What Happened to Baby Cameron?
by: E Walk
(© 2009 by the Author)

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

Chapter 32  

My Birthday’s Tomorrow


The six boys were waiting when I arrived at the Academy.  Terry opened the door, “Uncle Steve, I told Andy that you would give him a ride home.  His mother’s car is in the shop.”


“No problem; get your fat butts in this van.  We have places to go and things to do.”


I handed my cell phone to Andy, “Call your home and tell them that you won’t be home until about four thirty.”


Andy did as directed and we started toward our first stop.  I stopped in the parking lot of The Dairy Queen, “Okay, men, you have fifteen minutes to decide what you want for a snack and get it eaten.” 


I handed Randy $40.00, “This should cover the snacks.  I’ll be outside making some phone calls.”


I called the office and talked to Wayne.  We decided to have everyone meet at the house on the hill at seven o’clock for a swim party.  I called Ellie and Grandpa T. to tell them what was happening.  I made one last call to Doctor Granger’s office to advise him what the plans were.


When I went into the restaurant, the boys were finishing their snacks.  I made sure they went to the bathroom before we started our whirlwind shopping tour.  First stop was a Verizon cell phone store where we purchased a cell phone and a hundred minutes of calling time.  The second stop was the Best Buy store where we bought an IPOD with a set of headphones and a laptop computer and a printer.


When we were walking out of Best Buy with our purchases, Terry asked, “What’s the Borders store sell.”


Cam answered, “They sell books, CD’s videos and things like that.”


Terry commented, “Chad, really likes to read.  Maybe we could buy him a book for his birthday.”


We walked across the parking lot and I purchased a $50.00 gift card for Terry, Len and Damon to give to Chad.


We stopped at the HyVee store and bought a birthday cake and had them write Happy Birthday Chad on it.  When we dropped Andy off, he smiled,  “Thank you for bringing me home.  Wait until I tell my brothers and sisters what all you bought.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”


We dropped Terry off and I realized that we hadn’t bought any birthday cards so I stopped at drug store and bought seven silly birthday cards.”


When we arrived at the ranch, there was a strange van parked in the driveway with In Transit stickers in the window.  Ellie met us at the door, “Do you suppose you could stay home once in a while so I don’t have to sign my life away?”


I shook my head as if trying to clear the cobwebs, “Ellie, the only thing I ordered was the recliner Grandpa T. wanted.  I take it that it arrived.”


“Yes, but so did the van,  I’m the only person who knows how to operate the beast, so I guess I’ll be the chauffer.  I demand a raise of at least ten cents an hour.”


“Ellie, I had no idea that we were getting a new van.  I assume that Cowboy must have ordered it.  Why do we need another van anyway?”


“Because it has a lift, and Jack can get in and out by himself.”


I started to laugh, “Oh, so it’s Jack, is it?  That means that you and Jack can move about the countryside at will.  I guess that means I’ll be able to go back to work and the two of you can pick up the guys from school.”


The boys appeared with Grandpa T.  “Guys, perhaps Grandpa T. will help you wrap Chad’s gifts while I help Grandma Ellie fix dinner.  She’s been so busy signing for things that she’s exhausted.”


Ellie threw the tea towel she had in her hand at me, “Watch it Michaels, I may slip some strychnine in your food.  You help Jack and the boys.  Dinner will be ready at 5:45.


While we were wrapping the gifts and signing the cards I asked, “Grandpa T., did I order the right kind of chair.”


“Steve, it’s perfect.  It works even better than I imagined.  How much do I owe you?”


I put up my hand, “You can pay me back by making sure that the five monsters behave themselves.”


Cam threw down the things he was working with, “That does it, Mr. Michaels, you just declared war.  The war will start after the swim party tonight.”


My cell phone rang, “This is Steve Michaels.”


“Steve, it’s Hank.  I’ll be arriving at the airport at eleven thirty tonight.”


“Hank, is it just you or are there others with you?”


“Nope, it's just me.  Jacob and Bart are going to be fine.  Bart will have a scholarship through the semester until he graduates and so will Jake.”


“Hank, your son is standing here demanding that he needs to talk to you.”


I handed the phone to Cam, “Daddy, we’ve just declared war on Dad Michaels for calling us monsters.  The war is going to start tonight after Chad’s birthday and swim party. … Okay, here’s Dad.”


Hi, Hank, it’s me.”


“It sounds as if it is situation normal around there.”


“Cowboy, so many things are happening right now that I’m not sure what I need to do next.  I’ll explain when I pick you up tonight.”


When we arrived at the house on the hill in the new van which worked slick, we were met by Wayne.  “Chad disappeared as soon as the dinner dishes were done.  Damon says he’s lying on his bed crying.”


I thought for a minute, “Everyone, get changed into their swimming suits if you’re swimming.  The Grangers should be here shortly.  Set up the pool area for the party, and I’ll signal when Chad and I are on our way.”


Damon and Len complained, “Sir, we don’t have any swim suits.”


“Guys, we have all sizes of swim suits.  Tell Cam to show you where they are, while I go get Chad.”


I went up the stairs even though I wasn’t sure which room Chad and Damon were sleeping in.  There was only one closed door so I knocked.


Chad called out, “It’s open.”


I rushed into the room and Chad was lying in the bed with tears falling from his eyes.  I barked, “Get you ass out of bed and stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Doctor Bednarik didn’t say you had cancer.  Get those clothes off and put this on, now, and I mean, NOW!”


Chad sat up on his elbows, “Mr. Michaels, why are you acting like this.  This is not like you.”


“I said get your ass out of that bed and get out of those clothes.  If you don’t, I’ll make sure that you do.”


Chad stood and was standing naked, “There, are you satisfied?”


“Chad, you forget.  I’ve seen you naked several times.  Now, put that swim suit on.”


He did and I turned, “Now follow me, in case I need some help getting into my suit.  I feel so old that I don’t think I can do it by myself.”


Chad watched as I got ready to go swimming.  When I was properly attired, I went to the intercom, “Lake Cameron, this is Moonbeam.  I caught this Martian and I’m bringing him for his deprogramming.”


Cam answered, “Whatever, Moonbeam, but could you talk so we poor servants can understand what you’re saying.  We’re ready for the arrival of our next victim.  All the vampires are present.”


Chad followed me as I went to the pool area, “Mr. Michaels, could you tell me what’s happening?  This has not been a good day.”


When we arrived at the pool area I pushed the warning buzzer and the door opened and Cam was standing there with a water gun, “What do you want?  We’re waiting for Moonbeam and the Martian.”


All of a sudden we were hit with a the spray from some water guns and Cam announced, “The war has started early.”


When Chad and I entered the pool area, there was a rendition of Happy Birthday.  I looked at Chad and he looked as though he was going to leave.  Cam must have anticipated how Chad would react  because he was standing there with his water gun, “Martian, get your body in that pool so we can examine it and make sure that it is worthy of being deprogrammed, whatever that means.”


Chad started to laugh and dove into the pool and he was quickly joined by the other young people.  The young guys were tormenting Colby and Chad.  The two started to remove the young boys’ swimsuits, starting with Cam, and threw the suits on the pool deck.”


Chad laughed, “That will teach you to mess around with the big boys.”


Cam climbed out of the pool even though he was naked, “Come on guys, we need to take all these presents back to the stores so we can buy more water guns and some pills that will make Chad and Colby be nice to us here on Lake Cameron.”


The six youngest guys went to get dressed.  When they came out of the shower, Cam shouted, “Lake Cameron is closed.  You big guys probably went to the bathroom in it, and we probably won’t be able to swim in it for while.”


“Martian Martin, we need you to get up here and sit down so we can see if you are worth reprogramming.”


Chad climbed out of the pool and sat in the pool chair that Cam had pulled so everyone could see what was happening.  Cam started by feeling Chad’s face, “Not bad for a Martian.”


Cam ran his hands over Chad’s chest.  “There isn’t much meat here. We won’t be able to have a big meal when we cook him.  I think we need to have Moonbeam take him back to Mars or wherever he found him and fatten him up.  We should probably take our gifts that we were going to offer the Martian back to the store since he probably wouldn’t like them anyway.”


Cam went to the table that had the gifts.  “Let’s see what Uncle Chris thought you needed.”


Chris leaned over to me and whispered, “Why did Cam decide to have Chad open my gift first?  I thought this was going to be an all male party.  It was meant to be a gag gift.”


Cam was watching as Chad opened the box and pulled out a jock strap.  Chad tried to put in back into the box, but Cam wasn’t having any of that.  He held it up.  What is this for?” 


Cam put the jock strap on so the pouch was over his nose and face. “Do you wear it over your head so someone doesn’t break their nose?  It’s going to be hard to eat when you have this on your head.  We’ll never be able to get you fat if you wear this.”


Chad was overwhelmed by the gifts he received.  After all the gifts had been opened, Grandpa T. handed Cam an envelope to give to Chad.  When Chad opened the card and looked inside, he started to shed tears, again.  He started to stutter, “Th-th-thank y-y-you ev-ev-ev-ery w-w-one.”


Damon stood and clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention, “I just want to announce that tomorrow is my birthday, and there will be a party tomorrow night and you’re all invited.”


Linda shook her head no, “Don’t believe Damon.  His birthday’s in April.  Damon, behave yourself.”


“Mom, you can’t blame a guy for trying.”


As we were eating the cake and ice cream, Chad walked around and thanked everyone.  He announced, “Colby and I will take care of the clean up.  I’ll make sure Colby gets home before midnight.  This is the first time I ever had Christmas on my birthday.”


As the Grangers were leaving, except for Colby, Doctor Granger handed me a packet.  “Steve, the boys tests were all normal.  I made a copy of the test results.  Call me if you have any questions.


As we were going to the ranch, Cam asked, “Grandpa T., how much money did you give Chad that made him start to cry?”


I spoke up, “Cam, that’s none of our business.”


Cam wasn’t going to back down, “Dad, I just want to know.  The money that was in the card was different from any that I have ever seen.  The bill had a one and whole bunch of zeros.  I know it was more than a hundred because I know what a hundred looks like.”


Tony giggled, “If it had more zeroes than two, it was probably a thousand.  How much was it, Grandpa?”


I wanted to interfere, but decided not to do that, since Tony was Grandpa T.'s grandson.  Grandpa T. answered, “Tony was correct.  I did give Chad a thousand dollars.”


Andy questioned, “Grandpa, how’s he going to spend that much money?”


Grandpa T. answered, “Hopefully, he’ll save it, so he doesn’t run out of gas.”


When I pulled up to the ranch, I admonished, “Guys go get ready for bed and make sure you brush your teeth.  I need to go pick up Dad Rodgers.”


Grandpa T. answered, “Don’t worry, Steve,  I’ll make sure they do a good job.  Just because I’m in a wheelchair, doesn’t mean I can’t turn them over my knee and spank them.”


Cam pouted, “How come everyone always wants to spank us?”


Grandpa T. chuckled, “Probably because you’re so spankable.”


I arrived at the terminal just as Hank’s plane was landing, so I sure didn’t have to wait long since he only had his carryon bag and briefcase with him.


On the way to the ranch, I told him about Chad’s and Damon’s appointments.  Hank shook his head, “I can fully appreciate how the guys must have felt when they heard what they had to do.  I’m surprised that you were able to get them scheduled for the tests so quickly.”


“Doctor Bednarik had Tina make the appointments.  I’ll take the Martin boys for their appointments.  You’ll need to take Ricky for his eye exam and Tony for his dentist appointment.  There are so many appointments scheduled right now that I can’t remember who is to be where and when.”


When Hank and I arrived in the bedroom, Cam was lying on our bed.  Hank asked, “Cameron, why aren’t you asleep?”


“Daddy, I couldn’t go to sleep until I knew that you and Dad were okay.  Dads, why is Chad so upset?  I heard him tell Colby that he thinks he has cancer.  He says he's scared about what the tests will show, tomorrow.  What’s he gotta have done?  He said he had to have an MRI.  Have I ever had one of them tests?”


Hank hugged Cam, “Son, you have never had an MRI.  No one has said that Chad has cancer.  He’s just expecting the worst.”


Cam wasn‘t finished, “Dads, why is everyone afraid of cancer.  It is a disease like measles?  Have I ever hand cancer?”


Hank answered, “Cam, you have never had cancer and it’s not a nice disease.  We’ll talk more about this later.  You need to get to sleep.”


As Cam was going out the bedroom door, he turned, “Dads, why do you keep treating me like I’m a little kid?”


Hank laughed, “Probably because you’re only six years old even though you act as if you’re sixty.  Now go to bed.”


Cam stuck out his tongue and put his thumbs in his ears and wiggled his fingers as he turned to leave.


To be continued...


Editor's Notes:  Boy, I'd be pretty scared too, if I were in Chad's situation.  Cancer is pretty darn scary. 


My mom had Cancer before I was even born. I think she was in her thirties.  I'm sixty three, so I know it was a long time ago when she had it. They gave her what treatment they had back then, and told her that she had about six months to live.  As she was fond of saying, "I guess I showed them, didn't I?  I outlived every one of those know it all Doctors that told me to give up and die."


I probably should point out that she was my adopted mother, but she WAS my mom, and always will be. She was quite a gutsy lady.  She lived to be 90 years old. She died within a few weeks after she had her birthday.


Suffice it to say that Cancer is serious, but it doesn't have to be a death sentence. Get a check up, and do what the doctor tells you to do. 


I hope we get another chapter soon.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher


Posted: 04/09/10