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Chapter Two

John C. Espy Karnac Books ePub

Trojan Horse of compassion

Bar Jonah knocked on Lori's door. When Lori answered, she saw Bar Jonah standing with his arms outstretched, holding a large bowl of coleslaw. Lori thanked him for the food and started to shut the door. Bar Jonah insisted on coming in. He wanted to talk to Lori about the boys. They're starting to lie, Bar Jonah said. He had caught them in several lies recently and he was worried about why such good boys would be lying. Sure, they were rambunctious at times, but they were a lot of fun, especially for a man who had not had kids of his own. They made him feel like a real dad. Lori said she thought they were having a hard time at school. There was a lot of racism in the schools and the other kids were probably picking on them because they were Indians. Bar Jonah said that was probably what was wrong. He just wanted Lori to know he was worried because lying can be a sign that something is not right at home. Bar Jonah said he knew Lori was out a lot at night and Gerald was either at work or sleeping. So he would be sure and give the boys extra attention to help Lori and Gerald out. He would let her know if the boys started telling bigger fibs. Lori told Bar Jonah she had noticed Roland being quieter than usual; she had wondered if something was wrong too. Bar Jonah said he had noticed that too. He had only caught Roland in a couple of small lies, but Bar Jonah was still worried. Stormy was lying a lot. Bar Jonah couldn't think of any specific examples but it really didn't matter. He just wanted to let Lori know he was worried. Lori did say that Stormy's teacher had called from school, because Stormy was saying bad words in class. The teacher said she'd heard Stormy making a lot of jokes about his wiener and his butt. Bar Jonah said he'd keep an eye out for that too. He agreed with Lori that there was a lot of racism at the school. The teachers treated the Indian kids real different. They made a lot of cracks to the Indian kids that white kids didn't have to put up with. Bar Jonah knew about being discriminated against because he was fat as a kid. The teachers and the other kids had picked on him too. Then Bar Jonah hung his head and shamefully said he needed to get something off of his chest. He had never told anyone about it before. With wet eyes he told Lori about being brutally raped as a young boy. That was what had caused him to get involved in doing undercover work for the police at the schools. Lori said she was sorry that Bar Jonah had had so many bad things happen to him. He didn't deserve that, she said. Bar Jonah told Lori he knew what really went on in the schools that the parents wouldn't ever find out about. He thanked Lori for being such a good mom to the boys. Bar Jonah said he had a real good mom too, the best. Good moms stand by you when no one else would. When Bar Jonah started to leave, Lori put her arms around him and hugged him close. Bar Jonah hugged her back. If she weren't already married, she'd be thinking about hooking up with him, Lori said. Bar Jonah said he felt the same way about her too. After Bar Jonah left, Lori took the coleslaw into the kitchen and dumped it into the trash. Bar Jonah was a real good man, but she wouldn't eat anything he cooked unless it came from a package. Everything he made had a funny taste. She had told her boys not to eat anything Bar Jonah made either, unless they saw him take it out of a store-bought package. Sometimes when she and the boys were down at Bar Jonah's, he would get some deer meat out of his freezer and put it in a sink of hot water to thaw it out. He said he was going to make his special deer burgers for everyone. Lori always tried to make up some kind of excuse and grab the boys and take them upstairs. Sometimes when she couldn't think of any reason to leave, they had to stay and eat. More than anything she didn't want to make Bar Jonah angry.

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Chapter One

John C. Espy Karnac Books ePub

“The best-laid schemes go oft awry”

Zach had the Good Guy Breakfast coming up and Doc had promised to go with him. He was going to go as the boy's grandfather. His best friend. Zach wanted Doc to wear his red fuzzy hat. But that morning when Zach arrived at Doc's, Doc planned to tell him they had to leave for Canada right then. Doc would already have everything packed up and ready to go. Zach was just going to have to understand. In life you can't have everything you want. Some things just have to be sacrificed for love.

Zach had told Doc that Rachel was in a tizzy about Carl getting ready to move out. All they did was fight, Zach had said. Doc told Bar Jonah goodbye the night before he planned to leave. Bar Jonah could have whatever he wanted from Doc's place for his toy business. He had been such a good friend. Doc knew Bar Jonah would give his many toy friends a good home. It would be Doc's parting gift to Bar Jonah. Because of Zach, Doc was getting the opportunity a man of his age rarely gets, the chance to start his life anew. Zach said he wanted to let Rachel know where he was once they got to Canada. Doc assured him that would be okay. He would even help Zach write every letter to Rachel and then take them to the mailbox for him. Doc also told Zach he shouldn't be disappointed if Rachel didn't write him back for a long time, because she may get pretty mad that he had gone so far away. That was okay, Zach had said, because Rachel never knew where he was anyway.

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Chapter Three

John C. Espy Karnac Books ePub

Roland and Stanley

On the morning of July 5th, Bar Jonah left early and was gone until late in the afternoon. Roland and Stanley had been watching for him. When they heard his car pull into the driveway about three, Roland and Stanley went running out of Lori's front door. Roland grabbed the banisters on each side of the stairway, lifted himself in the air and swung his feet forward, taking three steps at a time. Stanley started swinging down the banisters too, but he didn't wait until Roland was enough out of the way and kicked him in the back of the head. Roland didn't seem to mind though and just kept doing what Bar Jonah had once called his flying three-step. Bar Jonah had heard them jumping down the stairs, before they got to the landing. He kidded them and said it sounded like they were wearing clodhoppers because they were making so much noise. Bar Jonah said he was glad they had come down, because he was going to come up and get them if they hadn't.

Barry hadn't been around much in recent weeks, but it so happened that when Bar Jonah, Roland and Stanley went into the apartment, they found Barry sitting on the couch. Bar Jonah turned around and locked the door once they were all inside. Stanley noticed right away that the sheet Bar Jonah had covering the kitchen was gone. Bar Jonah told Stanley to go and sit with Barry on the couch and watch television. He wanted to talk to Roland privately. Stanley went over and flipped on the black and white television, adjusted the rabbit ears and sat down beside Barry. Barry nodded at Stanley. Bar Jonah walked over, handed Stanley a new bag of potato chips and then told Roland to come back to his bedroom. Roland giddily followed Bar Jonah down the hallway. When Bar Jonah and Roland walked through the door, Bar Jonah turned around, slammed the door and pushed the lock button on the tarnished brass-plated knob.

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Chapter Five

John C. Espy Karnac Books ePub

The distraction

Shirley Klesh decided to do some shopping in Minneapolis, after she had gone from Great Falls back to the Midwest to visit her family. As she was paying for a pair of red pumps, she noticed a credit card application hawking an interest rate that looked too good to resist. Before she left the store Shirley penned in her address, 2405 7th St South, Great Falls, Montana along with her date of birth and social security number. When she left the store the cold winds blowing in from the north reminded her of central Montana. For early September, they seemed particularly bitter though. There was a mailbox sitting on the curb. In one nice move, she pulled down the squeaky blue door of the mailbox and tossed the credit card application inside without ever missing a step. The wind was so biting that she didn't even pull the door back down to see if her application had slid down the chute to mingle with the rest of the mail. Fortunately, or not, it had. On September 14th credit card #4072591004508845, with the fabulous interest rate, was delivered just a few blocks away to 2405 4th St South: the home of Great Falls Police Lieutenant Greg Church. Church was off duty the day the card arrived. He planned to spend most of the day at one of the local casinos. He spit polished himself thinking he might also not have to spend the night alone, especially if he hit the big money. Women in the casinos always hung around waiting for a man to win big. Toss them a smile and a few bucks and they'll hop in your bed pretty quick. Church drove through the back streets thinking about what he was going to do with the money he was planning to win. Keno was a good game but they had craps in one of the back rooms. Live betting with no limit. He could pull down some good winnings. He could feel it.

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Chapter Four

John C. Espy Karnac Books ePub

Busted

After school started Lori and Gerald were still talking about getting a new place but hadn't done anything about it. They were three months behind on their rent and the landlord was beginning to hound them something awful, always knocking on their door wanting his money. Lori told him he'd get it when she had it.

Late on a Friday night in October, Lori, Gerald and the boys moved into a small pink house not too far from Roland's high school. She didn't leave a forwarding address with anyone except Bar Jonah. Usually they wrote each other about once a week. Bar Jonah didn't get over there much at all. It was too far to drive and he didn't have much money. He was also working more hours at Hardee's. But he sure missed her and the boys. Someday they were going to have to set some time aside to have a big dinner, Bar Jonah wrote.

A couple of months after school started, Bar Jonah began visiting Lincoln Elementary almost exclusively. A couple of the teachers at the other schools commented that they were surprised Bar Jonah hadn't been coming around on patrol. He said that he had been temporarily reassigned but he was back now. One of the teachers joked that Bar Jonah was more predictable than the school clock. When the teacher looked out the window and saw Bar Jonah, she knew her day was almost over.

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