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  • Billy and the Kid - Chapter 4 through 8

    all chapters can be found here http://www.crappie.com/crappie/conte...billy-kid.html

    Chapter 5



    William Baker had heard that determination in her voice many times before. There had first been Joe. Joe was the friend of the neighbor’s kids whose Dad died when Joe was in the 10th grade. Ann had seen to it that he was always included when manly things needed doing with William and that was even before they had kids of his own. Next was Tom, their oldest son Robert’s best friend. Tom’s mother died of cancer early on and Ann had stepped in to be his part time mother until Robert and Tom went off to college together. There were several others too, but most weren’t such long term adoptions like Joe and Tom. His initial reaction was to protest considering his current health, but quickly realized there was no point in arguing with her.


    William stepped back into the garage and immediately saw Billy’s hand drop from the boat to his pocket. William noticed, but didn’t let on and tried not to make Billy uncomfortable about it. “Billy, I’ve got to run to the store for Mrs. Ann, and when I get back, I’ve got a few things I need to take care of, but I was wondering if you do me 2 favors.” “Sure, Mr. Will, I’d be happy to if I can”. “Well, we’ve gotten just about everything done in the house now, but this junky boat is bothering my wife and I could use some help getting it cleaned off and all this stuff put away. Would you mind meeting me back over here about 3 O’clock and helping me? I’m just not up to climbing up and down over and over and it would be a big help if you’d just get in the boat and hand me things down as I need them”. “Oh, sure I can do that. I’d really like to help you too”. “Great! The other thing, do you think you and your mother could come over for lunch tomorrow at Noon? We’d like to meet her and get to know you better too.” “Well, I’ll check with her, but I think she’ll be here for a couple of hours, midday tomorrow. I’ll check and let you know for sure when I come back over today.” “That will work. OK, I’ll see you at 3 then”. With that William Baker turned and walked Billy out of the garage towards his truck. “See you at 3 Mr. Will.”.


    In all his years with Ann, he’d known her to be a patron saint of lost kids and he couldn’t remember a time where she’d made a mistake. She always had a knack for knowing what they needed and just when they needed it. Thinking about it now, she had the same knack for him as well. He just couldn’t shake the feeling that the timing was wrong this time though. Ever since his diagnosis, he had made it his task to making sure she’d have everything she’d needed after he was gone. The house was too big and too far out for just her and the land was more than she could care for. This city was closer to everything she needed and more central for visits to and from Susan and Robert with the airport just an hour away. And with the doctor bills really cutting into their savings, it just made good sense to downsize and re-prioritize some for her. William didn’t care where he died really. Made no difference to him, but he just couldn’t leave all those responsibilities for her to take care of. But this Billy just wasn’t in his plan. She would have enough to deal with in the coming years without adopting every little kid in the neighborhood. Then again….this was Ann. There would be no changing her mind now. Maybe like some of the others, she’d give him what he needed in short order so the boy could just move on in life. Still, he could see what attracted her to him in the first place: Skinny as a rail, unkempt, but polite as a preacher, interested and obviously without a rudder. Well, if this is what Ann wanted, then he’d see to it that it got done the way she wanted. He just hoped that his strength would hold out to get this job done so that after he was gone, there would be nothing left undone for her to deal with, which, was all he really wanted anyway.




    Chapter 6


    Billy had just about pestered his Mom, Carol, to the point of saying no, but for some reason, she could hear the want in his voice. Maybe it was the 3 phone calls in 20 minutes just before the lunch rush. Maybe it was the eye her boss was giving her and she just said yes so he’d stop calling. She’d have just enough time on Wednesday to get home, get a few things done, clean up a little and walk over for lunch and still get a short nap before she had to be at the factory for her next job. At 41, she didn’t know how long she could keep this second job working at the restaurant 4 days a week, but the tips were good and she really needed it since her ex-husband was of no use at all. He wasn’t a bad man, but he just never grew up which was fine when they were in their 20s, but she had assumed with a son at home, he’d finally get it into gear but when Billy was born, he was off on a “trip” with his friends. She held out hope until Billy turned five, but finally had had enough. When she put the decision to Tommy, he chose to pack up and leave. It had been a struggle ever since, but she was determined to get by on her own. She never could put a finger on exactly why, but the path that Tommy was on was no good for her or for Billy. It wasn’t like he’d ever hit her, or ran around on her or was a bad father. It was more that he’d threaten to hit her and flirted more than he should and just wasn’t a particularly good father. In those last years, he seemed to find more and more excuses to be away from home, drank more and did less. At some point, Carol stopped making excuses for him and at some point after that, stopped expecting something different. It wasn’t a long trip from there until she stopped wanting something different. The final ultimatum was more of prayer for an end than it was a hope for a change.


    Carol knew they were better off without Tommy. The trouble was Billy. He didn’t know he was better off without him. From 5 to 12, the visits became less frequent, then the calls became sporadic and now even the cards seemed to only come occasionally. Lord knows, the money never came at all. All of that was fine with Carol and if asked, Billy would say that was fine too, but she could tell, even when no one else noticed. Maybe even when Billy didn’t notice.


    At 2:58, Billy knocked on the Baker’s door. Somehow, William knew that was going to happen and he almost caught himself smiling about it. Ann scurried to the door. “Why Billy, you’re right on time! Mr. Baker has been under my feet all day and I just can’t seem to get anything done with him in the house. I’ll send him right out to you. Did you talk with your Mom about lunch?” “Yes Ma’am. She said if it was OK with you, we’d come over at Noon tomorrow and that she was looking forward to it.” “That’s perfect! You tell her for me that I’m looking forward to it as well. Here comes Mr. Baker now” and she leaned down and into Billy’s ear so as to half whisper. “You make sure Mr. Baker doesn’t goof off and you get some work out of him OK? He thinks I don’t know that he comes to the garage to get out of housework, but I know. You just make sure he doesn’t make you do everything for him”. With that she gave him a wink and a sly smile. “Yes Ma’am, I will”, Billy whispered back. It wasn’t until he saw that wink and playful smile that Billy noticed how pretty Ann was….for an old lady anyway. And she smelled good too. That really would puzzle Billy later. Most old ladies smelled like old ladies to Billy. But Mrs. Ann was different somehow.




    Chapter 7


    William Baker was almost looking forward to getting to know Billy, but at the same time was dreading going through all of the stuff in his boat. He’d planned and researched and tested and purchased for months on end and now it all just seemed so silly to him. All that time and money wasted on something he’d never get to use now. He’d even considered selling it all and being done with it. At least that way someone would get the enjoyment out of it that he had planned to. If it wasn’t for being so busy with the doctors, the treatments and the big move, he probably would have.


    When he reached the door, Billy was almost vibrating with excitement. “Hey Billy, you ready to get started?” “Sure am Mr. Baker”. “Well let’s get to it then.” William directed Billy to climb into the boat and showed him where to step on the trailer, then the fender then the deck to climb in without slipping….or scratching the boat. He took his time and explained to Billy what the fore and aft was, which way was port and which was starboard and why they were called that. Billy drank it all in and William noticed that he was listening, not just peppering him with question like most kids do. William had Billy sit first on the aft deck and scoot over the boxes that were stacked there so William could look inside and decide where to put stuff. Most of these boxes were full of tools and spare parts. There was a prop, prop wrench and spare hub kit. Some tools in weatherproof cases. Spare fuel filters, spark plugs, test light and electrical meter. Then a whole box of electrical parts – wire, crimping tool, electrical connectors, dielectric grease tubes, fuses of every size. Next was a box labeled trailer. This box was heavy too and William warned Billy to be careful with that one so he wouldn’t hurt himself or the boat when he moved it. Inside was a complete hub assembly, and a bearing and race kit, a 4 way tool, blocks of wood, a grease gun and tubes of unopened grease, a trailer wiring harness and a tire pressure gauge. Of course, Billy had no clue what most of this stuff was, he was just concentrating on not dropping anything and studying what Mr. Baker was doing with it when he handed it off. He was also trying to focus on not asking too many questions just like he promised his mother he wouldn’t do.


    William would take each object and would make a mental note of what needed to be done with it and either find a place for it on his pegboard in what was becoming the marine section of the garage of placing it on the floor of the shop in the spot that would normally be taken up by his wife’s car. He wasn’t sure why exactly, but he was separating what needed to be in the boat to make it ready to roll and what was considered a spare or suitable to be left behind for any trip. Occasionally, he would stop and explain what each item was for and why it was important to keep in the boat. Billy did the best he could trying to keep from asking too many questions, but sometimes couldn’t help himself and would ask a question about something he didn’t recognize like the hub kit and the blocks of wood when he noticed they both went in the ‘ready to roll’ stack and not in the marine section of the garage. By the time either had realized it and hour and a half had passed before they managed to clear the back deck and were almost done with the cockpit area. Next was the front deck and Billy noticed most of those boxes were labeled “Fishing” or “Reels” or “Line”. Then there were all the rods still in their plastic from the store. This was the good part he’d been waiting for.


    “Cookies and drinks” Mrs. Baker called as she opened the door. “I’ll just set them down here and you two can help yourselves when you get ready” And just as quickly as she did, she was gone again. Billy was almost disappointed, but the “drinks” part sure sounded good. It was warm out and even though Mr. Baker had the two fans mounted in the corners of the garage going, it still was pretty hot. “Come on Billy, I think we’ve earned a break”. Mr. Baker pulled a couple of chair up and flipped a milk crate over for a makeshift table between them and they both took their positions in the chairs with drinks and the cookies between them.




    Chapter 8


    The questions started slowly as they took their break. From their position in the garage, that motor was just begging for more explanation and that shiny metal thing it was attached to didn’t make any sense without a question or two. William Baker would have been content to just cool off, drink and munch, but he quickly found himself explaining things in great detail to Billy and quickly got himself wrapped up in the excitement of talking about something he loved to someone who was excited to hear about it. It wasn’t long before they both left the home made chocolate chips and sweet tea in frosted glasses with sugar on the rim behind and were up and walking around the boat. Mr. Baker would explain the function, purpose and how the accessory worked and that would prompt another question which would lead to more explanation. Before they knew it another hour had passed by the time they made it all the way around the boat and they were both hot again. They made their way back to their chairs and took up their positions again. A couple of minutes and a few cookies later Billy asked “Mr. Baker, that boat looks brand spanking new, but you said you’ve had it for 2 years. How come?” “Well, Billy, you see I’m sick and I just can’t take it out on my own”. Billy thought about it for a while and said, “You don’t look sick Mr. Baker, what’s wrong?”


    Mr. Baker had answered this question so many times he was sick of explaining it to people and tired of talking about it. It was what it was and no amount of talking about it would help any. Then again, that wasn’t Billy’s fault so he couldn’t just dance around it like he did with most folks that weren’t worth the effort. “Well Billy, I was diagnosed 2 years ago with cancer of the Prostate”. Billy sat and thought some more. He’d of course heard of cancer and knew it was bad, but he had no idea what a prostrate was or where it was. Mr. Baker could tell he didn’t quite get it, but one of the things he liked about Billy was his ability to know when to talk and when not too. His boss had that quality for the 15 years he worked under him and was probably the only reason he was able to put up with him for all that time. Mr. Baker could tell Billy was content with what he’d told him so far, but still had questions, but wouldn’t be so bold as to come out and ask them. Yep, this Billy was a keeper.


    William Baker started out slow explaining when it began and his symptoms, then the diagnosis and the treatment. He was careful not to put in too many details, but enough to sufficiently explain everything. William didn’t like talking about it, but about half way into his story, he noticed how good a listener Billy was and that made it easier on him. Still, he didn’t like all the details and skimmed most of them and spent more time talking about his movements and the decision to move Ann here and downsize their belongings more than about his cancer. When he’d come back around to a couple of weeks prior to now, the just kind of stopped in the story. Billy just sat there silently. He knew there was more and that Mr. Baker would finish, but anything Billy could say wouldn’t make it easier on him. William hadn’t really told his story recently and the family knew all the details. He reflected on his situation through out the telling of the story and couldn’t seem to find the words to tell the remaining part because he hadn’t had to actually speak it out loud to anyone up till now. “Billy, I finished my last treatment 6 weeks ago this Thursday. I have an appointment for a PET scan that morning. The PET scan will tell the doctors if there is any cancer left or if it has spread any where else. I haven’t told Ann this, but in the last 3 weeks, I haven’t been feeling all that well at all. I figure the cancer has either come back or it’s spread. If it has, I can’t go through another round of chemo therapy.” He stopped again. He’d made up his mind about that a while back when he was at his lowest point in the treatment. But he hadn’t said it out loud to anyone. Until now.


    With that, the story was at its end. William didn’t have much hope of it turning out any other way. Billy sat quietly again. Mr. Baker wouldn’t be the first old guy he knew that died. Mr. Hamby down the street died 2 years ago from a heart attack, but that was quick and besides he was a pretty mean old guy anyhow. Billy remembered the time Mr. Hamby had yelled at his Mom when Billy used to ride his bike on the sidewalk in front of his house. Billy stared down at his feet, looked up at Mr. Baker and back down again. He probably hadn’t said 3 words throughout the whole story.


    Mr. Baker just sat there too. He’d surprised himself with how much he had told the kid. Billy just made it easy. He was not sure if it was the heat or the telling of the story, but he was tired now. Billy looked up at him again and looked straight in Mr. Baker’s eyes. . There it was. William knew it would be coming at some point. The ‘I’m sorrys’, ‘I wish I could helps’, and the worst ones of all, the ‘Let me know if I can do anything for yous’. He normally greeted them with pleasantries and politeness. He couldn’t blame people after all. What else could they do? But deep down, those little sayings just made him mad. Billy said “Mr. Baker, I guess we better finish that boat then.” That was the point at which Mr. Baker fell in love with Billy, but Mr. Baker didn’t realize it just then.


    The next four chapters will be published here soon. There will be a total of 6 installments, each containing 4 chapters. This story was written by our very own crappie.com member: Wannabe...

    The first 4 chapters can be found here: http://www.crappie.com/crappie/conte...billy-kid.html
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Daily fishin's Avatar
      Daily fishin -
      Well, I'm impressed! Well done, now I sit patiently waiting for the next installment.

      Makes me want to take someone fishing...
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      good read
    1. revitup's Avatar
      revitup -
      I'm hoping for 7 or 8 installments, not just 6. Thanks for writing and publishing.
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      just keeps getting better
    1. ytownmonroe's Avatar
      ytownmonroe -
      Cant wait to read the rest.
    1. dandeman's Avatar
      dandeman -
      Very good read. Thanks for the story.
    1. RetiredRR's Avatar
      RetiredRR -
      If you haven't written in the past, this story makes one wonder why not............touching read.
    1. boatdocksam's Avatar
      boatdocksam -
      great story.
    1. Lotech Joe's Avatar
      Lotech Joe -
      I'm fascinated by this story. And loving it.
    1. kycreek's Avatar
      kycreek -
      This was a good story. I hated to see it end.
    1. Lundfisher's Avatar
      Lundfisher -
      Good reading. Waiting on the rest.
    1. Bowbender's Avatar
      Bowbender -
      good to see this kind of writing is still around I remember reading stories like this in field and stream and outdoor life when I was a kid, kids today need to put down the video games and get outside and live
    1. Bayoudog's Avatar
      Bayoudog -
      Nice!!!!!
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