A Train Trip to Remember
 by: Miguel Sanchez

© 2008 by the author


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


I was drooling as Ike was telling me about this house. “Write the address down for me. Do you know what they’re asking for it?”


Ike took out a card and began writing. “The last price I knew was $575,000 but that was about 6 months ago. I’ve put the name of the realtor and the number down here too. I’d love to have you and the boys for neighbors.”


Chapter 21


I took the card and headed for the Hummer. The boys saw me coming and JC opened the passenger door then stood up on the running board. “Come on Dad.”


I looked at the card Ike gave me and saw the house he was telling me about was on the way home so I decided to stop on the way home. “I’m coming son.”


I headed out then looked at JC. “Son, when you said you wanted to buy me a new house, what did you mean?”


“A are you going to say no Dad?” He asked with a shaky voice.


I shook my head, “No, not at all son. I’m wondering if you were referring to a brand new house or one that’s just new to us.”


When I pulled up to a stop light I looked back over at him and he had relaxed. “I meant something new to us Dad. I’ve seen how much houses cost.”


The light turned green so I had to watch where I was going. I turned my head so he couldn’t see my face as it lit up with a smile. I made the turn like I was going home then quickly made a right. “Dad, where are you going?” Charlie asked as he caught on that we weren’t going straight home.


I tried to keep my poker face on but it was hard. I turned onto the street where the house was and I was amazed. The houses were luxurious to say the least. JC looked over. “Dad, some of these houses are for sale.”


“Can’t get anything past you son,” I said giggling.


I found the house Ike was talking about then pulled into the driveway. I cut the engine off then sat there and looked at the beautiful structure. The boys got out then Charlie came around and started pulling on my arm. “Come on Dad, let’s go in.”


The front door was open then I spotted the open house sign. The boys were already inside looking around by the time I got to the door. I opened it and stepped inside when I heard a voice yell. “Get out you street punks.”


I was about to shout when I heard JC. “We’re not street punks mister, our Dad is coming in.”


“Yeah right,” I heard the voice say.


What I heard next got my blood boiling. “Ouch, let go of my arm lady.”


I walked in and saw Shamu digging her claws into Charlie’s arm. “You better have a damn good reason for attacking my sons?”


She stood there with her mouth hanging open. “These boys were destroying things.”


I looked around. “Show me what they broke and I’ll replace it.”


JC started to speak but I quickly shook my head but Charlie stepped into her face. “Let go of my brother’s arm now.”


She started to raise her other hand but I was staring right at her. “Now please show me what’s been broken.”


I could see by the look on her face she was going to have a major problem on her hands so tried another ploy. “It’s closing time, you’ll have to come back another day.”


Just then I heard a familiar voice. “Jerry, where are you?”


Ike came in and the woman looked up. “Mr. Fletcher, how nice of you to drop by.”


JC ran over to him and I thought she was going to have a stroke. “Uncle Ike, do you know her?”


He wrapped his arm around his shoulder. “I sure do JC.”


He showed him his arm as she tried to interrupt. “Come along sir, let me show you around.” 


Ike saw the fingernail marks on JC’s arm. “What happened here?”


Again she tried to interrupt. “There are 3 lovely rooms upstairs.”


Ike glared at her momentarily then turned his attention to JC. “She grabbed my arm then dug her claws into my arm.”


Charlie got in onto the act. “Yeah Ike, she called us street punks then told Dad we destroyed things in the house.”


Ike looked at the marks closely then at the sales agent. “Is this true Miss Donnelly?”


“Uh well you see umm it’s not like it seems Mr. Fletcher.”


Ike was visibly pissed. “Then tell me Ms. Donnelly, how was it?”


JC looked over and added insult to injury. “Yeah Ms. Donnelly, how was it?”


I turned my head to hide my smile as she tried to get out of the mess she was in. “They came in grabbing things and making a huge mess.”


I interrupted her. “Lady, show me this mess and damage they caused?”


Ike looked at me, “Jerry, why don’t you and your boys go look at the house while I deal with this?”


I took the boys out of the dining room and headed upstairs. She was right, there were 3 huge rooms up here. Two of the rooms shared a huge bathroom. There was a separate whirlpool tub and shower they should hold 3 people easily. There was a door off the hall so the person in the 3rd bedroom had access also.


Downstairs, Ike was going at it with the sales agent. “Have you lost your mind?”


She glared at him. “What the hell did you expect me to do with those punks in here?”


“Punks?” Ike fired back. “Those aren’t punks Inez.”


She puffed her chest out. “Look at how their dressed?”


Ike was fuming. “They’re wearing proper fitting jeans, casual shirts and sneakers and you call them punks?”


She then got cocky. “I’ll just say they tried to rob me.”


JC heard what they were saying downstairs and tried to go down there. I pulled on his arms stopping him. “Let Ike handle it son.”


He started getting upset. “B…but Dad, she’s lying.”


Charlie put his arm around JC. “Dad’s right bro, let Ike take care of it. I know she’s lying and he knows it too.”


Ike called her bluff. “So then call the police.”


She pulled out her cell phone. “OK I will.”


Ike further called her bluff. “When you place that call and get them out here, you best be damn sight ready to prove those allegations because if you don’t I’ll be prepared to represent Mr. Miles and his son if they decide to bring litigation against you and your company. Just so you know, I sent them here because they’re looking at buying a new home.”


She put her phone away. “Y you d did w what?”


Ike smiled. “That’s right I sent them here because I knew this house was for sale and at a reasonable price.”


She was sweating bullets now. “Now what am I supposed to do?”


Ike’s smile got bigger. “If I were you, I’d make Mr. Miles an offer he couldn’t refuse.”


Her mouth hung open. “You mean I should kiss his ass?”


Ike laughed openly. “What ever it takes Inez and I might talk him into not pressing charges against you for assault on his son.”


“Assault?” she gasped. “I didn’t assault him.”


Ike shook his head. “Yes you did and he has the marks on his arm from your fingernails to prove it.”


Her eyes dropped to the floor because she knew he was right, “Alright Mr. Fletcher.”


“What’s the current asking price on the house?”


She went over to her listings and looked. “It’s been reduced again to $500,000.”


Ike thought for a minute then wrote something on a piece of paper handing it to her.


I looked at JC. “Now, do you still want to go down there?”


He turned several shades of red and spoke softly. “OK Dad, you’re right?”


I put my hand to my ear. “Uh, what was that you said son? I didn’t hear that?”


He had a sheepish smile on his face. “I said you were right.”


I pulled him into a headlock and rubbed the top of his head. “See son, Dad’s aren’t always silly.”


Charlie snuck up behind me and started tickling me causing me to laugh. “Wanna bet Dad?”


He stopped before we got too loud then we looked around the rest of the upstairs. A few minutes later we came down to the first floor and started looking around. Ike came over to us. “How do you like it Jerry?”


I stopped in my tracks. “I love the house but I’ve a good fucking mind to have her ass arrested for what she did to JC.”


Ike looked at me sheepishly. “Umm, I really wouldn’t do that Jerry.”


I could have chewed nails on that comment; “And just why the fucking hell not?”


Ike put his hand on my shoulder. “Calm down Jerry. I know you would have every right to do that and more. She realizes she’s between a rock and a hard place.”


“Damn right she is,” I said as we walked into the master suite. “I could own her and her business.”


Ike nodded his head as we looked around the gorgeous room. “That’s right, now here’s what I would do. I’d make her a cash offer for the asking price of the house.”


I was looking out the sliding patio doors onto the deck, “What, now why would I do that?”


The view from the master suite was breath taking. It looked out over the water and I could see the dock that had been installed. I was brought back from my thoughts by Ike’s giggle. “Simple Jerry, she’d have to take that to the seller and since it’s their asking price, they would have no real grounds to refuse it. Now, Ms. Donnelly is a different story. She’s going to want to please you so you won’t put her ass in a sling.”


I opened the door and stepped out onto the deck. “How is she going to do that?”


The boys were down on the dock playing. “Just make the offer Jerry, you’ll find out.”


I nodded my head then called out to the boys. They beat feet towards the house while Ike and I looked at the master bath. This room was bigger than the one upstairs. It had a huge whirlpool tub that the three of us could fit in with no problems. There was a separate shower with 2 heads but more than ample room for 3 people too. There were 2 sinks with a large vanity plus a large linen closet. I could definitely enjoy living in this house.


The boys came inside huffing and puffing. JC looked at me very seriously. “What are you going to do Dad? I love the place but that bitch really hurt my arm.”


“I know she did son but your Uncle Ike gave me a suggestion I think I’m going to try.”


Charlie gasped. “You’re not serious, are you Dad?”


I looked at my youngest. “Answer me this son, do you like the house or not?”


Charlie broke into his million watt smile. “Well hell yeah Dad, I love it.”


I wrapped my arms around him. “Then let’s try Ike’s suggestion and see what happens.


He thought for a moment then nodded his head. The 4 of us came out of the master suite and went into the dining room where Shamu was sitting down looking through some of her other listings. She must have heard our footsteps as she turned around and smiled at us. “Well sir, how do you like the house?”


She was all peaches and cream with a load of honey tossed in for good measure. I knew what Ike had said but I had an idea of my own. “It’s very nice. The rooms are both gorgeous and spacious. I really like the high fence around the water and this way I won’t have to worry about our dog getting out and going for a swim.”


“The current owner has a dog too,” she said smiling. “Well then, are you prepared to make an offer?”


I looked over to Ike than back at her. “Yes I am. I see here the asking price is $500,000.”


She nodded her head. “Yes sir, that’s correct. The price was reduced about 2 months ago.”


I went into the kitchen which was the only room I’d yet to see. Who ever designed and built this house was a genius. The room was huge. There was an island in the middle with electrical outlets on both ends plus it was big enough to do some serious prep work. There was a nice size kitchen table beside a huge bay window and that looked out over the water. Yes, this was going to be our new home. I came back and joined the others as Ms. Donnelly was now sitting at the table putting together some forms. “The price is indeed reasonable but I’m only prepared to offer $485,000.”


Ike looked at me with a funny grin on his face then he smiled. I looked at Shamu waiting for her reply. “I don’t know if the sellers will take that offer sir.”


I stepped over to the boys and told them to go out back while Ike and I discussed this with the agent. As soon as the back door closed I stared at her. “Lady, I don’t think you quite understand either so if I were you I’d get on the phone and call the sellers.”


Ms. Donnelly didn’t budge. “Sir, you don’t understand. They’ve lowered the price on this house twice already. Their original asking price was $750,000 which was not out of line considering the amount of property here added to the fact it’s on the water. But I am prepared to do this for you.”


I guess she knew I had her by the short and curlies. “And just what might that be?”


I watched as she swallowed hard. “Well sir, first you’ll have to offer them their asking price of $500,000. I can guarantee they’ll accept it because they really want to sell. Now, once they’ve formally accepted the offer, I’ll bring you a certified check in the amount of $50,000 bringing you cost of the house down to $450,000.”


It was an offer too good to pass up. “All right Ms. Donnelly I’ll accept the offer with 1 condition.”


I could see her starting to sweat. “W what is the condition?”


I looked at Ike then winked. “When my two boys come back inside, I want you to apologize to them.”


She looked shocked. “A apologize to them?”


I nodded my head; “That’s right, you will apologize to them and it damn better be sincere. They did nothing except come inside. I could see them standing in the foyer then start to look around.”


She started to shake her head as Ike pulled out his cell phone. “Jerry, do you want me to make a phone call?”


She gasped. “No, no, no, that won’t be necessary. I’ll apologize.”


I went to the back door and called the boys. They came walking inside then stood beside me and JC was still buzzing. “Dad, there’s a nice dog house out back that I bet Zeus would love.”


I laughed at his little boy enthusiasm. “I just bet he would kiddo.”


Ms. Donnelly stepped forward and hung her head. “Young man, I owe you a big apology for my actions earlier. I had no right to act like I did.”


JC lifted his arm up so she could see the marks that were still present. “You’re damn right lady.”


I slid my hand down behind him giving a soft pop on his butt. He looked at me and he could see that I was not pleased with his tone even though he did have a right to be upset. Ms. Donnelly looked at the marks. “You have every right to be angry and had that happened to me, I would too.”


Charlie was keeping his cool through this. “So then what ever possessed you to grab him and then try to lie your way out of it?”


She just shook her head as she looked at the floor. “I have no excuses for my actions.”


JC was still angry. “Well, I accept your apology but don’t think for a minute I’ll forgive you for what you did. If I had my way, you’d be on your way to jail right now.”


She looked up making eye contact with JC. “I understand and thank you for not doing that.”


JC then looked up at me. “So are you going to buy the house Dad?”


The lady sat down and started typing away on her laptop. “Yes son, this is going to be our new home.”


He took me by the hand leading me into the foyer, “How much Dad?”


Before I could answer, Charlie and Ike were there with us. “The total price will be $450,000 son.”


JC looked at Ike. “OK Uncle Ike, that’s how much I need.”


Ike took JC aside. “Son, you won’t need anything from your trust.”


JC was confused, “Huh, why not?”


Ike put his arm around the boy’s shoulder. “Do you remember the birthday present I gave you?”


JC nodded his head. “Yeah, I remember and I still say you didn’t have to do that.”


Ike kissed him on the cheek. “I know son but hear me out now. I started that for you back when you were 13, when I first heard you had leukemia. That account as more than enough money in it if you’re really serious about doing this for your Dad.”


“Huh?” JC gasped. “How much is in there and how would I go about getting it?”


“There’s well over $1.5 million in there. I’ve made 3 deposits, the first when I opened it and one each on your 14th and 15th birthdays. Now, to get money you just go to an ATM machine, put the card in, enter your PIN number then enter in the amount you want.”


JC giggled. “Yeah, I can just see the machine spitting out 450 grand.”


Ike was giggling too. “Well, it can’t deliver that much money. For something that large, you would have to go inside the bank. I think it would be best if your Dad was there with you in case any questions were asked.”


JC was smiling when he came back over. “Dad, you’ll get what you need.”


I was watching Charlie out of the corner of my eye and I could see he was both happy and sad. “What’s wrong Charlie?”


He shook his head. “Nothing Dad, I can’t wait to get into the new house.”


JC wrapped his arms around him. “Bro, it’s our new home.”


His eyes dropped to the floor. “Umm ok bro, our new home.”


I eased up to him and lifted his chin kissing him on his nose. “Come on son, I can see something is bothering you.”


He tried to fight back the tears but lost. “I feel like an outsider Dad. JC just bought you a new house.”


JC kissed his cheek. “No bro, I helped him buy us a new house.”


“Yeah, OK, whatever but still, what do I have? I’ll tell ya, NOTHING. I ain’t got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.”


I pulled him into my arms as he cried. “Do you think that’s why I adopted JC son, for his money?”


He looked up at me and was about to speak when JC beat him to it. “Bro, Dad didn’t adopt me for that. My trust was locked tight until I turned 16 but Dad got so pissed at everyone thinking he was just after it that he got another trustee appointed and he backed away.”


“But still,” Charlie said through the hic cups. “I don’t got shit.”


JC stood in front of him. “Big deal bro; most kids our age ain’t got nothin. We ain’t supposed to.”


I could see where this was leading then I had an idea. “OK boys, listen up. You 2 are the only family I have so what I have will go to you when I die.”


“Noooooooooooooooo,” Charlie wailed. “Don’t die Daddy.”


I rubbed the back of his head and cooed softly into his ear. “Shhh son don’t cry; I’m not going to die any time soon.”


I wiped the tears from his cheeks, “W…why did you say it?”


I put my finger on his lips and spoke softly to him. “Son, one day we all will die, nothing can stop that. Now, when it’s my time, everything I have will go to you and JC. What I’m thinking is that the house we’re currently living it can be rented and a special account set up to cover the taxes, insurance and upkeep on it. That house will go to you Charlie. I know you and JC love each other and will probably want to live together for the rest of your lives so you two will be able to live on here and keep renting the other house or you can decide to sell it.”


“Really Dad,” Charlie asked as he started to smile. “Your house will become mine?”


JC put his finger on Charlie’s lips. “Our house, you mean.”


Charlie giggled. “Well OK but it is the one the Dad owns right now.”


We all started laughing. We went back in to the dining room and Ms. Donnelly had everything ready for me to sign. I sat down and started signing the forms. “Now sir, I’ll just need a check for $1,000.00 as a deposit.”


I’d forgotten my checkbook but then remembered, I always kept a check folded up in my wallet for emergencies. I dug it out then filled it in then she handed me my copies of the agreement. “When will we go to closing?”


She put the papers into a folder then pulled out her cell. “Like I said, they’ll accept your offer and they’re itching to move. I can try and arrange closing in 2 weeks.”


I nodded my head in approval then we left to go home. Ike patted me on the shoulder on the way out. “That was great the way you handled it Jerry.”


I smiled as the boys were talking amongst themselves. “This is a nice place and her cutting another 50 grand off made it even better. That money will go back to JC.”


Ike had to get back to the office for a late appointment with a client. When we got home, JC and Charlie disappeared down the hall. I took something out of the freezer to fix for dinner then sat down and relaxed. I was lost in thought but that was short lived when I had 2 teens drop in on my lap. “Dad, your room is going to need a bigger bed.”


I was taken aback by JC’s statement. “I thought there was plenty of room with the queen size bed.”


He had a devilish grin on his face. “There is but that room can handle a king size with no problem.”


“I take it you have a place for the queen to go?”


Charlie nodded. “Yep, that can go upstairs. We’ll probably need some new furniture for the bedrooms as well as the living room.”


The boys were right. While the furniture here was still good, some if it didn’t go with the decor of the new house. “Alright guys, we’ll go furniture shopping for the new house. What I think we should do is decide on what from here we should take with us and then buy accordingly.”


Both boys were excited about getting stuff for the new house. For them, it was a true family project and I would see to it that they each had a say in what we bought.

To be continued...


Posted: 07/25/08