Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 53

Posted: 5 May 16

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2015
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

Sunday afternoon found Robert, and his friends, out in the garage parking corral but not riding the brand new skateboard ramps, as you would have figured. They were, instead, cleaning up after the previous day's 'monster build'. There was sawdust everywhere, screws and nails still lying on the ground and lots of wood scraps that needed to be gathered and disposed of.

As they boys were working, Mr. Ken came out and asked the lads to put the larger, salvageable studs, plywood and steel pipe, nails and screws in the Work shed. He thanked them for doing the cleanup and then got out a leaf blower for them to use to blow away all the sawdust.

The man then remembered about safety, so he got out two sets of hearing and eye protection. He then showed the preteens how to start the blower and use it to 'push' the debris in one direction. All the lads took a try at using the device but Eric proved to be the best one at making the sawdust go in one direction. He then got that task for the remainder of the cleanup.

It took the boys about three hours to make the parking corral look as good as new. As they finished up, Mr. Ken came out with yesterday's leftover soup and a few more sandwiches and cokes for the lads. As the preteens ate, Mr. Ken again thanked them for being so conscientious about cleaning up after all that work.

It was then the boys turned to thank Mr. Ken for buying all the materials and allowing them to have such great skateboard ramps to use and play on. They each gave the man another hug.

Since the following day was a school day, the lads didn't spend a whole lot of time on the new skateboard ramps but they used their time well in trying all five ramps out. As their dads came to take them home, the boys just had to show their dads one last time how great the new ramps were going to be.

At school on Monday, somehow the word had gotten out that Robert just had five brand new skateboard ramps installed at The Cove. As soon as he arrived at school, that morning, Robert was besieged with requests by practically all the 7th grade boys for them to let them try the new ramps out.

Robert knew he had to squash the rumor about the five new ramps, and in a hurry. He told the gathered kids that he and his friends and their dads, worked all day Saturday, to build them. He explained Mr. Ken ordered the materials for them as long as they and their dads would help build them.

Then Gordon jumped in and told the assembled group how these eight awesome carpenters just showed up and offered to help. He explained they thought that it would only be them and their dads, who would be doing all the work, but Mr. Ken's construction foreman showed up with all these carpenters and they were the ones who did a great job during the 'build'.

Some in the group persisted on knowing if they would be allowed to come over and try them out. Robert felt he didn't want to be a spoil sport, about it, but knew he needed to say something. So, Robert told the kids that he'd have to ask his 'dad'.

Robert explained he couldn't invite a whole bunch, of kids, over without asking Mr. Ken. He told them that his 'dad' had set out rules when it came to asking kids over. He said he didn't want his 'dad' to get mad and then not let anyone use them. The group said they understood but they still trapped Robert into agreeing to let them know tomorrow, if they could come over and use them.

The 5th grade boys also learned about the new ramps at The Cove when they heard their classmates, Terran and Sam, helped build them. The lads began to ask a bunch of questions about the sizes and construction about the ramps that Terran and Sam couldn't answer.

The 5th graders wanted to know if they could check them out, but the two helpers explained that Mr. Ken built them specifically for Robert and his friends. They explained their dads took them along to help, which was the reason why they were there. The youngsters honestly admitted they weren't even sure if they would ever get invited back to use them again. That did not appease their friends one bit.

As soon as he arrived home, after school, Robert sought out his 'dad'. He wanted to explain to his 'dad' what was said about the ramps, at school, and how many of the boys, in his class, wanted to be invited over, to try the ramps out.

Ken Thomas never anticipated the new ramps would cause such a stir. He only ever saw the six lads ever skating together and never thought that other kids, in the boys' class, would ever want to stop by. He knew he had to come up with a workable solution so Robert wouldn't catch a rash of indignation over the ramps. He then asked his 'son' if he could think about it some.

That night at dinner, 'dad' and 'son' talked about how they could accommodate the 'extra' boys without causing problems for the six regular skaters. Robert mentioned that when there were eight skaters, there was loads of room and that adding four to six, or even eight, more shouldn't cause too many bottlenecks.

It was when Robert thought about the number of skaters from Saturday, after the 'build', that he remembered that Terran and Sam were inundated with questions about the ramps and how they got to help. Then the lad told how their friends kept asking if they, too, could come over and try them out. That just added to the confusion and the number of possible participants reasoned Robert.

Not coming up with a workable solution, Mr. Ken and Robert retired to the Study to talk about it some more. They both agreed they needed to limit the number of skaters, to twelve. That meant Robert and his friends could skate and they each could invite a friend. They also reasoned as long as no more than twelve kids skated at one time others could stand by and await their turn.

Robert then asked about Terran and Sam. He wanted to know if they should allow the 'brothers' to stop by and, maybe, bring one friend each, too? Mr. Ken told the lad he had to think about that. The man pondered over what was fair and what would make the most kids happy. If twelve was okay, how would four more add to the mix, especially, since they were much younger lads?

"Robert … let me pose a question to you. Let's say you, and your friends, each invite one guest. That makes twelve and we've already decided that would be a workable number. But, and here is where my question comes in, How crowded do you see the skateboard area … if we add four more to the mix?" challenged 'dad' Ken.

Robert sat there considering the question. Then after a minute or two he said, "'Dad' … didn't we say that if we had an overflow of kids they would just have to wait their turn. So … that should work, sixteen kids that is, as long as they all agreed to some sort of fairness in skating, like taking turns, or something," reasoned Robert.

'Dad' Ken smiled at his 'son' and applauded the lad for remembering what they had discussed earlier. They had already considered that question but Mr. Ken had let it slip from his mind. The two were now in agreement as to how many kids could stop by The Cove and they agreed only on the weekends for now.

Robert called his friends, that night, to let them know what had been decided. He asked them to support him when he told the other kids, at school, the next day. He also told Trevor and Chuck Mr. Ken agreed their brothers could also skate and could also bring along one friend each. The older guys were happy with the decision. The younger lads were ecstatic they could now skate, too, and bring a friend with them.

At school on Tuesday, the 7th grade boys, who were truly interested in skating on The Cove's new ramps, were happy they would at least get the chance to try them out. They didn't like the fact, though, they had to wait for the weekend but figured if they were as 'boss' as they hoped it they would be then it would be worth it. A few older boys from the 8th grade began grumbling that they weren't invited to skate on the new ramps so they approached Robert and began to ask him about the ramps and who would decide who got to try them out. The older lads wanted to talk more about their own personal invite but the school bell rang and everyone headed inside.

At lunch, that day, the 'trouble maker' 8th grade lads made their way over to where Robert and his friends were sitting and eating, their lunch.

"Hey, new kid … let's hear more about your new 'rad' board ramps, at your house? Then we want to know why is it you are so privileged to live at the mansion. What we also hear is that people have to be invited to skate. Now we, that is my buddies and I, don't think that is fair, especially to us. So … what we want to know now is … when are you going to invite US over to try out these new skateboard ramps? Huh?"

After a few moments of waiting, the bully 8th grader said, "I didn't hear your answer there, new kid! We're waiting!" now laughed Brody Jordan.

Robert could tell, right away, the older lads were there looking to cause trouble. He also knew Mr. Ken would never want that sort of kid around The Cove, but the older and much bigger teen wanted an answer. Robert looked around for some help, since he didn't know who those 'bullies' were, but all his friends seemed petrified that five bigger kids were standing over them.

Robert then decided to tell the older boys what he told the others. "Just as I told the other kids, Mr. Ken will only allow a certain number of kids over, at a time, and everyone has to wait their turn, to be invited over."

The smiling Brody Jordan first turned to look at the other menacing 8th graders, and then turned back to Robert, and said, "So … tell me, new kid … when do me and MY buds get OUR invite? Huh?" And the big bruiser let the question hang.

Robert figured he needed to answer, so he quickly replied, "I'd say … you'll get your invite when it's your turn."

"And, when will that be, new kid?" barked Brody. He then looked back around at his 'posse' and laughed and his buddies laughed right along with the big bully.

While Brody was looking around, Robert replied, "After everyone else has had a turn."

Brody leaned over and grabbed Robert's shirt and barked, "What did you mean? Are you saying we'll be the LAST to be invited?" Suddenly, the bully grabbed Robert's shirt to emphasize he wanted the 'right' answer.

Robert had told himself he would never again allow someone to do something, anything, to him and he was prepared to fight, if need be. He knew the older kid could wipe the lunchroom up with him, but that didn't deter him from saying, "Yes … that's what I said … you'll get your invite … when it's you turn!"

The 8th grader immediately got pissed, at hearing the way he felt 'new kid' dissed him, and began to shake Robert real hard with the hand he had on the lad's shirt. Then, with the other hand he backhanded the boy two times, real hard, and, at the same time, pulled the 7th grader out of his seat. All at once, using both hands, Brody threw the boy to the floor. The bully next closed his fist and approached the prone lad, to do more damage to Robert's face, when Mr. Chassen got to the boy and held onto the arm.

The other four bullies saw what Brody Jordan, initially, had done and were ready to go to their friend's aid, only to have Robert's friends jump up and out of their seats, and stand in front of them, before the older 8th graders could do anything to Robert. That quick scuffle brought the room to a standstill and then a few more 7th graders went over to stand with Brad, Chuck, Gordon, Trevor and Eric, and offer their support. All that commotion eventually brought school security, a few more teachers and the Principal to the cafeteria.

Dan Chassen had things under control, by the time Principal Chadwick arrived, in the cafeteria but Ms. Andrews, the school secretary, had over reacted and quickly called the Sheriff's Office who, consequently, responded Deputies to the school. In the end, fifteen boys were taken to the Admin Office and separated. Their parents were subsequently called to come and pick-up their children.

When Mr. Ken arrived, at the middle school, he was appalled at Robert's appearance. He could see the beginnings of a black and blue eye, on his 'son', and some bloody scratches on the boy's cheeks and nose. As for the lad's clothes, the shirt looked a bit torn and a button appeared to be missing. The man, likewise, noticed drops of blood spotted the front of the shirt and the pants were filthy from the boy's short slide on the cafeteria floor.

Mr. Thomas was further outraged when Robert told him the school nurse hadn't even been called to check him out. The present scene reminded the man of Collin's attack, some two years ago, and he grabbed the boy and hugged him tight. Ms. Chadwick came out of her office, at that instant, and Mr. Ken let into her.

"What's the meaning of my 'son's appearance and who decided that he didn't need medical attention, Principal Chadwick," demanded an angry Ken Thomas. "Look at him! He's getting a black eye and has blood all over his face and shirt.

"His injuries, initially, didn't appear all that bad, to me, and, then, I got called away …," began Principal Chadwick, and got no further because Ken Thomas was still very pissed.

"What do YOU mean 'his injuries didn't appear all that bad to you'? And when did you become a medical doctor, Ms. Chadwick? I wasn't aware that that PhD behind your name meant you were now qualified to assess student injuries. Now, where is that school nurse?" demanded the owner of Three Finger Cove.

It was just then that Deputy Sheriff Dan Fischer came into the room, because of all the harsh talk and yelling he heard coming from there. Then, seeing Mr. Ken standing there with Robert he realized things might get a bit dicey.

"Oh, Hi there, Mr. Ken," calmly announced Dan Fischer. "Is there anything I can do for you? I was just coming in here to see if you, or Mr. Jackson, were going to be available while Robert told us his side of the story. He looked sort of roughed up and we thought he'd need medical attention before we got the chance to talk with the boy."

If looks could maim, Principal Chadwick would have been hurt pretty bad right then after Mr. Ken heard the Deputy Sheriff's professional observation of his charge. Principal Chadwick also heard the Deputies' assessment and realized her decision was wrong and knew she needed to apologize, and quickly, to Mr. Thomas, a person who she knew could be a very strong alley, or a very powerful enemy.

"Mr. Thomas … I want to apologize to you, (and looking over at Robert) and I want to apologize to you, too, Robert for making the wrong assumption about any injuries. I was totally wrong and I accept any and all blame if there is anything seriously wrong with the boy," sincerely said Abigail Chadwick.

Mr. Ken turned to Robert and asked him how he felt about his injuries and if he felt and he needed to see Doc Rick, or go to the ER. Robert just shook his head 'no', indicating he was okay. Deputy Fischer then asked the two to follow him to a private room.

Robert was exhausted when he returned home to The Cove, that evening. He wanted to go right to bed but Mr. Ken insisted the boy eat something, to help build back his strength and needed energy. 'Dad' Ken gently washed the boy's face, for him, then sent him up to bed. "Damn his homework for one night!" thought Mr. Ken.

Still angry, over the events at school that afternoon, Mr. Ken needed to talk to someone, so he called his lawyer, Bill Jackson. When he told Bill what had happened, Bill told him he already knew about it, as he had been contacted to represent Robert's alleged attacker, Brody Jordan. Bill further told him he did not accept the retainer due to a 'possible conflict of interest'.

Ken Thomas wasn't thinking clearly, at the time, so he asked what Bill meant by his 'possible conflict of interest'. Bill laughed back at the man and said, "I told them … I represented the victim." It was then Mr. Ken realized how unfocused his mind was and how drained he felt from all the stress he felt from his reaction to what happened to Robert. Ken apologized for 'not thinking' then told Bill he needed to get some rest, and he would talk to him tomorrow.

Ken Thomas began to lie down for a nap but, seeing it was getting late, he decided to get ready for bed and, soon after, lay down. It didn't take long for him to fall fast asleep after his head hit the pillow. About midnight, Chief came rushing into the man's bedroom, barking up a storm. Mr. Ken immediately responded to the barking and jumped out of bed.

Chief was already at the bedroom entrance rushing to and fro indicating for the man to follow her. The man did exactly that. Running to the stairs, and taking two-steps at a time, Mr. Ken arrived at Robert's bedroom to find the lad was thrashing about, as if he was in a fight.

'Dad' Ken had seen something similar when the lad first came to live at The Cove but this time it seemed more violent. He tried to wake the boy up, as gently as he dared, but, in the end, he had to grab the boy and hold onto him, for dear life, and yell for the lad to wake up.

Robert didn't respond right away, but slowly came out of his 'bad dream'. When he realized his 'dad' was holding onto him, he grabbed the man in a death like hug and openly cried into the man's shoulder. All 'dad' Ken could, do at the time, was console the boy, as best he could, and try his back rubbing therapy on the lad. During that time, Mr. Ken lightly brushed Robert's head and it was then he felt the knot on the back of it.

"Robert, 'son', do you feel okay, you know, like are you sick or need to vomit? Or, do you feel dizzy or have a headache or ringing in your ears?" 'dad' Ken urgently wanted to know.

"No 'dad', I feel fine. I just feel so tired and wiped out, that's all. And thank you for coming again to Save Me, like you did before," offered Robert.

"Do you want to, maybe, tell me about your dream? I take it that it might have something to do with this afternoon's altercation at school. If you talk about it … it may help you to deal with it better, later," encouraged Mr. Ken.

Robert continued to hold onto his 'dad' while he thought about what his 'dad' just said. Then, thinking about the dream, he decided to tell his 'dad' because it was so vivid.

"'Dad', in my dream … that boy … Brody … after he attacked me, in the cafeteria, I fought back. Because of the way he talked to me at the beginning of lunch, I had already decided that if he hit me I was going to defend myself. And, he almost did hit me with his fist, but Mr. Chassen caught his arm just in time. But 'dad', I had my fist ready to strike back, if I had to. That's what I didn't tell Deputy Fischer this afternoon, when we talked.

"In my dream, I actually did hit him, after he punched me in the face. Lucky for me it was a glancing blow as I saw it coming and moved my head back, but obviously not enough. It still dazed me, though. Soon after, I saw he was turned away from me, and off balance, so I stepped forward and I brought my right arm and fist, quickly around, and smacked him as hard as I could. But, I only hit the top of his head, but it startled him, I think, because he just looked at me.

"Suddenly, Brody came straight at me. He was swinging his fists as fast as he could and I had to keep moving down and sideways to keep from getting hit. But, I did get hit a few times, but for every time he hit me I got close enough that I hit him, too. It's just that … him being bigger, he seemed like a 'monster' to me and I began to lose my strength.

"I've heard that people get a 'second wind', when they are in a 'fight or flight' situation, and in my dream, I got that 'second wind'. I couldn't think of anything that I did that should have made him come after me, so I got pissed. I got so pissed I began swinging as often and as hard as I could. I thought that even if he beats me, to a pulp, he wasn't going to go home untouched.

"Before long, I noticed my fists … they began to take a toll on him. Even though my hands were sore, from hitting him, I knew if I stopped defending myself, he would really beat me bad. And, I think that was what he was doing when you came and 'saved me'.

"'Dad', I know we aren't supposed to fight, in school, but, I want you to know, if anybody does attack me, I AM going to fight back and defend myself! I've had way too many things happen to me and I will no longer allow anyone to take advantage of me or do anything else, to me. I hope that day doesn't come, but 'dad' … if it does, I hope you will understand," apologized Robert.

The two residents of Three Finger Cove talked for a while longer and before 'dad' Ken left his 'son' for the remainder of the night. But, before the man left the room, he told the lad to 'sleep in' tomorrow and get caught up on his sleep. 'Dad' Ken told the lad he would be there to support him and do what was necessary and for him not to worry about things.

The next morning, Ken called Doc Rick and asked him to stop by and check Robert over. He explained what happened at school, the previous day, and then about the bump on the back of his 'son's' head. Doctor Power's came by before going to his office.

The doctor checked Robert for nausea, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light and noise and a few other symptoms of someone having a concussion. Not finding one, Doc Rick advised the lad to continue bed rest for the rest of the day and to be careful he didn't lose his balance when he walked, to use the bathroom. The doctor promised to stop back by, at the end of the day, and, finally, left for his office.

None of the boys who stood up to the bully 8th graders, nor any of Brody's four companions got into trouble for their actions, since they all just stood by, and watched. Brody, on the other hand, was the only person to receive any disciplinary action and was suspended, for five days.

Robert did return to school that Thursday and was warmly greeted by his best friends and many of the other 7th grade boys. A few of the girls, did stop by, to show their support but the 'clique' girls were able to cajole the remaining girls to stay away from the 'new kid'.

Kaelyn and Joanna still held their grudge against Logan, who they solely blame for their troubles and suspensions. But now, they had a new target in the 'new kid', Robert, and were going to hold him fully responsible for Joanna's 'boyfriend's' troubles. The two had been conspiring to get back at Logan, somehow, and now blaming Robert gave them more incentive to figure out a way that both boys would soon be sorry, for ever messing with them.

The other 'clique' girls, Emily, Sarah and Nora, all knew that Kaelyn and Joanna were out to get Logan but it wasn't until, later that day, they heard that Robert would also be a target. Emily openly supported her friends but Sarah and Nora weren't too keen on harming anyone and they voiced their concern. The three other girls all told them that what they were doing was just letting 'off steam' and it didn't mean anything and that nothing would ever happen, to either boy.

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