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    CLJobe
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Salvation - 33. Chapter 32

I made a few phone calls concerning the case. I spoke to the company representative, “Have you inspected the cargo?”

“No, they won’t let us?”

“Ok, I’ll get a court order to allow us to inspect the cargo. I want to be there with a photographer. I’ll let you know as soon as I have the court order.”

I called Judy and told her to type up a request for a court order and to overnight it to me at the hotel. Before we spent a lot of time, we needed to know what was in that truck. Customs must have suspected something. I called US Custom to be sure that the truck was still impounded. It was and sealed with a court order. They were waiting for someone from Washington to open it.

I have been involved in some weird cases, but this is getting really weird. The trucking company had all of the right papers, they passed Mexican officials but got stopped by US Customs, and someone from Washington had to come before they could open the truck. That didn’t make any sense to me.

Joey came out of the bathroom, showered, and in his new clothes. “Wow, are you the same boy that went into that room?” He smiled. “Let’s go to lunch. We’ll eat here in the hotel with my crew.”

When we got there, the crew was already sitting at a table. Ron waved us over. Introducing Joey to Ronnie and Don, he knew Jimmy, “There is a lunch buffet, or you can order from the menu.”

“Joey, let’s you and I hit the buffet. What are you guys going to do?”

“Follow you.”

The buffet was loaded, “They must draw a good crowd here for lunch.”

“I think a lot of the employees from the airport eat here.”

“Makes sense. Joey, there’s nothing on your plate. Let’s fill it up. Do you like salad?”

I took a smaller dish and put salad on it along with some cheese wedges. “Here, take this plate and anything you like just put on the plate, don’t worry about filling the plate. If it’s too full, take it to the table and come back and get another plate.”

He did fill his plate with veggies and a hot dog. At the end of the line, they were carving a ham, roast beef, and turkey. I saw him look and then his plate. I took the plate, went, and got a clean plate, gave it to him, then went and set his full plate at his seat at the table. I went back and finished getting my lunch.

While we waited, the guys were betting if he would eat everything or not. Knowing the kids, I had at home. I’d bet he’d go back for seconds on some dishes.

I ordered our drinks, chocolate milk for him, and coffee for me.

We chatted about flying, the food here, and in Europe, the need to get a larger plane, “Boss, if we continue to make the trips like last few times, you’ll need a larger plane.”

“I don’t know if we’ll see those trips again. My house is big, but not that big.”

“How many children do you have now?”

“Last count, including Joey here, 32.”

“I can’t handle my sister’s three. How do you handle 32?”

“Different circumstances, you know the background of my boys. You have heard the stories, I’m sure. Safety and love make a big difference.”

“Ask Joey what he wouldn’t give to have a home, where he isn’t afraid, has plenty of good food, and is loved for who he is.” When I said, this Joey was getting his second plate.

Joey came back with almost a full plate, “That man at the end with the meat asked me if I like his cooking. I told him it was the best I have ever eaten. He gave me an extra piece.”

We smiled, “Maybe I should go and tell him the same thing.”

“Go ahead, Jimmy, let’s see what you get.”

We watched Jimmy go and get a plate. He put a baked potato on it and then went to the chef who was carving. We couldn’t hear what he said. The chef looked over at our table, smiled, and put a piece of turkey on Jimmy’s plate. When he came back, we laughed. He got the part that went over the fence last. The chef then brought over a regular piece on a different plate.

I explained to Joey, ‘what the part that went over the fence last’ was. He looked at Jimmy and laughed. Jimmy took the piece and placed it on his plate. Joey just smiled.

That evening we watched a little TV. Joey asked a lot of questions, and I answered the best I could. He asked if I had any pictures, “No, I don’t, but I should have. Remind me when we get home.”

That was the first time I gave any direct indications that he’d be going home with me.

“Are you taking me home with you?”

“Yes, unless you want to stay here.”

“If I stayed here, I’d be back on the street again. I don’t like that. I don’t have a choice, do I?”

“You always have a choice, some are good, and some are bad, but they are your choices. I do know this; if you come with me, you won’t regret it. But it’s your choice. Think about it.”

Jimmy called and wanted to know if we’re going to go to dinner with them. He said they were going to a local place not too far from the hotel. The hotel management recommended it. I asked Joey, and he nodded his agreement. I guess he felt if he wanted to eat, he had to go.

We met in the lobby, walked to the restaurant. It was a small place, not crowded, looked nice. Of course, the food is what mattered.

The guys ordered drinks. I had coffee, Joey asked for a coke. The menu wasn’t extensive, but they had the basics, steak, chicken, and fish. These were fixed in several different ways. When they came to take our orders, Joey looked at me. I ordered a salad for both of us, a steak for Joey with a baked potato, and a baked fish for me with a medley of vegetables. The guys all order salad, steak, and baked potato as well. I was the odd man out.

The salads weren't large but fresh. I guess the recommendation based on the salad was a good one. As it turned out, the food was excellent. Joey dug right in. His steak looked good. “Joey, how’s the steak?”

“It’s very good. I never had steak like this. My dad always wanted it cooked well done.” I noted a little sadness in his voice, so did the other guys. Then they started to joke around, to break the mood.

“My steak isn’t cooked. Listen, you can hear the cow cry every time I take a bite.” Joey laughed at his silliness, which is what Jimmy was precisely hoping he would do.

I was going to pass on dessert but instead ordered apple pie a la mode. I watched Joey. He ordered the chocolate cake, and the guys ordered the cake as well. I was the odd man out again.

The slices of cake were ok but not overwhelmingly large. Joey had eaten his in no time. I took a bite of the apple pie and slid the rest to him. The smile was payment enough. Jimmy took his fork and went to take a bite as well. Joey pushed the pie toward him when Don pushed it back toward Joey, “Eat it fast, Joey, before he tries again.”

They were joking, Joey was smiling, and I was happy to see that smile.

On the way back to our room, I stopped at the gift shop and got a few snacks for him later tonight. “Joey, that bed is for you, and this is mine. I’m going to take a shower, and then I’m going to watch a little TV.”

I took my shower, put on my sweats, and hopped in bed, propped myself up with pillows to watch TV. I should say look at TV, my mind was on that truck. The only thing I could think of was drugs. My client said the truck was loaded at his warehouse, then locked. Customs indicated that it was still locked and had not been opened.

“Sir, I’m going to take a shower and go to bed.”

“Ok, you can wear those sweats I bought for you today to sleep in.”

I knew that he was nervous, not knowing what to expect. I was still watching TV when he came out in his sweats. He looked at me, “That’s your bed. I think they are comfortable.”

He smiled and got in bed. Usually, I would kiss the boys goodnight, but I didn’t want to scare him on his first night with me.

Copyright © 2020 CLJobe; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Perplexing! Gadgets, drugs, kids ... what's on that truck is wait to be seen. Joey, on the other hand, has a decision to make. I'm not sure I could even decide whether to tie my shoes at a young age let alone make life altering decisions. Though, the safety of a home full of love and other siblings is definitely more appealing than living another night on the street. Carleton is wise in verbally expressing the separation of beds multiple times as well as being physically distant until Joey becomes more comfortable with his surroundings and new dad. Though, one does have to wonder, out of 32 boys odds would be that one or two might rob and flee. I guess we shall see. 

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27 minutes ago, Chris L said:

Perplexing! Gadgets, drugs, kids ... what's on that truck is wait to be seen. Joey, on the other hand, has a decision to make. I'm not sure I could even decide whether to tie my shoes at a young age let alone make life altering decisions. Though, the safety of a home full of love and other siblings is definitely more appealing than living another night on the street. Carleton is wise in verbally expressing the separation of beds multiple times as well as being physically distant until Joey becomes more comfortable with his surroundings and new dad. Though, one does have to wonder, out of 32 boys odds would be that one or two might rob and flee. I guess we shall see. 

Yes, Carleton is wise enough to know what these boys expect, every thing a price. 

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35 minutes ago, Tonyr said:

Happy turkey day y'all.

Gobble, Gobble. Thank you. And the same to you

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7 hours ago, CLJobe said:

I agree, the driver had all of the papers, passed border legally and then stopped. I hope it isn't smugglers with more children.

I really hope it is not. They would be dead by now if it was? So, no. Please, definitely not kids/people in the truck.

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6 hours ago, Chris L said:

Perplexing! Gadgets, drugs, kids ... what's on that truck is wait to be seen. Joey, on the other hand, has a decision to make. I'm not sure I could even decide whether to tie my shoes at a young age let alone make life altering decisions. Though, the safety of a home full of love and other siblings is definitely more appealing than living another night on the street. Carleton is wise in verbally expressing the separation of beds multiple times as well as being physically distant until Joey becomes more comfortable with his surroundings and new dad. Though, one does have to wonder, out of 32 boys odds would be that one or two might rob and flee. I guess we shall see. 

These boys won't commit any crimes. Think about it, they were forced to live on the street, and heaven knows whaat they were forced to do. They don't want to go back to that, so I expect that they are well behaved and very grateful for being off the streets.

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1 hour ago, Buz said:

I really hope it is not. They would be dead by now if it was? So, no. Please, definitely not kids/people in the truck.

The next chapter is up. That will answer your questions.

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