You Ainít Santa Claus
by: E Walk

(© 2009-2010 by the Author)

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

Chapter 31 

The Storm Begins


I picked up the phone, "This is Kirk Richter.  How may I help you?"


"Kirk, itís Milton Armstrong.  Congratulations on your recent articles that were published.  I understand that you will also be having two more published next month.  I would like to invite you to come and meet with me at four this afternoon if youíre available."


"Sir, where would you be wanting to meet?"


"Why don't we meet here in my office in the administration building.  This is just an informal meeting and Casey tells me that you are a handsome man.  You and your sons certainly have made the news big time.  The members of the Board of Regents want to meet you."


I looked at the phone after I realized that I was talking to the President of the University.  "Sir, Iím free and will be glad to meet with you.  Iíll see you at four oíclock."


When I hung up, I went to see if Dean Meyers was available.  He was and invited me into to his office.  "Whatís the problem, Kirk?"


"I just had a call from President Armstrong, inviting me to his office at four oíclock.  Why would he want to be meeting with me?  Am I in trouble or something?"


Dean Meyers put out his hands indicating that he had no idea.  "Kirk, if there were a problem, Iím sure I would have been notified.  The administrative people donít like to be known as hatchet people.  They want the public to think theyíre the good guys."


"Kirk, did he give you any clue what he wanted to talk about?"


I shrugged my shoulders, "He started by talking about my journal articles and mentioned something about the Board of Regents wanting to meet me, but thatís about all."


"Kirk, this is strange.  Iím sorry that I canít shed any light on what is happening.  Iíll be interested in hearing what happens.  I know that you have set the world of academia on its ears with the number of journal articles that you have published or about to be published, but President Armstrong doesnít usually get involved in matters like that."


When I arrived at my office, Sandy handed me two messages.  The first was from Belle Monte and the second was from Dan.  Talk about a stomach churning, mine started.  I called Belle Monte first.


The phone was answered, "This is Nate Holloway."


"Nate, this Dad Kirk.  Did someone call me?"


"Hi Daddy, Uncle Vince called.  Let me put him on."


"Dr. Richter, this is Vince, the boys want to know if they can go to the vet and get some food for the puppies and kittens.  We need to get them some flea medicine.  We found some fleas on the animals, today."


"Vince, I have no problem with you taking the boys to the store, as long as the deputy on duty escorts you.  Whoís on duty now?"


Vince asked someone something, "The boys say itís Deputy Devine.  Weíll pick up the three high school guys while weíre out."


"Good, I know Deputy Devine.  Heíll take good care of you.  Tell the boys Iíll stop at the pet store and pick up the kitty litter on the way home.  Talk to you later."


I called the number that Dan had left, which was not his cell phone.


"This is Kirk Richter, I have a message to call Doctor Thornton."


"Yes sir, he said to tell you he was in the Emergency Operating Room and might not be home until late."


When I hung up I had a sudden thought, ĎPlease donít have Dan assigned to the Emergency Room again.  I canít raise two boys by myself.í


I looked at the clock and realized that I needed to leave for President Armstrongís office.  As I was walking to Old Main, where the Presidentís office was located, I was reviewing all sorts of scenarios as to why I was asked to make an appearance.


When I walked into the Presidentís office, I went to the receptionist.  "Iím Dr. Kirk Richter.  President Armstrong asked me to meet with him."


"Yes sir, theyíre expecting you.  Let me tell them that youíre here."


The young lady went to a door and I heard her say, "Dr. Richter is here.  Would you like me to tell him to have a seat?" 


The young lady returned, "Dr. Richter, please follow me and Iíll introduce you."


The young lady introduced me, "Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Kirk Richter."


President Armstrong stood, "Thanks for coming, Dr. Richter.  Let me introduce the Regents.  Mr. Carl Monroe, Mrs. Rita Samuels, Ms Rachael Barron, Mr. Linden Hayes, Mr. Dennis Koch, and Mrs. Margery Cash."


After I had shaken their hands, I was directed to take a seat at the end of the table.  Ms Barron looked at me, "Young man, are you sure your old enough to be a full professor?  You look to be about 21.  How old are you, anyway?"


"Maíam, Iím 32, even though I feel as if Iím 100 right now."


Mr. Hayes grinned, "I guess youíve had several exciting days in your life, recently.  Your two sons seem to be handling what has been happening rather well.  I saw your oldest son on television last night telling the reporters that none of you had any money."


Mrs. Cash had a funny look on her face.  "So that means youíre two years younger than your partner.  Have you per chance talked to him, today?"


"Mrs. Cash, if youíre referring to Doctor Thornton, Dan is two years older than me.  I tried to call him just before I came to the meeting, but he was in the Emergency Room and his secretary said he would probably be home late tonight."


Mrs. Cash frowned, "We didnít hire him to be the chief administrator of the hospital to be working in the emergency room.  Something big has to have happened."


Mr. Koch asked, "Dr. Richter, what is your class load for this coming term?"


I thought, ĎWhat an odd question?í, "Iíll be teaching three upper level courses and Iím the mentor for two new faculty members who are just joining the staff this term.  They will each be teaching two classes.  One of them has not actually been an instructor before.  The other has been working at a junior college and will be working on his doctoral dissertation."


Mr. Monroe stood, "Ladies and gentlemen, we need to get down to the business at hand.  We can always visit with Dr. Richter later.  Dr. Richter, we have received funds to establish an endowed chair for a professor of child psychology, on the condition that it be offered to you."


I couldnít help myself and started to laugh, "Let me guess, the chair is to be known as The Bryce Holloway Chair for Child Psychology."


Mr. Monroe looked around, "Dr. Richter, did you know this was going to be happening?"


I shook my head no, "I had no inkling of why I was asked here this afternoon.  When you mentioned that the chair was to be offered to me, it was rather easy to figure out.  Iím surprised that Bruce isnít here as well."


Mrs. Cash grinned, "He would have been, but he has been working on hospital related business."


I wanted to make sure that the Regents, and President Armstrong understand the full ramifications of the endowment.  "Just so you know, Bryce Holloway was the father of my two sons.  Their last name is Holloway for legal reasons."


The members started to laugh, Mr. Koch spoke, "What a sneaky way to make sure that his nephewsí Dad would be able to feed the boys."


Mr. Monroe added, "For your information, Mr. Holloway also added a significant amount of money to the General Scholarship Fund.   Kirk, we would like to have a press conference to announce the endowment and gifts, but Bruce thinks it would be best to do after all of this hullabaloo of your sonsí attempted abduction dies down."


"Sir, I wonít be going anywhere.  Iíll be available whenever."


As we were leaving, Mrs. Cash walked up to me, "Kirk, Iím concerned as to why Dan was in the Emergency Room.  There has to be something big happening."


There was a television on in the reception area and reporters were saying, "At least twenty students were injured in an explosion that occurred in the chemistry laboratory at the high school.  The injured persons have been taken to the area hospitals.  So far, officials have not released any details until the next of kin have been identified.  Damage to the school was confined to the west wing of the building.  Stay tuned for more information."


Mrs. Cash nodded, "That explains why Dan is in the Emergency Operating Room.  Memorial Hospital is the closest hospital to the high school."


When I arrived back at the office, Sandy looked at me, "Dr. Richter, Dean Meyers would like to talk to you."


I went to the Deanís office and he was talking to his secretary when I walked in.  He grinned, "Kirk, I understand that congratulations are in order.  I knew what was happening but was asked not to tell you. The prestige of this endowed chair will make you even more desirable for people wanting you to make presentations and speeches.  I know that they were keeping it low key until the problem with your sons goes away, but your journal articles are going to make you a big draw even without the endowed chair being announced."


I did stop and get kitty litter, as I had promised.  When I arrived at Belle Monte, I was met by Ryan and Chase, "Daddy, you should have seen all the fire trucks and ambulances at the high school when we picked up Shane, Shawn and Jacob.  They were okay, but the people who were hurt were taken to Dadís hospital to get fixed up.  We had to get flea medicine for Hodge and Podge and they donít like it and are trying to lick it off.  Snitch and Snatch are trying to scratch their medicine off.  We bought them all flea collars today."


Nate and Evan came around the corner of the house, carrying some eggs, and took them Deputy Sheriff Devine.  I heard Troy say, "Thanks, guys.  We used the last of our eggs this morning.  Hereís two dollars for the eggs."


I looked at the guys, "I thought you werenít to be seen in front of the house?"


Ryan looked at me, "Daddy, Uncle Bruce said it was okay as long as there was a sheriffís car here and the sheriff on duty could see us."


Nate added, "Daddy, we canít live in a cocoon forever.  Weíll be very careful."


Shane appeared, "Dinner will be in five minutes.  You guys need to wash your hands."


As we were eating dinner, I looked at Bruce, "Youíve been a very busy person.  I had a very interesting meeting with the Board of Regents at the university, today.  I understand that youíve been trying to put out fires at Memorial Hospital as well."


Bruce grinned, "I do what I can."


Dan arrived just as we were about finished eating.  He looked exhausted.  George decided to take action, "Doctor Thornton, I prescribe two tall double scotches on ice and some food.  You look as though you might pass out otherwise."


Dan laughed, "How about one scotch on the rocks and some food, instead?"


Shane went to get the plate of food that had been saved in the warmer for Dan.  As Dan was eating, he was telling us what he knew about the incident at the high school.  "It seems that there was a substitute teacher for the chemistry teacher, and he was following the directions for an experiment in the textbook when the explosion happened.  The only problem was that the directions in the teacherís guide were wrong.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, the substitute teacher was the only person who was seriously injured.  Bruce, you should defend the man.  His face is going to be deformed for life."


The doorbell rang and Charles returned with a woman and Sheriff Lane.  Lanny explained, "This lady says she has come to claim her two sons.  I need to go and guard the house."


Bruce looked at the lady, "Maíam, exactly who are your two sons?"


The lady showed her ignorance, "The two boys who live here at this big mansion."


Bruce nodded to Ian, "Mr. McTavish, would you please summon Shawn and Shane since theyíve lived here longer than anyone else."


When Ian returned with Shawn and Shane, the lady exploded, "Look assholes, the two boys who own this mansion are my sons."


Dan stood, "Vince, please go to my car and get my doctorís kit, and Iíll take a DNA sample from this broad and find out who sheís referring to.  Tell Sheriff Lane that his presence is needed in here."


The lady started to back away, "Thatís okay, Iím leaving."


Dan grabbed her, "Youíre leaving, alright, and you are going to spend the night in the county jail.  Mr. Holloway will be in to file formal charges against you in the morning."


Lanny arrived and Dan nodded, "Deputy Lane, please handcuff this person, while I call the dispatcher and have someone come and take her to jail.  You need to take the boys to the Little House.  Kirk and Iíll be there shortly."


The woman tried to squirm away, "What is it with you people?  Do you think that you own everyone, that you can tell a deputy drip what to do?"

Lanny had the woman in cuffs, "Lady, my sole purpose for being here is to protect the two boys from scumbags like you, trying to take advantage of them, so I suggest that you keep your panties on and try to get them unbunched.  Oh, thatís right you probably arenít wearing any."


Bruce moved over to the woman in cuffs, "Deputy Lane is correct.  You are scum of the worst kind.  Iím guessing that you have to have some association with Mr. Bates, to be here this fast."


"Whatís it to you?  Yes, Hal and I were going to get out of the country as soon as he was able to get money to pay his bills by kidnapping the Holloway boys.  He didnít realize that you had paid off all the agencies to make sure they were safe."


After the woman had been escorted away by two more cruisers, Lanny departed for the Little House with Nate and Ryan.  Bruce looked at us, "Guys, these past three days have caused me to age twenty years.  I almost wish the boysí real surrogate Mother would appear, to stop anymore shams like tonight."


Dan and I made our way to the Little House and the cruiser lights were flashing.  When we walked in, Lanny was cajoling the boys, "Guys, we need to get these sleeping bags put together so we can go to sleep after we check your heads to make sure you donít have fleas."


Ryan looked at Dan and me, "Dads, people donít get fleas do they?"


Dan answered, "Iím afraid they do, if they donít keep their bodies clean and their head shampooed, especially when the animals sleep with them."


Ryan started up the steps, "Come on, Nate, we need to get good and clean."


I looked at Lanny, "Did you get to eat before you came on duty tonight?"


"Yes, Lance asked me to have dinner with him and his parents.  Lance and I had gone to school together until the accident, and I fell a year behind.  His parents are really neat.  They have reconfigured their house so he can move around and made a bedroom downstairs for him."


A naked Ryan came to the railing, "Officer Lane, I thought you were going to come check for fleas."


Lanny laughed, "Iím being summoned." 


To be continued...


Editor's Notes:  This story keeps right on throwing curves at us, chapter after chapter.  I am really impressed.  I can hardly wait to see what will happen next.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher


Posted: 03/05/10