You Ain’t 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 51 

Minnie From Minneapolis


When we arrived at the Little House, we sent the four youngest to get ready for bed, after they had a snack.  Erik was sitting on the living room floor at the coffee table, finishing his homework.  After Dan and I had the four youngest settled, we sat down on the sofa.


Erik looked at us, “I want very much for the two of you to be our dads.  I probably made that impossible with my outburst, tonight.  But Mr. Kean acted as if he was God.”


I shook my head no, “Erik, I probably upset Mr. Kean far more than you did, tonight.”


Dan laughed, “Erik, Kirk chewed Mr. Kean’s butt until it was raw.  Mr. Kean had said some things that were totally inappropriate.  He called Kirk a homo sexual in public.”


Erik looked astounded, “He what?  He didn’t really call Dr. Richter that in front of Mrs. Belton, did he?”


I nodded my head, yes, “But that wasn’t what upset me the most.   I was upset that he asked to speak to Nate, Ryan and Quinn, when they had nothing to do with what is happening.  I agree with you, now that you mention it, Mr. Kean was acting if he was God.”


Erik packed his backpack and came and sat down between Dan and me, “Sirs, is it okay if I refer to you the two of you as Dad?”


I hugged Erik, “You certainly may, if you would like?”


Erik hugged Dan and me and started up the stairs.  He stopped and turned back, “Good night, Dads.”


Both Dan and I responded, “Good night, Son.”


Erik grinned and there were tears in his eyes as he went up the remainder of the steps.  We watched as he stopped at the landing and gave us a thumbs up.


We were eating breakfast when the intercom activated, “Little House, this is Homebase.  There’s a Mr. Kean on the line wanting to talk to some of you.”


Dan went to the intercom, “Jacob, transfer the call to this number.  We’re just finishing breakfast.”


The phone rang and Dan answered, “This is Doctor Thornton. … Just a minute, sir, I’ll put the phone on speaker, and we can talk while we finish breakfast. … Go ahead, Mr. Kean.”


“This is Harold Kean.  I want to apologize to both Erik and Dr. Richter for my actions last night.  Erik, I admire the way you stood up to me.  Dr. Richter, I did not realize who you were until I was talking to my wife, last night.  You were right, I had no right to involve Ryan, Nathan and Quinn.  They are not in the CPS system any longer.  I will be contacting my counterpart in St. Paul this morning and explain the situation.  I have not met the person, so I have no idea what to expect.  I’ll keep you advised as to what’s happening.  Be talking to you soon.”


The phone went dead.  Erik started to laugh, “I think Mr. Kean likes to hear himself talk.  He sure didn’t give anyone else a chance to say anything.  Come on, guys, let’s get these dishes taken care of, so Doctor Thornton can deliver his cargo to the high school.”


The morning was going fine and I actually had some time to think about doing some research.  It was almost lunch time when Sandy stuck her head in the door, “Dr. Richter, Ms Viola Swamp is here to talk to you.”


I started to laugh, “Show Ms Swamp in.”


I greeted Ginger, “Ginger, what brings you to this neck of the woods.”


“Kirk, I loved how you put Hal in his place, last night.  He’s been in an administrative capacity for so long that he’s forgotten how to deal with the young people.  Are your guys okay?”


“Ginger, surprisingly enough, the one who has been most affected by last night’s encounter is Erik.  Ryan and Nathan feel secure, as does Quinn.  I was really proud how Erik shielded his younger brothers, last night.  In fact, Mr. Kean called while were eating breakfast and apologized to Erik and me.  He said he was going to be contacting his counterpart in St. Paul.”


Ginger chuckled, “Take me to lunch, and I’ll tell you about his counterpart.”


We went to the Student Union Building and as we started to eat, I mentioned, “I haven’t seen Will and Brandon outside of class.”


Ginger nodded, “They’ve been  busting their butts on the books, and they have another job besides at The Golden Nuggets.  They’ve been working at the nursery to help Brandon’s father, since he had hernia surgery.  I rarely see them.”


I changed the subject, “Ginger, you said you would tell me about Mr. Kean’s counterpart in Minnesota.  Is there going to a problem?”


Ginger grinned, “She and I worked together for a number of years before she and her husband moved to Minnesota,  She is the person who gave me the idea of going to meet new cases in costumes.  She called and she will be arriving about four o’clock.  She’ll be staying at our house while she’s here.  I’m not going to tell you anymore about her.  It will be interesting to see how the boys react to her when they meet her at seven o’clock tonight.  It’s just too bad that Mr. Kean is going to be with us, when we arrive at Belle Monte.”


As I was walking back to my office, I was thinking, ‘I hope tonight doesn’t turn out like last night.’


We were finishing dinner when the doorbell rang.  George went to answer it.  An older lady came bursting into the room.  She was wearing mouse ears and big white gloves mouse makeup, “Hi, everyone.  My name’s Minnie.  The airline wouldn’t let me be myself so I had to dress like a human being.”


She looked at Jacob, “You have to be Jacob Masters, the mayor’s grandson.  I understand that your Dad is the nurse for Mr. Holloway. Is that correct?”


Jacob nodded yes. 


Miss Minnie moved to Shawn and Shane, “Let me see if I can get this right.  My source told me that Shane was the more handsome of you two.  I’ll have to tell my source to get his eyes checked.  I’ll take either or both of you home if your Dad, Ian, and Mother, Tessa, will approve of it.”


All the boys were sitting with their mouths open along with some of us adults.  Minnie was on a roll   She talked to all the boys and it was apparent that they were going to be at ease talking to her.  She announced, “I’m going to take these old people into the living room and talk to them while you younger people take care of the cleanup.  I want you all to report to me in the living room, and that includes you Quinn Lake.”


When the adults were seated in the living room, Miss Minnie apologized, “I'm sorry for the charade, but I find that it helps me to get my clients to relax,  I deliberately skipped the Sorenson boys from the theatrics so that they might be more willing to talk to me.  Mrs. Fort, I understand that you’re home schooling the three youngest Sorenson boys.  What is your evaluation of their capabilities?”


Eva grinned, “Karl and Stefan are above average students and they have an excellent role model in Nathan.  Nate is like a sieve and he has been an inspiration to our Evan and the Sorenson twins, Karl and Stephan.  As far as Dieter, he’s a very good student and works well with Quinn.”


Miss Minnie looked around, “It appears to me that there would be no problem taking care of the Sorenson boys, financially.  Dr. Richter and Doctor Thornton, are you sure that you are willing to be responsible for four more boys.”


I answered, “Miss Minnie, we would like very much to assume the responsibility for the four Sorenson boys.  Belle Monte technically belongs to our two sons, Nathan and Ryan.  Their father incorporated the spread, so that the boys will not be able to change it until Ryan is twenty one.  They will probably tell you that the land is owned by a cooperation.”


Our conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the eleven young guys.  They came in marching with Shane leading the way and calling cadence.  “Platoon, halt.  Right face to look at our ugly visitors. Report to Miss Minnie.”


Quinn started by stepping forward, “Private Quinn Lake reporting, ma’am.”  He saluted and stepped back.  He was followed by the other ten guys and I finally figured out that they were lined up by age.


When all eleven guys had saluted, Miss Minnie stood and saluted, “At ease, men, fall out.  We have some business we need to take care of.”


The younger guys watched as the older guys sat down on the floor.  Miss Minnie asked, “Where is it that you privates all sleep?”


Nate stood, “Ma’am, I’ll answer that question.  Dieter and Quinn sleep in Quinn’s bedroom in Uncle Alex and Uncle Vince’s apartment.  Shawn and Shane have a bedroom in their parents’ apartment and Jacob has his own bedroom in Uncle Bruce’s apartment and Evan and Chase have their own bedroom in their parents’ apartment.  We have lots of bedrooms upstairs so that Erik, Stefan and Karl could sleep here at the big house, but they’ve been spending the nights at the Little House with us.”


Miss Minnie scowled, “With all these bedrooms, I think I’d better check them out.  Quinn, let’s go check your room.  It’s probably a closet.”


Quinn and Dieter led Miss Minnie and Mr. Kean up the steps.  Ginger pointed, “Kirk, you’d better go with them, since Dieter is about to become your son.”


I followed the entourage to Alex and Vince’s apartment.  It was as immaculate as the last time I was there,  Miss Minnie asked, “Are you sure that someone lives here?”


Quinn smiled, “Yep, we live here and eat breakfast here.  Come see where me and Dieter sleep.”


As we were passing Alex and Vince’s room, Quinn flipped on the light switch, “This is my Daddies’ room.”


Both Miss Minnie and Mr. Kean looked in and Miss Minnie asked, “Quinn, do your Dads sleep in the same bed?”


“Why not; me and Dieter wind up in the same bed, so we don’t get lonely?”


We walked into Quinn’s room and it definitely now looked like a  boy’s bedroom.  Quinn pointed, “That’s my bed and Dieter starts out sleeping on the other one, but we always wind up in the same bed.”


Miss Minnie looked around, “Quinn, where do you go to the bathroom when you’re in the apartment.”


Quinn went and opened a door, “Me and Dieter have our own bathroom.  We just don’t have a bathtub or a shower.  We have to use my Dads’ bathroom when we take a bath.”


Mr. Kean asked, “Are all the apartments like this?”


Vince, who was with us, answered, “No, sir, the two ground floor apartments have two full baths,  The two second floor have a small balcony instead of a full bath instead the extra bathing facilities.”


Miss Minnie nodded, “Guys, I’m impressed to say the least.  Let's go get Nate and Ryan to show us around the other guest facilities here at Belle Monte.”


As we were leaving, Quinn asked, “Daddy, can we take a bath and get ready for bed?”


“Of course, I’ll go get your other Dad and tell him what’s happening so he doesn’t worry.  Take off your dirty clothes and put them in your hamper and get clean briefs out.”


When we arrived on the first floor, Miss Minnie asked, “Nate and Ryan, would you show us where Erik, Stefan and Karl would sleep if they were to stay here at Homebase?”


This time Erik, Stefan and Karl followed the entourage to the second floor since they had never seen the facility.  Ryan pointed to the two rooms at the top of the steps.  Those are our Grandparents rooms.”


Miss Minnie asked, “I didn’t know your Grandparents lived with you.”


Nate shook his head no, “They don’t.  They live in different states but they come to visit.  Granddad Richter is a minister and Grandpa Thornton is our lawyer,  These are their rooms when they come to visit.”


Nate pointed to the next room, “This was to be my room here at Belle Monte.  It shares a bathroom with the room next to it which was to be Ryan’s room.  Erik, Stefan and Karl can decide which room they would want.”


Miss Minnie and Mr. Kean stepped inside the first room and Miss Minnie announced, “I’ll take this room.  This room has everything anyone would need.  Why don’t you want to live here?”


Ryan shook his head, “We didn’t want to live here because we were afraid we’d break something, and Homebase is so big that it wouldn’t feel like we were a family like we can at the Little House.”


Mr. Kean asked, “Where were your Dads going to sleep, if you stayed here at the big house?”


Nate opened the door to the master bedroom and Miss Minnie stepped back, “I’ve changed my mind; I’ll take this room.  I may never leave it.”


Erik giggled, “We could play a football game in here.”


Mr. Kean looked at me funny, “Dr. Richter, I can’t believe you wouldn’t want to live here.”


“Our accommodations at the Little House are more than adequate for Dan and me.  Speaking of the Little House, guys, get your things, and we’ll take the visitors to the Little House in the Belle Monte Express so you can take care of the animals and have a snack before you get ready for bed.  Nate, go tell Doctor Dad and Mrs. Belton what we’re going to do.”


Ginger announced, “I’ll go with you, so these other people don’t feel as if they have to entertain me.”


Dan drove the Belle Monte Express to the Little House.  When we stopped at the gate, Miss Minnie asked, “Guys, why is there all this security around Little House?”


Nate answered, “Uncle Bruce had it put in to keep people like Jacob’s step dad from stealing Ryan and me  because they thought our dads had a whole bunch of money, because we lived here.  He couldn’t understand that Belle Monte is owned by a cooperation.”


Mr. Kean commented, “The mortgage payments for Belle Monte must be horrendous.”


Dan shook head his no, even though he was driving, “We’ve been assured that the cooperation owns all the land that you can see clear and free.”


Mr. Kean kept pushing, “The taxes on this land must out of sight?”


Miss Minnie spoke up, “Hal, it seems to me that you’re more interested in the affairs of Belle Monte than you are in the purpose for which we’re here.”


The discussion was stopped by the Belle Monte Express’ arrival at the Little House.  Ryan jumped out, and when the visitors had exited, he announced, “Everything you see belongs to the Belle Monte cooperation.”


Miss Minnie pointed, “That’s Homebase but what are all the other lights?  Do other people live here?”


Nate answered.  “There are other people who live here at Belle Monte, but most of the people drive back and forth to work.”


He pointed to the right.  “That is where the horses live.  The boss of the horses has an apartment there.  The next set of lights is the home of the chickens.  There are four students who live there and make sure that all the machines are working correctly.  The next set of lights is where the pigs live.  They have a man and his wife who live there to make sure they are okay, and that last set of lights is where the cowboys live who take care of the cows.”


Ryan was pulling Miss Minnie’s hand, “Come on, we gotta show you our home.”


When we walked into the house, Hodge, Podge, Snitch and Snatch came to greet us.  Miss Minnie frowned, “Do you leave the animals here alone all the time.”


Ryan shook his head no, “No, we try to exercise them outside everyday.  They even helped us catch some rustlers.  They have a door so they can go outside if they want to.”


Miss Minnie, Ginger Belton and Mr. Kean arched their eyebrows.  I didn’t say anything but smiled and shook my head in the affirmative.


Miss Minnie looked around, “Do you mean that you all live in this one room.  Is this the only room in the house?”


Nate giggled, “Grandma Thornton said that it was good that there  were no walls between the rooms because it makes it easier to clean and you don’t have dust in so many corners.  We have another big room downstairs and the bedrooms are upstairs.”


Miss Minnie asked, “What’s in the big room downstairs?”


Stefan answered, “Ma’am, you gotta see the downstairs.  Nate and Ryan have so many neat things.  They have even more neat things in the family room at The Big House.”


We followed the young guys downstairs and Miss Minnie asked, “You mean there’s even more fun stuff at the big house?”


Nate answered, “Yep, but we have the only train set up here at Little House.”


Mr. Kean asked, “Nate, could you show me how your trains operate.”


Nate started the trains and Mr. Kean was enthralled.  Miss Minnie turned to Ryan, “Where’s Erik?’”


“He said he was going to finish his homework.  He’s working in my bedroom which he shares with me, right now.”


Miss Minnie smiled, “Ryan, would you be so good to show us where everyone sleeps?”


“Sure, let’s go.”


Ryan led Miss Minnie, Mrs. Belton and me up the two flights of steps.  He stopped at the first room, “This is Nate’s room.  Nate, Stefan and Karl sleep in here.  The bathroom is back there and it goes to my bedroom, where me and Erik are sleeping with Podge and Snitch.”


Miss Minnie looked around, “Ryan, this bedroom is bigger than mine back home.  Is your’s the same size?”


Ryan shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know, but I know it’s bigger than any I ever had before.  It’s not as big as our Dads’ bedroom.”


We walked to the door of Ryan’s room and Erik was sitting at the desk.  He heard us and looked up, “You can come on in.  I’m almost finished.”


Miss Minnie answered, “We’re on our way to Ryan’s Dads’ monster bedroom.”


Erik giggled, “Make sure you take a road map or you’ll get lost.”


When we walked into Dan’s and my bedroom, Miss Minnie shook her head, “I can understand why Ryan and Nathan would want to live here.  This certainly does feel like a home as opposed to the Big House.  I think we should leave now, so the young guys can get ready for bed.”


Erik came out of the bedroom as we were getting ready to depart.  “I’ll make sure the guys get a snack and get ready for bed.”


As we were going to Homebase, Miss Minnie pulled off her makeup, “Kirk and Dan, thanks for playing along tonight.  I’m Dottie Franks.  As far as I’m concerned, the two of you can provide a comfortable life for the four Sorenson boys.  Quite frankly, it’s as if they fell into a bucket of honey.  There are several things that I need to check on in the morning.  Hal, this case is not within your jurisdiction.  The Sorenson boys are the responsibility of the state of Minnesota.”


As we were saying goodnight to the visitors, I was brazen enough to ask, “Miss Minnie and Ms Swamp, I don’t suppose that there is any way that you would consider coming to my seminar class tomorrow.  There are some students who think that I’m blowing smoke as far as the cases of the seven boys are concerned.”


Miss Minnie asked, “What time and where?”


“At ten o’clock at the university.”  I gave the ladies the particulars.


Mrs. Franks answered, “Great, that will give me time to take care of some things in the morning.  I really want to spend the afternoon with the guys at Belle Monte.”


Dan and I drove our separate cars to the Little House and it was dark, except for the entry lights.  I looked at Dan, “Are you sure you’re ready for four more sons?”


Dan grinned, “We may just have to call in the parents to get the boys settled and trained.


To be continued...


Editor's Notes:  I must say that I am quite impressed with Miss Minnie.  She really took no prisoners, did she?  These young guys are going to have a wonderful life.


I will be interested in seeing what happens at the seminar. 


Mr. Kean had better get his head out of his butt and shape up.  I guess I can't dislike him quite as much. After all, he likes to play with trains, so he can't be all bad.


We haven't seen our favourite deputy lately. I hope everything is going all right with him.


As always, I can hardly wait for the next chapter.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher


Posted: 07/30/10