Finally, around dawn, he closed his eyes and dozed off. He woke when his mother tapped on his door.
“I had a feeling you’d be home. I called you in already. You feeling alright?”
“A little tired, but okay. Did you call the carpenter yet?”
“He’ll be here soon. I thought you might like some breakfast before he arrives. He might need your help. His assistant didn’t come in.”
“Gotcha.” He got up and dressed.
Breakfast was pancakes and sausage with scrambled eggs fixed the way he loved them, with cheese and bacon bits. Mr. Hampton arrived right as he finished eating. Brian took him to the basement to show him the devastation.
“Wow, you don’t see that every day. Say it was a bear?”
“Yes, sir. Scared the crap outta me and the cop.”
“I’ll bet. Okay, let’s get started.” He went up the back steps and pulled his truck around. He unloaded tools and lumber with Brian’s help.
“This won’t take long. Slap a cover on and some hinges, badabing!”
He was right, it didn’t take long with both of them working on it. Brian loved carpentry and working with his hands. He’d learned well from his father and took shop in school.
“Any time you want a part time job, you let me know, Brian. You work well. Tell you what. I can’t pay you much outright, but I’ll cut some off your mom’s bill for helping me.”
“That would be great, Mr. Hamilton. Call when you need me. I love this kind of work.”
They made further arrangements and Mr. Hamilton not only presented Maribelle with a reduced bill, he handed Brian $40.00 for his time. Brian knew it was less than he’d have paid an employee, but it was a fortune to him.
After Mr. Hamilton left, Brian went to the basement to clean up the debris from the bear. His mother had cleared a lot of it away, but had wisely left the glass for Brian. It didn’t take long to finish the job.
When he was done, his mother asked him to go to the store for her. Storm clouds were gathering, but he figured he could make it there and back on his bike before the weather broke. With the list in his pocket, he hopped on his ten speed and rode to the nearby market. He was collecting his groceries when two big, mean looking men walked in. Mr. Wilkes, the shop owner, greeted them with a smile.
“What can I get for you gentlemen?”
They said nothing, merely walked around the small store. The two men passed Brian. He glanced up at them, but didn’t speak. One was blond, the other dark haired. The blond man glared at Brian, his face momentarily contorting into something unspeakable. Brian had seen pictures depicting demons in a book in Father Ramsey’s study. To him, that’s what the man’s face resembled.
Brian stepped away, backing into a shelf. A few cans clattered as he walked away. He’d never experienced anything like that before. He headed to the cash register with his purchases, hands trembling.
The men followed him to the register. The blond one pulled out a handgun, aiming it at the old man. “All the money in your drawer. You too, kid. I want whatever cash you got.”
“Now see here,” Mr. Wilkes complained. “I’ll give you all the money. I don’t want anyone hurt. But you leave that boy alone. He lives with his blind mama. Ain’t no concern of yours what he’s got in his pockets.”
Brian backed away from the angry glare the man gave to Mr. Wilkes.
“You’re arguing with me, old man?” He raised his hand, weapon at a determined angle.
Brian didn’t hesitate. He swung his grocery basket at the man, knocking the gun out of his hand. The dark haired fellow reached for a weapon. Brian grabbed his hand, twisting the gun from the big man’s grip. He kicked the blond behind the knee, bringing him to the ground. Leveling the gun on both men, he told Mr. Wilkes to call the police.
The officer arrived a few minutes later. She was stunned that Brian had taken down two armed men by himself. “That was either the bravest thing ever, or the dumbest,” she said with a smile. “Not sure which. That was very dangerous, young man.”
“Yes, ma’am, but he looked like he was gonna hurt Mr. Wilkes. I couldn’t let him do that, not when he was just trying to help me.”
“By their description, we’re pretty sure these two are a pair we’ve been looking for about two weeks now. You’re a hero, kid.”
Brian smiled. “Does that come with a reward?”
The police officer grinned. “I’ll check into that. Meanwhile, you go on home. You need a ride?”
“No, I’ve got my bike.”
© 2016 Dellani Oakes