new chapter but enjoying your reactions and comments. However, I'm greedy. If you could spend a few more minutes online for me, please react, recommend, comment, and or review the story as a whole. @Myr has helpfully placed a button at the end of this chapter that will take you to the main page.

I'll be back, hopefully this fall, with CDMX.

Copyright © 2021 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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My thanks to Mann Ramblings, Parker Owens, and WolfM for their assistance. The story is better that it would have been without their assistance.

Story Discussion Topic

Welcome to the discussion thread for CJ’s series. All things CJ are fair game, I simply ask you be respectful of others. I will actively participate in the discussion. Ask questions, speculate about what’s coming, or bitch about what happened. We’re now open for business!    

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Chapter Comments



1 minute ago, erik bagge said:

Well another good ending and about time he met Biden after all his visits to the White House... 😉

Thanks Erik!

Ritch did facilitate his brother meeting Obama so it was fitting he would meet a new president thanks to a phone call to CJ.

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8 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Putting words down is often easier and faster than the subsequent cleaning. What did you think of the additional glimpse at CDMX?

I liked it but you know it's still gonna be too short for @Daddydavek

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3 hours ago, frosenblum said:

Good point.

The Black Pearl is rumored to be owned by a Russian oligarch. It was built by the same company that is building Jeff's superyacht. I guess I'm helping pay for it every time I order something on Amazon -- maybe Jeff will give me a ride on the yacht.

Maybe in the tow behind dinghy.  

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8 minutes ago, dughlas said:

Maybe in the tow behind dinghy.  

His dinghy has a dinghy...

We're talking boats, RIGHT?

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4 hours ago, dughlas said:

Maybe in the tow behind dinghy.  

Good point, dughlas. I can see it now ... the superyacht, then the auxiliary yacht, then the dinghy, then me in the tow. Do you think Jeff will lend me a life saver, so I don't have to hold onto the towline with my bare hands?

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9 hours ago, frosenblum said:

Good point, dughlas. I can see it now ... the superyacht, then the auxiliary yacht, then the dinghy, then me in the tow. Do you think Jeff will lend me a life saver, so I don't have to hold onto the towline with my bare hands?

Wave at CJ and Owen sipping Champagne on the poop deck.

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I am always amazed at your story telling.  One reader above said he wanted to be adopted by this family.  Understandable.  I would like to have them as friends.  Even better would be to live near you so I could get to know you, too.  You have a sexy mind.

Your characters are believable, the story line compelling; makes me not want to stop reading, just as I did last night.  I won't read stories here that are not complete because I've been burned a few too many times.  At any rate, I started this about 0100 hours last night and read until 0800 this morning so I could finish it.  Just couldn't quit.  

Keep writing.  Much love and hugs. 

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@alexlittel THANK YOU!

I smiled through each notification tracking your progress through the story. :)

Although it's fiction, I try to ground my stories in real life. For the record, there are only 2 stories of mine with a Temporary Hold tag. One's a series of vignettes tracking someone's motorcycle trip, which I'll add to when the mood strikes. Each chapter's self contained though, so they can be read as they stand. The other one's Thiago's story. I had to write the opening chapter as my reaction to someone's actions and the BLM movement. I'll write the remainder of the story as soon as I get done with a couple others.

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A truly fantastic story telling us about 4 years of Ritch's life. He has grown up to be a well grounded young man, who is going to go places in his career.

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55 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

A truly fantastic story telling us about 4 years of Ritch's life. He has grown up to be a well grounded young man, who is going to go places in his career.

Thanks, Chris. Hope you're doing well and things have settled down for you.

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Just loved reading about Ritch and how much he has grown into an amazing young man and changed since he first came to live with Brett, Cesar and of course his brother and brother in law. 
Portia the Porsche, vroom vroom 🏎 

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On 5/21/2021 at 2:26 PM, Carlos Hazday said:

You make me blush. How about a story set mostly in Mexico? Ne locations, new characters, and different adventures.

What the hell. Here's a snippet of what's coming next.

  Hide contents

“How the fuck does she keep those tits from falling out of that dress?” Their hostess’ outfit revealed enough cleavage even a gay man would notice. He definitely had. CJ smiled at the bartender, accepted the cocktail, and slipped him a ten-dollar tip. “Gracias, Elpidio.” He and Owen carried American currency around for situations like this one. The Hamilton made the bartender grin and thank them profusely. He surreptitiously stashed the folded bill into his pocket. Gratuities may or may not have been proper, but CJ assumed as with many servers, Elpidio was probably underpaid.

 

 

How much is a Hamilton? 

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On 5/22/2021 at 4:37 PM, Carlos Hazday said:

That's my attitude!

I know no matter how well I may write, multiple sets of eyes help make any story better. Most people who think self-editing's enough are foolish.

A few people use grammarly it has mistakes in it, weekend is one word not two words 

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5 hours ago, Bft said:

How much is a Hamilton? 

Alexander Hamilton's picture is on the US ten dollar bill

 

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5 hours ago, Bft said:

A few people use grammarly it has mistakes in it, weekend is one word not two words 

Grammarly's a good tool, but I have yet to discover a program than can replace human editors. Particularly when writing fiction. The AIs are not sophisticated enough yet.

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Four years at the Academy and not a single trip under the Mountain?! One of my lasting regrets is not getting a tour before the complex was closed after 9/11.

the Vail house was due for upgrades. -- Third Line? Cousins? B&Z? Why hire outsiders? Contractors in the mountain towns are incredibly slow, unreliable, and EXPENSIVE.

oversized sunglasses, white silk scarf, smile, top down, hair fluttering in the wind -- It's like you're trying to paint an iconic scene or something. Very Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Jackie O.

SPOILER - He'll be assigned to an overseas AFB as soon as he gets his first promotion. -- I'm still rooting for Incerlik with Vurdem.

I want to read HTTC as an end-point, rather than as prelude. So while waiting for CDMX1 on September 24, what should I be reading?

Bezos, Musk, Gates, Zuckerberg, Buffett, Ellison, Page, Brin, Ballmer, Walton could PERSONALLY end hunger in the US with $3Billion each. They and their fellow centi-billionaires together could end WORLD hunger in 10 years with $100-200Billion a year and hardly notice any effect on their life-styles. They're competing to get into space with vanity projects. I wish they'd compete to provide clean water, sustainable energy, nutritious food, durable shelter, and dignified work.

typo alert on your CDMX spoiler: "She had interviewed CJ half-a-dozen times in his capacity as a surrogate for Hilary Clinton and a friendship developed." -- HiLLary has 2 "L"s.

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32 minutes ago, BlueWindBoy said:

Four years at the Academy and not a single trip under the Mountain?! One of my lasting regrets is not getting a tour before the complex was closed after 9/11.
Why bother describing it when we've all watched war Games.

the Vail house was due for upgrades. -- Third Line? Cousins? B&Z? Why hire outsiders? Contractors in the mountain towns are incredibly slow, unreliable, and EXPENSIVE.
I'm not worrying about it. This is one renovation I'm not describing. Next time I use the Vail house, it'll all be done.

oversized sunglasses, white silk scarf, smile, top down, hair fluttering in the wind -- It's like you're trying to paint an iconic scene or something. Very Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Jackie O
Bingo! Those three came to mind along with Audrey Hepburn. So, how did that painting turn out? Iconic enough?.

SPOILER - He'll be assigned to an overseas AFB as soon as he gets his first promotion. -- I'm still rooting for Incerlik with Vurdem.
You've been fairly good with your guesses so far but this one... As soon as CJ gets better known, the brass will try to ride his coattails and send Ritch to visible spots to do visible things. I could see him spending time in England and Israel.

I want to read HTTC as an end-point, rather than as prelude. So while waiting for CDMX1 on September 24, what should I be reading?
Your choice but there are some half a dozen CJ stories and at least as many spinoffs before CJ's inauguration. Those ain't gonna write themselves and there's only one of me.
Before reading anything else, I'd request you go to this story's main page and leave a reaction, a recommendation, or a review. Or all three!
Have you read Jack Scribe's stories? If you like mine you may enjoy his work. I did so much I've stolen been inspired by some of his characters and plot points. Since Jack's not around any longer, you and I can discuss his chapters. A mini book club. We can even create a discussion thread! LOL

Bezos, Musk, Gates, Zuckerberg, Buffett, Ellison, Page, Brin, Ballmer, Walton could PERSONALLY end hunger in the US with $3Billion each. They and their fellow centi-billionaires together could end WORLD hunger in 10 years with $100-200Billion a year and hardly notice any effect on their life-styles. They're competing to get into space with vanity projects. I wish they'd compete to provide clean water, sustainable energy, nutritious food, durable shelter, and dignified work.
Dan Price (is that his name?) and Ben and Jerry (before they sold) are the individuals I think would participate in your proposal. The others, like Rockefeller, Ford, Vanderbilt, Morgan, et al, appear more interested in extending their legacy by using foundations. That type of approach inspired the Davenport Family Foundation. Same with having buildings named after the donor. This might make for an interesting family conversation at some point.
As for your numbers, I'll accept them at face value, but my gut tells me the problem will never be solved and all that money would only provide limited respite.
NASA and the moon missions were also vanity projects, albeit national, government funded ones. And the work benefited mankind as a whole. I'm trying to figure out who'll be my first character in space.

typo alert on your CDMX spoiler: "She had interviewed CJ half-a-dozen times in his capacity as a surrogate for Hilary Clinton and a friendship developed." -- HiLLary has 2 "L"s.

Bah! Those snippets have already gone through revisions even before an editor gets a look at the chapter. I know I thought the tip was excessive, so I change the Hamilton to a fiver.

 

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