Castle Roland

The Concord

by Sequoyah


Chapter 3

Posted: N/A

ASP--The Concord Five--Mary Kathryn

By the end of the third week of school, the Fellowship was back up to six with the addition of Jack and Susan. It was not like it had been the year before, but it sure was a good group. Generally we had some business to discuss over lunch. Usually it involved the student government but at other times it was the peer counseling group. The peer counseling group was getting off to a slow start which was probably good because we all were pretty unsure of ourselves and, while daily classes were intense, we still wondered if we could handle student problems.

My first client was a freshman girl who asked to speak to a peer counselor and I was selected. Her name was Margie and she was not an exceptionally pretty girl, quiet and kinda mousey. I told her I could meet with her during fourth period in the counseling center's conference room. Almost by the time she was inside the door, she started crying. I gave her a tissue and waited until she had regained control. When she had, I asked her what was bothering her. "I think I might be pregnant," she answered.

"Want to tell me about it?"

"Well, one of the football players started hanging around me and asking me for a date. I didn't understand why because I had never been popular with boys and he was a football player and could have had just about any girl he wanted. He was very nice and I liked him a lot. I told him I wasn't allowed to go out with a boy except on a double date. My father is very strict. Anyway, we dated a few times with his brother and his girlfriend. One night we said we were going to a movie but, instead, we drove out into the country and parked. We didn't do anything except some heavy making out. Well, he did take off my bra and played with my breasts, but that's all except some french kissing."

"Every time we went out, that's what we did instead of going where I told my parents we were going. Last weekend, we drove to the movie and his brother and girlfriend got out and the two of us drove into the country and, well, he kept telling me how much he loved me and that if I loved him, I would show it. Before I knew it, he had most of my clothes off and was making me hot with his hands all over my body. I kept telling him I loved him, but I wasn't ready for sex. Finally he said I didn't love him or I'd show it and if I didn't love him, he'd have to find someone who did. So we had sex--twice--before he took me home after picking up his brother, and now I think I'm pregnant."

"What makes you think you're pregnant?" I asked.

"He didn't use anything. I mean he didn't use protection. He said it didn't feel good."

"Is that the only reason you think you're pregnant?"

"Well, in sex education class we were told that if the boy didn't use protection you'd get a disease and get pregnant."

"Are you sure that's what you were told?"

"I think so. Didn't they tell you that?"

"I was told that if the boy didn't use protection I MIGHT get a disease and I MIGHT get pregnant, not that I would."

"Oh, maybe that's what they told us as well. So maybe I'm not pregnant? And maybe I didn't catch a disease? Maybe?"

"You can only catch a disease if he has one and you can only get pregnant at certain times of the month. Do you remember that from sex education class?"

"I'm not sure. But what am I going to do?"

"You need to see Ms. Norman and arrange to get a pregnancy test. If it is positive, then you will need to talk with someone other than myself--Ms. Norman or a nurse at the health department about your options. But make arrangements for a pregnancy test first. Right now you don't know whether or not you have that problem, but don't you think you have one with your boyfriend?"

"Yea, when I told him I might be pregnant he asked, 'Who you been fucking to get yourself pregnant?'. I told him he knew I had only had sex with him and he called me a liar and said that if I was pregnant, he wasn't to blame. 'It's somebody else's,' he said. But that's not true." The poor, confused girl started crying again.

Man, I was having a hard time not telling her what she should do. I needed to remember that I wasn't there to give advise, but point out options. I wanted to tell her what she must have known, but didn't want to accept: namely, that she had been used, and when it looked as if her "boyfriend" might have to take some responsibility, he ran. I reminded her she needed to see Ms. Norman and assured her I would be available if she needed to talk some more.

Well, she did need to talk. Over the next couple weeks we talked at length about having sex, taking responsibility for one's actions, not lying to parents and all sorts of things. She wasn't pregnant, but I think she had learned a lesson the hard way. I guess it is because I am a woman, but I also talked to her about taking some pride in her appearance, and she certainly started doing so and didn't look at all like the mousey person I had seen the first time. I also asked her about taking a sex education class at the health department to clear up some areas about which she was very ignorant.

From that experience, Susan, Linda and I got a women's group started. It dealt with all sorts of issues women have, from makeup to motherhood.

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Three--Michael

Fr. Tom called Friday evening to tell me that the vestry had approved setting up a teen club at St. Mary's. "You need to get your friends together and work out a set of by-laws as well as all the details," he said. "When you get that done, bring it in and I'll take it to the committee who will be in charge, but the operation of the club will be in your hands. Keep me posted and if you need something, ask." I thanked him and, as I hung up the phone, remembered Ms. Jones telling Jacob she would keep him busy. It looked as if the whole world was hell-bent on keeping all of us busy. I called everyone Saturday and we agreed to get together Sunday afternoon and begin to put together by-laws and plans for opening the club.

I called Mary Kathryn and asked her if she would like to have just a regular pizza and movie date Saturday night. "I think it's about time we did just an ordinary teen thing." She agreed. When I finished my work around the house and farm, it was mid-afternoon. Mom was home and had lain down to rest. Dad had gone into town to pick up some supplies. Having nothing I especially needed to do, I sat down and started working on plans for the club.

It was about 5:00 when I heard Dad downstairs. I went down and the two of us got a coke from the fridge and just sat talking about nothing in particular. He asked about the plans for the club, how school was going, that sort of thing--but mostly we just talked.

At 6:00, I went upstairs, showered and started to get dressed when I noticed my beard. Mary Kathryn hadn't trimmed it recently and it was pretty terrible-looking. Without a lot of thought, I got some scissors and started trimming it. The more I trimmed the worse it looked. Finally I just cut as much off as I could, grabbed a razor and shaved. I really looked strange!

I had hair all over me, so I showered again, got dressed and went downstairs. Mom and Dad were sitting in the kitchen. "I'll be back before too late," I said, "Mary Kathryn and I are going to a movie and have pizza, that's all."

Both Mom and Dad were looking at me kinda strangely and Dad finally said, "You sure that's all?".

"Well, probably some heavy making out, but just the usual teen date thingy. Laters."

When I got to Mary Kathryn's, both Jens and Gabrielle looked at me as if something was wrong, but said nothing. Not so with Mary Kathryn! She came downstairs, took one look at me and said, "What in hell have you done! You look naked!" That was just the beginning. She let me know in no uncertain terms that she liked the beard and that I had done her a great injustice by shaving. All I could say was to assure her it would grow back. As it turns out, it didn't because when it started growing out it scratched her face and she decided she liked a smooth face after all.

After we had pizza, we went to the movie. I couldn't tell you what it was. There's something special about necking in a movie--I guess because adults frown on it but, man, I loved it. After the movie, we went to a fast food place and had a milkshake and then drove home. It wasn't late, but both of us admitted that we had really put in a long week with regular school work, student government and the peer counseling program. As we stood on her porch, making out, Mary Kathryn finally said, "Shaven One, I love you to death, but I am just about exhausted."

"Same here," I agreed. "Beddy-bye time?"

"Beddy-bye time," she agreed. After one, final, goodnight kiss, I went home and collapsed.

When I went down for breakfast, Dad was just coming in from work. He had been called out while I was at the movie. One of the EMS team members had come down with bug at the last minute and Dad got called in. It was obvious he had had a rough night and was half-asleep when I joined him at the kitchen table. He looked at me for several minutes and finally said, "Michael, I can't put my finger on it, but you sure look different. I noticed it last night."

Mom laughed as she put food on the table, "It took me a while, but I suddenly got it last night. David, he is no longer a hairy booger. Strange how something so obvious escapes you," she said.

"Guess I am used to seeing you both ways and just didn't get it," Dad said. "Bet Mary Kathryn didn't like it."

"You're right about that. But you don't look like your usual self either. Rough night?"

"Yea, real rough. The usual for the most part, but one really strange case. Mr. Heidelberg called 911 about four this morning and said he needed us at once. When we arrived, he had Christopher in the milking parlor. His dogs started barking around quarter of four and when he got up to see what was wrong, he saw some people--he thought four--running away from the barn, the dogs right behind them. They got in a car and roared off. The dogs came back toward the barn and, when he started in that direction, one of them ran up to him and then raced away again and again. He finally realized the dog wanted him to follow it."

"The dog led him toward the manure pond--you know, the pond where the wash water from the barn goes. When he got there, he thought he saw something at the edge of the pond but couldn't be sure. Mrs. Heidelberg was standing on the porch and he yelled for her to bring him a flashlight. With it, he could see a body lying almost covered by the manure water. He dragged the body out of the filth and saw that the person was alive--barely. The young man had been badly beaten and tossed in the manure pond. Mr. Heidelberg said he suspected he would have been tossed all the way into the pond had the dogs not started barking."

"He and Mrs. Heidelberg got the wounded man into the milking parlor where they washed him down good with the disinfectant used to clean the barn. 'You know, David,' he said to me, 'that pond is a soup of all kinds of bugs, I know it's full of e. coli and probably tetanus. We store the liquid manure there until we can spray it on an idle pasture for fertilizer.' While I was looking at the young man, getting him ready to transport, Mr. Heidelberg got a good look at him and exclaimed, 'That's Demetri's grandson, Christopher. He was out here a few weeks ago with your Michael.'"

"Michael, he was severely beaten and has numerous cuts, all of which had been soaked in liquid manure. Even if he hadn't been beaten, the cuts were enough to kill him from infection. We got him to the hospital and the ER nurses gave him another good wash down. He seemed to have no broken bones, but he was bruised badly along with the cuts. He wasn't conscious when I left. Dr. Walker suspects he has a concussion. He's getting IV antibiotics, but it doesn't look good."

"Who beat him up?" I asked.

"Don't know," Dad answered. "But they were out to do more than just beat him up. They were out to kill him and may have done so yet. All I know is Mr. Heidelberg said there were four of them and he gave the sheriff a description of the car. He only got part of the license number, but maybe it's enough. Do you have any idea who might have done it?"

"Dad, he was into weed and beer. I don't think anything beyond that, and he was stealing money from Demetri to buy those. But this seems like more is involved than a little weed or beer. Zack did tell Bill the police were interested in getting the big fish rather than that bunch of small-fish assholes he has been hanging around with."

When the gang met at church, I told them what had happened to Christopher. Bill said he'd see if Zack knew anything, as soon as he could. After church, Mary Kathryn asked for some of the altar flowers and we took them to the hospital for Christopher. No-one was allowed in his room except Demetri, who came out to speak to us."

"Mary Kathryn gave him the flowers and his eyes immediately filled with tears. "I don't know what to do. I don't know what I could have done to save him from this." When he had regained control, he told us there was no change in Christopher's condition, which was still extremely critical. "Dr. Walker said he had to be honest. Christopher might not make it. I tried to call his mother, but her phone has been disconnected. I got the manager of her apartment and he said she had left two weeks ago with no forwarding address. I'm not surprised. To be honest, she's a common prostitute and heaven only knows where she is--even if she is alive."

As we were leaving, Danny walked in. I had not seen him in ages. "Danny, how's it going?" I asked in greeting.

"Pretty good. Actually, I got in kind of a bind, but things seem to be working out. What are you all doing here?"

I told him about Christopher. "Can you keep us posted on his condition? He's a sort of project of ours."


"What are you doing here?" Bill asked.

"Well, as I said, I got in a bind. Buddy's girl--Gloria Jones, remember her?" I nodded, "asked him to move in with her. Of course he wanted to, they seem to be made for each other. But he hesitated because that would mean I'd have to pay all the rent on our place. I couldn't manage that and he couldn't help pay it and half of Gloria's place as well. I wanted him to make the move because Gloria has done more for him than I would have thought possible."

"Anyway, we talked to Chelsea and Gladys about it. They suggested he go ahead and I take a room at the hospitality house until I could work something out. I did and, after I had given it a lot of thought, decided to put aside college for the time being and do the practical nurse course. With my time at hospice, I could complete the course in six months. Meanwhile, I got a part-time job here at the hospital--part of which counts toward my clinical training. So here I am. It's rough. I still work at hospice, do the necessary classes, and work part-time here. I earn enough to afford an efficiency, which is all I need."

"Think you might stick to nursing?" Mary Kathryn asked.

"Think I might. If I do, I'll go on and become an RN. I'd like to do that I think, and get my minor in English. I think I could write, but right now I don't have time for anything."

"I remember you saying you thought it would be hard for you to find a special friend," I said. "Any luck?"

"Afraid not, but I don't have time for that anyway. Got to run. Good talking to you guys," Danny said, as he left at a trot.

"Amazing how well Danny seems to be doing," Bill said.

"Yea, and Chelsea and Gladys deserve extra stars in their heavenly crown for the support they have given him and Buddy. They would never have made it otherwise, you can bet on that," Linda said.

Yong Jin had invited the fellowship to Sunday dinner. When we got to the Greywolfs', Margaret told us she had talked with Dr. Walker. He was not very optimistic about Christopher. "He just doesn't have much fight in him."

Dinner was great, as always, but I think we were all thinking about the five who were not with us. "Think we'll ever get used to not having everyone together?" Mary Kathryn asked.

"Probably not," Greywolf answered, "and I guess we won't be together very often from now on."

After dinner, the five of us worked on plans for the teen club. When we thought we had it all done, Jacob said, "I'm sure we have forgotten something. Don't you think it would be a good idea to see if we could get together with some people from the Lexington club?"

"I don't know why we didn't think of that in the first place," Linda said. "I bet it would have saved us a lot of work. Bill, why don't you and I call next week and make an appointment to go over after school? Jacob could go with us."

"Sounds good to me," Bill replied. "I'll try to call tomorrow evening and we can go over when the people there can meet with us. Before then we need to get all we have done in order, typed, and send copies over to them. That way we won't have to spend all our time going over what we have done. Maybe we can get over there Thursday after school.

"Monday, Bill got the meeting in Lexington set up for the following evening. He called Fr. Tom and told him what was up. Fr. Tom said, "I'm going to Lexington this afternoon and can take a copy of your work over then. If you have no objection, I'd like to go over with you for the meeting tomorrow," and so it was arranged. Bill told us Tuesday at lunch the meeting had been set for that evening."

When I got home Tuesday, Mom was home since she was only working from 8:00 until 2:00. She said she was fine, but Dad was still trying to get her to cut back to just mornings. "Hi, Mom. How you doin'?" I said as I walked into the kitchen where she was working.

"Hi, Michael. I'm doin' fine. How you doin'?" she laughed.

"Fine, I guess. I'm kinda bushed from all that's going on. I can see why the student government never did anything. It's a big job."

"Makes you appreciate what the administration did before, I guess."

"Yea. Oh, Mom, how's Christopher? Any change?"

"I talked with Dr. Walker briefly today. He said Christopher is doing a bit better than holding his own. He's still unconscious, but the brain swelling is going down. It appears the antibiotics are doing their job and he's escaping serious infection. Demetri was able to find out that his tetanus shots were up to date which eliminated one worry. He's not out of the woods, Dr. Walker said, but he was hopeful--which he had not been when Christopher was brought in."

"Bill talked with Zack last night. He told Bill he was sure, from the rumors around the station, that drugs were involved. He said something more than a little weed had to be at the heart of the whole mess. Zack had told Bill earlier that one reason the police had looked the other way was to try and get some higher ups. Kenny and that bunch were very little fish."

"Michael, I know I don't have to worry about you, but I do. I mean about you, your friends and drugs. I skated pretty close at times, especially when I was an intern. There just wasn't enough time to do what had to be done and speed was available. After a couple times, I realized where I was headed when a beautiful young woman was brought into the emergency room in cardiac arrest--overdose of speed. That did it, no more speed for me. Michael, it's always tempting and most young people think it can't happen to them. End of lecture."

"Mom, won't say I won't experiment. Won't promise to just say no, but I think I have had the fact that no-one is indestructible pounded into me pretty well. Now there's Christopher."

"Sorry, Michael, I should have known that."

I walked over to Mom, put my arms around her--now very large--waist and said, "No need for apology, Mom. Parents are supposed to fret and worry about the younger generation going to the dogs."

"Michael, if more young people were going to the dogs like you and your friends, we'd all be better off," Mom said as she hugged me back.

Dad walked in as Mom hugged me and said, "Hands off my woman, you heart-throb!"

"Man, if I can have two good-looking men fighting over me in my shape, I must be something!" Mom laughed.

"You are!" Dad and I said together.

"Michael, just before I left the hospital a while ago, Dr. Walker said Christopher was still unconscious, but was responding to stimuli. He's hopeful for the first time. Sheriff Putnam came by, hoping to be able to talk to Christopher, but it will be a while before that happens. The sheriff did say the car which rushed away from the dairy had been located. It was found abandoned in the mall parking lot in Lexington. They found some leads in their examination of the car, but the sheriff didn't say what."

"I hope they catch whoever beat Christopher. He may be an asshole at times, but he's still a human being." We talked about him--and what had happened--during dinner, and the about the teen club.

After supper, I said, "I'm going to Mary Kathryn's. We are studying together. I think both of us are having second thoughts about our schedule. We're both taking four AP classes and it's really working us. Yong Jin added the junior AP English and it seemed a good idea to sign up for that as well as AP American history, AP chem and AP math, but I'm not sure. Actually, English and history are no problem from me, but the math and chem are something else. Mary Kathryn is the exact opposite. Between the two of us, we may make it, but on our own, it would really be tough."

Mom laughed, "Are you sure it's not AP making out that is occupying your time?".

"Mom, to tell the truth, we hardly have time for a kiss or two. I mean we really are having to work. Add to that the peer counseling program and the student government and we are two very busy juniors. I'm just glad the peer counseling class counts as a health/PE class and the computer class is a snap. I think we know more than the teacher. Of course when track training starts, it will add more to my plate."

"Son, I want you to be challenged and have to work hard. Hard work now will pay off, as your brothers have shown all of you, but I don't want life to be all work and no play. I can't tell you what to do. You'll have to decide when you have taken on too much and what you need to eliminate." Dad continued, "Now you're adding the teen club at St. Mary's. Be careful that you don't do too many things half-heartedly and not fewer things well."

"Thanks, Dad. RIght now I'm handling it all, but if it gets to be too much I'll cut back. Now I'm out of here."

I told the truth, Mary Kathryn and I were having to run in order to keep up with everything. Both of us thought that as time passed it would become easier. Of course, we took breaks for a bit of making out, but they were short and pretty tame.

Wednesday, at lunch, Bill and Linda told us about the meeting in Lexington. "The people we talked to had a lot of suggestions--mainly ways to avoid the mistakes they made when they started. Things like hiring an off-duty policeman just to be around, requiring membership and membership cards."

"What about food? You can get a decent meal there." Jacob said. "You know I'm always interested in food."

"Maybe we better just put you in charge of food," Susan laughed.

"That's like letting the fox guard the hen house," Jack said, shaking his head. "I've been around long enough to see how he inhales school food. Think what he could do with real food."

"Actually, they suggested, as big a problem as it is, that we do have food. Just hamburgers, hot dogs and chips. Fries are big trouble. Also suggested we start with just iced tea and lemonade. All are easy to fix and we do have a kitchen."

"There were lots of other suggestions and cautions," Bill said. "We're going to need another planning session. We're also going to need some startup money. There's a fair sound system but, sooner rather than later, that will have to be upgraded. If we get going well, we'll need to hire a DJ."

"Maybe not for a while," Susan said. "Let's talk with Keith 'Bad Man' Lewis. You know, the senior who is DJ for the local radio station early evenings and Saturday morning. I bet he'd be interested. He's kind of a loner here at school, but is a dynamite DJ. I'll talk to him. We are neighbors and used to spend a lot of time together."

"Sounds good to me. There he is over there in the corner by himself, just sitting down. Why not talk to him now?" I asked. "Invite him over," Jack said.

Susan went over to Keith--I hardly knew him. He was, as she said, a real loner--quiet, reserved, going about his business without any major interaction with other students. I watched as she spoke to him. He looked toward us and I motioned for him to come over and was surprised when he picked up his tray and came over.

"I'm sure you know this crowd," Susan said, and then introduced us without waiting for his response. Keith nodded and sat down.

"Hear you want to get a teen club going," he said. "A good idea. Ever been to the one in Lexington?"

"Yea, that's what gave us the idea. We went some last spring." I then told Keith more than he might have wanted to know about how we found the club and why we really liked it.

"Great place. Everyone who behaves is welcome. I used to go with a friend who lived in Lexington, but... Anyway, I'm glad you're thinking about starting one. How the planning going?" While Keith ate, the rest of us ate in turns and, between bites, pretty much told him what we had done.

"Glad you talked with the group in Lexington. They had a rough time getting the club off the ground since everything was new. You have some good advise and ideas from their mistakes and successes. One thing I think you need to ditch is the idea of starting without a DJ and decent sound system. It'll never fly without those."

"Sorry to hear that, Keith," I said. "We're worrying about finding basic seed money to get started with essentially what we have."

"If you'll consider having me, I'll DJ for free until we get it off the ground. I really want to see such a club started here. Just to be sure, it'll be as open to everyone as the Lexington one?"

"Sure, wouldn't have it otherwise," Mary Kathryn said. "That is if you mean like Matt and Luke and Eugene and Larry. Yea."

"That's exactly what I mean. It'll cause an uproar here in Concord. You can bet the farm on that, but if you'll not willing to make it for everyone, then I want no part of it."

"Anyone between thirteen and twenty who behaves themselves. And, of course, parents and other adults associated with members can come. We need adults floating in and out, according to Lexington's experience."

"Good. Count me in. And don't worry about equipment for sound and lights, I think I can handle that. Got to run. Greywolf's doing a lesson on sound in AP physics today and I'm helping out. Laters."

Keith grabbed his tray, ran to put it up, and left the cafeteria just before the bell. "I'm going to talk to that young man again," Susan said. "I think he'd make a good addition to the Fellowship." The consensus of the group was with her.

Thursday, Mom told me she has seen Christopher and he was better, but still not out of the woods. "Dr. Walker has stopped the phenobarb but he is still not conscious. He is responsive but that's about all," she said. "We are all worried about Demetri as well. He is taking this very hard. He feels guilty because he didn't do something, although neither he nor anyone else can think of what he might have done. Of course, he could have reported Christopher, but that would have sent him back to the detention home and he tried suicide the last time he was there, so Demetri was afraid of turning him in."

"What's with his mom? He hasn't said anything good about her," I commented.

"According to Demetri, there's little good that can be said. Demetri's wife died after a long battle with cancer when Diana, Christopher's mother, was 15. Diana had started being pretty wild shortly after her mother was diagnosed, when she was 13. The two years her mother was ill, Demetri more or less neglected Diana and she got progressively worse--starting with having trouble with school..."

"Sounds kinda familiar," I said, and I wasn't laughing. "Yea, I know where she was coming from. Been there myself."

"But you had support from the Family and it stopped with trouble in school," Mom said.

"Michael, you don't know how sorry I am for neglecting you and how thankful I am that the Family took up the slack."

"No need to feel sorry, Dad, don't see how you managed even without my becoming a pain in the ass."

"Thanks, Son."

"After her mother died, Demetri tried to straighten Diana out, but it didn't work. She dropped out of school without his knowing it for weeks, came home drunk at all hours, and generally was completely out of control. By the time Demetri asked for help, little could be done. She was finally put in a residential treatment center in Jackson, but ran away after a couple months and completely disappeared," Mom said.

Demetri finally heard from her six or seven years later. A young man who had been living in a commune in Arizona left it and went back home. With some effort, he located Demetri and called him. When Demetri tried to contact her in the commune, he was told she had been kicked out because of a drug and alcohol problem."

"He did get an address of another member of the commune who had left with her. He finally located her in a flophouse in Chicago and went there, picked her up and brought her here. She was a physical wreck because of drugs and alcohol. Well, according to Demetri, she was an emotional wreck as well. She stayed here a year, first in treatment for her addiction, then living with Demetri. Christmas, a guy she had known in the commune came by and she left with him. She was gone for several months and came back pregnant with Christopher. When she found out she was pregnant, she raced home to get off of drugs and alcohol. She stayed clean all the time she was pregnant, thank goodness, and for several years afterward."

"When Christopher was eight she left again and, since then, has dragged Christopher through a lot of--pardon the expression--shit: drugs, alcohol, the whole mess. For the last several years, she has supported her habit by selling her body. She also often had live-in boyfriends/pimps, some of whom abused Christopher physically and sexually according to what he has told Demetri. By the time Christopher was 13, he was spending more time in the detention home than with his mother. Yet, in spite of all that, he has generally done well in school so far as the work is concerned, but gets kicked out because of behavior. So, you can see, there is very little good he can say about his mother. I just hope this last episode helps get his head screwed on straight."

"Yea, so do I," I said.

Friday, Keith joined the Fellowship for lunch. He was still very quiet, I think observing to see whether or not he'd fit in. When the talk turned to the teen club, he came alive. When we started talking about seed money, he suggested we sell the memberships. "Don't make it so expensive some kids can't afford it, but charge enough to raise money. As a matter of fact, we could have two levels of membership. One which would just let you in the club and another which would support the club and, if it made a profit, would earn a dividend."

"Don't think the latter would work," Bill said. "St. Mary's is a non-profit organization and can't make a profit. If we have a separate organization, we'll have to get a tax permit and all that stuff. Just went through that sort of thing with Dad. His church rented houses and just got slapped with a tax bill."

"Then we'll sell memberships, but charge a small admission fee. I know there might be some kids who can't spend a buck for entertainment but, let's be honest, they are few and far between and probably wouldn't show up anyway. If we knew kids who were really that hard up, we could give them special membership. But, generally, I know our age group: if it doesn't cost, we think it's no good and either will have nothing to do with it or will not take care of it," Keith said. "They'll trash the place if it's free, sad to say."

We finally decided to charge $5 for membership and $1 for admission. "Man, we need Luke to do a brochure and poster to get this show on the road," Mary Kathryn said.

"Suspect I'm not as good as Luke," Jack said, "but I think I can do a fair job. I'll have designs ready Monday."

When I got home from school, Mom called me into the kitchen. "Michael, Danny Elrod called a few minutes ago. He said he needed to talk to you, and asked that you call him as soon as you got home. He said it was important and urgent. He sounded very serious."

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