Back inside, all the adults had arrived and they were making small talk and eating some of the leftovers while grabbing a cold drink. Ken was very pleased that just about everyone had come by. The invited adults included Mary Taylor, Judy Turner, Doc Powers and Kathryn Martin, along with Judge Adam Richards and his wife Kathleen, Sheriff Deputy Daniel Fischer, along with Joanne Kirby the ER Nurse, who took care of Ken after he was shot, and then there was Mr. William Jackson, his lawyer and of course Mary Anne, his date from last night, who rounded out the informal focus group.
"I want to thank all of you for taking your day off to help me with something very important to me and possibly to this community. As you may know by now, I have, or actually will have, bought 60 acres over at the corner where we turn to go out to the main roads. I bought all four corners and have aptly named it "Four Corners," began Ken to the gathered group of friends.
"I don't mind giving up a fine cold Texas day such as this as long as I get to eat some more of those wonderful foods you served last night," spoke out Kathleen Richards. "I know I must have put on a few extra pounds last night, but it was all well worth it. And, I never had such a good time at a party as I had last night. I think Adam here even enjoyed himself as well. Especially after seeing the faces on some of those people last night when he called you a 'hero'. It was good to see them finally get the whole truth for a change."
"Well, Ken," spoke up Bill Jackson, Ken's personal Lawyer, “and don't be surprised if you get a phone call today or at least over the weekend from our illustrious DA. He thinks he can tell anyone what to do and how to do it. It wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't threaten to put you in jail after what was said last night. But, I have to agree with Judge Richards and what he said regarding your rights. My bet is you will hear from him today. He's probably trying to figure out how to scare you first. If he calls while I'm here, I'd like to listen in and for us to record that call. Judge, if you want you can sit in as well."
"Thanks, Bill, I didn't ask you here today for professional help, well in that sense anyways. Now, everyone, the reason I asked all of you to come here today, besides helping eat all those leftovers, was to give me your input on what this community needs in the areas of shops and services. To begin with let me tell you what I intend to do. First, I am already planning to build a family style restaurant with a walk up window. I haven't decided if it will be a chain restaurant like Applebee's or Texas Roadhouse or a Famous Dave’s, even. Something like that would go good there I do believe!
"Or, I may just build something and hire my own staff. I also want to build a Go-Kart Track with two courses. One will be an elongated figure-8 and the other will be a 'slick-track' oval. The other endeavor I am also leaning towards is a small amusement park. It will have a train and a few rides for the small children as well as the older kids. It'll probably have an arcade and some fun foods as well. As I said, I own all four corners and can develop them in whole or in part. OK, who wants to start and give me some ideas of what we need here locally.
Joanne Kirby was the first one to speak up. "I would love to see us have a nice beauty parlor or salon along with a beauty and cosmetics store."
"What this area needs is a gas station, too, Ken. The one most of us use now is so old it is a wonder it is still in business. My guess is that it being the only one everyone passes by helps it stay afloat," offered Dan, the Deputy Sheriff.
"I'll agree with that one, for sure," added Mary Turner. "Every time I stop there, I get this eerie feeling. The only thing going for it is that it's convenient. Put a modern gas station out there, Ken, at one of those corners. It can be one that offers food like the Shell stations do along with a Taco Bell inside. That would be a nice quick stop for the evening meal and other staples."
"Ken, I'd like to see a nice grocery store nearby. I know 60 acres isn't a lot when you start considering having lots of small mom & pop stores, but we sure do need one," said Judy Taylor.
"Yes, Judy, I agree with you there. I'll bet the seller has just that in mind as he kept back 25 acres that I also wanted. That would have been one of my main building projects if I had gotten that other land."
Looking over at Kathryn, Ken noticed she had something on her mind and said, "Yes, Kathryn, what would you like to see built?"
"Mr. Ken, there are loads of stores we need around here. A Laundromat for one and a barber shop and a UPS Store for shipping things to start with, and then maybe a Hallmark card store and many, many more."
"Yes, those are needed and you know what would also be nice to have? Dairy Queen! Kids love ice cream and they have the best soft serve around and their foods compete along with McDonalds and Burger King and the others," came from none other than Doc Rick.
"Collin and Ryan have already asked for that, but I believe when you have a franchise there are area limits and besides, I want to offer ice cream from my own restaurant."
"Have you thought of a name yet, Ken, for your restaurant?" asked Judge Adam.
"No, not really yet, Judge, but I do know I want it to be a sit down place with nice décor and a great menu. Not a Honky Tonk looking thing and not a loud music teen hangout either. Hamburgers for sure and hot dogs and French fries and foods like that on one side and steaks and chicken and baked potatoes and salads and the like on the other side. It would be a Diner like restaurant on one side open 24/7 and on the other a very good family place with fine dining and more."
"We could use a medical clinic and an eye doctor and a dentist and a drug store," was suggested by Joanne.
The meeting had started out fast and furious and Ken was happy they all were getting in to the spirit of the open meeting. As they kept making suggestions, Ken was called away for a phone call. He went up to his Study while Mary Anne kept taking notes of what everyone offered.
"Hello? ... Oh, yes Mr. District Attorney, I figured you would be calling me at some time today. How may I help you?" began Mr. Ken who immediately turned on a recording device and the speaker phone.
"Mr. Thomas I had told you and that boy NOT to talk to anyone about what happened at your house and anything else related to the investigation. I heard that you both made a statement at your party last night. You know I can have you both arrested."
"On what grounds, may I ask?"
"I can arrest you for leaking aspects of the investigation still being investigated. You and that boy were heard telling things that have not been released by me or by my office. I told you to keep your mouths shut and I will take action if I believe it's deemed necessary. Do you hear me, Mr. Thomas?" spoke the DA in a harsh voice.
"Yes, I hear you clearly, but if you do arrest me and or take actions that affect that boy, whose name is Collin, by the way, and his recovery from the ordeal your lackluster investigation did in finding his kidnappers and helping in the murders of his parents, I will make your life a living hell! I hope you heard me clearly, Mr. DA!"
"Don't try to badger or threaten me, Mr. Thomas. You are in NO position to try to intimidate me, and from where you sit, you best be careful of what you say and to whom you say it. I know you are friends of Judge Richards, but he has NO jurisdiction here and I'll pull him under with you, if you even try. You see, I run this county, not the judges and lawyers, and neither do you, even if you have the eye of the governor. When I get through with you, you'll be donating that land to the county to pay your legal bills. Now here me clearly, Mr. Thomas, or should I say Mr. Ken, as you are so fond of being called ..."
"You, sir, WILL call me Mr. Thomas. I am a tax payer, and I help pay your salary and I demand the courtesy of proper address and respect from every civil servant, including you! And let me warn you that I do not take threats from such a lowly civil servant as you seriously."
"Now, now Mr. Ken, oh I'm sorry Mr. Thomas, I'll throw the book at you and being in a jail cell won't be anything like what you now have, and that boy, well I can care less about him, as he sits in juvie getting his ass reamed. How do you like that, Mr. Thomas, or should I call you Baron von Thomas or Your Majesty, since you live on that high hill estate, hehehe?"
"No, I don't think that will be necessary, George, or should I call you ex-DA Morris," chimed in Bill Jackson. "You know who I am, George. I'm Bill Jackson, Mr. Thomas' personal lawyer, and I've heard this entire conversation and I've already sent an e-mail complaint to the County Commissioners and County Judge. I am asking them that you be suspended from your position, pending a hearing on this matter. George, I also bet there is a young man whose name is Dean Bennett sitting there in that room with you. He is there, isn't he?" asked Bill.
"What are you talking about, Bill? All Mr. Ken, ah Mr. Thomas and I are doing is having a friendly talk, that's all. I was just trying to get him to realize that his talking openly and freely will jeopardize my prosecution of those men who tried to kill him and that boy."
"George, you still don't remember the boys' name, its Collin by the way, even after Mr. Thomas corrected you. I don't know what you are trying to do, Mr. DA, but it will not work. Both Mr. Thomas and Collin Wilkinson have the right to talk to anyone they please, including the press, about anything that happened to them. We both know you can ask many things, but you don't have the authority or power to enforce such a request. That, we all know, takes a court order, and I do not believe any such order came down from any local or District Judge, so you have no authority to arrest either of them nor do you have any reason for harassing my client.
It's too bad you didn't know they had planned to talk to you next week about planning a joint press conference, so the public can hear the truth and not something someone from your office has been filtering out with half-truths and misdirection. There was a certain person here at the party last night who began to tell a story that was half true and half hype. If he hadn't been telling his story to anyone who would listen, Mr. Thomas or young Mr. Wilkinson would never had to say anything to the crowd. Oh, did Dean tell you how many people actually heard the truth?
"No, matter of fact he hadn't."
"Oh, so Dean Bennett is there with you. Thank you for that confirmation."
"Now see here, Bill, I have a job to do and I can't have them going off half-cocked because it makes themselves sound so important."
"George, he should have told you that over 300 guests, PLUS the caterer and his staff, heard their story. There were almost as many teens in attendance as adults, and by tomorrow morning, at the latest, and by this evening, at the earliest, I bet the local stations will have it all over their newscasts.
"Bill, I can handle the press as well as those TV folks. They'll listen to what I have to say, over anything you or those two can deliver."
"Well, George, it must be nice to believe in your own sense of power. But there is a thing or two that I know, and I do know for a fact that young Mr. Bennett was here at the party last night, and I'll bet he couldn't wait to call you this morning. I'll bet he didn't even have the courtesy to tell his date why he had to leave so quickly this morning. Oh, George, I know a lot more than both of you two sitting there together could ever know."
"Oh, and Mr. DA, I just got a reply from Judge Joseph Barnneby. I think you know him. He says he'll see me at nine o'clock Monday morning in his chambers. I also see there is a CC: with your name and Mr. Bennett's name and a few others such as all the other County Commissioners. Also attached is a directive for you to not issue an arrest warrant for either a Mr. Ken Thomas or a Mr. Collin Wilkinson, this address. I bet your copy is waiting in your in-box right now, George. Have a nice weekend, George. Oh, and Wal-Mart is hiring Dean."
"Bill, you may think you have won this round, but when I am finished there will be hell to pay and it won't be me doing that. You can bet your bottom dollar on that. Good Bye Mr. Jackson and good bye Your Majesty, King Mr. Ken." The phone line went dead and all those in the Study gave a sigh of relief.
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