Friday, July 22, 2016

Generation Six — Chapter Five: The Good With The Bad

  Rory was finally making some headway at the Lab. He got his pay all straightened out and he made a concerted effort to always be focused, even if he had to use a device to make it so. Staring at the jiggly-wig, for lack of its proper name, helped greatly. He was busy inventing all manner of devices. He cloned a rose, but when he attempted to clone a serum, it kept going wrong. All he got for his efforts was some sort of cube. He would have to look into it later, to see just what it was, and if it held any unwanted surprised. Rory was dying to try out the worm-hole, time Portal thingie he’d built, but only had time to calibrate it.

So caught up in his work, he failed to realize it was Johnny’s birthday. Johnny was a teen. But it mostly went unnoticed. So the boy, hung his head, feeling quite sorry for himself, and hummed the happy birthday tune to himself. Rory felt badly about the lack of a party, but they were still digging out of their financial hole.  Despite the lack of funds, they still could have had a quiet family dinner and cake, at the very least. This was an epic failure on his part. Instead, Gramps baked a delicious chocolate cake, James added candles and celebrated, but Johnny was still down in the dumps. Who could blame him, they blew it.  Had the cake come a few moments sooner, things would have been happier.

    Thankfully Aunt Aubrey called and invited the boys out to a dance party at the ruins. Being a Saturday night, the boys were eager to go. They danced until Johnny just couldn’t stay on his feet a minute longer. He curled up on a stone bench while James and the others continued to dance.  

   While the teens were out making merry, Joseph returned home from work. He was now a ‘Stand Up Star’.  Or as he put it, “An Artiste.” The family was thrilled for him, he had worked so very hard at it and he truly was a funny guy. The fact that his father was rather childish was a factor that played into it, Rory was certain.  Along with the news of Joseph’s long-awaited promotion Rory also got some happy news of his very own.  
Ericka stared at the little stick, elated. Running into the living room to find Rory, “Rory! I have Big News,” she said, “we’re having another baby!” Waving her hands and all but jumping up and down. Rory joined in her excitement.
“We should tell Dad,” Rory said.  “If we can find him.”
“I think he’s in the diningroom having some dinner. Keeping Jaron company. I’ll just go give him our happy news.”
“What a night for him. He gets a big promotion and news of another grandchild.”
“I know, isn’t it great!” Ericka smiled and off she went, although Rory couldn’t figure out just why she took the longer route to the dining room. She could have made an immediate left from the living room through the arch and she would have been there all the faster. Instead, she took a quick left, then followed the bend on the hallway,  turning right toward the staircase, another left into the kitchen. He knew because he watched her. Pregnancy head already, he chuckled to himself.
Ericka smiled and made her way through the kitchen to the back hallway and through the archway into the dining room.  “Dad Joe,” she began and stopped short. “Dad — Rory! Rory, come quick! Something’s happened!” And then she began to weep. Joseph lay on his side on the floor.
“What’s wrong with Grandpa, Mommy?” 
“I’m not sure, but I think he’s left us. Rory, what’s keeping you?”
Rory came through the archway from the main foyer side and stood aghast. Behind him, he could hear the Grim Reaper floating his way into the room. He hated the Reaper. Hated the pain and suffering he brought with him. Rory got down on a knee and checked to see if his father had a pulse. None. He was gone.
“He didn’t even get a chance to enjoy his promotion. Seems so wrong, somehow. Worked hard his entire life …” Rory sighed.
“Grandpa was very excited. He smiled a lot. Told me he was going to be the main comedian, now. He sure had fun on the slippery slide, didn’t he? I miss him.” Jaron began to weep.
Ericka hugged her little son to herself. “Now, now, you know Grandpa wouldn’t want us all to cry. We should throw him a Wake.”
“Why don’t we just wake him up right now?”
“No, I said a Wake,” his mother said gently.
“Oh. So you don’t mean what you’re doing when you’re not sleeping — Then, what’s a wake?”
“That’s a party for those who have passed away, son,” Rory said. “So that when they look down at us from above, they know we’re going to be just fine. I think it’s a marvelous idea, Dear. I think Dad would approve of it. Yes, we can invite all of his friends. I’ll just go draw up a list.” Rory drew in a breath, and rubbed the tears from his eyes.
“Oh, well, if you insist,” Ericka sighed. “Just not right this minute. I think I need to go cry this out, first.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Generation Six — Chapter Four: When the Chips Are Down …

   Rory stared at his pay stub in disbelief. Why was it so very short for the day? §158.00, that was it? Now he was troubled. Having been recently promoted to Ufologist, he really thought it would be reflected in his paycheck. As a scientist, he should have known better than to assume anything. Worried, he wasn’t sure just what to do.
James was now a teen. Fittingly, Rory threw him a bash. Rory also hit a landmark birthday on the same date. The party was fun. Finances were tight, the utility bill far higher than he’d like, but he knew the promotion was coming. Rory did something stupid. Banking on said promotion, he believed a raise would be included, so he took a bit of money from their account to throw the combined Birthday Bash. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow the lights go out? A gamble he seemingly lost.

Yet, this first post-promotion paycheck proved very, very short. Rory just couldn’t figure it out. He’d shown up each day for work, as required. Did his very best to perform, worked hard to keep himself in the appropriate mood. But, somehow today, his work was deemed inadequate, as reflected by the very short check.
When he got home from work, he was tense. The family was all there, his two littlest sons out in front of the house, ready to greet him.
“Pops,” Johnny said, giving his father a hug. “Mom bought us a slippery slide, come on, you’ve got to come try it out!”
“We’ve been waiting for you to get home, first,” Jaron added.
Rory put on his best smile as he took the boys by the hands. “Let’s just go check this thing out.”
Johnny’s phoned chirped which he answered right away, “Dad, Auntie Aubrey wants to know if she can come over and hang out.”
“Of, course. Tell her to bring her swim suit and her best sliding tricks.”
Within moments the entire family was out back giving the new slippery slide a good workout. Even James was in on the fun. Joseph, at first, watched from the sideline, but before long the elderly Sim joined his family. He and James competed on which one of them could do the best side-slide action. The old versus the young.
After a time, Ericka dried off and began to grill up a nice meal for her family. Rory, although he felt a tad better, still had that huge over eight-thousand Simoleon bill hanging over his head. When he last checked his bank account, the family was still about three-thousand short. That was after what Joseph brought in. Again, Rory wondered just why his paycheck had been shorted. The more he thought about it the more tense he grew. Listening to the excited giggles of his family enjoying this new toy, he turned abruptly when an argument erupted.
“James, that’s not funny!” Johnny accused. “Turn the water back on.”
“Yeah, we can’t slide without the water!” Jaron said, “Ever since you got to be a teen you’ve become a jerk!”

James stood there dripping wet, holding out his hands. Rory noticed the boy wasn’t snickering. Normally, his random bouts of mischief were followed by snickering. His expression was one of perplexity. “Hey, it wasn’t me. Why would I do that? I was sliding and having as much fun as the rest of you. It wasn’t me.”
Rory walked inside the house. The lights, sets to auto to help save on the power-usage, didn’t come on when he entered the back hallway. Walking over to the bathroom sink, he tried the water. It was off, too. Walking out front, he checked the mail There it was the unhappy red tag he hoped he wouldn’t see.

  "Dear energy consumer, you have failed to pay your bill in the allotted time. We gave you forty-eight hours and heard nothing from you.  We gave you a second warning, allowing you twenty-four more hours. Again, you failed to pay your bill. You power and water has now been turned off until we receive the payment you owe us, in full. Thank you, Willow Creek Power and Water Company.”

That did it. Rory made his way over to Magnolia Park. He strutted right up to the Whispering Wishing Well, made an offering of §1000, but the well decided it wasn’t enough. So, digging into his pocket again, he offered yet another §1000. Still, the well was dissatisfied. In defiance, and knowing he was now two-thousand shorter in meeting the bill, Rory made his wish anyway. Golden tongues of fire burst from the mouth of the well. Above his head, the face now wore the same hood as the Grim Reaper. Rory took a step backward, as he could feel the coin in his pocket rattle about and suddenly what remained of his currency flew outward from his pocket to be swallowed by the Well.

“What?” Rory said. “You took all that I had.”
“You were greedy,” came the reply.
Rory looked all around him. “Wh-who said that?”
“I did,” said the face above him.
“I made two offerings amounting to §2000. I needed an additional §4000 to make ends meet, and you stole what was left of my account. Now I have nothing. No lights, no water, and no Simoleons. Just who's the greedy one, here? I just needed a little help. A small loan. Just enough to get me over this hump. It wasn’t greed, I was doing it for my family. And now I have nothing. Nothing! You diabolical pile of — bricks. You have no idea just how lucky you are that I left my laser guns at home! I have a rather good mind to transform you into a simple block wall!
Rory headed home. The aroma of grilled hot dogs met his nose as he walked in through the front door. He had forgotten just how hungry he was until then. Grabbing a serving he sat down at the dining table and ate.
“Rory,” Ericka said, “what’s wrong?”
“Nothing — everything. Why do you buy such expensive things for these kids? We can’t afford the extravagance.”
  Whispering, she said, “That’s not fair. I cleared this purchase with you ahead of time. It’s hot. Every day the sun rises and it’s just plain hot.”
“The built-in pool isn’t enough? What do I have to do, sell that, too?”
“What’s this all about? This isn’t like you.”
“They shorted!” Rory dropped his voice, “they shorted my paycheck. I took money from our account to throw the birthday party thinking the raise would cover it. I was wrong. They gave me less than I normally make in a day today. I don’t understand it, but you can bet Management is going to get an earful from me first thing tomorrow.”
“Rory, don’t lose your job.”
“Who needs it? Thanks to their shenanigans we have no power and no water. James wasn’t pulling a prank. The city cut our water off.”
“Not to worry, I’ll just sell a few items on Sbay and pay off the bill.”
“What items?”
“That puppet stage for starters. The kids hardly ever use it. It just sits there taking up space on the patio. I’ll sell some of my lab equipment, too. So, it’ll be fair. I’ll get rid of the lights on the third floor. Nobody uses it, either. It’ll be sensible. Logical.”
Rory wasted little time carrying out his plan. Humiliated that he had to enact it at all.  He sold anything they weren’t really using and Sbay was rather kind to him, giving him good prices on what he offered them, unlike a certain Wishing Well. Before long, he was able to pay that eight-thousand plus bill and the lights and water were restored.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Generation Six — Chapter Three: Rory and His Big, Bad, Really Rotten Day

     Rory was beginning to doubt his deductive abilities. Just when he thought he had it all figured out, Ericka gives him a third son. Baby Jaron was a great little baby. Typically very demanding and downright noisy in the middle of the night, but a great kid — with lavender skin!
     This sent Rory into a bit of a tailspin. His theory completely shattered. Obviously, the alien DNA wasn’t so diluted even four generations down, as he thought. The notion that this was possibly just an anomaly crossed his mind. He began to think having yet another child might clear things up, but he hadn’t approached his wife, who was just back to work again, with the idea. 

     When Rory’s three days off wound down, he went back to the lab. Unfortunately, he was exhausted. He began to theorize that too much time off led to it. He tried to work, had aspirations of creating a cloning machine, but he lacked the right metal. He even asked two different co-workers for some and still he didn’t have two common pieces of metal. He went and tried to dig some up. All he got for his efforts, besides being covered with dirt, were some gemstones and a couple of capsules. No metals here.
Frustrated and very hungry at this point, Rory went upstairs to the lounge and bought a sandwich. He also made a fresh pot of coffee. He needed something to ward off the fatigue that muddled his mind and made him seriously look around for a pillow and a blanket. He showered while up there and drank some coffee. It was bitter and too strong. One day, perhaps, he’d learn how to make a decent cup of Joe.
Next, he decided to experiment with some chemical. Perhaps, he could find a serum or two. Everything he touched, every attempt ended in a miserable failure. He all but blew up the lab table! Shades of his childhood … 
Suffice it to say, by the time he got off of work he was beat, discouraged and all but ready to call it a day. Little Johnny was waiting for him on the drive. The boy hugged him tightly, and Rory was grateful for it. He was also beyond hungry. The pitiful, miserable, poor excuse for a sandwich he consumed for lunch just didn’t stick. He thought about it and decided he would grill up some sausage and peppers for the family. Dragging himself through the house out to the patio, he started the up the gas grill. Kablewy! Fire erupted from underneath the rack and set his chemical-drench lab coat aflame! What was he thinking? He should have ditched the coat, first.
      Happily, his father was right there, fire-extinguisher in hand to put him out again.
“I’m an idiot! I’m an idiot!” Rory cried out. Joseph busily drenched his son with the fire-extinguisher.
“You’re not an idiot, son. I just think there’s a bit of a family curse. Jade, your third great-grandmother was killed in such a tragic way. Of course, Jaylen went to prison for exchanging the lighter fluid with gasoline. I almost set myself on fire at the stove. Happens. Say, do you mind if I use this in a routine?”
“Dad. I’m nearly char-broiled.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right. You do look a tad on the crunchy side. I’d ask you how your day has been, but I’m afraid you’d beat me with a stick.”   
“Very funny, not. I’m going to try to scrub this stuff off.”
The jet tub upstairs was spewing forth water, so Rory decided the downstairs tub would just have to do. He was still feeling the stress after he’d cleaned up, but the glorious aroma of grilled sausage and peppers met his nose. Leave it to Gramps to take over the making and serving of dinner. Sometimes, it was just plain nice to have a live-in ghost.
Rory ate his fill. “This is great, Gramps, really hits the spot. Best meal I’ve had all day.”
“You’re quite welcome, my boy, I’m just glad to be of some use to my family.”
“I’m going to go take a swim,” Rory said as he took up his plate and left the room.
Cannon-balling into the refreshing cool water was fun. Rory swam around for a few laps and was just deciding to jump in again when he heard a very ominous, throbbing sound overhead. He saw his father out on the patio. Joseph had just made certain the gas was turned off from the barbecue and looked up at the sound. Rory was agape, horrified with what met his eyes. Joseph was caught in some ethereal beam of light, seemingly paralyzed, unable, even to cry out for help.  Strangely, Rory, too, felt unable to move or even cry out. What was this? How did the aliens exude this kind of mind control? And just who were they?  
A few hours later, Joseph was returned. Rory ran over to his father. Ever the scientist, “Dad, are you all right? W-what happened, what was it like. Who are these creatures?”
“I thought you knew.”
“How and why would I know?”
“You’re the one who called them.”
“Me?” Rory frowned. “I did attempt to make contact while at the lab … But how would they know it was me … oh. The radar! I brought it home with me.” They both turned to gaze at the apparatus over in the corner of the pool yard. “They must have traced the call back to its source. I’m sorry, Dad. I’ll take that thing back to the lab tomorrow. In the meantime, are you okay? They didn’t hurt you, did they? Here, let me just check your DNA to be sure.” 
Joseph opened his mouth while Rory swabbed the inside of his cheek. 
“Thanks, I’ll just run this through when I get back to the lab, also. In the meantime, maybe you should go get some rest. You’re looking a little green … so to speak. You’re still lavender, just a tad pallid.”
“Their sense of time is different from ours,” Joseph said. “They told your great-grandfather they would be back. He was certain, as the family story goes, that when they abducted him a second time, it was for proliferation of their race. That he would end up going through another pregnancy. Turned out, they just wanted the twins, your grandfather Marc and your aunt Aubrey. Nathaniel turned them down flat. But they threatened to return. It’s been all of this time, nearly four generations for them to return. I pray they don’t come back again.”


Friday, July 8, 2016

Generation Six — Chapter Two: Life Happenings


        Before too long, James had a little brother. His parents named the baby Johnny. He, too, had human skin. Ericka went to work just prior to this second baby’s birth. She also chose the Espionage Career. Ericka found it fun working with her sister-in-law, Aubrey, which gave the two women a chance to get better acquainted.

     Once Johnny burst out of his bassinet, the parents bought another junior bed. By rearranging a few items of furniture, it made for a cozy bedroom for the boys. The boys grew very close. They were best buddies, in fact. However, the peace was shattered when Johnny spotted this alleged monster underneath his bed, too. Were there two monsters? Or just two little boys with hyper-active imaginations?

    Whatever it was, Rory and Ericka decided the only way they were going to get a proper night’s sleep again, and the boys, too, would be to switch bedrooms. Once again the Game Room upstairs was re-purposed as the boys were moved into this ample-sized room, child’s lab table, too. The puppet stage was moved onto the back patio, where they boys could perform to larger audiences.  

The ‘cursed’ room became the Game Room. Rory was anxious to see if this was enough of a change to banish this monster or monsters from his boys’ life for good? In the meantime, the boys spent a great deal of time together. They went to the Magnolia Park in search of special foil packs of Voidcritter cards. The latest craze in kid card games. Both were fortunate. The next day, Sunday, they went to the park in Oasis Spring. There James, who was only days away from becoming a teen, met a very sweet girl. The two struck up a conversation and James hoped to make her his friend.  

This friendship took Rory back a few years. He met Ericka in grade school, too.
Ericka was now expecting their third child. Rory was excited and wondered if he would be blessed with a baby girl, this time. He loved his boys, but a girl would be very nice, too. Besides, the boys were still having problems with this phantom monster, despite the change of rooms. 
Rory talked to a few of his co-workers hoping one of them could come up with a better idea to counter this monster and the lack of sleep in the household. Before long the baby would be here and sleep would be next to non-existent. Rory got another promotion. He was now a Technological Innovator. The raise was nice, too.  
Joseph’s birthday rolled around, and as the newly designated Patriarch, Rory, took it upon himself to plan a celebration for his father. He talked to Gramps, mostly. They thought of throwing a huge birthday bash, but that had led to problems in the past.  And nobody, but nobody wanted to clean up the inevitable mess. The best and easiest thing to do would be to take the family out to a very nice, posh dinner at Chez Llama.
This time, the family managed to sit together using two tables side-by-side. The evening was fun. Joseph got up and did an excellent routine, something about “Who Needs Soap?” Rory roared with laughter, as did the other patrons in the restaurant. Joseph grinned, bowed, and thanked his audience. After drinks and their entree  was over, Rory whispered to the waiter, “Would you please bring the cake, now?”

“What’s all this?” Joseph said, as Rory quickly dotted the cake with candles.
“Can I light them?” James asked.
“Sure,” Rory said.
“Aw, I wanted to,” Johnny moaned.
“Next time, it will be your turn,” Ericka quickly said, patting the boy’s back.
James, taking his role very seriously, lit each candle. The cake was aglow. “Grandpa, make a wish!”
“A wish? Hm, let me see now … I wish for …”
“Not out loud, Grandpa, or it won’t come true!” Johnny cautioned.

“Quite right, quite right. Ah, I’ve got it,” Joseph said, working the ‘crowd’. Then he leaned forward and taking a huge breath, blew out the candles. Or almost. He took another breath and tried again. This time the candles went out. All of them. The family applauded. 
Joseph spun around and his dark hair turned gray right before their eyes. The “Roast Master” smiled, bowed and took a piece of the chocolate cake. Ericka helped serve the others. “Um,” he said tasting the frosting, “I hope this doesn’t make me even older.”

Friday, July 1, 2016

Generation Six — Chapter One: Things That Go Bump in the Night…

     Rory found a job immediately. He was young, but even he understood the need to be employed. He had a wife to care for, and very soon a baby to feed, too. So, he spent some time on his cell phone and entered the Science Career. His altogether remarkable and unexpected ‘B’, had him starting at the second rung on this ladder. He dove into this chosen career with everything he had. He found it fun to experiment with chemicals. After all, he only set his own childhood lab kit on fire the one time. Rory was of the opinion his parents were more frightened by it than he ever was. He also had many questions about aliens, which was only natural since his grandfather was half alien, and his own father was 1/4 alien. He, himself, was 1/8, but still had the pale lavender coloring. Suffice it to say, he had many, many questions.
Sim days flew by and Rory got his first promotion. He was now a ‘Junior Tinkerer’. One day when he came into work he was charged with gathering as many collectibles as he could find. Seemed the lab was experiencing a shortage of some kind. Rory got right to it and did rather well, he even watered and harvested the plants, too, while he was at it. On a whim, he worked on the space craft in the lab — at least he thought it may be a space craft. Mostly it was oddly shaped parts in a couple of crates. Like a puzzle, he had to decide how these parts fit together. Almost instinctive, as if his alien blood understood what he was looking at, and before too long, he had the bottom of a craft welded together.
    Time flew by, he was so wrapped up in his work. Next thing he knew, the baby was here! A beautiful baby boy, who had ‘human’ skin tones. Rory had one answer, at least. Seems it took four generations for the alien gene to become recessive. Of course, this bore more study, he decided — being in the Science career, he needed to think like one. He wouldn’t always be a Tinkerer, junior or otherwise. Ericka and Rory named their baby boy James. Wasting no time, Rory and Ericka were soon expecting again. Ericka wanted a big, happy family. Rory was only too happy to comply.
James, also, was growing like a weed. Rory was so busy down at the lab, he wondered when the child began to walk, let alone talk and take himself to the bathroom. The boy was bright and very sociable. Rory found a way to make use of Jaylen’s old room. No one had occupied it since he was imprisoned for murder.  Somehow, the room seemed cursed. Again, thinking like a scientist, he decided this was nonsense. A room was just a room.  There was nothing evil about it. He went about his inspection. The paneling on the wall was still in good shape, no need to replace it or repaint. So, he watched for sales and before long purchased a junior bed, night stand, dresser, with a matching bookcase. He also made sure the tyke had his own mini-lab station, so he could ‘pretend’ to be just like Daddy.
One evening, after James had been put to bed the adults decided to spend the evening playing “Don’t Wake the Llama!” upstairs. What had been the dance room, had been re-purposed as the Game Room. Good lighting over the table, a nice rug underneath, the room was cozy and set just the right atmosphere for competition. The game was underway when James came racing into the room all hysterical. 

    “Come, on! Come see! Daddy? Mommy? Somebody?” The adults seemed rather wrapped up in their game. James held his breath.
Rory was in the midst of pulling a rod out of the puzzle. “Jimmy, please,” he said, letting out a sigh with his successful move.
“But, Daddy. There’s something under my bed! I think it’s a monster!”  
“Jimmy, I can assure you, there’s nothing but a rug under your bed. Or maybe a toy rolled underneath it.”
“It has tentacles and everything — it’s really creepy.”
“Jimmy, it’s well passed your bedtime and you have your first day of school tomorrow. Go back to bed,” Ericka said.
“Grandpa, you believe me, don’t you?”
“I believe you’re scared,” Joseph said. “I think you woke up from a dream. There’s no monster in that room. Once upon a time, maybe, but no longer.”
“Dad,” Rory said. “This is just a delaying tactic. Don’t encourage him. Now, Jimmy, you go to bed.”
“I’m not asking for a drink of water. I just want somebody to check under my bed! Scare that monster away. Please. Somebody. Anybody.”

“All right,” Rory said, getting up from his chair. “I’ll come take a look.” He took the boy by the hand, and turning to Joseph, Ericka and Gramps said, “No cheating while I’m gone.”
Rory switched on the light, but of course there was nothing there. He got on the floor and looked under the bed. Again, nothing. He stood up again, thinking. “Please, Daddy, please. Tell it to go away and leave me alone!”
“Hm,” Rory tapped his lip, deep in thought. “I tell you what. I have a very special, very Top Secret Monster spray that we developed at the lab. I’ll just go get it.” Rory left the room briefly and returned with a spray bottle full of something. He sprayed under the bed and around the room. “There, that ought to do it,” he said. “Now, you, young man, get back into bed and go to sleep.”  


     “Oh, all right,” the boy said. James crept over to his bed, glanced warily under it, and then crawled under the covers. “But, if it comes back …”
“I know, I know, you’ll come hollering. But, it won’t come back. This stuff is very, very powerful. Okay?”
“Okay.” Rory kissed the boy’s forehead and pulled his covers tight, tucking them in.

Generation Five — Chapter Eight: A Changing of the Guard

With Rory happily married, and Ericka quick to announce her “Big News”, Joseph’s sense of humor was instantly bumped into turbo-mode. He contemplated remodeling the top floor, restoring it to the apartment it once was, then quickly realized the money wasn’t to be had. And although he was doing rather well, recently gaining yet another promotion, to Roast Master, Simoleons were still tight. That left little to no room to afford a loan. He supposed it was due to the additional mouths to feed. Rory got himself a great job, for which his father was proud. He chose a career in Science. Since Ericka was already expecting, it was decided she shouldn’t try to get a job at this time. 
That put a burden on Joseph, but he was just so pleased with Rory taking on responsibility, he could hardly complain. Besides, this new addition to the family had given Joseph plenty of fodder for his routines.  Once again the bills arrived. They were pretty high, too. Over seven thousand Simoleons. Again, he relied on harvesting the nearby wild plants. Joseph as it turned out had several in his inventory already, and when they were cashed in brought quite a few Simoleons, to his surprise and relief. 
With Rory’s check and the harvest, Joseph had just enough to pay off the utility bill before the power was shut off. What was leftover was enough to take Aubrey out to Chez Llama for her birthday/graduation celebration.  Joseph found himself wondering just which career she might choose. Full of mischief, her certainly hoped and prayed she steered clear of the Mobwives and a life of crime. They already had a thug in their family tree, after all, not wishing to add to the family lore.
He found himself pleased when she announced her chosen path.
“Dad! I got accepted. I’m going to be a Spy!”
“A spy?”
“Yes,” she said, all but jumping up and down. “I can’t wait to review the Intelligence Database on the web! Mm, might be something juicy, you never know,…” That quickly, the young woman all but bounced out of the room to the second floor Music Room. In the far corner was Dr. Marc Cantrell’s desk and computer. A very nice setup, state-of-the-Art, his work had awarded him.

      Joseph laughed and went about grilling up some dinner for his burgeoning family.
 Life just couldn’t get any better than this, he realized. Then it occurred to him, maybe he should pass over the reigns to Rory. He was, again, just days off of becoming an Elder, and he’d managed to double his time as the Patriarch. Not wishing to be compared to the Queen of Simgland, whose son was middle-aged and still waiting for his chance at the throne, Joseph decided he would approach Rory.  If receptive, Joseph would let himself fade into the background.