Archive for the ‘WE the People’ Category

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Chapter 5

January 28, 2010

by Dahni

© Copyright 1/28/09

all rights reserved

Stop the Presses – Early Morning July 5th, 1966.

Maybe it was the smell of bacon cooking or the sounds his brother made in their room getting dressed, but Ben was awake and it was still dark outside. One lamp lit the room and he turned to see his brother packing last minute items into a duffle bag. He would be leaving soon, for a two-week Boy Scout camp. Ben got up and dressed and ventured towards the kitchen and the breakfast table. Mom was finishing up the eggs. Dad was already seated at the table and so was Ben’s little sister, already completely dressed. Soon, his brother joined them and they were all seated around the traditional ‘meals-always-together,’ Silent household.

Breakfast with the family was always in this manner and even at its normal time of six o’clock, it was early enough. But since Dad had to drop off his brother and was leaving himself for a long distance move, breakfast a half hour early, was really early, especially since Ben had only been asleep for a couple hours.

Breakfast was over and after the bye-bye-kiss-kiss-hug thing, his Dad and brother were gone by six. His little sister left the kitchen and was coloring in the living room. Maybe Ben felt a little guilty about what he had been involved with just a few hours earlier? Maybe there was some fear that he might somehow still be found out. Did he look guilty of anything? Was it somehow showing on his face? Whatever the reasons, he helped his mother clear the table, even without having to be asked. His mom apparently took notice, as she paused and glanced at Ben’s new found and un-asked-for helpfulness, but she said nothing and continued her work.

When the table had been cleared and wiped down, his mother said, “Thank you Ben, for your help, I’ve got it now, you can go.”

Ben returned to his room and just messed around with this and that for a couple of hours.  He was still tired, but his mind was still engaged in re-living his previous clandestine activities.

Eventually, the room was full of daylight, beaming through the many windows of his room. He heard his mother call his name. As he walked down the hall, he could see his sister now, in her room, on top of the bed, talking to and playing with her dolls and stuffed animals. He turned the corner, walked into the dining room and then into the kitchen. His mother had hand washed all the dishes, prepared lunch for later and was now working on the dinner meal. His mom was always like this, always busy and always preparing for whatever was next to do.

“Yeh Mom, what do you want?”

“Yeh’, Ben? Is Yeh’, a word in the English language mister,” his mom with sarcasm asked?

“No Mom, sorry, I meant yes. What can I do for you?”

“That is much better sir. Ben, could you go and check and see if the newspaper has been left on the porch, it wasn’t there earlier when you father left.”

“Sure Mom, no problem.”

Ben went into the living room and opened the front door, just as the doorbell rang. Standing in front of him on the porch were 5 or six little kids. He recognized one of them. The familiar kid,  lived in the neighborhood and had been at the 4th of July picnic the day before. Before Ben could ask what they wanted, the neighborhood boy spoke.

“Hi Mr. Ben, we’ll give you a quarter if we can see the hole in your head.”

Ben just stared at them. His eyes dropped and he saw the rolled newspaper, bent over, picked it up, turned away and walked back inside, closing the door behind him and he never said a word.

Back inside his mother called from the kitchen, “Who was at the door Ben?”

“Just some stupid little kids Mom.”

“Well, what did they want?”

“They offered me money to see where I burned my head yesterday.”

“Well, did you take it?”

Ben could see his mother laughing and trying to hide it. He wasn’t sure if she thought it was funny to her about the money or the whole ordeal that left him with a burnt spot on his scalp, now covered with a patch. He never answered her and it was good. She seemed to sense his anxiety and quickly changed the subject. “Was the paper on the porch?”

“Yes, Mom I have it.”

Ben sat down on the couch, removed the rubber band from the rolled up newspaper, and placed it on one of the end tables. Was he just being nice and doing this little favor for his Mom? Maybe sub-consciously, he was trying to earn some points with her, just in case his secret was found out? Ben was conflicted with various emotions.

Part of him was still excited over what he had participated in, had not be been caught at, and had not been found out, at least not at this point. Part of him was relieved that he had not been caught.

There was guilt and disgust that he had willfully done these things and laughed about it, even tossing that statue off a bridge and almost hitting a truck.

He was complicit in breaking curfew, trespassing, theft, destruction of private property and in hiding this secret, wasn’t he even guilty of lying too?

Ben also wondered who Peterson was. Why was he targeted or was it just random, a fluke, luck of the draw or what? And what was the big deal to Peterson, about that stupid elephant anyway?

Thoughts seemed to be running at breakneck speed. Perhaps this was the first time or the first time Ben was aware of, of so many different thoughts and feelings, all happening at the same moment in time.

On top of all this, Ben was a little fearful that his thoughts and inner feelings would be stolen by his face and show up there, revealing the whole thing!

All of these thoughts and emotions were like a bunch of rubber balls, bouncing off the roof of his brain and all at the same time.

Ben rarely read anything from the paper unless it was for some school assignment. He liked the funnies, but they were only in color on Sunday, just black and white for the rest of the week and fewer in number, than on Sunday. But since it was here and he had it in his hands, he might as well look and see if there was anything ‘funny’ today.

Ben turned the unrolled, but still half-folded paper to the front. His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the bold typeface headline and the large picture on its cover.

PRANKSTERS PILFER PETERSON’S PACHYDERM

   The picture said it all as Ben instantly recognized that this was the scene he had been part of, just a few hours earlier. But on that pad in front of Peterson’s house, the elephant had been replaced with something else, of near equal size and color. It was a white, concrete, donkey statue!

Ben had to read the entire article, word for word now! It began with a note from the editor of the newspaper.

   Dear Readers: We apologize for your paper being delivered later this morning than is our custom, but late breaking news compelled us to stop the presses, in order for this cover story to be inserted. Listening to a police scanner, our paper sent a reporter to deliver to you the following story. We felt this story important enough to halt printing, in order to alleviate any further concerns that might arise, because of it.

-editor

Police, responding to several calls from concerned citizens around 4:30 am this morning, were dispatched to the Greenwood and Slocum neighborhood, in the north east section of town.

Neighbors were startled from their slumber by a loud boom. When officers arrived on scene, lights were on throughout the neighborhood. Neighbors were mulling around; most still in their sleepwear, bathrobes and slippers; some were standing in the street and talking to each other.

Initially, it appeared as if theft was a motivation, as items seemed to have been stolen. In all actuality, kid’s bicycles, one red wagon, and other items that had been left outside of individual homes were not stolen, just moved. Even an entire child’s swing set had been moved from one house to an empty lot close by. An elderly couple with no children or grandchildren found a little girl’s pink bicycle, left in their driveway. A lawnmower, belonging to one neighbor was found next door. That neighbor, found their lawnmower, at another neighbor’s home.

The moved swing set had apparently been used to set off a miniature fireworks display. In front of the swing set was a hole about 2 feet across and almost as deep. Police determined that this hole and the sound that woke up the neighborhood was, most likely, caused by an exploding M-80, an illegal firework in city limits,  equivalent to about an 1/8th of, a stick of dynamite.

No witnesses or physical evidence that would lead to the identity of the culprits were discovered by the police.

All items thought to have been missing were found, with one exception.

Officer Mike O’Malley was first to arrive on the scene. One of the first calls to the station came from Owen Peterson, a local businessman and local chairman of the Republican Party. An icon or symbol of his political party is the elephant. Mr. Peterson HAD a small, white, concrete, elephant statue, sitting on a pad outside of his home. It was missing, but in its place was left a donkey of approximately the same size, weight and color. The donkey is the icon or symbol of, the Democratic Party.

When asked by Officer O’Malley if he thought this was politically motivated, Mr. Peterson responded, “No, not at all. I think it was just some pranksters, some juvenile delinquents, having some misguided fun.”

The police department completed their investigation and left. The neighbors dispersed and went back into their homes. It was assumed that most went back to bed, judging by the lights being turned back off. One officer was the last to leave. Your reporter stopped Officer Bill Strickland as, he was about to get into his patrol car.

Officer Strickland was asked about his thoughts on what crimes had been committed here. “That’s a good question,” Officer Strickland said. He continued.

“Nothing was determined to have been stolen, just moved around and later found. I’m not even sure this could be considered vandalism as nothing was really damaged except, for leaving a hole in an empty lot. The use of illegal fireworks is against the law, but that’s about all we could charge anyone with. Mr. Peterson has no wall or fence around his property and no signs posted, but I suppose if caught and he was of a mind to press charges, the person or persons responsible, could be charged with trespassing.”

At this point, Officer Strickland removed his hat and stared briefly skyward as if to, formulate his next words.

“Now,  Mr. Peterson’s elephant is missing, but whoever did this, they put a donkey in its place. Maybe it is of equal value? Who knows, maybe we’ll get a call about a missing donkey, replaced with Mr. Peterson’s elephant? If not, then I guess it has been stolen. Personally, I think it was some kids that did this and thought it was funny. In a way, it kind of is. But this is, sure one case to remember, I’ll say that!”

Officer Bill Strickland

Police are requesting any information about this incident, about the perpetrators and if anyone knows the whereabouts of Mr. Peterson’s property. Mr. Peterson laughed, smiled and said, “I just want my elephant back. I don’t think my party will appreciate this donkey, sitting in my front yard.”

   Ben was in near total shock as he finished reading the article. For one brief moment, he thought about hiding or getting rid of the paper, fearing his mother might put him somehow, into the picture. Then he wondered if the missing paper might make him appear suspicious and then he would have to give her a reason, for the missing paper. He did turn it over face down on the sofa as if, she might not read it or it would give him some extra time before she did.  Time, what did he need time for? Ben needed time to calm down, time to think and time, not to look suspicious and appear guilty, if his face was so found to, betray him.

He quickly stood up and loudly announced, “Mom, I’m going out for a while.”

“Alright Ben, be back in time for lunch.”

“OK, Mom.”

Ben walked out of the front door and down the street, not actually knowing where he was going and still in a daze over the article and his part in it.

Just a few houses down from his, sitting on the stoop of his front porch was Larry, who had been with him, just hours earlier.

As Ben was in direct line of the sidewalk leading up to Larry’s house, he heard his name being called.

“Hey, Ben, what’s up?”

“Hey Larry, nothing, I’m just taking a walk. What are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m waiting for my Dad to get home. I’m grounded now and he will probably make it even for longer, when he gets here.”

Curiously Ben asked, “Why, what did you do?”

“Well, when I got in this morning, everything was cool. I was just heading to my room when my Mom scared me, standing in the dark in the hallway and asked me where I had been.”

Ben was a little nervous now as he asked, “What did you tell her?”

“Oh, its OK, I just said I woke up early and went to Bob’s Corner Market to get a ‘Coke’ from the vending machine.”

“Did she believe you,” Ben wondered?

“Yeh, sure, I had the ‘Coke in my hand when she was asking me. My dad is gonna’ ground me for awhile, for being out past curfew, but Wow Ben, you sure missed a lot after you left last night! It was too funny! We took stuff from some houses and moved it to other houses. We blew off an M-80 and we even found this donkey and put it on the pad where Peterson’s elephant was. It was all sooooooo cool!”

“I know,” answered Ben.

“Well, what do you mean by that, this all happened after you left?”

“It’s in today’s newspaper.”

“Really, we don’t get the paper delivered. My old man picks one up when he goes to work. Well, what did it say?”

“The paper said pretty much what you already know, but the police have no clues about who did it.”

“Well, that’s cool Ben.”

At that moment, Larry’s dad pulled into the driveway. “See you Ben.”

Ben gave Larry a half-arm wave without speaking, walked off and a little list of never(s) was made.

Ben never saw Larry again, from that moment on, throughout the remainder of Jr. High School or high school, even though he lived just three houses away. It just worked out that way.

Ben would never again hang out with the ‘Bad Boys.’ He’d avoid contact, speaking with any of them or make some excuse if they ever invited him to anything again or even if, they spoke to him.

Ben made it home for lunch this day and on time, but his mother never suspected him. She never said a word to him about that article.

   Never was anyone involved with this incident, ever suspected or ever caught.

Ben would never talk about this with anyone except for one person, but that would be almost thirteen years later.

There was just four more never(s) in this list to be mentioned here. Ben would never be able to forget about this event and he would never forget two words from the article he read – “politically motivated.”

So on this fateful day, through cause and effect, Ben entered into the political area of thought and process, but he would never join either major party or any party and he was never invited to join any either. It just all worked out this way. But a strange future, for Ben was, beginning to unfold.

 

Chapter 5 Coming Soon

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Chapter 4

January 16, 2010

by Dahni

© Copyright 1/16/09

all rights reserved

Early Morning July 5th, 1966.

Besides knowing he felt cursed with the names he was given at birth; names of dead people that wore silly white powdered wigs and dressed funny, Ben knew little about the country he lived in and cared even less. He knew there were 13 original colonies and they were rebel rousers. Still stinging from the missile burn on the back of his head and at thirteen, he felt rebellious, but maybe 13 was unlucky after all. “No way,” Ben answered his own question, “I’ll make my own luck.”

Ben was born while President Eisenhower was still in office, a Republican. The next president would be a Democrat, but each had a vision which would forever shape Ben’s future.

During the administration of Eisenhower, the Interstate Highway System was set in motion. Even though this was essentially a military plan to move planes, troops, equipment and supplies during an emergency or threat of war, the entire country opened up to commerce, trade and travel. This new road system definitely helped Ben’s father and increased his earnings and that had a positive effect, on the whole family and Ben as well. The town they lived in was, of medium size, but still had several colleges and an even a university. It’s location in the center of the state and its proximity to the Interstate, brought a lot of people here. This made it possible for an amusement park to be built, which just happened to be adjacent to property, owned by Ben’s cousins. Motels sprung up, gas stations and fast food restaurants would soon be found at almost every exit off the highways. People began to explore the country, including the Silent family, for their annual summer vacation. The car and truck industry flourished, both with commercial and passenger vehicles.

The next administration had, a Democrat in the White House and his vision opened up space exploration, which culminated with men landing on the moon. But the real story here was how this was made possible. In a word it was – technology. In another single word, all this was made possible by, computers. Ben’s father’s business was moving and storage. He often brought home things given to him that were no longer needed, wanted or left behind, from moving people and their stuff, all across the country. One time, he brought home a used Texas Instrument Computer. It was crude and mostly just had games, but it was like the granddaddy of the personal computer or PC. Ben was the fortunate recipient of this item and he instantly took a great interest in computers.

For once in his life, Ben was at the right place and at the right time and not just once, but twice. These two visions, by two different men, from two different parties, opened new roads and new vistas to Ben. Travel and computers would remain a part of Ben’s life and his knowledge of these two subjects, would serve him well, later on.

His parents were Democrats and it seemed the whole town was as well. Ben could remember debating for his candidate in the first grade right, before they had a mock election. His candidate was John F. Kennedy. Ben recalled saying something like Nixon was creepy and Kennedy was cool. Not much of a debate, but Kennedy won in their election, just as he did in the real election.

Democrats were supposed to be, for the “little people,” the everyday common people and the Republicans were, for the rich people and big business. This is what Ben believed at the time. In a few years later he was in the 3rd grade and in class, when news came that this young president had been shot. Classmates and teachers and other adults in the whole school were in shock and weeping. He never liked his third grade teacher, but he sure admired her then, in how she kept everyone together during such, a horrible time.

If he despised American History and knew so little about it then, he hated politics now, because as far as Ben was concerned, it could kill you!

Ben did the only thing he could do. He put the whole thing out of his mind and just dreamed about possibility and opportunity and how great he would make his future.

American History came up again in the 7th grade with the presidential notebook he was supposed to make. But that was over; 7th grade was finished and it was summer. Today was the day of independence even though it was, just minutes away from being over. But Ben was declaring his independence.

Despite the twin stings of pain and embarrassment over wearing a patch over the back of his head, he was feeling rebellious. If he could have worn a hat to hide it, he would have. He did have a hat and it was summer, too hot to wear one. He only hoped that in the darkness, no one would notice the back of his head or he was not stopped by the police in route to his rendezvous with destiny. Yep, he was in a rebelling mood and there was more rebelling in store.

Ben knew he was rebelling against the authority of his parent’s rules and maybe even police authority. He knew, he would most likely have to invent something if he were caught by the police and for his folks, if they found out. He knew, he was rebelling, not only in sneaking out, but in hanging out with those he was meeting. He also knew that if he made it home and was not found out, he would be keeping secret, the lies of his true actions. There would be more rebellion and more secrets to hide, before this night was over.

Ben grabbed his bicycle and quietly walked it out of his back yard and down the street, for about a half of a block. Then he jumped on and pedaled like crazy, careful to avoid major streets. He traveled with the shadows and knew all the back ways, through fields and down hills, to get to the closed public park, where the group was to meet. He was almost there and was flying down the last hill, when behind him he heard a high pitched whistle. At the bottom of the hill he heard, “Hey Ben, wait up!”

The voice was a blast from his past. Ben waited and then one of his best friends from first grade, came into view.

After the first grade, someone or something saw fit to separate Ben, Larry & Luke, the three Amigos. The three all went to the same elementary school, Jr. High School and high school. They all lived in the same neighborhood and just a few houses away from each other. In later years, Ben would discover that all three would end up operating their own small, home improvement businesses. But that’s about all they had in common. Larry and Luke would enjoy golf, but not Ben.  Ben always seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. Even among these three, his name started with a different letter in the Alphabet, than the other two. And a little silver hair that he inherited from his all white-haired grandmother, made him an oddity, just like his name. Ben would later ponder how odd it was that he never saw Luke again, even though they lived just a few houses away from each other, for many years.

But this voice, Ben had not heard or had not even seen this face since they were forbidden to see each other again, one summer afternoon after 6th grade. Larry’s father had caught them sitting on top of the roof of a bathroom in a park, smoking.

But for now and after nearly two years, here was Larry, another example of Ben’s rebellion. Larry called out to him, “Hey Ben, where you going?”

Ben told Larry he was meeting some friends at Egan Park. “Really,” Larry spoke with enthusiasm, “How cool is this, that’s where I’m going.”

Maybe Larry did not notice the patch on his head or maybe he just never said anything about it. Ben was grateful, for what ever the reason and they rode silently together, the rest of the way to the park.

Egan Park was closed at 11:00 PM each night. The one road which led to the center pavilion was closed by a padlocked chain link gate. The park was surrounded by trees so it offered plenty of cover. Once in awhile, a police officer would park the patrol car at the street and walk up the hill, just to get some exercise or drive to the chain fence, get out and check on things around the pavilion. But a shining flashlight, always gave one plenty of notice to hide among the trees. None came this night, at least while they were there.

At the pavilion, there were just a few others. A few more stragglers showed up and hid their bikes among the dense forest, surrounding the shelter. Everyone was waiting for Ted, the leader or instigator of this band of misfits. Anyone with the guts to plant a bag of real ‘weeds’ in his locker and cause such a commotion, certainly deserved to be the leader. At least, he had the respect of everyone, waiting for him at the park.

Suddenly, they saw car headlights and it was coming up the gravel road toward them. Fearing the possibility that this was the police, they all ran for cover.

Nearly blinded by the headlights, no one could see what type of car this was. Then the lights went off and the driver side door opened. It was Ted. “Hey you guys hiding or what,” he called out into the darkness, “Let’s get this party started!”

The front seat passenger door opened and another guy, Ben did not know, got out. Ben was the first to come out of the shadows and soon everyone else followed. There were a total of 13 hellions, all around thirteen in age, including Ted and this other guy, standing in front of the car. The engine was still running.

“Where’d ya get the cool ride Ted,” Ben asked?

“It’s my old man’s,” Ted replied.

Incredulously, Ben went on to inquire, “You mean your Dad let you borrow his car?”

“Oh, hell no, he’s asleep. Me and my friend Scott here, opened the garage door, rolled it out, pushed it into the street, rolled it down the hill about a block from my house, then I popped the clutch and well, here we are,” Ted explained.

In those days, if the vehicle had a manual transmission, the only thing you needed a key for was, if you did not have a downhill incline or sufficient ‘people-push-power’ to get it up to speed, to pop the clutch and engage the engine. Ted didn’t have a key. And he wasn’t even old enough to drive.

Ben was closest to the car and it was a good thing. Ted spoke again, “Four in front and four in back, the rest of you guys are out of luck.” With that, there was a mad scramble to get a seat in the car. Of course, Ted was driving, so he had his. Scott guarded his seat by holding onto the door he got out of, so everyone else knew, he was riding ‘shotgun.’ Ben ran to the rear door, on the driver’s side and claimed, “Window seat is mine!”

Soon the car was full and they were off, leaving the rest staring, disappointed and disgusted as the car backed down the long gravel road and then disappeared.

One such left youth was vocal in his displeasure. “Why the hell did Ted invite us, if we don’t get to do anything?” There was a swift reply to his question.

“You’re not too smart are you? Everyone knows you invite more people to a party than necessary, because, not everyone will show up!”

The first one that spoke, came beck with this: “Well, I wonder how many he invited?”

  1. answered, “Now this is the odd thing, exactly the same number that showed up!”

K.’s real name was Kahil, but most people had trouble pronouncing it, so he was just K. His full name is, Kahil Christopher Abrams. He was given his first name by his mother because, she admired the poet, Kahil Gibran. If Ben had his problems with his name, he had no clue what real problems are, when it comes to names! Kahil’s mother is a Muslim and his father is Jewish. K. supposed they were just real progressive parents as they threw in the Christian name of Christopher, right in the middle. But like Ben, he understood what it felt like to be treated as an outsider; different. He, along with everyone invited to this outing, were all odd-balls. But being part of a group, any group, even this group, had appeal and some comfort in, just belonging.

But before this night, neither Kahil or Ben had ever met nor even knew the other existed. Even this night, they still never met and would hold no memory of seeing each other here. But years later, in high school, they would meet and the connection started from that they were both here, this night.

The joy-ride- crew, drove around side streets and avoided any major roads or intersections. Several were smoking and then Ted produced a single  can of beer, he had lifted from home. One beer shared among eight was not going to do much, but it was still exciting.

After driving up the longest and steepest road in town, they turned the corner and Ted turned off the lights and slowly drove past the largest house in town. Even at night, it was the most beautiful home, Ben had ever seen. Soon, the car pulled to the side of the road and stopped. Ted opened his door and said, “Scott, you stay here and drive if it’s needed. The rest of you guys, let’s go.”

Everyone was thinking it, but no one asked, ‘Go where?’ They would find out soon enough. Ben was close to Ted now and wondered, “Hey Ted, whose house is that big white mansion back there?”

“Oh, that’s old man Peterson’s house and that’s where we’re going.”

The instructions were given explicitly and with precision. Ted barked out orders like a general –

“You two guys, go scout out a wagon, there’s plenty of kids that live around here. Go find a wagon or cart and bring it back here. The rest of you follow me and keep quiet.”

Fortunately for Ben, he was right next to Ted and there was no way he wasn’t going to go along with him, just to see what he was cooking up.

This was years before security systems, motion detectors, outside lighting and spot lights would become common. The large estate sat on an acre of land, but there was no wall or fence surrounding it. The grounds were nicely landscaped with trees, partially bordering the property; ornamental trees, shrubs and flower beds surrounded the house. The driveway to the house was partially obscured by trees, but the house could still be seen from the road.

Peterson’s estate was dark except an area about twenty feet from the front door. A single gas lamp around ten feet tall, cast its soft glow upon a ornately tiled patio, ten feet long by ten feet wide. The lamp and uncovered patio had been placed here for a reason. In the center of the patio was a white statue. It was not until they got closer that Ben was able to make out the form.

As if anticipating Ben’s question, Ted whispered, “Don’t worry, Peterson doesn’t have any dogs.”

The cloud covered moon, streetlights and the lamp near the patio provided both sufficient light and enough darkness, to make and hide their approach. They waited behind some bushes near the patio. Ted sent one of them back to see if the other two guys had found a wagon yet. In a soft, but stern voice, Ted told him to go get the other two, “Bring the wagon back here. Be quick and quiet about it. We’ll wait right here until, you get back.”

Just after the one guy left was when, Ben saw the form of the statue on the patio. It was a white, concrete elephant, about three foot tall, prominently displayed in the center of the patio. It obviously had some meaning and importance to Peterson, but Ben had no idea what it was.

While the rest waited for the other three to return, a couple of them lit cigarettes, including Ben. Hiding in the bushes, they were far enough away from the street and from the house to be seen.

Soon, the other three returned with a child’s red wagon. The group moved slowly and quietly into position around the patio. Ted directed with gestures and pointed at each person. It took four of them to lift the elephant and place it into the wagon. Ben and another, held the wagon steady. It was good that it had not rained for sometime and the ground was dry. Otherwise, it would have been difficult to pull and push the wagon through the grass, making ruts or worse, getting it stuck.

Pushing and pulling the wagon, they made it to the street. Scott got out of the driver’s side of the car. Ted opened the back door on the driver’s side and grabbed a screwdriver, laying on the floor board in the backseat. With the screwdriver, he was able to pop the trunk like a professional carjacker. The elephant was carefully lifted from the wagon and laid on its side in the trunk. The wagon was left behind a bush, just off the street, in someone’s yard. Ted closed the trunk lid. The group got back into the car, slowly drove about a block from view of Peterson’s house and then Ted turned on the headlights.

There was just laughing and meaningless banter inside, while Ted seemed to be driving with purpose. They kept to side streets and back roads. Soon, lights faded in the distance behind them. The road was dark and there were no other lights except for their head lights.

It looked as if they were driving somewhere out in the country. After nearly 20 minutes, they had not seen another vehicle on this road.

They went up a small hill, Ted turned off the lights and the car came to a stop in the center of, an older one lane bridge, little used, but well maintained. This particular bridge was just a few miles outside of city limits and it crossed over the Interstate highway, around thirty feet below.

Ted was the first to get out and everyone else followed his lead. Once again, he popped the trunk. They lifted the elephant out, carried it and lifted it and then balanced it on the handrail of the bridge. Then they pushed it off. As it fell, a semi-truck crested the top of the hill on the highway and came barreling down the highway, towards them. The elephant smashed into innumerable pieces and scattered all across the two-lane highway. Just another second or two and it would have hit the truck. The truck drove right over the broken pieces, seemingly without any problems.

Ted raced back to the car and got in, with everyone quickly doing the same thing. They backed off the bridge, turned the car around and headed back to where they came from.

It was real animated and vocal inside the car now. “WOW, I can’t believe it,” was one comment. Another said, “Yeh that was too cool.”

They ‘high-fived’ and slapped each other on the back; congratulating each other for a job well done. There was laughter and cajoling and even Ben participated, but? But he silently wondered if anyone else, felt like he did?

Ben had never done anything like this before. He had broken some stuff belonging to his older brother and tried to hide it, but always got caught. He had snuck out of the house before and with his brother. He smoked cigarettes and even once in awhile, stole some change from his Dad’s pocket or from his mother’s purse, but, but never anything like this. He tried to mask his true feelings, growing now inside of him and just went along with the ridiculous chatter inside the car. Yes, he had gone along with the whole thing. He was disgusted about it, disappointed in himself and was in shock over what they had just done.

Soon, it grew quiet inside the car and Ben was feeling quite uncomfortable. He saw an opportunity and took it. “Hey Ted, could you drop me off at the park. My brother and my Dad both have to get up real early and I need to get home before they wake up.”

“Yeh, sure dude, no problem,” Ted answered. It all seemed to be  an acceptable and plausible reason, for him to end the night of mischief. He could detect no suspicious feelings among the group that he just really wanted, to leave this all behind.

As they approached the gravel road to Eagan Park, Ted said, “Hey Ben, how’s this, I’ll even give you curb-service.” “Cool, Thanks Ted,” Ben replied.

They drove up the road and stopped at the locked chain link gate, stretched across the road. The lights were doused. As Ben got out of the back seat, incredulously, the same five guys they left, all emerged from the shadows. Ben did not know any of them, only that there were five. His mind was on just getting away from this car, getting home and getting rid of this whole experience, leaving it far behind!

Ben walked up to the driver’s window and said to Ted, “Hey, Thanks Ted.”

“Yeh, sure, dude.” The words no sooner had left Ted’s lips when he turned towards the other five and said,  “Got room for one more of you dudes.”

One got in, the car backed down the road. His friend (formerly separated since first grade and that he was banned from seeing since the 6th grade friend) Larry, from his neighborhood, stayed in the car. Ben never looked back or said another word to the other four guys, left standing at the pavilion. He grabbed his bike and took off for home. The other four, including Kahil, all went home, their separate ways.

After getting back home, going through the basement window and changing back into his pajamas, Ben quietly walked past his parent’s bed, his heart racing from biking and from a little fear that they might either be awake or wake up as he walked past their bed.  He opened the door to his room and got into bed. He glanced at the clock on his night stand. It was right at three O’clock in the morning.

Ben had snuck out and snuck back in, without being caught. He had navigated to Eagan Park without detection. The juvenile group he joined, had successfully stolen a car, a can of beer, cigarettes, a white elephant, a kid’s wagon and hurled that elephant off a bridge, watching it smash into bits and all without encountering the police or any other adult. That’s all pretty huge and full of, plenty of reasons to celebrate and to be proud. But the grin on Ben’s face soon soured and as he stared at the ceiling, reality came crashing down.

Why had he done this? Was it just to be part of a group; to be accepted? He did not know this Peterson person. He did not purposely enjoy destroying stuff, especially if it belonged to others and for no reason. Ben gasped at the possibility of that truck driver being hit by the elephant. What if it did; what if it caused an accident or worse, what if the driver had been injured or even killed? Ben remembered laughing about this along with everyone else in the car. It wasn’t so funny to him now.

Ben knew it would only be a couple of hours, before his brother and his Dad would be up and that meant, everyone would have to be awake and eat breakfast together. Two hours of sleep was not much and Ben’s brain was running at breakneck speed, thinking on these things.

Still, somehow, he finally drifted off to sleep. The last three things he thought about were wondering what else the group did after he left, why was that elephant so important to Peterson and who was he anyway?

 

Click here to: Chapter 5

h1

Chapter 3

July 10, 2009

by Dahni

© Copyright 7/10/09

all rights reserved

AmericanEagle_tiny

Monday July 4, 1966

It may have been a special day in history and a holiday, for most people, but to Ben, it was, ‘Independence Interrruptus.’

It was already summer and that in and of itself was a holiday for Ben. It was not that he minded so much in spending time with the family, but he was growing up and at least inside his own mind, he had already declared his independence.

If this day was a celebration of a rebellion, Ben was on his way to his own rebellion. He was after all, just a new teenager, thirteen years old to be exact. Some may view 13 as an unlucky number, marked with apostasy and rebellion, but there was once just 13 colonies at the start of the Revolutionary War and Ben was born on the 13th. This is all Ben knew about, American History. He was 13 and it sure seemed to be a lucky number to him.

He could patiently wait out time with the family. The food would be good and fireworks later would amuse him, but plans for yet an unknown adventure, were already set for later this night.

But the day’s agenda was set, for him, by his parents. They met at the home of his little-known cousins.  They lived on a farm, but it was technically in city limits. Adjacent to their property was an amusement park.

Everyone showed up around 12:30 in the afternoon and brought food and lawn chairs. The meal started around one o’clock. The food was good, but the conversation was pretty strained because, Ben did not know most of these people very well and could relate barely to  none of them. Most of the kids were younger than him so, there was not much for him to do except, eat, watch people and wait.

He waited for it to get later in the day, when fireworks were shot off. He waited for the amusement park, to shoot off their display after dark. But mostly, he waited, for this day to be over and his later planned activities, to begin.

At first, the older kids shot off their fireworks and that went pretty well. Adults helped the younger ones with their sparklers and little black pellets once lit that turned into coiling ashes that looked liked snakes. There were firecrackers and the occasional loud boom of a cherry bomb or a M80. There were some fountains and roman candles. All seemed to be shot off without a hitch; out of harms way from the rest of the party, until…

Some adult took a miniature missile launcher and was trying to steady it on a rock. The new missile launch site (the rock), was in front of everyone and closer than where the other fireworks were shot off. As the man lit the pack of 20 missiles, it started to fall from the rock. He caught it and quickly tried to balance it back on the top of the rock, before he ran away. Ben was sitting between two people and all three were in lawn chairs. Ben just happened to look up and out of the corner of his eye, as the missiles began to fire. Instead of firing straight up, they blasted off in several directions and one of them was heading straight towards Ben. The others beside him never saw it coming.

As if by instinct, Ben threw open his arms and knocked over the two chairs and those in them, on either side of him. Picking themselves up off the ground they stared at Ben and one even said, “What’s wrong with you, have you lost your mind?”

Ben heard the words, but they seemed to go in one ear and out the other, for he was running now. Call it a fluke or just his dumb luck, but one missile seemed to be honing in on him, as if he were transmitting some radar signal. It zigged and zagged as he did. Ben finally stopped trying to outsmart the missile and quit looking over his shoulder. All he could think of was to try and outrun it.

Suddenly, Ben felt a sharp stinging sensation in the back of his head. He was hit. His hair was on fire as he instinctively tried to pat it out with the back of his right hand. Most of the missile fell to the ground and Ben quickly stamped it out with his foot, not even thinking it could have blown his foot off. But, there was a hole in the back of his head, where his hair used to be, about the size of a silver dollar. The skin there had burned and his head still felt like it was on fire.

Someone threw water on the back of his head. His cousin, whose home they were visiting was, a registered nurse. She quickly ran into the house and returned with some alcohol, triple antibiotic ointment, gauze and surgical tape. As she worked on Ben, she assured his mother that was watching this scene with eyes of horror, that he would be OK. While she continued speaking to Ben’s mom, Ben’s face seemed to contort as the alcohol was poured over the back of his head. At that moment, he was not sure which was worse, his injury or the even more intense, burning sensation, he now felt.

There was no need to go to the hospital. He just needed to keep his head dry and change the bandages and reapply the ointment once a day. “He’ll be fine,” she assured Ben Mom’s. She then handed the extra bandages and the ointment to his mother and handed Ben a couple of aspirins for the pain. She never spoke to Ben.

No one ever said I’m sorry or asked if he was all right. The people he had knocked over never said thank you, for possibly saving them from what he took the blunt of. But Ben certainly seemed to display the characteristics of the kind of person, you want to be around during a crisis.

There was a little crowd standing around him as he was all patched up and sitting back in his chair. Among them was his brother that just started laughing at him. His own farther started to do the same, but covered his mouth with his hand and contained himself. Everyone went back to the party. Ben was now sitting by himself as if he, were some freak. Finally, the aspirins kicked in and he felt somewhat better. There was no way he would miss out on his plans later, even if he was in pain and despite the embarrassment he felt. But he would re-visit this embarrassment, the very next day as news of this event would spread and he would answer his own doorbell and see 5 or six little kids standing on his porch. One kid would have been at the picnic and saw what had just happened to him. This little kid would be the spokesperson for this little group, to stand in front of Ben.

“We’ll give you a quarter if we can see the hole in your head.”

Ben would stare in disbelief, never speak, and since it was there, bend over and pick up the newspaper, then turn away and walk back inside, closing the door behind him.

But this would all happen the next day. Ben was still waiting for the best of the rest of, this day!

It took for forever it seemed, for it to get dark. But right at 9:00 PM, the amusement park began, its fireworks show. The party had a fantastic view and Ben was in the middle of that view. It was a great display and though it only lasted for about 20 minutes, Ben could not wait to leave and those 20 minutes might just have well been hours.

Those twenty minutes could not compare to the nearly two hours later it would take, before Ben could make his escape to freedom.

They arrived back home around 10 o’clock in the evening. It was a work night for Ben’s father, so he would be going to sleep soon, or so Ben hoped. The Silents’ were early risers anyway, whether anyone wanted to get up early or not. When all were at home, the family always ate meals together, unless someone was really very sick or had ‘BEN,’ sent to their room.

Ben believed his brother could sleep around the clock if he could, but he had to get up early the following day, to leave for Boy Scout Camp. His younger sister was placed into her bath and she would soon be fast asleep. Mom was in the kitchen washing dishes and putting things away. His older brother had undressed and was in bed, reading his scout book. Their father was in the living room, watching the news and local weather on television.

“Jeez, will they ever go to sleep,” Ben wondered silently. Eventually, the last bit of water drained from the bathtub and his sister was quiet and sound asleep in her own bedroom. Ben had to share his room with his older brother, in a room that was built as a study off the master bedroom, where his parents slept. Two glass-paneled French doors were all that separated the two rooms. There were no curtains on the doors. The doors were closed at night, but he could see into his parent’s room and they could see into his and his brother’s. It wasn’t so close that you could hear everyone breathing, but everyone in each room could, pretty much hear ever sound between the two.

It was bad enough having to share a bedroom with his older brother, but having such an open view and right next to his parents was worse. The foot of his brother’s bed was just inside one of the French doors and against the outside wall. At least he had a window near his head. Ben had more wall space and the foot of his bed still allowed enough room to open and close the other door. His bed was placed against the side wall and his head against another outside wall.

This little corner world was the only privacy Ben had, but it was his world, complete with pictures and a collage of stuff, all – stapled, push-penned, taped, glued and nailed to the wall, next to his bed.

It was kind of hard to make the bed since it was right next to the wall, but Ben did not mind. At least his parents could not see him, unless they came into the room.

Ben undressed, put on his pajamas, got into bed and stared at the ceiling, for what seemed like forever. He waited and waited.

His brother closed the book he was reading, turned off his lamp and finally fell asleep. He could hear his mother in her room inside the closet on the other side of the wall next to his bed. She was probably getting her nightgown, he thought. After several more endless minutes, Ben could hear footsteps coming from the living room and finally, heard his dad get into bed. Ben waited and he waited and he waited.

Finally, he heard the familiar sound of night at the Silent Home. His dad was now snoring and that was how, he knew his dad was asleep.

His mother could not fall asleep hearing his Dad snore, so Ben knew she had to have already been asleep, before his Dad got into bed. Ben needed to make sure both were in a deep sleep, before he could leave.

Even though there was a separate entrance to this room from the outside, Ben knew from experience that when his brother had tried to sneak out using this door, their mother had always awakened and caught him in the act. Ben also knew that his brother tried to change his escape plan through a basement window and was still, always caught, but for some reason, never when Ben went with him. It was weird and Ben knew the only reason he ever allowed Ben to go with him was, he would probably never get caught. And they never were. This would be Ben’s first adventure on his own, but not without some careful planning, far in advance.

Ben silently rose from bed and slowly turned the door knob; carefully opening the door to his parent’s room and gently closing it behind him. He paused at the side of his parent’s bed, running several answers through his mind, should either or both parents wake up and ask him what he was doing, standing over them in the dark.

His eyes had already adjusted to the darkness of the room. It was a well lit night and there was a street light, beaming through open screened windows. Ben could see both of his parents were asleep and his father was snoring loudly. He pulled the flashlight out of his pocket to light his way through te darkened house.

Ben walked downstairs to the basement and pulled a bag of clothes he had previously stashed overhead, on top of a heating duct of the furnace. He quickly undressed in the dark and dressed from the contents of the bag, stuffing his pajamas and slippers inside and then repositioned the bag above the duct.

Slowly, quietly and carefully, Ben unlatched the basement window, climbed up on a table he had placed there directly underneath and holding the window open with one hand, he crawled out and closed the window behind him. Once outside, Ben waited just a little while, to see if he heard any sound coming from inside of the house or if any lights came on. The coast was clear and Ben was free!

But free for what?

 

Click here to: Chapter 4

h1

Chapter 2

July 10, 2009

by Dahni

© Copyright 6/21/09

all rights reserved

AmericanEagle_tiny

The new Jr. High school wasn’t that new, but it was brand new to Ben. And so he thought, so would life be, for him. A new school meant new classes and new faces that did not know him and maybe a new chance at not being made fun of over his name. It would not all be new, not exactly the same as before, just different. But unlike elementary school when all the subjects are taught in the same classroom by the same teacher, here he would have many teachers and many subjects, which unfortunately, for Ben, included, American History. But only American History he was interested in was, making history in America. History would be his-story.

Maybe the old “have you Ben Silent long,” thing, was just grade school; just old school? Maybe things would be different here. And so they were, just not as he would have preferred or anticipated.

This new school became necessary, to fill the need for the many young adults which were, mostly coming from the western part of town. Many of these students were from, the upper middle class and the upper class. Ben was kind of like, on the border of the district. It was like being the middle child in his family. He was too far from one school and, for some strange reason, too close to another.  But he had to go to this one in the ‘middle.’

It was modern and newer for sure, but so was he, for the most part and not too many knew him. Ben was glad that his brother was no longer at this school and was already in high school. Maybe students, staff and teachers would not connect him with his brother. Maybe he would not have to live up to his brother’s athletic and scholarly reputation that he made here? Ben was glad that so few knew him here and this was just fine and he preferred to forget about the past and many of those from it. But most of the students here knew each other. The rich kids came from homes with their own swimming pools or were part of a private pool.  Several had their own horses.  They had fine clothes and just lots of stuff. They hung out together and had been inside each others homes. They went to the same parties. Ben was an outsider and they looked at him and treated him as an outsider, like someone that came, “from the other side of the tracks.”

He was not stupid. He could see them stare and whisper behind his back when he was at the drinking fountain or his locker. They were either too stupid or just did not care that they whispered loud enough for him to hear. These people did not know him. They didn’t know anything about him. What was worse is that they didn’t even ask. Apparently, it was unnecessary, as Ben was sure that they thought they were so smart, they had him all figured out? Ben was from the wrong side of town. He didn’t come from money and certainly did not possess the proper pedigree of snobbery and social graces. So he must be one of those ‘bad boys,’ a ‘hood’ or some other unseemly character. Grade school was looking good to Ben now. At least there, he knew why people tried to take advantage of him. But here, this was something new alright. It was something unexpected and not something he was prepared to deal with. Ben now had a reputation. And it was a bad reputation, one of which, he had not earned.

There was not a few that acted like Ben was being portrayed. Some of them even came from money and the ‘right’ side of town. But the ‘cool’ people must have had an answer to this abnormality. They must have not had the right kind of breeding, the right ‘papers’ and they must not have had, the right ‘kind’ of money. Then again, sometimes trouble just courses through the veins of some people, no matter where they come from.

Ben felt with all this new pressure, it was pointless to try and defend that he was NOT one of the ‘bad boys.’ He really didn’t want to be one of ‘them’ or one of  ’those’ rich snobs either. Nothing was new in this. There he was, stuck in the middle again. Oh well, if he couldn’t beat them, he might as well join them. And the bad boys had no memberships, they just took anybody. For the first time, Ben had friends. But it would be several more years until he knew, what a friend really was.

There was still, a lot of really new stuff going on in this school.  It was the first time he would be in a school, for just three years. Sooner or later and for most, it would be the first time in becoming teenagers.  But there were a couple of students that were held back a grade or two. There was one guy in the eighth grade that already had his driver’s license and even his own car. He was one of those ‘rich ‘kids,’  but slow, dumb or never doing the work, his background offered him no favors. This place was different. They did not take crap or put up with anyone or anything. They expected you to be here on time, in your seat and do the work. Ben would have to become much more imaginative to test and beat their system.

There were new hormones moaning here. Girls were getting interesting to guys and the girls were attracted to the guys. Girls were budding and the boys were beginning to bulge. Some were slower than others to mature. One girl, lost her toilet tissue stuffing, and ran down the hall in tears with the TP streaming and trailing behind her, while others laughed. Cruelty, meanness and teasing was not new here, it was just evolving.

What’s the big deal about being different? Everyone is different anyway, so why is it necessary to brand people, elevate some and lower others? These questions had no answers for Ben. But it just seemed like eating your favorite comfort food, if you could just be in a group. Accepted not for who you were or even what your wore did not matter, just as long as, you were part of a group. Like a real family, pretty much all one had to do was just show up and you were ‘in.’

Besides all this stupid pecking order, grouping, groping, and gushing gee-whiz eyelash batting and impress the girls with some bravado, there was school to deal with too. Classes and teachers all seemed to have the same agenda, to get knowledge into heads of these emotional creatures and get them passed on to the next grade and for the next group of teachers to deal with. This school had a reputation to uphold. The whole city did. There were several colleges in town and a university. The whole town was based, built and thriving on education. The schools, colleges and the university here were, known across the country, for its educational standards.

Ben was running out of excuses. This first year of the three years he would be here, would be the last time he could use his grade school ploy of getting out of class and going home.

“I split my pants,” was just not cutting it anymore. This place was advanced. They would not put up with crap. They had ‘the enforcer’ to paddle the butts of smart-asses. They also had duct tape, which to Ben was more embarrassing than even getting his bare butt paddled. “Oh he knew the drill, “Drop your pants and bend over!” Here, if you split your pants, they would cover the hole with gray duct tape. They could also send you to the gym teacher to borrow some gym shorts. And of course, one would have to wear them over the pants that split on purpose or for real. Duct tape or shorts over your pants, everyone knew and you weren’t going home, until the end of the day.

One needed to be a much more creative here; a highly evolved and an intellectual giant, to foil the smart people in charge here. One guy got out of school after the police showed up and raided his locker, for a reported bag of ‘weed.’ No one thought that was too funny when it turned out to be just that, a plastic bag with dried weeds in it. It did get him out of school though. Ben did not have the guts or the stupidity to try something like that. It was bad enough that he was hanging around the guy, the unofficial crowned leader of the bad boys. Ben didn’t even like him. But Ben was after all, part of a group and that had to count for something.

With the lack of fortitude or just too smart to waste time on such a scheme, Ben had no choice, but to stay in school, day after boring day, unless, unless once in awhile there was something interesting or something that interested him Yes, Ben actually stayed in school longer than he was used to or desired to.  And by that fact alone, he might even learn something. WOW, what a concept, in school and learning!

There was still a lot of looking out of the window and dreaming whenever he could get away with it, but these teachers were smarter and much more aware than what he was used to.

There was art class and Ben enjoyed it and his teacher encouraged him. He aced the class.

There was English, which started out poorly, but changed after a confrontation with his teacher in class. Besides gym, this was Ben’s first male teacher. The girls went gah-gah over the blond haired, blue eyed good looking guy in his Ivy League sport coat. He wore a three piece suit or a jacket and a tie every day and he was smart. But Ben could not stand the guy.

One day, Ben was looking out the window. Then all of sudden, the room was silent. That was loud enough to catch Ben’s attention. When he turned back towards class to see what was going on, everyone was staring at him and his teacher did not look too happy.

“It is nice of you to rejoin us Ben,” was the next sarcastic thing Ben heard. And that was followed by spontaneous laughter, in unison from the whole class. Ben’s eyes must have turned red, not his face with embarrassment, but his eyes with anger. He was about to explode.

Mr. Mason raised his hands for effect. “Quiet class, perhaps Ben has a reason for his not paying attention. Ben, can you answer this question?”

Ben could see several smirks from jerks and he could feel the vein in his neck throbbing, as he waited for the shoe to fall. He it come he thought.

“Ben, can you give us a reason why, you cannot seem to afford to pay attention.”

Ben was just infuriated now and he just let loose.

“Yeh, I can give you two. I was told that public education is supposed to be free so, I don’t have to ‘pay’ attention. And even IF I had to pay attention, no one ever told me how much I’d have to pay attention!”

It was out now. Nothing Ben could do about it but wait for whatever was coming next. But he vented. He spoke up. He did not just sit there a take whatever this arrogant teacher wanted this room of mindless rats to think and do. Yes, he was glad he spoke his mind and he felt a little better. But he was still mad and nervous too, waiting on whatever was coming.

Heads turned to the front of the room and some were lowered as if they were ducking to avoid the crossfire of something being thrown from the front of the room to the back at Ben. The room was instantly and strangely silent. The pause seemed to last for an eternity.

“Ben, you have been silent, far too long! That was without a doubt, the funniest thing I have ever heard.”

Then Mr. Mason did something Ben had never seen him do before. He laughed. And Ben found himself, for perhaps the first time, not being laughed at. His teacher was just laughing. And others were too.

From that moment on, Ben and Mr. Mason bonded. Now no one ever said a word to him after class, but Ben had something from all them that day. It was something that he had never had before. Maybe just a little bit, but Ben had respect. Ben aced English. And from that day forward, no one ever made his name, the blunt of a joke, ever again. Oh, there would be some implied smiles, but never was his name used to cause him grief.

Other subjects and other teachers were not able to reach Ben. He tried football and was deemed too small for the line. He was moved to the back and actually started to both enjoy it and got better at it. But who gets kicked off the football team for smoking? And who flunks gym when, all one had to do was to show up and take a shower? If anyone could accomplish these things it would be Ben and he did. Ben picked up the nasty bad-boy group habit of smoking. He never liked it. He thought his lungs were going to explode the first time he inhaled. And cigarettes stunk and made his breath smell and his clothes. He even noticed nicotine stains on his fingers. His teeth started to yellow. He really had to be careful to hide not just this secret from his mother and father, but that he hated smoking from ‘his group.’ “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That was a stupid line he heard and remembered, but it did apply to Ben. But speaking of stupid, how stupid is it to be caught smoking on school grounds,  right after practice and by your football coach? Ben was kicked off the team that very day. But the coach never told his parents and he was grateful for that.

Taking a shower and even showering with other guys didn’t bother Ben The problem was, it was difficult to grade a student that rarely showed up for class. No class? No need for a shower. Neither or not much of either? No passing gym class. Like before, pretty much all you have to do to pass gym is, show up and take a shower.

Ben just could not get math. Algebra might have well been a foreign language to Ben. Some referred to this branch of math as ‘algae-bra’ a tiny female sea creature with small breasts with not ‘enough’ to fill it out, like the brassiere worn by the poor girl who had lost her TP stuffing. Those were some really educated  thoughts, NOT! But, Ben was, really good at counting, especially the minutes and the seconds on the clock, before this boring class was over; school was out, for the day or the week or the summer.

Music class was cool to Ben. He loved to sing. He was quite fond of his young an attractive music teacher. All the guys seemed to love to be quite taken with her. She directed many a musical and several plays. Ben noticed that she frequently sat at lunch in the cafeteria with his English teacher, Mr. Mason. They must have talked about him and his story-telling. She once asked Ben to modify one of the scripts in a play and develop a new character and dialogue. He loved that. And on Fridays, his music teacher would often gather the whole class around a circle, dim the lights and quietly start to adlib just some soft instrumental music, strumming her guitar. “Ben, tell us a story,” she would say. He did and often. Ben loved those times. Maybe it was the low lighting? Maybe it was her strumming. Maybe both, but it was like  sitting around a campfire, just making up stories that he loved most that got him outside of himself and his ordinary shyness. Ben aced music class.

Social studies? Taught by Mrs. Warton? Most students called her, Mrs. War, not to her face, but behind her back because, she was tough. She had what seemed like, a war with Ben and Ben battled her, the whole year. If he somehow survived and made it through jr. high, her husband, Mr. ‘War,’ would be waiting, for him in high school. Little did Ben realize then, but the very first person he would meet in high school was, Mr. Warton. Ben imagined that he and his wife Mrs. Warton must have sat around the kichen table and discussed him, probably the worst student she ever had.

For the present, it was Mrs. Warton. She taught social studies. And that particular year their was a big focus on American history. Ben thought he had died and gone to hell because not only did the subject bore him, it was required to produce the dreaded, ‘presidential notebook’ as a major portion of his grade. “Oh, my God, here we go again,” Ben thought.  “Here we go again with all those dead guys and dead presidents.”

Benjamin Franklin who? Thomas Jefferson who? And his presidential notebook? Not memorable and incomplete. His boredom and utter discontent was, complete!

To this day, Ben does not understand how he ever graduated into the 8th grade, sucking at math, failing social studies and flunking out of gym. Perhaps it was a mercy passing? Maybe it was a “he’s got potential,” passing? Then again, possibly, it was because they had to pass everyone or lose their standing as one of the a top Jr. high schools in the country? Whatever the reasons or however it was done, Ben was glad to get the hell away from American History and ready to dive, headlong into summer.

What a summer it would be!

 

Click here to: Chapter 3

h1

Chapter 1

July 10, 2009

by Dahni

© Copyright 6/17/09

all rights reserved

AmericanEagle_tiny

Benjamin Thomas Silent, was a small-town, home-grown guy from the Midwest. He grew up in a good home environment with love, affection and nurturing, for whatever talents and abilities he might have or develop. But it was his name that brought him so many troubles and would be a catalyst for the future.

His mother was a high school English teacher and his father was a truck driver. Education was important to his mother and to his father that only went as far as the 11th grade. His dad had to leave school to care for his own health-failing parents.

Ben grew up without grandparents, so he neither knew them or what it was like to have grandparents.

His world was, his immediate family and he was living in a pro-education home. Although neither his mother or his father openly expressed that he was somehow a disappointment to them, he always felt like they thought this about him His mother of course a teacher, put pressure on him, even if it was unintentional and his dad, always regretted not being able to finish school. So to Ben, average or  just ‘squeaking by,’ he never seemed to gain any special attention or favor.

His spelling was terrible and his handwriting was horrible. His mother often told him he should grow up to become a doctor since, at the time, doctors were writing their own prescriptions in Latin and almost no one could read their handwriting either.

Both his mother and father were busy people and perhaps, they just wanted to conserve time and just simply called him, Ben. He wished they had given him some other name and maybe even a different last name. Even as a kid, people made fun of him. “Ben silent long,” was usually the sarcastic question asked.  Ben considered either not answering or just making up something, whenever he was asked what his name was. Making up stuff after all, was what he was good at, really good!  Perhaps, writing stories was, just his way of escaping (even if just for a little while), the teasing by others over his stupid name. Then too, Ben was naturally curios and had a vivid imagination, but ‘going some place else,’ instead of being where he was, seemed to help the frustration over his name, “those names.”

What’s in a name? Yes he was named after a great statesman and a president, both spoken of as, “founding fathers.”

Ben could relate to them only in the sense that each were writers and he too, had been writing stories for as long as he could remember. But sharing the names of dead people; names not very common now and whatever they did of importance in their lives, put a lot of pressure on him. Who were they and what did they do anyway? Ben had no clue and could care even less.

A young boy and often a young man, usually prefers not to be called by his birth name. His abbreviated name, ‘Ben,’ seemed to be an older and more grown up name, than Benjamin. Being named after some famous and long dead people did not help matters, in finding his place in the world. But he was grateful that no one called him ‘Bennie’ or ‘Little Ben.’ And as he grew older, he was thankful that no one ever connected that famous clock in London, England and never called him, ‘Big Ben.’

His parents were not neglectful of him, they were just busy people. His mother’s work as a teacher was not finished, just because school was out for the day, the week, over some break or holiday and not, even the summer. She was constantly involved in something or another that related to the school where she taught.

Ben’s father was gone a lot as an ‘over-the-road’ truck driver.

Life was pretty good in Ben’s world, but he had to be independent. There were not too many kids in his neighborhood to play with. They were all either too old, too young or too something. Too old or too young was almost like a mantra is his family. He had a older brother and Ben was too young to hang out with him very much. Ben was able to escape the embarrassment of having his brother’s ‘hand-me-down’ clothes, as they each were just different in size and build. His brother got the new stuff and Ben, just had to wait most of the time, until his parents’ ‘ships came in’ or there was some miraculous little extra money.  His brother was always bigger, athletic and popular, none of which were part of Ben’s gifts, talents or interests.

His younger sibling was a girl.  She was usually too young, for him to play with too.  No hand-me-downs for her and no waiting either, she was the only girl.  Being so, what she needed she received.

It was tough being the middle child, but Ben often made up for it with, his imagination.

The Silent’s were not rich, but they were not dirt-poor either. Still, Ben had to ‘make do’ with what he had. A stick, some dirt and his imagination was, pretty much all he had and all he ever needed to amuse himself, for hours.

When the weather was lousy, if he was sick or in trouble – grounded and confined to his room, Ben wrote stories or made them up in his mind. These were his places to go to, especially when and whenever he was teased by, ‘that name.’

Then, it was off to school. Ben would walk for most of his formal education and this allowed him to explore more of the world outside of, his little world.

He was not the brightest crayon in the box, but he wasn’t the dullest either. Whenever a teacher seemed excited about their subject or saw something in Ben, Ben got excited and did extremely well. But for the most part, Ben was a dreamer. He wanted something more, but he just did not always know, what that ‘more was.’

He pretty much kept to himself, not because he didn’t like people, but just to try and avoid confrontation and being teased over his name. Much of what he felt school was trying to teach him was, boring. It was either the teacher or the subject, but Ben spent much of his time in school, staring out of the window dreaming, doodling, writing stories or making them up.

American History really made his skin crawl. He had no interest in such a subject and knew even less about it.

When he finally graduated somehow, from elementary school and entered jr. high school, his opinion of American History was radically about to change!

 

Click here to:  Chapter 2

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An American Eagle (an introduction)

June 17, 2009

By Dahni

© Copyright 6/1/09

all rights reserved

#1 of 6 blogs Our Lady Liberty to Illuminate provide information
#2 of 6 is An American Eagle to Inspire – to tell a story about a story that comes true
#3 of 6 is The American Eagle Party to Initiate – take action and make a story come true
#4 of 6 is American Eagle News to Inform – provide news and announcements concerning WE the People
#5 of 6 is American Eagle Store to Invest – purchase stuff and contribute to, WE the People
#6 of 6 is 1 of WE Project to Incubate – a national project to encourage and nurture our wee little 1’s of We 🙂

This blog, An American Eagle is a work of fiction. It is a story of one man’s quest to affect change, first in his own life and then, somehow influence others to change. Some events, people, times and places may be real or current. Any similarities to the author of this blog may be merely coincidental. 🙂

With all this in mind, this is purely a work of fiction, however, it is based on real information, archived in public records of the U.S. government’s vast repository of information. While the story is fiction, the information it is based on, is real! It is the story of one man’s quest to discover what the U.S.A is really all about and in doing the research, it is found that there is a place in our history when the United States fundamentally changed and not in the manner in which it was intended, by the Declaration of Independence, in 1776 or the Constitution, in 1789. Along this journey, not only is the true cause discovered, but the only solution is found, and this is, a RESET of our Republic.

From these truths, the fictional story is like the series and movie, ‘The ‘Fugitive,’ but on steroids! As more is learned and shared, more and more people begin to listen and to wake up. This awakening becomes a threat to the powers that be, our own supposed servant-government, which tries to squash this information and its messenger with, all means available to the Federal government. This is to be, a heart-throbbing, nail biting action adventure with the whole of the United States government, using any and all means necessary, at its disposal, to eliminate its perceived threat to their corrupt system, and that is, one man.

This is a fictional tale of high crimes and misdemeanors, lies, stealth, corruption, technology, betrayal, character assassination and if capture and warrantless imprisonment is not possible,  take out the physical life of the threat. Follow the main character through close calls as he moves from place to place and endeavors to secretly broadcast the “truth,” while desperating trying to void detection, capture and even the threats of the loss of not only his own life, but his family, friends and anyone associated with him. Follow this virtually unknown little David-like, common and uneducated man, as the entire Goliath-like Federal government, manipulates local and state governments, shuts down public utilities, media and the Internet to catch, stop or destroy him by, any means necessary. Watch as bank accounts are seized, credit is destroyed, the IRS and other branches within the government’s arsenal are activated. Watch as the legal system is manipulated to hold a blind eye to, illegal warrants and even kidnapping.

Again, ‘An American Eagle’ is intended to be like, ‘The Fugitive,’ on steroids!

Each post will be a continuance of this story. To set the stage, we meet a writer named Ben Silent. He is troubled by many current events, occurring in the world at large; within his country and his own life. He seeks to understand these things and change what he can and then help others to do the same. His best way of communicating is through the written word. But he must learn to get past his shyness and speak the words, with his own mouth. This is a story about imagination and “when imagination becomes real”

This story is based on the real non-fiction book, by the same author, ‘RESET “An UN-alien’s guide to Resetting Our Republic,” and the sequel in process, ‘Apple of Gold in a Picture of Silver,’ not yet complete or published. see: https://theamericaneagleservice.wordpress.com/

The author reserves the right to change the name of this story. It is our hope to complete this work of fiction and to see it released as a major motion picture, sometime in the near future. It  has heart, and passion, love and romance, friendship, honor and respect, poetry, music, common sense, a lovable animal here and there, common people that love this country and fervent heat for its continuance!

It is written for entertainment, but also to draw attention to the truth that, WE the People, really do need to, RESET Our Republic. If not us, who? If not now, when or if the time has passed, IF EVER!

 

Dahni

Click here to view: Index of Chapters