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    comicfan
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
2018 - Fall - Good Intentions Entry

Martin Pop, Fixer - 1. Chapter 1

Martin Pop is a fixer. That means when the universe hands him a problem, he goes to work helping someone, and then leaves them better than they were. This time Martin has been called in to help a soldier and his nephew, but the universe just might have more in store for Martin.

 

Contains loss, redemption, and a bit of magic.

The thud of the newspaper hitting the front door drew my attention. That was how I was always informed of a new case requiring my special talents. I was a fixer, like so many of my family. We always seemed to be pulled into someone’s life as they reached a now or never situation.

“Martin, for heaven’s sake, your newspaper is here. Go get it, boy!” Mom’s voice echoed through the house.

“Yes, Mom,” I called back. The joys of coming to visit my mother, even as I was pushing forty; in her house I was suddenly five years old again.

I opened the door and Prince raced past me. My mother’s corgi sped past the corner of the house and vanished from sight. I knew the fluff ball would be back in a moment, probably with a snack from Mrs. Abram, the next door neighbor.

I picked up the paper and went to go back in when Prince trotted back with a piece of rawhide clenched in his teeth and a ribbon on his collar. I smiled as I followed Prince in.

“Mom, Prince has a ribbon.”

“Damn,” muttered my mother as she walked into the living room.

While she took the ribbon from the dog’s collar, I sat and opened the paper. I was about to begin paging through it when part of the newspaper slipped out and fell open to an article about a young soldier who had been shot in the arm and ass, as he saved a young boy by covering him with his own body. The boy was fine, but the soldier was in the hospital. The article stated the soldier was on leave and had been happily answering questions earlier in his sister’s classroom, whom he had been visiting, while waiting to be released back to his unit. It had been a normal day at school, when students were heading to their buses to go home when the shooter, a disgruntled parent who had lost his parental rights arrived and began shooting. This was yet another attack on the public by another person who shouldn’t have had a gun. The article went on to explain how others had been shot, some killed, and more injured, but until the investigation was over, names could not be released until family had been notified.

The article went on to mention the identity of the child was not being released due to his age, but it was suspected his parents might be among those who were shot down. The boy was five and was being kept near the soldier, seemingly having become attached to him. Social services were looking into the child’s family, but it was suspected the soldier might be related to the boy.

“Got a case, Mom.” I stood up and kissed my mother’s cheek. “Gotta run.“

“Do try and visit me more often. Unfortunately, looks like I’ll be busy myself.”

I followed her into the kitchen where she laid the ribbon down after waving it at me.

“I’ve got one, too.” My mother paused and stared out the window a moment. “I get the feeling this case is going to be different and hard for you. I think it’s the one that will finally bring you home.”

I shook my head as I grabbed my jacket and headed out into the windy May day. Mom was always hoping one of my cases would bring me love, like the one that had brought her Dad. She forgot that my cases always dealt with trauma, and very few wanted a chubby, middle-aged man entering their life and turning it upside down permanently. They were usually too busy putting their lives back together to think about love.

That is the thing about fixers that can be a bit frustrating. We enter people’s lives when things are going wrong. There is a death in the family, or someone has lost their way, or they are about to suffer some life-altering problem and they are totally distracted from their true path in life. A fixer is sent to help them. Sometimes we interact with them directly, and other times we help from the sidelines, but when it is over we must move on. It is rare we ever get to see them after they’ve healed. Occasionally, the universe takes pity and the one a fixer is sent to help is their soulmate. It’s then that magic really happens, like when my mom met my dad.

*-*-*-

I arrived at the hospital, and moments later found myself walking past hospital security and into the room of Private Darian Knight. The grainy pictures from the newspaper didn’t do him justice. His attention was focused on the soft snoring coming from his hip area. By his side, a little tow-headed boy slept, arms wrapped around the soldier’s good arm. Sitting in a chair off to the side was a dour woman in a dark blue suit. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small badge that read official liaison, Martin Pop. No one ever asked what exactly I was the liaison of, but I’d helped people who’d been in the hospital or military before.

“Good afternoon, Private Knight. My name is Martin Pop. I’ll be your liaison and do what I can to help get you where you need to be.”

“Nice to meet you, sir.” Private Knight went to shake my hand and the movement immediately caused him to wince and take a sharp intake of breath. His arm trembled and the light in his crystal blue eyes faded for a moment.

“Relax,” I said as I took his big hand in mine and gently set it back on the bed.

The movement caused the little boy to cling tighter.

“Who did you say you were?”

I turned to find the dour woman coming to my side.

“I’m Martin Pop. Who might you be, ma’am?”

“Maria Diaz. I’m from Child Services.”

“She’s here for Daniel,” Darian whispered and smiled at the sleeping boy.

Immediately, I noted the boy’s features were similar to those of Darian. The way the boy clung to him, and the fact that this woman hadn’t taken the boy away, indicated there was a connection between them. It also became apparent to me that Ms. Diaz had an issue with Darian.

“Mr. Knight, we still haven’t gotten all the details on Mrs. Burns.” Ms. Diaz opened the bag at her feet and pulled out a file. “At the moment we have only confirmed that Daniel was her son.”

“My sister….”

“Alleged sister,” Ms. Diaz cut Darian off. “I still don’t believe an impressionable child should be left with a soldier, never mind a gay one.”

The raised voice woke the boy, who blinked and looked up at Darian.

I watched as Darian’s face grew red and his fingers twitched. However, before he could speak, the nurse walked in, rolling in a medical cart.

“Hi Martin. Glad to see you again. Here to help out our soldier, I hope.” Nurse Alana Shief smiled as she strode over to the soldier’s side. “Now, excuse me Daniel, I need to check Darian’s vitals.”

Daniel nodded and slid off the bed. He moved down the bed, but kept one hand on Darian at all times.

Nurse Shief quickly slid the blood pressure cuff onto Darian’s arm, placed the thermometer under his tongue, and checked over his chart.

“I hope to have him removed and placed with a good, Christian family today,” stated Ms. Diaz as she stared at Private Knight.

This simply would not do at all. “I believe you should answer your phone, Ms. Diaz.”

“What do you mean? I…. ” Ms. Diaz stared at me and her mouth fell open as she heard the loud, buzzing noise coming from her pocketbook.

Ms. Diaz hurried over and dug through her purse, eventually pulling out her phone. She stared at me the whole time as she answered the phone and headed out into the hallway.

“Any pain, dear?” Nurse Shief finished noting things in her computer and began pulling off the cuff.

“No. I feel fine.”

“Good. I’ll have lunch sent in for you and Daniel in a little while.” She bent down and rubbed Daniel’s head. “Take care of them, Martin."

“I plan to.”

As Nurse Shief made her way out, an extremely red-faced and angry Ms. Diaz came barreling back in. She glowered at Private Knight.

“Is there a problem?” I stepped between the social worker and my charges.

“Someone complained about how I’m handling things. I’ve been replaced. You’ll have a new case worker later.” Ms. Diaz nearly spit out every word. She grabbed her folder and her bag, before turning to face Private Knight again. “If I had my way, that child would be taken far from you. God only knows what a…a queer like you will do to a boy like him!”

Darian Knight paled and then his face hardened. However, before he could move, I decided enough was enough.

“Ms. Diaz, I believe that is more than enough for one day from someone like you.” I took her arm and led her out of the private’s room. “I really would consider a new profession, maybe something more in line with your beliefs.” I didn’t add what I was thinking, instead watching her storm off and try to push her way past a group of nurses who were in front of the elevators.

I returned to find Daniel back on the bed, clutching his uncle’s chest and crying. The private was using his good arm and rubbing the boy’s back. Somehow, I was going to have to make this work out for these two hurt souls.

*-*-*-

The funerals began the day Darian was released from the hospital. With the aid of Mr. Drummond, the funeral director, all the arrangements had been made for Daniel’s parents. His mother, Kristian Burns, was a kindergarten teacher, and his father, Daniel Burns Sr., was the principal of the school. There were two other teachers and seven students also shot by the father who was denied visitation to his daughter in a divorce case. It only came out just before he was released that Darian had actually saved three students by quickly knocking them down and covering them with his own body. One was Daniel, his nephew, and the other two were Daniel’s best friends from class.

“I can’t thank you enough for all your help,” Darian said as he was wheeled to my car. Daniel walked at his side.

“It’s nothing. Just doing my best to help you both out.”

“They wanted to give me a medal, Martin. A damn medal!” Darian looked over at Daniel and shook his head. “I just did what anyone would do to protect their family.”

“It was a good thing your sister had you there as a guest. You saved her son.” I patted his shoulder as I opened the door for him.

“I didn’t save her,” he whispered.

The male nurse helped him into the front seat, while I helped Daniel into a car seat in the back. While I wished I could just take them home, we had to move quickly to make the wake.

“Mrs. Oksana has finished all the paperwork. She met with the judge this morning. Daniel is yours.”

“Mrs. Oksana?” Darian looked blankly at me.

“She was the new case worker assigned to you and Daniel. She has worked over time to get this all sorted out. She has some paperwork for you to sign, but otherwise everything is done.”

He nodded and turned to watch Daniel in the back seat.

“I’ve also talked with a few different people on your base. They can make accommodations for you and Daniel on base or they can have you released. Either way is up to you.” I glanced over and caught Darian’s focus on me.

“To be honest, I’ve just been thinking about Daniel and what Kris would have wanted. I’m not sure I can do this.”

“You know they had a will.”

Darian slowly nodded.

“Daniel was an only child, and your sister only had you. Their will named you as Daniel Junior’s guardian if anything happened to them.” I paused and took a deep breath. “Besides, you two are devoted to each other. It’s obvious how much you care for each other.”

Darian began to cry.

I didn’t know it, but the funeral would be what changed all our lives.

*-*-*-

The last thing I needed to see were members of the Westboro Baptist Church with their signs and hate standing outside the funeral home. Before I could even do anything, Darian was out of the car and marching over to them.

He stood toe to toe with one of group. “How dare you come to my sister’s funeral with your hate?”

The church group chanted various hateful things, but having stood up to them, Darian plucked Daniel from my arms, heading into the funeral home while the police tried to push them back.

I’d had enough. I looked at the group and realized this wasn’t a church, just a collection of bigots. I stared up at the darkening sky as the wind picked up. I safely entered the funeral home as the worst spring storm in ten years unleashed a hellish amount of rain and lightning down on top of the church members.

Darian and Daniel sat in the front of the room surrounded by friends.

I tried to sit in the back, but Darian sent Daniel to bring me up to the front. I sat with Daniel between us. It was just that simple. After standing up for himself and his family, Darian had made some decisions. The man was going to what was best for him and his family.

*-*-*-

After the funeral, I drove them home. Daniel was in his child seat with his uncle beside him. Even in his sleep he clung to Darian.

“You know he only sleeps if he is with me?” Darian rubbed Daniel’s back. “He wakes up screaming for them every night and won’t calm down ‘til he sees me.”

Usually, I knew exactly what to do. For once, I was at a loss, and my heart broke for both of them. I wasn’t sure, but now that Darian seemed to accept being a father, I kept expecting a new newspaper to arrive with my next case, taking me out of their lives forever.

“The hospital gave me the names of a few doctors to take him to. Well, both him and I. Do you think you’ll be able to take some more time to help us, Martin?”

How could I possibly say no?

“I’d really appreciate the help, and my sister’s place has lots of rooms. I really think Daniel needs to be surrounded by familiar things.”

*-*-*-

Daniel finally went back to school a month later, but the entire school was being remodeled since the school shooting, so while his class was the same, the location was new. For the first two weeks, either Daniel or I had to be there or he would completely break down. Around the third week, Daniel began playing with his old friends and slowly, the silent scared little boy became the child Darian remembered from before.

“You’ve been a Godsend. I can’t thank you enough for everything,” Darian gushed as he sat down at the dinner table.

“I take it your discharge papers came through?”

Darian smiled. “Yes. I loved the service, and the men in my unit became my brothers, but I couldn’t take the chance of something happening to me. Especially now that I have Daniel. You know?”

I watched as the smile slipped off his face, tears falling from his blue eyes, and he gripped the edge of table.

For a moment I was worried, but Daniel had fallen asleep in front of the television, so I walked over and pulled Darian into a hug. It surprised me when he stood up, pulled me tight, and kissed me breathless.

“Martin, you’ve done so much for both of us. You keep us fed, clothed, and hell, you take us everywhere while I’m still healing. You never ask me for anything.” He paused and stared down into my eyes. “In case you haven’t realized it, I’m falling for you.”

I stood there stunned. They had both captured my heart right from the start, but never did I think that the man before me, would choose me.

“Please, Mr. Martin." Daniel stood in the doorway looking at me and Darian. "Uncle Dar needs help, and we both like you.”

I suddenly felt Daniel hug me around my leg. I felt the tears falling as I gently kissed Darian’s cheek and then swooped down to hug Daniel.

“I guess next time you see Nurse Shief you can let her know that you’re taking really good care of us,” Darian commented as he leaned against me and tickled Daniel.

*-*-*-

“Mom?” I stood watching Prince roll around in the hallway as I took off my coat.

“Martin, where are the boys?”

My mother marched into the hallway, wiping her hands on a dish towel.

“Darian is getting Daniel out of his car seat. I came in ahead to make sure everything is childproofed.”

Mother cocked her right eyebrow and waved toward the living room. “As if I wouldn’t be ready?”

I laughed. “You know how he is, Mom.”

“Hmmm.” She walked over and hugged me tight. “I’ve barely seen you since the wedding. I expect you both here for Christmas. I’m planning to spoil my grandchildren.”

I shook my head. “Mom, we only have Daniel.”

She smiled and winked at me as alarm bells went off in my mind. “What do you.…” Before I could finish, the front door opened and my family came in.

“Hello,” called Darian as he walked in and set Daniel down.

Daniel giggled as he raced across to my mother, arms wide, calling “Nana!”

My mother snatched him up, and planted a kiss on his little cheek while carrying him into the kitchen to get him a snack. Prince followed closely on their heels.

I melted as Darian wrapped his strong arms around me. I wasn’t sure what my mother knew, but as long as my men were happy there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.

So that was my take on the anthology. Comments and likes are always appreciated.

 

There is little one can do alone. My gratitude goes to @Valkyrie who stepped up and acted as both my beta and editor. She always pushes me to be better than I am, and I am extremely grateful.

 

Special thank you to @Parker Owens who acted as my editor for the Anthology Proof Team.

 

Any mistakes found are my own failing. Thank you so much for reading.

Copyright © 2018 comicfan; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
2018 - Fall - Good Intentions Entry
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Chapter Comments



46 minutes ago, Mikiesboy said:

Such a lovely story. I love angels, human or not. Thanks for this bit of magic!

I'm glad you enjoyed Martin. It was just something I needed, a tale of hope and love.

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Awesome to read such a nice and light story! Thank you so much for sharing it with everyone 🤗🤗

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This was a fantastic story. I liked how you used some current events to add a little depth to it.

 

Now I am wanting a story on the aftermath, and the 'grandchildren' momma knows about.

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2 hours ago, BHopper2 said:

This was a fantastic story. I liked how you used some current events to add a little depth to it.

 

Now I am wanting a story on the aftermath, and the 'grandchildren' momma knows about.

I would also love to read about the grandchildren!

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I loved this sweet story from the first. Martin could not prevent the tragedy, but he could help mend the hurt. Thank you. 

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I love the idea of fixers. Could you maybe send one my way, Wayne. :)  Seriously, this was such a sweet tale despite the horror of an all too common event. Angels and children and soldiers... a winning combination, well told. Thanks for giving me some tender warmth on a chilly eve. Cheers... Gary....

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9 hours ago, Smoothy said:

Awesome to read such a nice and light story! Thank you so much for sharing it with everyone 🤗🤗

I'm grateful that you enjoyed it.

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9 hours ago, BHopper2 said:

This was a fantastic story. I liked how you used some current events to add a little depth to it.

 

Now I am wanting a story on the aftermath, and the 'grandchildren' momma knows about.

Well, I figured America needed someone who could blow the bigots away, bring a little peace, and ease a few souls.

 

As for grandchildren, Mrs. Pop is both a mother and a fixer. Martin is bound to have something magical in his future.

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7 hours ago, Puppilull said:

A warming tale, perfect for a cold December evening. And I did get my usual surge of anger when reading about those hateful idiots, which also helped fight the chill. 

Well I'm glad I could help fight the chill. Just needed a little hope around now.

Edited by comicfan
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7 hours ago, Smoothy said:

I would also love to read about the grandchildren!

It always seems I leave that door open for more. :whistle:

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5 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

I loved this sweet story from the first. Martin could not prevent the tragedy, but he could help mend the hurt. Thank you. 

Thank you again for the help. My editors and beta readers help me improve my work so much.

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1 hour ago, Headstall said:

I love the idea of fixers. Could you maybe send one my way, Wayne. :)  Seriously, this was such a sweet tale despite the horror of an all too common event. Angels and children and soldiers... a winning combination, well told. Thanks for giving me some tender warmth on a chilly eve. Cheers... Gary....

Gary,

Sometimes I think we could all use someone who can lend a hand in our worst moments. I'm just glad this came together with some help from Val and Parker. So glad you enjoyed it. 

Wayne

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9 hours ago, Cole Matthews said:

Very cute story.  I'm glad Martin found happiness.  :)

Thank you, Cole.

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An appropriately Christmassy tale of good coming out of evil, together with a happy ending. Thanks, Wayne.  :) 

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5 hours ago, northie said:

An appropriately Christmassy tale of good coming out of evil, together with a happy ending. Thanks, Wayne.  :) 

Well, I like my happily ever afters.

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30 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Martin forgot lightning when he conjured up the storm. A few crispy bigots would have been a great sight.

Martin is in the vein of Mary Poppins, cant see her frying anyone, just blowing them all away. Lol

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I love the concept of fixers and I hope you'll write more stories with fixer characters. Perhaps some of Martin's earlier jobs ? He certainly has a lot of influence and uses it to good purpose, eg getting the case worker dismissed immediately.

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This was a most enjoyable story! I like a bit of magic, especially in the Mary Poppins style. Martin is another one of those characters you can't help but love. I like the idea of fixers, and you've certainly left yourself room to revisit these characters. Thank you.

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I feel guilty for giving this a funny like, but Martin's antics were priceless. Everyone had a happy ending, even Nana. Does that mean fixers have fixers too? 

 

Thanks for sharing this, comicfan. I had a blast! 

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