Kelly: Chapter Two continued
Leonard liked the string on the toe idea, but was worried it would take a very strong jerk or Kelly landing on him to wake him. Jim grinned and told him he obviously hadn't had his toe pulled before and headed for the workshop. Neither Leonard or Kelly was ready to sleep yet. Leonard had an evening of TV planned, including hot fudge sundaes. Bitsy pointed to a corner of the workshop when Jim walked in the door.
"There's a chair under that tarp. Tell him he's testing it before I deliver it."
"His knees are bad."
"I know. His back's getting that way. We sort of got inbred around here."
"That's not why you decided Kelly."
"You know me better than that. I decided Kelly because I LIKE being first and I'm the only one besides a pro who won't be bothered that you help. I understand you should be there, and should be even if he didn't need your assistance. It's also the right reason for all of us. A child will protect him and this town can protect his child."
"True. It's good. It's what he needs, Gizmo."
"I'd have said yes if he asked me, Hulk."
"He knows. That's why he didn't. He's Kelly's reason for wanting this."
"He's mine for wanting it now. I have made love to him. I finally took him by surprise. It didn't take quite as long as it did with you, but he was quite a bit more surprised. It made me mad. I told him off for it. It worked well as foreplay for both of us."
Jim was still laughing when he walked into the house with the chair. He told Leonard Bitsy wanted it thoroughly tested and he wanted him off his legs. Kelly said, "Hnh!"
Bitsy worked fast and used four hands. Jim didn't know what they were assembling, but he knew Bitsy was sure it would work. He was scared and incredibly happy. He knew what was happening was 'impossible.' Bitsy knew what he was thinking.
"We just accept it. You'd been there three years. You suspected, but he had to improve for you to be sure. He's continued to do so and it just IS the rate at which it happened once he began to learn to control his body. Yes, it's a miracle. They happen quite often. Every doctor knows of several. This gizmo is going to show up very clearly on an x-ray. Tell them it's a skyhook, a placebo. That's the only explanation of it they'll understand. It's true. We just know there's something in the sky to hook onto if we do it just right. We know because Kelly already found it. He's been watching YOUR televised classes. He knows it's a skyhook. He also knows they work. He THINKS of it as making a path for motor control. It is, but the path isn't in the filaments. It's in the system he's using it to stimulate and soon he won't need it."
"No. His body will carry electro-chemical messages properly. That's an engineer's view of the nervous system, Hulk. You both need to know he'll keep on improving even if all the wires and this thing come out. He's using the system now, but it's to direct his and he really won't need it long."
"You're absolutely sure of that too."
"Of course I am. All the filaments can do is conduct electricity. The control has to be HIS electrical system. He's getting the DC system on-line, but he's running AC to the house so he can check the wiring and see what he's doing. The AC lines and transformer can come out when he's done. That what you needed to know?"
"It must have been. I feel relieved."
"He's been dependent on physical aid too long for either of you to really want him to need that wiring harness. You would also be worried about a short circuit if he went skiing. I just told you, by the time he can, you won't need to worry about it. Every bit of control he exhibits shows he's using the start-up system a bit less. So, when doctors ask, tell them it's a skyhook and there's no reason to examine it. You saw improvement before it was there. Obviously."
"Obviously. Thanks. For too many things to ever finish saying thanks for."
"I love you, but I love this town and my life here more. Kelly should buy the Mearson place and donate it to Leonard's wildlife center before someone grabs it and plows those meadows and young woods. I checked his account balance. He could buy it for cash, but Larry would love to carry the note at no interest as his family's contribution. His grandmother needs an income from the place or they'd donate it. He's been trying not to sell it, but they've got a baby on the way and even the taxes on it will pinch."
"Leonard just pitched for a freezer full of fish."
"He knows the rest of us pitch for more. I wouldn't except I'm sure Kelly will like the idea."
"So am I. Bitsy, I was NOT planning on getting... involved in this town again."
"Silly boy, you never got uninvolved. You are OURS and we're delighted you brought Kelly home too."
"How close are we?"
"We'll fall on our faces for six hours in about seven. We don't want to wait longer, but you'll need that much rest first. All right, let's see if I got that built right. Hand me the meter. This is the third try. It has to be exactly right. Our skyhook does more than most, but we won't tell. He needed a lawyer."
"We're both convinced Brad found him the right one. She laughed and asked where she could land her plane. Brad said she built it."
Kelly jerked Jim's toe and the surgery began after four hours sleep. This time the muscle spasm had come following a twitch of a finger. Kelly knew it. No one else had seen it, but they knew something had happened. The spasm pulled out two stitches. Leonard got him 'topically' numbed before Jim got him all the way dry. Bitsy knelt down in front of him while Leonard gave him the novocaine and Jim scrubbed.
Bitsy told him he might still have a muscle spasm or two, but there wouldn't be more. She explained the healing process itself would make the "connector" the right path and he'd heal fast once it was in place. She grinned and told him she was trying to figure out something else for which she could use what she'd come up with because she knew she ought to get a patent out of it. He smiled and said, "Hnh!" when Jim asked him if he was ready.
Jim was pouring sweat and worried about the novocaine lasting long enough when Bitsy shouted, "There! That's it! Now figure out how to keep it there until he heals around it." He was really worried about the novocaine wearing off by the time he had. He closed and Bitsy steadied him when he swayed. Kelly would never tell him the novocaine hadn't been enough. Leonard wouldn't either. He'd looked in his eyes and they'd agreed on it. Leonard had nodded for both of them.
Bitsy put them both in her king size bed. Leonard handed her a cup of tea when she sank into a chair in the kitchen that had been an operating room a few minutes before. The sound of a car coming up the drive surprised them, so did the woman who was driving it. Sonata Rojinsky had arrived.
"They're asleep and too pooped to talk. You don't really want to know why."
"Of course I do, but that's because I'm curious as hell. I've gotten my nose poked often enough I listen to people who warn me to not stick it in, THEN decide if I'm going to ignore them. What have I got?"
"Oh, a living work of art worth several billion who people are going to think is naive and his child."
"I picked him for daddy for the right reason."
"You love him?"
"There isn't another right one, is there? I don't need his financial help which is why I can accept it. I do need him to visit. I'm making him a hometown boy. You know what that means."
"My last court case was defending a seventy-nine year old man who took offense at something someone said about my grandmother. I didn't win it. He was NOT remorseful and the judge struggled not to laugh when he said it was the most satisfying two hundred dollars he'd ever spent. Find me a place to stay in town. I need to see the documents Brad told me about. I'll probably need an introduction to Walter Amunson and Judge Hernendez."
"Mrs. Horsch could use a roomer, Bitsy."
"Do you think I should warn Sonata she can put ten pounds on a person in a week?"
"Nah, she'll smell apple pie or cookies two blocks away and won't need it. Sonata, Mrs. Horsch loves to cook. Every great cook needs an audience. She has a big house with lots of empty rooms. Filling a couple of them gives her a nice budget to buy things to cook and an appreciative audience. Currently, she has only one boarder. He has three rooms though. His computer lives in two of them. He's the math and science teacher at the elementary school. It's a small town, but it's a prosperous one. We're actually a rural community. Most of us have been 'surfing the net' since before they called it the net. A computer has been a farm implement for THIRTY years in this area. Hog farms and vinyards both pay nicely, so do flowers and bulbs. They're dependent on everything that happens everywhere in the world. A hail storm in Amsterdam affects them nearly as much as one here and they know it. This was never a company town. It has always been a co-op. Look around. Farm co-ops are extremely successful in general."
"Get those people moving to cash in on what they suddenly have going for them. Plan a golf course and look for an investor. Plan a nice redo on the public swimming pool. The people will be able to pay their taxes. PUSH your tourism and get a couple of those old houses made into NICE bed and breakfasts."
"I'm not worried about your kid. What do you want from my client?"
"Buy a farm at no interest and donate it to the community for Leonard's work. The payments would be what an elderly woman needs to live on and the college education her husband wanted to give their grandchildren. The work is a wildlife care center. He WON'T let us name it for him, so we haven't named it."
"I don't LIKE memorials. Brad's my lawyer. In this town, you choose one of three attorneys or you choose one sixty miles away and probably not real familiar with your kind of legal work. You need to know about Hulk."
"Jim Waters, adopted child of one of the founding families. Altzheimers was something they would not allow to spread into the common gene pool of this community. I have no children and neither does my brother. Jim has two. It was quite deliberate and I told him today. He's Brad's client. The children are all our children. Kelly's will be. We have a rather realistic attitude for a little town with eleven churches. The ladies decided independently and individually, but we're all delighted we'll have their kids for our kids to marry. Bitsy's father owns the radio station and fifteen percent of six hundred acres of flowers."
"A hundred twelve of that is greenhouse. Daddy REALLY hates hail. I'm Gizmo. I've got three patents. I'll get a couple for what I build for Kelly to use before he learns to ski."
"Run, leap, jump, bungi jump if he wants, swim, surf and play football. It is a miracle. He's doing it, but Hulk is why he can. It takes both."
"Can that be explained?"
"Hulk's an alien telepath. We don't tell him."
"Gizmo builds focuses for his power. You'll know he can't actually be human as soon as you see him. Humans don't come that good looking. Kelly's face was built by artists. He never felt it was his body until Hulk touched it differently."
"He's got a gizmo in him right now. It's a very complex piece of technology that does absolutely nothing and it took me fifteen hours to assure it did nothing after I designed it. He knows it and that he can use it to help him gain control over his body. Hulk absolutely believes he will and no one else can doubt it. See why the girls went after him? Besides that, I had kept him CLOSE for six years and they'd have had to be NUTS to pass up the opportunity. I hated his guts, but I thoroughly agreed we wanted his kids."
"Mersia and Heather both complain it only took one try. Mersia WILL be after an encore. Most women in the town would like to know exactly why. ALL the single women under forty will actively try to learn for themselves. He won't have any more children here though."
"Yep, small town. I liked going to Grandma's a whole lot. I'm moving here. That means Mrs. Horsch has a full time boarder who shows up now and then. I hope she's got room to store a lot of stuff. I hate my condo and it's been broken into twice while I was traveling. You have a nice private airport and I love arguing politics with Brad. We don't agree on anything that isn't pure ethics. He's about to get a handball partner."
"He'll be glad I'm not around much and he'll learn to play a real good game of tennis to offer instead of being slaughtered in handball."
"Um, perhaps golf?"
"This whole handball thing is designed to get him to pay the greens fees, Gizmo. Brad needs to be established as my connection to Kelly. This is Jim's hometown in the real sense of the term. I need this town as a filter for me. Brad needs me as a backup. We work well together. I HATE my condo in the suburbs. I like old houses and good home cooking and I travel a LOT. I also like elementay teachers and computer nerds who live close. We had servants when I was a kid. I had a cook and a nanny who spoiled me rotten. They were wonderful friends. I have them lots of places. My mommy owns twenty-two travel agencies. I have clients in fourteen countries who I represent in this one. Most of my job is explain my job to their attorneys in that one. That's why I'm the right attorney. I'm not personally wealthy, though quite well off. I don't pay for hotels. I stay with my clients, who are all family friends. They can't afford to pay for hotel rooms either, even if they own a hotel. Most of them have big houses and I can afford to rent a car. Three months in a villa in Spain while a small company 'expands onto the world market' is worth JUST charging for the work I do here and they're all glad to see me when I just show up for a visit. I'm invited to bring friends. You may wind up on the front page."
"I've made the front page here regularly since I was nine. This is the only paper I clip articles from for my scrapbook. If they get nosy, I'll tell them Kelly is the third man I've made love to. Everybody in town knows the other two are Hulk and Leonard. If you don't want it known here, you don't do it. I'll also tell them I like being first, and always have been."
"You'll do. Oh, I like high school football games, but I'm disappointed if there's no cotton candy."
"The machine gets full maintenance after the county fair every year."
"This area is dotted with small towns. They're primarily built around a farm co-op. Even if they were started long before there was officially a co-op. Get her the papers, Gizmo. I'll lead her to Mrs. Horsch's. From the way she came up the drive, I'm not real worried about losing her. I need to go by my place for a change of clothes."
"Bring some back, Leonard. Kelly's excited. Hulk and I will be working hard to get the van ready so they can get on the road and start their adventures. We need you here about four days."
"That's what I figured. Nice ideas, but I didn't see anything really new."
"There isn't until they're all put together. I'm going to build more things like the van and your scoot and chair. It feels good."
"The best reason for doing anything."
Bitsy went to her room as soon as they left. She smiled and knelt beside the bed. Kelly's eyes were closed, but she was sure he was awake. She touched him and he looked right at her.
"Your lawyer decided to move into town and Brad's evidently going to have a partner no matter what he says. This is the best time for me, Kelly. According to everything I've read, about the next three days. If we wait for your back to heal, it's more likely I'll ask you to come back in a month. Jim doesn't have any say on this one as far as coming back so we can try again if we need to. He does have a say about your back. This won't happen until we're both sure it won't hurt you. He'll know the difference between discomfort you're NOT noticing and damage, won't you, Hulk?"
"I'm sure you're talking about what I think you're talking about because 'Uh, oh.' was the thought that woke me up."
"I need to be carrying our child before people realize it might be our child. Born would be wonderful, but I'm not expecting it. Kelly, I want to make love to you because I love you, which is, of course, also why I want your child. I'm not IN love with you. I did that once. Everyone should. I may fall in love again someday, but not with either of you. You're stuck in the friend category. I think I'm much safer with you firmly planted there to start with. Hulk, his answer's pretty obvious."
"Yeah, hung like a horse. You can't see I've got a hard on if I'm laying on it. I can hold him so his back isn't stressed or rubbed and he's SURE he's not too tired."
"We have about two hours before Leonard gets back, then I'll need him and not you for about one. After that, I'll need you about three, then I'm going to sleep four."
"I'm obviously going to lose track of days and nights. My body really doesn't like it, you know."
"This time you won't be trying to get it back on a schedule around school in a few days, Hulk. You two will never be attached to a clock again unless you choose to be. Kelly's probably very tired of being on a strict schedule. Mm, so warm and alive. This pillow is for you, Kelly. It goes right under here. I'll lift his hips, Hulk. Can you hold him and still push it under?"
"Let me get ready. OK, lift."
He was very surprised when she bent down and took his penis in her mouth. The feeling was incredible. Jim got 'under' him a bit more and lifted him so he could see what she was doing. It hurt a bit, but very little, and he did not mind at all.
"You'll probably come fast the first time, Kelly. Bitsy knows it."
"I know you're a mouthful. Nice and wet. Kelly, if Hulk doesn't get excited, he's working too hard at ignoring us. I don't expect him to participate, but it ought to really turn him on and we'll worry about him if it doesn't. Frankly, I'd LOVE to end up in bed with you between us, but I know he's not ready for that. Yet. No, we won't make love to each other. We both know it. Oh, I told your lawyer you're the third man I've made love to and who else. Leonard looked very smug. Her name fits. You could find her in an airport just looking for the woman it does. She may end up being Leonard's lady. They grin in the same language and he's never met anyone else who did. Yes, I really like the idea too. She's just who we need to get that wildlife center done. Your job is help her give him a raspberry and name it for him for us. Oh, you are so big! Long lovemaking sessions with you NEED to be well-spaced. A girl could get tender and just say the hell with it and get lots more tender. Don't try to help this time. Let me and Jim do it for you. Running for the spa is not part of the plan. Stick with it."
"Oh, no problem. He likes it REAL well so far. I like it real well. She turns EVERY man on, Kelly."
"That may be why we ended up with each other. He turns every woman on. The kids at school got along better after we started going together. I was fourteen and he was sixteen. He's two years older than I am two months of the year. The truth is, I rushed you because Sonata is going to want to play with you too and I'm first."
"Oh, I'm sure that was a duet I heard. You're cute, Kelly, and the cute is ALL you. Beautiful is all they COULD do for you, or so they thought. They did good. Your face and body are ALMOST as beautiful as you are. Hulk's are almost as beautiful as he is too. Leonard would be too beautiful to be mortal even if they were just almost. You've been adopted. I decided. Your lawyer is moving in. You are now a hometown boy. Hulk needs help. Half of the girls chasing you is a LOT of help. You can probably both get away MOST of the time if you don't visit extremely often. Do visit though. I plan to keep you occupied while you're here for awhile. He deserves to run hard. He won't always get away. Sometimes one should work at not noticing the foot stuck out to trip one. You and I are going to have him nicely warmed up for Mersia."
Kelly giggled. He was having a lot of fun. The dialog was a lot more interesting than 'Ooh, ooh, yeah, Baby, like that.' So was everything else.
"You're rich and this little town is going to take advantage of it. We do every time one of our children brings someone home. We make sure it's a very nice home so none of them mind. Do go home to the place Terry said ached for you to live in it once in awhile. Put a balcony and French doors you can leave open in that room you were in and REALLY change it. You DON'T need it as a momento of how you two met. He's your love, Kelly. Everyone in this town will understand why because we know him so very well. He picked YOU and we all know anyone who didn't whoop and shout yes would be too crazy for him to pick. Ooh, I'm not sure I'm paying enough attention to what I'm saying to keep talking."
"Don't lift! Bitsy, this could end in the spa fast. That was a BIG step."
"Oh, that's not a compliment I want right now, Kelly. I'm going to rush you, Baby. Hulk, stroke his nipples. Come on, Jim. It takes all three of us to do this. You're not a prop. You're his loved friend. He deserves to come, especially if it's going to tie him in knots anyway."
"You're absolutely right. I'll do what you tell me, to a point."
"We know exactly the 'point.' He's made it TOO clear, hasn't he, Kelly? It's just the way he is. He HAS to be seduced the first SEVERAL times. Your touch is the one he will always love most, Hulk, and it will always be exciting. Let's finish here and take him to the spa before we're running for it. Let's see if we can reduce or divert the sequence THIS time."
"How nice, another duet."
He was so relaxed he was sure he couldn't have a muscle spasm. His back burned a bit, but it actually felt better. Jim had told him feeling smug was appropriate. Bitsy had told him she would always remember he had made love to her too. He felt a sharp twinge, but the spasm that had followed it, been part of it, every time did not come. The twinge was in his head, not his back. He decided Bitsy had it all figured out. He smiled up at Jim.
"Bitsy, it worked. I'm sure of it. Kelly's sure of it."
"Then I'm going back to work. Stay in the water a little longer, then hold him on your lap awhile, Hulk. It's the most relaxing place there is. I know you can sleep holding him in the big brown lounge chair."
"I might hurt his back if I move."
"A cramp would hurt it more, wouldn't it, Kelly? It's a plot, Hulk. Women enjoy sharing their wisdom and experience with younger men. I'm going to use mine to help Kelly seduce you. He's an absolute teddy bear in that chair, Kelly. He's big and warm and snuggly. It's a great place for a two hour nap. I'll light a fire for you. It's starting to get cool and Leonard will keep a fire going without thinking about the fact the house is warmer than I usually keep it. He'd definitely notice if I raised the thermostat."
"The chair you built him is going to make it fun for him to cook in your kitchen."
"I built it so he could reach things from it better than with a step ladder. I started working on that part of the idea the day he borrowed a torch to add rungs to three of them. See you later, Cutie. I plan on LOTS more fun."
Kelly smiled at Jim and he laughed. He told him he might have seen a more smug smile sometime, but he couldn't remember one. Kelly thought Bitsy's had been rather smug too. He was sure hers was appropriate.
Jim fell asleep with Kelly in his lap in the big brown chair. Leonard checked on them when he arrived. He walked back into the workshop grinning.
"My scooter didn't even wake them."
"I knew he wasn't resting well and had a suspicion he would if he had both arms around Kelly."
"Mrs. Horsch is a very happy woman. Brad may looked pained for days."
"You LIKE Sonata."
"I certainly do. She stopped by the bookstore and the market. She handed Mrs. Horsch three cookbooks by a friend of hers, four bags of groceries and the phone number of a spice company that will ship all the 'un-ordinary' spices called for in some of the recipes her friend picked up all over the world. She hunted a place for her samovar in the dining room first, then decided she wanted the two connecting bedrooms in the back and started rearranging furniture. When I left, Carter was happily disassembling a bed to be stored. Sonata was explaining he was just who she needed to keep in touch with home and that she'd pay the bill for him to contact her on the international internet at least weekly and bring home interesting things for his classes in return for the favor. Mrs. Horsch was making a 'hole' in the basement for her to store things. The Graham boys were helping. Sonata yelled across the alley she needed their 'gorgeous muscles.' She knows small towns and is going to make sure we're real pleased she picked this one. Brad did need her, Bitsy."
"He's a patent attorney because that's what we needed, but now we need that and everything else most attorneys DON'T do, along with everything most usually do, and the job of doing all those things he was already doing got bigger."
"Uh, I followed that. I don't follow what you're doing right now."
"I'm getting ready to take out a big chunk of this side of the van and put in a huge oval mirror."
"Mm, hm. See, I know just how good Hulk is as an artist and how fast he did this. That wrought iron is going to become vegetation around a view of a lake. Our mirror came out of the front door of the Carmody place."
"The window that blinded everyone turning the corner for about three hours on a sunny day."
"June yelled for help when Alan almost hit Greg with the car. It was a great idea until the tree in the front yard died. It is also a very sturdy piece of glass with a LOT more features than just being a mirror one way and window the other. It would take more than a rock to damage it. Going through the windshield would be easier and I plan on doing something about both it and the side windows. I'm putting electronic locks on the doors and designing nice ID bracelets that people won't know are keys."
"That's a patent in the works."
"No. There are some things that I'm going to do to this van only the four of us will know about. There are some things only I will know about. I'm going to make this thing as safe a shelter as possible. Amunson won't be able to keep the fact Kelly is recovering and 'seeing the world' quiet much longer. At that point, people will begin to look for him. Most will just be looking because it's a story with a happy ending and we all like them. Some will be looking for much less pleasant reasons and an opportunity. I need Fowler and Alexis."
"Those two kids do NOT keep what they do quiet, Gizmo. They drive their parents crazy talking about the tricks they teach their computers."
"None of those 'tricks' are for the purpose of keeping someone safe and tricks are ALL they talk about. I need programming skill I don't have to go with the very sophisticated computer operated system I'm building into the van. They have a computer to play games and such. This one will just operate the van systems and weapons."
"Kelly OWNS Holland Corporation, Leonard. That makes him a target for crazies who have everything from kidnapping for money to changing a government somewhere in mind. The good news is, all of those crazies want him alive. I'm going to build this to make it as difficult as possible for them to get him, then put in as much as I can to help Hulk get him back if someone manages it anyway."
"You're more scared for Hulk than Kelly."
"I'm thinking of a suit of armor and a helmet for him to wear full time, but I can't figure out how to make them invisible. I can make the armor in this van invisible. It's got the frame to handle the weight and the power plant to move it fast already. Hmm... "
"I don't really want to keep them here as long as it would take, but... "
"As long as what would take?"
"Putting an entirely new body on it. It doesn't make sense not to, Leonard. Just adding an inner lining will stop a high caliber bullet, but I want something that will stand up to anything less than an armor piercing shell."
"You really do expect them to need it."
"Leonard, what is Hulk?"
"Too many things to list and some there aren't names for. What specifically do you mean?"
"He's a hero. Kelly may be more so. They are GOING to get in trouble. Sooner or later, they're going to see something, yell, 'Wrong!' and wade in."
"Your childhood penchant for super-hero comic books is showing."
"Always liked Ironman and wanted to BUILD the Batmobile. I need things I can't get. I'm going to try to get hold of Walter Amunson, Leonard. He can get them for me, I think."
Walter Amunson checked with Dr. Hoskins and got to work. She said, if "Gizmo" wanted something, it was for Keller's safety and she knew exactly what she was doing. By the time he'd made three calls, he was sure of it. Some of the materials she wanted were still in the testing stages. She'd promised "a couple ideas" to offset the dent he was probably going to put in the budget. He decided the "dent" should be in Calvert-Gorshin Scientific's R and D budget. Dr. Falaskis stopped yelling when he gave him the list of materials Gizmo wanted and asked him if he didn't want the "couple ideas" she planned to trade. Four hours later, six panels of a material that 'couldn't' be purchased were on the way from the west coast by jet. Three items were headed west in a military aircraft. The Air Force was interested in the "couple ideas." They knew who Gizmo was too.
Jim groaned and helped Gizmo take the body off the van. She'd told him she was building one out of "safer" materials and grinned. He groaned again when she told him they'd be lenghthening the frame, but got to work. She gave him a pat and told him the engine and transmission he'd rebuilt were why the van was just getting a new body. He wondered why it made him feel better. When she showed him the design for the body, he grinned and told her to show it to Kelly, then laughed when she headed for the house with it immediately.
The van wasn't done in four days, but Leonard was needed at his wildlife center. Kelly had enjoyed his company immensely, but he was more than delighted to be put in the seat that was going in the van to watch what was being done in the workshop. He was also delighted with Fowler and Alexis. Gizmo had told them they could explain everything they did to him, but only him. They explained so well that Kelly actually understood what the van was becoming. Jim had figured it out when it took a surgical laser, borrowed from the county hospital, to cut the thin, flexible, panels and 'windows' for the body of the van.
The day they finished building the van body, Sonata called with bad news. The only nurse Jim hadn't liked was 'writing a book' about Keller's "struggle" and her part in the beginning of his recovery. Sonata read Kelly the statement she was about to release to the press. He nodded and Jim yelled "Shit!" and ran for the spa with him.
The nod had been a bit much, but it was only the second time he'd had to do it since they'd implanted what Gizmo had built. Kelly grinned when he stopped grimacing. He was going to be ready for "steak that isn't a puddle" very soon. He was working on learning to chew. That had been what sent them to the spa the last time. He was sure being able to open and close his mouth was worth the cramps. He was sure being able to nod yes was worth it this time. Jim told him he was not sure he agreed. Kelly just grinned. It no longer surprised him Jim 'knew' what he was thinking.
Sonata took a deep breath and called Bitsy's father. An hour and twenty minutes later, she was in the city park surrounded by equipment and students from the audio-visual classes at the Community College sixteen miles away. They were excited and a bit nervous. They looked it. Sonata didn't. She got her 'cue' and read the statement.
"I'm Sonata Rojinsky, Keller Nathan Holland the Fourth's personal attorney. He has asked this statement be read. For fourteen years, no one realized Mr. Holland was aware of his surroundings. Over a three year period, one of the men employed as an aide in Mr. Holland's care began to suspect he was not only aware, but recovering. Ten days ago, Mr. Holland began to improve very rapidly under the personal care of that highly trained aide. Ms. Jostrin, who proposes to write a book about Mr. Holland's recovery, was a nurse for a very short period of time and did not give any indication she believed Mr. Holland was aware during her employment. He will not attempt to prevent her writing her proposed book. He likes works of fiction with happy endings. Walter Amunson, CEO of Holland Corporation for the last eight years and, as such, executor of the Holland estate, has moved very quickly to aid Mr. Holland and the skilled young man who was sure he was aware. Mr. Holland is expected to decide skiing looks like it would be fun to try in a few months. He's sure running Holland Corporation would not be. He is extremely pleased with the solution Walter Amunson and Martin Fuller found for the people affected by the Frazier acquisition. This statement is to register his full support for their continued efforts to make Holland Corporation a leader, in both consideration of the impact of corporate policy on people's lives and in care for the environment. He says, 'Well done, Gentlemen.' There is no medical explanation for miracle recoveries. There is also no way to trace the course of Mr. Holland's recovery because it wasn't known he was recovering. He is not available for 'poking, prodding, testing, or questioning.' He's seen too many hospitals. He and the young man, who traded the job of aide for that of best friend, are about to start on a trip to 'see America.' Have a good time, boys."
"Cut! No wonder Mr. Hoskins didn't say what this was about. Sonata, you look incredible on camera."
"Thank you, Barry. In this day and age, that's almost as much a prerequisite in areas of my profession as yours. I'm VERY glad my debut as a television personality was here with you guys. I figured you'd get us all shaking in synch and nobody else would see it."
"I think you need to talk to somebody who doesn't talk to anybody. JODY! He's from here and has been not talking for days."
"She needs to talk, I think."
"Nah, but she needs to not talk with somebody who has an idea what she's not talking about."
"My little brother's name is Fowler."
"Let's not talk over there."
"Fowler wasn't sleeping well and Mom asked me to find out why. I swore an oath of secrecy before he told me, then did something about what was keeping him awake. I called Gizmo. She built him a physical solution to his programming problem and Mom quit worrying about him. What's worrying you?"
"Oh, kidnappers, ambitious business people, medical researchers who are sure individual rights are of secondary importance... "
"And you carefully didn't say who the aide was or where we were taping. Sonata, don't worry about this town or them. We can take care of us and Gizmo is making sure Hulk can take care of them."
"Why is he referred to by his name at times and Hulk others?"
"Jim's a nice guy. Hulk is impossible. Bitsy's a nice lady. Gizmo is impossible. Fowler and Alexis are called Nerds Incorporated by their friends. They're Nerdo and Nerdette individually."
"Oh, that's terrible!"
"They WORKED to find something that would make them wince and are watching to see if they beat the record of getting winces for four years set by Gizmo's friends. Hulk's been Hulk since before he started school."
"Makes sense that's who dubbed him. Anyone else would have bragged. The first time I saw them, Hulk was running with Leonard on his back and laughing. I was almost five. They were thirteen or fourteen. We'd just moved back to my dad's home town. I told my mother I'd just seen the prince and the dwarf from the story she'd been reading me. Two days later she apologized for not believing me. The librarian had explained who I'd seen. I never did find out how the librarian got involved. It tore this whole town up when Hulk went away. He came back to see his folks pretty often, but he came and went without us seeing him. He came to say good-by, but he didn't come to their funerals. He needed that long to get over what he'd done to all of us. We never doubted it was the right decision."
"I thought I knew what a small town was like. This is... a lot closer community than I thought."
"Probably a lot more liberal than most as well. Some of our grandparents were responsible for attracting an enclave of hippies that became the core of the school board by the time I started. This town isn't shrinking, but it has always grown slowly. The county population is down a bit. Hulk was a hero. Jim was the guy who was pointed out as the role model for us all. He told Leonard and Bitsy it was going to take him about fifteen years to BEGIN to become a doctor on his own and left. We ALL know Brad slugged him. We ALL know Mersia took advantage of a situation and Heather planned one. We never stopped loving him."
"He didn't change. Why would you? But you were all real pissed."
"I'd have taken a swing at him. I was twelve. My grandmother would have and she was sixty-nine. She was taking karate at the college at the time."
"Go talk to Kelly. He's never met anyone his own age. He's discovering everything about himself. Jim is incredible, but he can only remember eighteen."
"He's also Hulk and his adolescence was NOT typical. That's typical of impossible people."
"Kelly is going to be a father."
"Oh, shit. Gizmo."
"I'm sure it's not intended as a secret."
"Hell, no. It's notification to man the defenses. So was this thing. That's why you're here. Barry! I am done for the day. It doesn't need editing. My car's here, gas isn't cheap, nothing is going to disappear from it and I'll be in at six anyway."
"We'll lock it when it's full. Make sure you've got your keys."
"Keys. Please leave me room to shift into fourth."
"Ha! Better leave home early. See you at six."
"I'm obviously being escorted somewhere."
"To meet my grandmother. She's conducting a yoga class for senior citizens in the lobby of the bank. My father's name of record is Universal Harmony. He had it changed to Harmon. She was a beatnik before she was a hippie. Now she's a Gray Panther, but she's never met anyone who was one so she never actually joined. She's sort of head of the joint chiefs of staff. I have dreams of working with Gizmo."
"I like optics. They're fun."
"I'd work on that, but I don't think I really want to. This community has an inordinate amount of genius, Jody."
"Gizmo's dad bought the radio station and moved here. My dad brought us back. You moved in with our elementary science teacher and his computer. Taxes are high here. Property values are high."
"Your schools attract those who can afford to live here and you had a rather nice influx of intelligentsia about thirty years ago."
"Grandmother was always ahead of her time. She was born here. My grandmother is Andrea Stanley. The Stanley farm was a self discovery commune from nineteen fifty-two to nineteen seventy. At that point, other people started opening them and Grandmother built thirty condos and turned the house into a museum. It was a very successful commune and the reason we have a nice income from flowers. Those were corn fields at one time."
"They were also fallow often. This area received a lot of 'we'll pay you not to plant it' crop price support."
"You saw the airport. It's VERY busy one hour a day. Flowers are moved fast. We ship to six city flower markets daily."
"I'm sorry. I want to go back to optics and community college in audio-visual editing."
"It's traditional. Optics are a very large subject. I don't know which part of it interests me most because I don't know enough about some parts of it to decide. I'm learning about the parts I know least about close to home and with a lot fewer people trying to use equipment."
"Oh, she's terrific! Go visit Kelly. I'll introduce myself."
"Tell her why I borrowed her car when you do."
Jody grinned and winked at Jack Collins, the bank manager. Sonata had whipped off the beautiful long skirt and tailored jacket and was seated in the floor among his grandmother's elderly students, dressed as they were. The jade green leotard and dark green tights did NOT look the same on her.
Jack nodded and grinned back. He knew exactly who she was. He was working on the deal for the Mearson farm. He was delighted to be audience to her meeting with Andrea Stanley. He quietly called Brad and told him he had banking to do. He should see it too. He was the one who had brought her home.
Copyright © 1999 Sharon L 'Spinner' Reddy
All Rights Reserved