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    Parker Owens
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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.

A to Z - 17. Work

Finally.

Questions or comments raised by this chapter (or any of the others) can be discussed at the A to Z Story Thread.

JUNE 26

This is going to sound incredible. I am having trouble believing it myself. I have a job. On a farm. Which means I have stopped running for a few days, at least. And my employer hasn’t yet figured out that I’m just not that bright, that I’m not who he thinks I am, and that I’m sleeping in his barn.

When that happens, it will be time to run again.

But for now, I can rest.

By the second morning after my encounter with Trooper Lockhart, I’d gotten pretty well lost in the haphazard maze of back roads I’d walked into. I ambled along many of these dirt and gravel roads, most of them without names. A few were identified with old wooden signs and picturesque names like “Hustler’s Knob Road,” or “Big Toe Bend.” I was intrigued by these, and having no better way to choose my path, I often took these byways. I passed farms – many of them. I crossed some bigger paved roads, but I stayed on the dirt roads to be out of the way of nosy police.

It must have been ninety degrees with humidity to match. So when I got the chance to turn down a shady dirt lane with the name “Otter Slide Road,” I just had to try it. There was grass growing in the middle of the road. Flowers bloomed there. Farther along, I flushed a frog out of the grass, which leaped over the dirt tire track and into the ditch on the right. The road rose up and into thicker woods, and then dove down a steeper slope into a ravine and leapt over a bridge across a wide, muddy creek. The murky water looked cool, but I wasn’t stopping. The road forked at the end of the bridge, and I took the left hand choice. The road followed the stream, with the ground rising sharply to my right.

I wondered about Luis and Ignacio. Were they working in the strawberry fields today, or would they get to go skinny dipping again this afternoon? Even as I walked along, I felt myself get a little hard at the thought of swimming with those two again. I fantasized, daydreaming in the steamy heat of the early afternoon. What might have happened if I’d been braver? If I’d pressed back against Ignacio? Taken off my clothes?

Pfft. All that’s stupid dreaming, anyhow. I’m a coward, a liar and whore. Thoughts of the two skinny dippers were replaced by memories of Green Hat fucking my face. Ugh.

So what happened? I came to another little intersection. A road wound up mysteriously away from the creek into the deep shade of pines and evergreens. It looked cool, so that was the way to go. A brook murmured off to my left as it hurried down the slope I ascended. After a time, the road emerged from the woods, having crested the steep hill. A meadow filled with grazing sheep stretched away on my right.

It was then that I noticed it.

An ancient, compact, grey tractor and its trailer were pulled off to the right hand side of the road. More accurately, the trailer was tipped far to its side, as it seemed to have tilted largely into the ditch on the shoulder of the road. Worse, it looked as if the trailer had sloughed off its load of green hay bales, which lay heaped and scattered on the ground.

An older man stumped around, wrestling hay bales. I stopped to watch in silence for a while as he moved them away from the heap so that the trailer could be cleared and righted. It was a big job for one man. He’d been at it for some time, and he’d be working away for a while longer. Somehow, I felt bad that he had to do it all on his own in the heat of the day. I was all sweaty just from walking uphill; this guy would probably kill himself working under the hot sun. I felt an urge to help. The old man didn’t look very dangerous. I forgot all about my rules, all about my resolve to keep quiet and avoid everyone. Besides, I was miles from anywhere, right? Who would know me?

After a little hesitation, I spoke up.

“Hey, mister, do you need a hand?”

He looked up at me, startled, surprise written all over his face.

“You asking to help?”

“Yessir.”

He wiped his brow with a big red handkerchief drawn from his pants pocket, then looked me up and down.

“Well, I’d be glad of the help, if you don’t mind.”

I walked forward, dumped my pack on the tractor seat, and set to work moving hay bales. We worked quite a while in companionable quiet. I took the opportunity to observe my companion more closely.

He must have been in his sixties, I supposed, because the hair that peeked out from under his John Deere cap was snowy white. His face appeared dark from long days in the sun, and his hands were rough and calloused. When he straightened up, he must have been about my height, maybe a little shorter. He wasn't skinny at all, but he sure wasn't fat. He was dressed in khaki work pants and a faded blue shirt, clearly damp from exertion.

If it came to that, I wore my own soft, long sleeved shirt that day, and the sweat was pouring off of me as we shifted hay bales out of the way.

Eventually, the farmer seemed satisfied.

“OK. Now we get the trailer back upright, and we can load it.”

I looked at him expectantly.

The farmer explained: “What I want you to do is put all your weight on the uphill side of the trailer, while I have the tractor drag it out into the road.”

I nodded. It could work, and it beat trying to lift the trailer by ourselves.

I scrambled up to sit on the very edge of the trailer while he climbed up into the driver’s seat. I put as much of my puny weight on the outermost part of the trailer as I could. The tractor engine sputtered to life. He cut the steering wheel to the left, hard.

The farmer turned to me, an eye cocked, waiting.

I nodded.

He let out the clutch and the big rear wheels strained to drag the whole assembly leftwards. Gradually, it started to move. Slowly, almost magically, the trailer tipped back down as it was pulled out of the ditch and partway into the road. In fact, if I hadn’t held on tight, I might have been thrown off. He straightened everything out, and then backed up so that the trailer could be reloaded.

He cut the engine, set the brake, and hopped down. I could have stopped right there, could have said goodbye, and walked off. Somehow, I didn’t feel right leaving the job half done, though. I followed around and started moving bales to the trailer.

For an old guy, the farmer worked pretty fast. He easily tossed bales up onto the trailer, making it look effortless. And he’d been working at this before I’d walked up. For me, it was real work, and I toiled away for a bit before the old man paused pointed to the trailer.

“Why don’t you get up there and start stacking?”

I nodded. I started shoving the bales into some kind of order. I figured I would stack them like toy blocks, making them overlap and interlock, so that the whole stack would hold together better. It was like a great big puzzle, and I went at it. The bales kept coming pretty quickly. I got lost in the task, hardly noticing the old man or anything else as the pile on the trailer grew taller and taller.

It wasn’t until I climbed down from placing the latest bale, and finding none waiting for me at the bottom, that I realized I was soaked with sweat. The farmer leaned back against the trailer and twisted to look at me.

“You did good. Thanks.” He waited a few seconds before going on. “You willing to help me get this into the barn?”

I suddenly felt tired. But I figured that if I was exhausted, the old man must be pretty tired, too. I decided to finish the job.

“Sure.”

“I’d take that very kindly.”

He looked out at the meadow and the placid sheep for a moment or two. Then he turned back to me, reaching out his right hand.

“I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Eustace Whitley.”

I took his rough, stained hand and shook it firmly.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Whitley.”

“So, do you have a name? I’m not gonna spend the next hour calling you ‘boy’ or something.”

This surprised me. He hadn’t said more than a few words to me in the last two hours.

“I’m Eric.”

His eyebrow went up.

“Eric, huh? Eric what?”

I’ve given up Ericsson for good. It can be buried with Dad, and he can keep it.

“Anderson,” I replied.

Mr. Whitley’s eyes narrowed.

“Anderson? I thought I knew all of you boys. You one of old Thatch Anderson’s grandkids? Or are you some kind of cousin?”

I was grateful for not having to make something up. Much better to let him make his own assumptions.

“Yeah. Something like that.”

“Humpf,” he declared, not entirely satisfied. “Well, let’s get moving. This hay isn’t going to unload itself.”

As I made to ride on the back of the trailer, he added,“You’d best come and get that pack of yours and ride on the hitch. If that stack comes tumbling down, you don’t want to be under it.”

I took my pack and stood on the hitch bar immediately behind the driver’s seat while Mr. Whitley fired up the tractor again. I’d never done anything like this before, but I didn’t have time to think about anything. I looked up the road ahead of us as the clutch engaged, and the tractor slowly moved forward. I could see the top half of a weathered old barn over the curve of a small rise on the left.

Sure enough, the tractor slowly, carefully turned left onto a small dirt track that climbed the hill. In a moment, a neat, but rather weather-beaten two story farmhouse came into view on the right, while the barn stood to the left of the road. The road itself ran onwards past the house, bending out of sight to the right.

Mr. Whitley chugged past the barn, stopped, and then proceeded to expertly back the trailer up a ramp that ran up to an open barn door. He paused to look at the hay on the trailer, craned his neck to check the door, and then gently eased the trailer over the doorsill and into the barn.

The engine died, and it was time to work again. After the bright day, the shade of the barn seemed almost black. My eyes took a few moments to adjust. I followed Mr. Whitley to the trailer, which he was climbing briskly.

He pointed to a second floor, a little higher than the top of the stack of bales.

“Why don’t you get on up there and stack again?”

I spied a ladder to my left and nodded. In a few moments, I was up in the loft, catching the bales of hay that Mr. Whitley tossed me, apparently without effort. In a repeat of my previous performance, I stacked bales so that they would stay stacked and did my best to pack them in well.

I got off to a slow start, but I did my best not to fall behind farther. The old man seemed to have limitless energy. As it happened, he slowed down a bit as his pile got lower, because he had to toss each bale that much higher as the pile diminished. Not that I was going that much faster.

As before, we worked in relative silence, without conversation. Even though we were out of the sun, it was hot and close in the barn, and I knew I’d be more than ready to quit soon.

Before too long, the job was done. I was surprised to see that the light was clearly evening light outside the barn door. Had we worked that long, or did I happen along at a later hour than I thought?

The old man looked up at me from the deepening shadows.

“Why don’t you get down from there?”

I climbed down the ladder and joined him at the barn door. It was a beautiful evening. Mr. Whitley spoke suddenly.

“Look, I’ve got to get down to the field and bring the dogs and the sheep back up. Shouldn’t take too long. I’m grateful for your help today, and the least I can do is feed you supper. Will you mind waiting?”

I shook my head. I wouldn’t turn down a meal. “No,” I replied quietly, “not at all. Can I come with you?”

He smiled and nodded. “I’d be glad of the company.”

I grabbed my pack and followed Mr. Whitley back down to the sheep meadow. He came to a gate, which he opened. He whistled one piercing note. A pair of black and white dogs sprang into action, moving the sheep toward the opening in the fence. The first sheep walked through and seemed to hesitate at the road.

“Go on, go on,” the old man murmured good naturedly at the animal.

It trotted across the road to a well-worn path that led up the hill. I guessed it would wind up at the barn. A few more sheep followed, and then the first of the dogs streaked by, as if to make sure they found the way. The rest of the flock trailed through the gate and flowed across the road, with the second dog nipping at the stragglers. When the last one crossed, the gate was closed, and we followed the path up the hill to a large enclosed area at the side of the barn that faced away from the road. The dogs waited by the gate, panting. The fence here was higher and tougher. Mr. Whitley dragged the more substantial gate closed.

“Good lads,” he said to the dogs. He patted them affectionately. They followed him as we walked around the side of the barn and climbed up to the house.

We crossed a wide porch and entered a big kitchen from a side door. Mr. Whitley turned to me.

“Why don’t you go in there and wash up?” he pointed to a bathroom off the kitchen.

I rolled up my sleeves and washed my hands as thoroughly as I could. I gazed out the old window on the yard behind the house. I could make out a big garden and a considerable laundry line. An ancient swing set stood off to the left. It might have been a loud, lively house, once. A place I wished I could have been part of. I lingered, daydreaming a little.

When I reentered the kitchen, Mr. Whitley stood at the stove. My senses thrilled at the smell of frying bacon. My stomach growled.

“I haven’t got much right now,” he called out over his shoulder. “I’m usually on my own. If you want to set the table, there are forks and napkins in the drawer,” he indicated with his head. “You can draw water at the tap over there.”

Tentatively, I looked in the drawer and found cutlery and some cloth napkins. I set two places at the big wooden table in the center of the kitchen. Over the sink was an array of glasses, some tall, some short. I selected two tall glasses and filled them with the coldest water I’ve ever felt from a tap.

I couldn’t help drinking down a full glass without thinking of waiting for my host.

“Go ahead,” I heard him laugh, “you earned the right to be thirsty.”

I started, guiltily. Dad would have just about killed me for getting a drink without asking first.

“Sorry, sir. I should have waited.”

Mr. Whitley smiled. “No shame in hard work or being thirsty. There’s more in the spring where that came from.”

We sat down to two plates heaped with scrambled eggs and slices of bacon. A bowl of what looked like flat pea pods joined them.

Mr. Whitley bowed his head and murmured. I think it might have been a blessing. Dad never did anything like that. At home, he ate first, then I could eat when he finished and his place was cleaned up. If I was allowed to eat at all.

I tried not to eat too fast. I wasn’t just trying to be polite. The food was so good, I wanted it to last all night. Salty bacon, substantial eggs, crunchy – what were these, anyhow? Despite my best efforts, I found my host grinning at me when I looked up.

“It’s good,” I said lamely. “Thanks for supper.”

“As I said, it’s the least I could do. I pulled a little too far over to let some car pass, and suddenly, half the load is in the ditch, and the other half is in the field. And he never stopped, either. But you did.”

He got a speculative look in his eye as he took another mouthful.

“So, young Eric Anderson. What were you doing this afternoon to bring you up my way? Been fishin’ with your cousin Donnie? I bet they weren’t biting much.”

I wasn’t sure about how to answer, so I shrugged.

“You’re done with school for the summer.”

It was a statement, not a question, but I nodded anyhow. He ate his dinner, and I crunched a few of the… “Sir? Can I ask you – what are these here?” I asked, holding one of the pods up.

He chuckled.

“That, Eric, is a young snap pea. I like them because I can eat them just like that, without having to snap them, pod them, or cook them.”

“Oh. And they taste good, too, don’t they?” I added, because I really liked their slightly sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Vegetables with Dad were always bland and mushy.

He chuckled again at that. A moment later, Mr. Whitley leaned back in his chair.

“Eric, I’d like to ask you a question.”

Suddenly, he had my attention. If it was anything personal or probing, I’d need to be on my guard.

“Yes, sir?”

“Eric, I’d like for you to work for me this summer. I haven’t had a hand in a few years, and I’m not getting any younger.”

OK, I didn’t see that one coming. I thought I was going to get quizzed on my parents or my school, or something. I realized he was still speaking.

“I can pay you $250 a week for six days’ work. I know they're long days, and it isn’t much, but I'll feed you lunch, and if we work late, the odd supper, too. Like I said, I was impressed with what you did this afternoon. If you save your pennies, and keep at it, you might have enough someday to think about going to college. What do you think?”

He looked at me, eyes narrowed, waiting. I had the feeling I was being judged. I wasn't scared of him; not like Dad could be scary. But there was something about Mr. Whitley that made me not want to be judged poorly. I considered: I know how to work, that's for sure. And I wouldn’t mind eating at least one meal six days a week. As long as I kept quiet and worked hard for a week, I’d have enough money to eat for – at least a month! Well, if I didn't spend too much on food. I could do that.

I met his gaze.

“I’d like that, sir. If you don’t mind that I’ll make mistakes.”

His lined face broke into a smile.

“That’s grand, then,” he replied, standing up, holding out his hand.

We shook hands, as if to seal a bargain.

“Is seven in the morning too early for you to be here on Monday morning?”

“No sir, not at all.”

How the heck was I going to know when to be here on Monday? I’ve never owned a watch. And how was I going to be sure about what day it was? I suspected today was Saturday since he didn't ask if I could start "tomorrow", but I didn’t know that for sure.

“Good,” he said nodding. “Now, let me just get my keys, and I’ll give you a lift home.”

“Mr. Whitley, you don’t have to do that. I can walk.”

“I bet you can, but I think you could use the ride home.”

I knew he was being kind and fighting him on this would only make him suspicious. And where was he taking me, anyway? The old man must know someplace where he believed I had to be living. As long as I could get away before he tried to talk to someone he thought I would know, like – who was supposed to be my cousin – Donnie?

We cleared our plates into the sink – and headed back outside into the deep dusk. It wasn’t fully dark yet, but Mr. Whitley needed to turn on his headlights as we got into his pickup truck. Dad’s had been newer, but Eustace Whitley’s was cleaner. Here was a man who took care of things.

We drove back down the hill I’d climbed this afternoon, and turned left at the river road – back the way I’d walked in the afternoon. I was paying careful attention to which way we’d come, so I could trek back that way by Monday.

Fortunately, we hadn’t gone too far before the truck slowed where several houses were clustered around an intersection. He peered out the window at a rather rundown looking house. The mailbox said ‘T. Anderson.’ The windows were quite dark. My heart beat so fast – I didn’t want him to find out about me yet. Not yet, please, not yet.

“I’ll get out here,” I said. “Thanks a lot for the ride.”

“No, young Mr. Anderson, thank you for all your help today. See you Monday, bright and early.”

“Sure thing,” I called out as I exited the truck and jogged to the darkened open garage to the side of the house. I waved.

I tried to lose myself in the shadows of the garage, so the old man would think I’d gotten home.

I heard the truck turn around and head off. I heaved a sigh of relief. Whew. My relief didn’t last long. I heard a low growl, and I knew it was time to get away from that garage, and fast.

A big, deep-voiced dog started barking somewhere close. Inside the house, thank God. It must be huge by the sound of it.

I got out.

It took me about forty minutes to walk back up to the Whitley farm. I knew exactly where I was going to sleep. I almost missed the uphill turn in the dark. The shepherd dogs were up at the house and didn’t mind me. In the barn, I knew where to find the ladder as I groped carefully for it in the dark. I climbed up into the hayloft and found a spot to sleep that was out of immediate eyesight. I was out in minutes.

It was too dark to write last night, and I was too tired to write anyway, even if I'd had a flashlight or something. But I woke with the first light, and wrote this morning. Today I can just lay low, nibble on my road rations and rest until I start work tomorrow.

A huge bouquet of thanks to Craftingmom for her editing and patience.

Your review of any nature or description is welcome and appreciated.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; 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.
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Chapter Comments



It's nice to see 'Eric Anderson' catch a little break. ;)
Food, a place to sleep, promised money. All he has to do is stay anonymous for a week or so,
I wonder how long it's gonna take Mr. Whitley to figure it out? Probably not long, if he hasn't already. It's pretty difficult to be an outsider in such a rural community.
In any event, I don't think he'd pose any danger to Eric. The only problem, of course, is Eric. Once he gets found out his urge to flee is going to be very urgent. :(

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On 10/30/2015 05:30 AM, skinnydragon said:

It's nice to see 'Eric Anderson' catch a little break. ;)

Food, a place to sleep, promised money. All he has to do is stay anonymous for a week or so,

I wonder how long it's gonna take Mr. Whitley to figure it out? Probably not long, if he hasn't already. It's pretty difficult to be an outsider in such a rural community.

In any event, I don't think he'd pose any danger to Eric. The only problem, of course, is Eric. Once he gets found out his urge to flee is going to be very urgent. :(

For the moment, Eric is safe and fed. No road to take, no mountain to climb. Farm work is hard work, and that may be the next big test. In any case, I hope this was worth the wait... :)

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Oh, I hope mr Whitley doesn't turn out to be a bad guy too. He doesn't seem like one, but with Eric's luck...

 

Could this be the town where he meets the life guard?

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On 10/30/2015 06:31 AM, Puppilull said:

Oh, I hope mr Whitley doesn't turn out to be a bad guy too. He doesn't seem like one, but with Eric's luck...

 

Could this be the town where he meets the life guard?

No spoilers here, but for once, Eric seems to have found someone who doesn't scare him off. At least Eric will get to eat predictably.

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There's a real art to stacking hay bales properly. That Mr. Whitley allowed him to do the stacking showed that he recognized Stefan/Eric did a great job. I'm glad that things are at least temporarily looking up for him. Fingers crossed that they will stay that way.

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On 10/30/2015 07:22 AM, Valkyrie said:

There's a real art to stacking hay bales properly. That Mr. Whitley allowed him to do the stacking showed that he recognized Stefan/Eric did a great job. I'm glad that things are at least temporarily looking up for him. Fingers crossed that they will stay that way.

Someone who knows about stacking bales! I am showing my age as I remember this dying art, as hayrolls are becoming the norm. But many farms still use the old square balers. Eric has finally caught a break, and for once is willing to try to trust...a little.

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On 10/30/2015 05:52 PM, aditus said:

Come on, this is it. Right? Not another disappointment, please.

Eric has finally found a place where he can be someone new. All the bad in the world hasn't caught up to him at the Whitley farm. Eating regularly will be a big attraction.

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On 10/30/2015 10:09 PM, Diogenes said:

Finally, something good has happened to Eric!

Yes. A long time coming, but maybe worth the wait. At least Eric can feel a little safer here, even if he doesn't wholly trust. And getting something to eat regularly will help a lot , as long as his luck holds.

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On 11/02/2015 01:20 AM, Mikiesboy said:

Nice. Hopefully Stephan will tell his new friend the truth...

 

Nice one Parker

It's good that Stefan / Eric will finally get a rest from running, even though he got to do some farm work instead. A real meal was a big incentive. Eustace couldn't possibly be seen as threatening, even by a very, very wary Eric. Truth will be along time coming, though. That takes a long time to build.

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So, I like Mr Whitley. Please let him be the nice guy he comes off as being. Stefan/Eric is finally catching a break, I'd like it to last a while because he deserves it..

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On 11/06/2015 01:36 PM, Defiance19 said:

So, I like Mr Whitley. Please let him be the nice guy he comes off as being. Stefan/Eric is finally catching a break, I'd like it to last a while because he deserves it..

Mr. Whitley could be a good avuncular figure for Eric. If nothing else, there's something to eat. Now if he can manage to fly under Mr. Whitney's radar for a little while...

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I have been captivated by your story, Parker. I'm trying to catch up slowly but surely!

 

After the horror poor Stephan/Eric had endured in the last chapter (or was it the chapter before?), it's such a pleasant surprise that he came upon this older man offering to hire him. I really hope Eric's judgment with this guy is much better than that last loser, Green Hat or whatever Eric was calling him. What a nasty pedo! :devil:

 

At least now he's had a good meal and a place to stay (even though the farmer doesn't know that it's in his barn!).

 

Great chapter, Parker!

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On 12/18/2015 01:20 PM, Lisa said:

I have been captivated by your story, Parker. I'm trying to catch up slowly but surely!

 

After the horror poor Stephan/Eric had endured in the last chapter (or was it the chapter before?), it's such a pleasant surprise that he came upon this older man offering to hire him. I really hope Eric's judgment with this guy is much better than that last loser, Green Hat or whatever Eric was calling him. What a nasty pedo! :devil:

 

At least now he's had a good meal and a place to stay (even though the farmer doesn't know that it's in his barn!).

 

Great chapter, Parker!

Thank you so very much for reading Eric's story. For once, Eric seems to have found a person who appears to be safe, at least for now. And for the moment, there is a dry, warm place to sleep. Maybe it will be good not to have it walk all day. Anything would be better than getting stuck with Roger the Green Hat. Thank you for reviewing what you read; it makes a huge difference to me.

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Hmm are you trying to lull me into a false sense of security,giveing stepen a decent break and then when we let our guard down you gonna hit us with a double whammy
lol

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On 03/03/2016 07:57 AM, bubby1234 said:

Hmm are you trying to lull me into a false sense of security,giveing stepen a decent break and then when we let our guard down you gonna hit us with a double whammy

lol

Stefan/Eric got a good break running into Eustace Whitley. For the moment, he appears to be safe and dry and warm. This is a huge improvement. Thanks for hanging tough with Eric. I really appreciate your comments.

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Eric is incredibly observant. I don't know how else he would have known how to stack the hay bales unless he noticed how they were originally stacked on the wagon. Nothing in his background would have taught him this skill.

 

But I guess he had to develop that sense in order to remain invisible to his classmates and his genetic donor. He used his senses to notice tiny signs that might indicate his tormentors might be thinking about targeting him. Self-preservation forced him to observe things that most of us ignore. He doesn't even seem to be aware of his skill.

 

But then again, he's constantly repeating to himself the horrible words he's heard all his life. How stupid, careless, clumsy, and useless he is. He's never gotten the reassurance and affirmation we all need to hear.

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On 06/28/2016 12:34 PM, droughtquake said:

Eric is incredibly observant. I don't know how else he would have known how to stack the hay bales unless he noticed how they were originally stacked on the wagon. Nothing in his background would have taught him this skill.

 

But I guess he had to develop that sense in order to remain invisible to his classmates and his genetic donor. He used his senses to notice tiny signs that might indicate his tormentors might be thinking about targeting him. Self-preservation forced him to observe things that most of us ignore. He doesn't even seem to be aware of his skill.

 

But then again, he's constantly repeating to himself the horrible words he's heard all his life. How stupid, careless, clumsy, and useless he is. He's never gotten the reassurance and affirmation we all need to hear.

He sees a great deal, and he seems to know how some things fit together naturally. Eric still expresses the terrible things he had internalized from the so called childhood in Carlsberg. He is only beginning to learn how false they are.

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Love the story though it s very very sad so far. I'm trying to place the locations or are they made up. I searched for me of the towns in Alberta but didn't come up with anything

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On 02/12/2017 09:23 AM, Rndmrunner said:

Love the story though it s very very sad so far. I'm trying to place the locations or are they made up. I searched for me of the towns in Alberta but didn't come up with anything

It is sad to this point, I freely admit. The locations are fictional, but placed in a context of the Eastern USA. As one review re put it, we could be in 'Pennistucky.' It's apt. I am glad Yiu arer reading the story, and I hope hang in there through it.

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Finally, a stroke of luck for poor Stefan. Even though its not perfect he's getting money and has found a place to sleep and has no reason to be nomadic in his ways.

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2 hours ago, Higster said:

Finally, a stroke of luck for poor Stefan. Even though its not perfect he's getting money and has found a place to sleep and has no reason to be nomadic in his ways.

 

This is a hugely good thing to happen to Eric. He has shelter, work, and even a bit of food. Perhaps he can rest and recover a little. Thanks so much for your comments and for reading the journal. 

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This is the chapter where I normally start my re-reading of the story - and I can't understand why I never left a comment before. Eustace can see the worth in the quiet manners and good work ethics of Eric. Having company at dinner was probably nice too for a lonely old guy.

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