Ryan spent the night, as he wanted to hear all about the shooting. Unfortunately for Ryan, Collin fell asleep while still in his clothes, as the stress of the shooting, and the long days of traveling and visiting, had caught up with the teenager.
It was almost eleven o'clock in the morning when Collin woke up to an empty room. Even Chief had gone downstairs as his first master was down there awake and was at that very moment scratching her behind her ears.
Twenty-five minutes later, Collin came into the kitchen all clean and refreshed, and hungry. Momma Maria was there with her famous lunch fixin's and had four soft Tacos Supremes' warm and ready for the teen for when he came down to eat.
"Me welcomes youse back masters Collins," said Maria. "We's misses you mucho and am verys happys you ares back with us nows," finished Maria, and then planted those four scrumptious looking tacos in front of the teen.
Collin dug into the first one and all everyone could hear was the 'purr' of a boy eating something so awesome.
"Thank you so very much, Momma Maria, for these wonderful tacos. After eating restaurant and fast foods for more than two weeks, these taste like 'heaven'," exclaimed the teen, who then devoured the second taco in just three bites, and then two more in the same way.
"Well, guys, the picnic is in three days and I need to check to make sure everything is set and ready to go," said the boy's Big Bro.
But as he got up to go to his Study, he heard, "Not so quick there, mister," said Mary Taylor. "Sit yourself right down there, Mister Ken. Do you not remember asking me to take on the planning of the 4th of July Picnic, while you were gone? Well, I NOT only took on that project, but you will be happy to know, I really know how to spend other people's money," laughed Mary Taylor.
"I'll have you know I was able to get the same company who did your New Year's Eve fireworks to do the same for your 4th of July Picnic. I also got the appropriate permits from the county and Fire Marshall. I also coordinated with the beer distributor and soda companies for refreshments for the day.
On top of that, instead of hiring a caterer, I have hired some of the local church groups that cater events, to provide the foods for the day. They will serve grilled chicken and BBQ brisket and ribs and hot dogs and hamburgers and all the trimmings. That way, you are not only supporting those people who live around you, but they have a chance to say 'thank you' for what you did for many of them, back last October.
"Now, for the best piece of news about the picnic, I have coordinated with a small amusement company to provide rides for kids aged 10, or so, and younger. The older kids will also have their own games they can play, and of course, I hired life guards to guard the beach for swimming.
"Ryan, my wonderful son, here, and some of his buddies, made the flyers and hand delivered them to every house in the neighborhood. The flyer told the people there was NO PARKING allowed and anyone who needed assistance was to call or email the same phone numbers and web site we used for the Holiday Parties.
"Now, young man, all you need to do is go into your Study and write up your reports of those inspections you did with your younger brother there. But, before you do that, you have to sit here and tell us all about the shooting you too were involved in, again," laughed Mary, as she sat Mr. Ken down in his seat, and Momma Maria filled up his coffee cup.
But, before Mr. Ken could begin their story about the shooting, the front door chime rang. When Momma Maria came back to the kitchen following behind were both Eric and his mother, Judy Turner. Standing up when he saw who it was, Mr. Ken welcomed the two visitors and then ruffled Eric's hair.
"You're just in time," began Ryan, "these two are about to tell us about the shooting they were involved in, two days ago."
"You've got to be kidding me," exclaimed Judy. "Another shooting, I sure hope neither one of you were hurt, this time!"
"It was nothing like that, Judy," said Ken. "This manger of one of Collin's companies was trying to destroy some incriminating papers and he wanted us to stay away until he could do so. I think, when he saw the SWAT Team approach the plant, he took his own life before he could shred the remaining papers. Some corporate investigators are combing through those papers, along with the papers of another manager, which seems to be involved with the first guy. Only time will tell what's up with all that."
"Well, that is good to hear. We don't need to hear any more about you guys and shoot outs," offered Judy.
"Are you gonna tell us about the shooting, Mr. Ken? I really never heard the full story about that shoot out the day after Thanksgiving. Mom said I was too young, back then. But, I'm eleven now, and I think I can handle it now," seriously said Eric.
Just about everyone laughed at what the youngster just said and he began to cry as they had hurt his feelings by laughing at him.
"Come here, Eric," said Mr. Ken, "We're sorry we're laughing but we're not laughing at you, but at what you said. I know you had a birthday and I am also sorry your big brother, over there, and I couldn't be here for that. But I'm going to make that up to you by giving you your birthday present now. How does that sound? And, I'm going to ask your mom if she'll let me take us all out for a ride on the Commander tonight, and see all the lights along the lake's shore. Would you enjoy doing that, too?"
"Can I get to drive, too?" enthusiastically asked Eric.
"I think I can arrange that," answered Mr. Ken.
Collin retrieved Eric's present and gave it to Mr. Ken. Eric's eyes lit up when he saw the size of the box, it was then he remembered that, at the Holiday Party, there was another big present that had many smaller boxes inside. He had hoped he wouldn't have that same thing happen to him.
"Eric could you come over here, please," asked Mr. Ken.
As Eric slowly walked over to the man, Mr. Ken said, "Collin and I are very sorry we missed your birthday, but we already had other plans, for this time, right after school got out. I sure hope you can forgive us. Here is a present we both think you'll enjoy often."
Eric took the large present from the man and placed it on the floor and then began to open it. As he striped the wrappings off, he began to see lots of red colors. Then, there were lots of blue color. Finally, his mother said to her son, "Eric, just rip the paper off. It will be a lot easier in the long run."
So, Eric took one of the long ends and ripped down through to the other side. As he did that, his eyes and his mouth began to shoot wide open as he could now see what Mr. Ken and Collin had gotten him.
"Well, Eric, how about telling us what it is and what you think about it," offered Collin.
"I love it, I totally LOVE IT!!" yelled the now eleven year old. "Thank you so very much, Mr. Ken, and you, too, Collin. I love this," excitedly said Eric.
"Well, what is it, honey?" asked his mom.
"Mom, it's a radio controlled, 32 inch long, speed boat with dual screws and lights and everything!" explained Eric. "Thank you again, Mr. Ken, and thank you, too, Collin, and I'll be able to sail it in your lagoon, where the beach is, can't I?" Then Eric forgot he should have asked his mother first, so he meekly looked over to her and said lightly, "I can, can't I, mom?"
Everyone remained quiet while waiting to here what Judy would say. She knew she was 'on stage' at that moment, and the pleading she heard in her boy's voice told her she needed to say 'yes'.
"Yes, my wonderful son, you can sail that whenever you are over here," said Judy Turner. Everybody let out a sigh of relief upon hearing her agree that her son could sail it at the Cove, whenever he was there.
Everyone had seemed to have forgotten about the shooting that sort of involved Collin and Mr. Ken a few days ago. Ken was very thankful for that. He didn't want to have to talk about the sad ending in front of Eric.
"Hey, what say we go RIDE," said Ryan. "What do you say Collin? Bro? Come on and let's have some fun for a change. You two have been gone for over three weeks now, and your brother's need to have some fun, now that you're back. Come on Eric, let's drag Collin up to his room and we can get into our wet suits. Bro, you gonna join us?" pleaded Ryan.
Mr. Ken saw the longing in Eric's eyes and knew he couldn't disappoint the lad again and said, "Okay, but we're NOT going to ride all afternoon. We're going to go out on the Commander, later this evening, and my harbor master needs to get her ready. It's almost 1 PM so I'll ride until 3:30. Any questions? … Good, because I wasn't going to answer them," the man teased the boys, and then stuck his tongue out at them.
That afternoon, the boys had a blast. Eric was the driver, with Mr. Ken the observer, and Collin and Ryan each took turns seeing how long it took Eric to dump them off the towing tube. Eric was a bit timid driving, at first, but, with Mr. Ken's encouragement, he began to go faster and faster. He went straight ahead as fast as he could then made a right and then left jinx and neither Collin nor Ryan could stay on the tube.
Then Eric got brave and began making figure '8's' while adding speed as he made the X of the eight and then turned it fast. Again, neither, Collin nor Ryan could stay on.
Then it was Collin's turn to drive. He did what Eric had done and the young boy received the same results. The only thing different was that each time Eric came up laughing as hard as ever, and asking for more. The young boy was really feeling the 'spirit' of having such wonderful 'older brothers' and he never knew how much he missed by being an only child. The thing was that both Collin and Ryan also had those same feelings when the four were all together and playing as they were now doing. It was actually a little past four o'clock when Mr. Ken called a halt to using the WaveRunner's.
"Guys, that's the most fun I've had in a very long time. Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of this today."
"No, thank you, Mr. Ken," spoke up Eric. "I've never had as much fun as I have today. Having 'big brothers' to show me things and play with me and do stuff with me is the best. I never really knew what I was missing by being an only kid."
"Eric," now spoke up Ryan, "you aren't the only one who's an only child, here. Collin and me are, too, and I, too, have enjoyed everything we've done together. This though has been the best so far. Well, seeing as Bro wants to take the Commander out, after dinner, I better put the WaveRunner's away and get to setting the 'old lady' up for tonight's cruise." Then Ryan said, "Thank you again for this awesome birthday present, Mr. Ken!" and then he went over and gave the man a big hug
Eric then went over to the man and gave him a big hug and thanked him for his birthday present again, too.
"Hey squirt, what say we get your new RC toy and see how she handles in the beach cove?' said Collin to Eric.
"Yeah, we can check that out while Ryan gets the boat ready for tonight," replied Eric.
While Ryan got the Commander ready for later that evening, Eric and Collin played with his white Majesty speed boat. The Three Finger Cove's beach cove was the ideal place for Eric to get used to the controls and the speed the boat could do. Just as with the 3-seat Jet Ski of Mr. Ken's, Eric took his time learning the right way to hold the controller and use the remote control. This was the first time Eric ever had anything this awesome and he was being overly careful he didn't break it the first time out of the box.
"Ken, don't you think that boat is a bit too much for Eric?" asked Judy Turner, as the two sat in the kitchen alcove watching the eleven year old play with his birthday present.
Just then Ken laughed at what Eric did with the boat and replied without looking at Judy, "Nope, I don't think so, Judy. Just look at that happy face on that boy down there. He has one of his two 'big brothers' right alongside of him and he is doing pretty well for never using an RC model boat before."
"Aren't you afraid he'll break it?" then asked Judy.
Turning to look at Judy, Ken Said, "That boat is his, now, and it is his responsibility. He'll be as careful as he can. He knows this is a very important present. I think he'll be okay."
The two adults stood in the kitchen drinking coffee and watching the young boy play with his new RC toy. Judy was still antsy about her son playing with such an expensive 'toy' and every time she saw Eric do something that appeared to be reckless she'd say 'Oh" and put her hand to her mouth.
"Judy … you have to stand back and give him some space," began Mr. Ken. "Eric needs this opportunity to use his birthday present and learn about its capabilities and his abilities to use it. You know, as he continues to grow older, he's going to push some envelopes, not so much to see now how much he can get away with but what he is capable of. Believe me, I know, I did it, but I also needed the opportunity to show people I could do things, too, as I got older. Your 'boy' is growing up, there, Judy. Just wait until he turns thirteen!" Then Mr. Ken laughed at his last statement.