Thursday, September 29, 2016

Generation Seven — Chapter Ten: Caterer, Check; Wedding Cake, Check, Alien Abduction, Check, Say, What?

From the moment he proposed to Tiana, Trenton’s life kicked into full gear. Things began to get a little crazy, what with the wedding plans, the catering, the guest list. The colors, you name it, it had to be decided. For sanity sake, he kept a notebook. Tiana was surprised, but grateful he was so involved in the planning of their big event.
Carley was overjoyed at the prospect of her only child getting married at last. Trenton wanted to just get married and be done with it. His mother wasn’t getting any younger. In fact, after all the hard work, the selection of the venue decided as well as the menu for the wedding feast and the tasting of the cakes — some where just plain dry and others just nasty tasting, the moment was almost upon them.
Sitting around the evening before, they were all just trying to relax. Tiana wasn’t exactly a Brideszilla, but Trenton could tell she was not herself, either. She smiled, bravely, and tried to pass it all off, but he did notice she came downstairs dressed in her swimsuit.
“I think I’ll take a few slides before I hit the sheets for the night,” she said.
“Oh, okay. Have fun. Love you, Babe.”
Aw, love you, too.”
     A commercial came on and Trenton glanced at the clock on the mantle. His mother would be coming through the door from work any time, now. Shortly after his show came back on, his attention was diverted by a most curious thrumming sound over head. James, who sat beside him on the couch, stiffened. So did Gramps, sitting in the chair.
“W-w-what is that?” Trenton said. “A low flying plane?”
“It’s low-flying, but it’s certainly not a plane,” Gramps said.
“Oh, God, no!” James jumped off of the sofa and glanced out of the front window. Carley was just at the base of the front steps, awash in an eerie glow. Caught in a beam. He watched, knot in his stomach, as she rose higher and higher until she was no longer in sight. “They’ve got your mother,” he gasped. “Don’t hurt her, don’t hurt her, she’s not a youngster,” he murmured.
Just as he did for his mother, when his father had been abducted, James was quick to give his father a hug.  

“It’s all right, I’ve been through this myself,” James said, comforting his son. Trenton was shaking. “It’s weird, it’s scary, but she should be all right.”
“What about the wedding, should we cancel it for another time?”
“Not on your life,” Gramps said. “They’ll let her go in just a couple of hours. She’ll be fine. A tad dazed but a good night’s sleep will cure that.”
James nodded at their ghostly ancestor. “Your mother wouldn’t hear of it, either. You know she’s lived for this day. We can’t deprive her of this joy. Now, get some rest. Big day tomorrow.”
Just as promised, Carley did return a couple of hours after she was caught in the beam. She was a bit dazed, too, but fine. James escorted her up the stairs and the two went to bed. Tiana also came upstairs shortly thereafter.
The next morning blossomed like a beautiful rose in Spring. The sun was shining, a slight breeze rustled through the leaves of the trees. Birds chirped a good morning to all. The family took their breakfast out on the back patio. Trenton took a final check of the details for the day, spending much of his time with his face in his cell phone.
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Tiana asked, seeing his full plate of eggs, bacon and toast, practically untouched. She reached over and gently took the phone from him. “Eat, please. You get cranky when you don’t.”
Trenton smirked and ate. Before long it was time to get ready and head down to the NewCrest Wedding Venue/Bar. The family gathered up their dishes, placed the leftovers in the refrigerator and then got their showers and dressed for the occasion. Trenton had to confess he had butterflies in his stomach.
As they arrived at the venue, their guests were also pulling up. It was nice to see the turnout. Both of his uncles, Jaron and Joseph arrived. Jett was milling about, too. Erik, who had baked up the wedding cake, brought it inside and carefully set it on the cloth-covered tiered table. Then he set the wedding topper on it, just so. All was in readiness. Trenton found himself going down to the basement, where the reception would be held, just to be certain his mixologist was in attendance. Some of the guests were already ordering drinks. He smiled. Were they a bit nervous, too?
Back upstairs again, he strolled up to the wedding arch. The guests, still milling around, finally gathered in the small chapel area. Tiana made her way to the arch. Trenton gasped at how lovely she truly was. Standing opposite him, they exchanged their vows, spoke sweet words to each other and finally rings were placed on fingers. Confetti dropped from the ceiling over the happy couple as they sealed their nuptials with a kiss.  
The guests cheered, applauded and then made their way into the wing of the venue where the cloth-draped chairs were setup. Trenton cut the wedding cake and the couple fed each other a piece of the cake before taking a seat at the table. Before long, they made their way down to the basement. Music played and Trenton took the dance floor, breaking into a dance, showing off his skills. Tiana smiled and swayed back and forth to the music, her first attempt at dancing. 

    After a time, she wandered out front. On the lawn was a marvelous fountain, big enough, should she get the urge, to wade into. Trenton followed her out. She then took a step into the cool water. It was so very hot down in the basement, cluttered with people. The water felt good on her lower legs. “Come on it, the water’s fine,” she said, as Trenton stood on the wide lip of the fountain. 
“My tux,” he said. 
“It’ll be fine,” she smiled, getting out again. Out of nowhere, she produced a box of soap that she proceeded to sprinkle into the water.
“What are you doing, are you mad?” 
“Loosen up, I’m just having a bit of fun. Soap is biodegradable, relax.”
“This is why I love you, Tiana,” Trenton said, dipping into the water himself.
The two proceeded to kick at the water, splashing each other, laughing, and truly having fun. Once in awhile they’d reach down and shove the water with their hands, to really splash the other. They were just having too much fun. The moment was only slightly spoiled when Jett walked up. 
“So, this is where you two snuck off to,” he said. “Deserting your guests to play in the fountain, eh?”
“Come on in, the water’s fine,” Trenton invited.
“Nah, I wouldn’t want to intrude.” Jett went back inside.
Finally, things wound down. The Cantrells made sure the venue was properly cleaned up and then they and their guests went on their way. The wedding was beautiful, the affair deemed a Gold-Star Event. Despite the pre-wedding jitters and that inconvenient space cruise, the young couple were wed, and now all James and Carley had to do was sit back and await their grandchildren.   

Friday, September 23, 2016

Generation Seven— Chapter Nine: Love At First Sight, Effects of the Red Grape, Or Just Plain Flirty?

     Trenton had met a few girls, cloud-gazed with one, in particular, but so far he was striking out. He just wasn’t finding the right one. That one special Sim who caught his attention, filled up his thoughts with her and her alone. After dabbling with romance, and experiencing the responsibility of running his father’s diner, he now felt  ready to have a serious relationship.  
    At least, he felt a strong need, as his father’s only child, to carry on the family legacy.  Dad wasn’t getting any younger, after all. And there were no other siblings, even after his father had been abducted. Perhaps, the Aliens were just doing what they had threatened to do — check up on the family from time to time. Part of him was relieved his father hadn’t conceived, but on the flip side of things, he was disappointed, too. Might have been nice to have a much younger sibling to pick on. Being a loner didn’t preclude him from ever being lonely.  Sometimes, he did wonder what it would have been like, to not be an only child. 

   His sole position meant it was left to him to carry on the family name, which also meant  finding the right girl with whom to settle down. Someone who could understand him. Who saw things as he did, shared his hopes and his dreams. A partner, not just a wife. So, he chose to go to Magnolia Park one early evening after work. There he saw this most beautiful blonde Sim playing chess all by herself.  
“Mind if I join in?” he said, taking the seat opposite her, even before she’d had a chance to respond. All the while the thought danced through his head, I think I love you.
She looked up over her black, horn-rim glasses and smiled. “Not at all. I get bored playing chess against myself. I win and lose, both at the same time.”
Trenton smiled and chuckled at that. “I know what you mean. It’s hard to gain skill if you’re always playing by yourself — against yourself. So, does that mean you’re single?”
Suddenly, she was blushing. Smooth, Trenton, smooth. “Ah-I-didn’t mean …”
“That’s okay,” she said. “It’s been a few weeks since he decided we should just be friends. So, yes. I’m single. And you?”
Now, it was his turn to feel awkward. “Kinda a loner.”
“Oh. Maybe I should go back to fishing,” she said, as she started to stand. Trenton reached out across the chess table.
“No, no, that’s not what I meant at all. I did ask to join you, remember?”

“That you did.”
“My name is Trenton. Trenton Cantrell.”
“Tiana Longoria, so nice to meet you, Trenton. So, what do you do for a living?”
“Ever been to Newcrest?
“Yes, once or twice.”
“Ever heard of the Old Alcove Diner?
“I hear they’ve got great prices, and great service. But, I’ve never actually been there. I may have walked by…”
“My Dad owns the place. I’m a Manager there. Eventually, it will be mine.”
“Oh, well, that sounds interesting.”
“Check-mate,” he said, moving his bishop in direct line with her king. She had nowhere to take her king. Trenton grabbed his phone from his pocket. “Tiana Longoria, may I have your phone number, please?”   
“Only if you give me yours, too.” He smiled at that. She wasn’t a push-over, he liked that.
Trenton left the park shortly thereafter. He noticed a spring to his step as he walked home. Saying her name over and over in his head as he went. A few frenetic shifts working at the diner later, Trenton gave Tiana a quick call, asking her to meet him at the Blue Velvet Night Club downtown Willow Creek. They talked, they had a drink together and then feeling hungry, but not for bar food, he asked her on a date. Immediately, the two were swept to Windenburg to the Chez Llama. 
“Wow, look at this place,” Tiana said, gazing around at the ritzy restaurant. “I thought we’d be eating at the Old Alcove.
 “Not tonight,” he said with a sly smile. “This is a date.”

The two, all dressed up in their finery, walked into the restaurant. Trenton smiled at the Hostess, “Table for two, please,” he said. The Sim took her time going over her map of the place before she took out her grease pen and made a mark on the page. 
“Right this way,” she said, leading them down the three steps and to a table on the left.
“Thank you,” Trenton said. He held the chair for Tiana and then sat opposite her. They both took up the menus and began to have a look. 
“Um, everything looks so good.”
Gazing across the table at her, “Yes, it does.”
When Trenton caught the eye of their waitress, he proceeded to order two glasses of the Chef’s Choice Red, and an appetizer for each of them. By then the place began to fill up. The two chatted and got to know each other. Trenton told a few jokes, and was glad she laughed at them. A genuine laugh. Apparently, she got him, his sense of humor. Then they began talking about what they each wanted out of life. He was amazed her dreams were so close to his. Finally, their order arrived and they continued to talk, over sips of the Red Grape, and when Trenton saw the appetizer, he grabbed his phone and snapped a quick picture of  the experimental dish. This was something interesting, he decided, and had the thought he may even include it on a future menu at the diner, if he could figure it out. One day, he hoped to upgrade the place to more of a fine dining experience.  
Trenton didn’t know if it was Tiana, so beautiful in her evening gown, her hair up-swept, her back nearly bare, or if it was the atmosphere, or the effects of the red grape, but suddenly he felt very flirty. He blew kisses at her, she responded in kind. Things were heating up between them. Caught up in the romance of this place, he kissed her. And then he kissed her again, wishing one of those flowery bushes was around. He even plucked a red rose from a nearby vase and presented it to her, which she shyly took. Next thing he knew, he was down on a knee, fishing for the ring he’d just purchased.  Yes, he was intent on finding that one right female Sim.  He had things all planned out in his head. Holding it up to her, “Tiana, will you marry me?”
“Oh, my goodness!” She said, eyes wide as she gazed at the rock her presented. “I knew you were the one when you walked up to me in the park. Yes. Yes, I will marry you, Trenton Cantrell.” She extended her hand to him and he slipped the ring, which fit her perfectly, onto her finger.
Dropping her off at her place, he took his time walking home again. He slept in late the next day. In the afternoon, he emerged from his room to find the remains of a birthday cake. Gramps was always one to bake a cake when called for.  The day was bright, a tad warm, and Trenton took a seat at the patio table with James, Jett and his ghostly ancestor. Whipping out his phone he texted Tiana. He couldn’t wait to introduce her to his family and to share their news.

     Once Tiana got there, he was quick to invite her to move in. Then he made a point to introduce her to his father.
“Dad, this is Tiana Longoria, the sweet angel I told you about. Tiana, this is my Dad.”
“So very nice to meet you Mister Cantrell.”
“Call me James, please,” he said, offering his hand to shake.
“Dad, I’ve invited Tiana to move in. We’re engaged,” Trenton took Tiana’s hand and showed off the ring.
“Well, I have to say you two have just made an old Sim very happy. Congratulations! You’re mother is going to be so excited.”   

Friday, September 16, 2016

Generation Seven — Chapter Eight: Proof Is in the Pudding, Not On the Kitchen Floor

      “Chef Dolphin,” Trenton said, coming into the kitchen. “How are you doing today? I just thought I’d check up with you.”
“Name isn’t Dolphin. And just who are you? The owner’s kid?”
“Yeah, only I’m not a kid anymore. Name’s Trenton. Mister Cantrell to you. And now that I’m out of school, a Manager here. Eventually, this place will be mine.”
“Oh, well, la-dee-dah. I can’t say this is my ‘dream job’. Nope, not at all.”
“Well, okay, then. I’ll check back with you later, perhaps you’ll feel better then. In the meantime, try to get the orders right, please.
Trenton checked in with the rest of the staff of The Oak Alcove Diner. Many of them were happy, most of them trying very hard to do a good job. He gave them pep talks, which went down well. He was more than aware that ‘Dolphin’ was struggling. In looking up her work record, he found she had already been sent to three different sessions for training. It was disconcerting that they’d spent money on her training, and yet she still failed to perform, and in fact, wasn’t at all happy here. This weighed heavily on him. Her foul mood could spread to the others. This he couldn’t allow. When he checked in on her again, her pot of pudding, or whatever it was supposed to be, was boiling over. He wondered where her head was, as clearly it wasn’t on her job, still. He stepped out for a moment to regain his composure.
After a bit, Trenton went back into the very hot kitchen. “Sergio, my man,” he said, clapping the other chef on the shoulder. “Just checking in with you. How are things going? I see you’ve had some training.”
“Yes, Mister Cantrell. Some, but I know I could do far better if I had more training. Some of these dishes are still a bit complicated for me.”
“Say, no more. Training you’ll have.”  
The day was a busy, long one. Trenton did his best to manage everyone, each in their turn. He greeted the customers, and on the advice of both his Uncle Jett and his Dad, he also made a point to just chat with the customers, when checking on their tables. Where he needed to, he prioritized and expedited their orders. Finally, after ten hours of being open, he closed up shop for the night. Thinking in his head that perhaps, they could work their way into being an all-night diner. After all, there were three of them for at least three days of a week to manage the place. He’d bring this up to his father, in due time.
When he approached ‘Dolphin’, as they all worked to clean their stations, he could see she was still doing a sub-standard job. Sighing, he said,  “Dolphin, I’m going to do something that I hope will make you very happy.”

“Oh, yeah? What are you going to do for me? Pip-squeak.” She said, swatting at her station with a wet bar towel, splattering the walls with grease.  Her lack of caring was more than evident.  Trenton clasped his hand together, to help keep himself from smacking her, or worse, strangling her. He’d put up with her all day long and he’d had it up to his eyeballs with her discord.
“Since you’re so unhappy working here,” he said, keeping his tone measured, “I’m going to give you your freedom. Perhaps, then, you can discover your ‘dream job’.”
“Say, what? I’ve got more training than anyone in this place and yet you’re canning me?”
“I tried to tell you earlier to change your attitude, to give this job your all, but you failed to do that. You told me how unhappy you were. If you’re not going to at least try to improve, then I had no recourse than to set you free. This should have been done long ago. You’re fired. Hand in your apron. Thank you.”
“Well, I never,” Delphian muttered, having some difficulty getting the knot out of her apron strings. Finally, it came loose and she all but flung the greasy, blood-red apron at him. Trenton caught it, crunched it up in his hands, and threw it into the bin for the laundry service to process.
Trenton was never more glad to reach home. He realized he needed to talk with his father, who arrived shortly thereafter and had news of his own.
James said, arms wide as he hugged both his wife and his son, “I’ve been promoted to line-chef! Can you believe it? Took them long enough.”
“Line-chef, I thought you wanted to be a mixologist,” Carley said.
“Yeah, well, a promotion is a promotion. Means more money, either way.”
“Promoted,” Trenton said, realizing his notion of keeping the diner open 24/seven was quickly fading away. “Do you still have the middle of the week off?”
“I’ll have to check my schedule, but I doubt it. Let’s eat, I’m hungry.”
Carley grilled up some sausage and peppers and they ate outside on the patio. The night was lovely, warm, breezy and quiet. “How was your first day as manager of the Alcove, Son?” James said.
“Interesting. Long.”
“Any trouble?”
“Not really. I hope you don’t mind, but I signed Sergio up for some additional training. He’s got that fire in his belly, you know. He really loves to cook. I think he’s going to be a great chef. And he’s eager to learn more, too.”
“Yes, I saw that in him, too.”
“I’ve also signed two of the waitresses up for some additional training, and, as an additional perk, got it at a discount, too. Oh, and before I forget, I promoted our Host. Made him very happy.”
“Well, now, that sounds like you had a rather productive day.”
Trenton cut his sausage and popped another piece into his mouth. “Um, I also fired Dolphin today. So, we’re going to need another chef.”
“Dolphin? You mean Delphian?”
“Yeah, she hated the job, wasn’t willing to improve her work, called me pipsqueak of all things and in general made it known she wasn’t at all happy working for us. I did my best to give her a pep-talk. I even praised her a few times. Still no change. After all that training we put into her, too. Ingrate. I hope — you’re not mad at me.”
“No, Son, you showed more initiative that I thought you had, today. And more bravery than me. I thought her resume looked good, on paper, but in person, she wasn’t the chef I hoped she’d be. I sent her to training, hoping that would help. But, … Between you and Jett my restaurant is going strong. I thank you, both, for your innovations. Maybe, we can make this thing work, after all.”

Monday, September 12, 2016

Generation Seven — Chapter Seven: This Momentary Life …

    Ericka had reached the lofty old age of 105. Beginning to really feel it, she made a point to visit her other two sons, who had long since moved out of the family home. She was very glad that her eldest son, James, had made her youngest son, Jett, part of his new business venture. In reality, she knew James’ only child, Trenton, would inherit the business in time, but for now, Jett, who had been at best a marginal student, was gaining skill in the workforce. She smiled to herself. All the troubles raising four boys had been well-worth it. She and Marc had turned out four fine, young male Sims.
Marc would certainly be proud. And then she sighed. He’d been gone for some time, now, but she missed him, always. 
 “Mom, I’m so glad you called,” Johnny said, throwing his arms around her. “You’re looking good, how do you feel?”
“Oh, old,” she smiled. “I keep working to keep my mind off the aches and pains.”
“Let’s go grab a bite to eat,” Johnny said. “I know of a quaint new place, that I think you’ll approve of.”  
Taking his mother to Newcrest, he brought her into the Oak Alcove Diner. “This is your brother’s place,” Ericka laughed. “Oh, how very nice it is, too.”
Carley, who was getting on in years, herself, also made a point to spend some one-on-one time with her aging mother-in-law. They did some star-gazing together, talked about the men in their lives and in general got to know each other very well.
Ericka, not wishing to waste a minute’s time, played on that silly Slippery Slide. She wasn’t all that fit, nor very good at those fancy type slides her boys all liked to show off, but, it was very early and even her neighbors seemed to be asleep. She stole outside, quiet as an Elf and turning on the water, slid to her heart’s content. Okay, so she flopped a few times. But, she was anxious to get the most out of her waning life. And, she was having fun. Finally, she got up, rubbed at her insulted hip and decided enough was enough. She would likely feel this bit of childishness for the rest of the day.

   Then, one evening after work, she went upstairs to go to bed. She was unusually tired. That’s when she realized something was up.
“What? Who’s that? Is anybody there?” No one answered. Ericka felt herself grow very weak. Afraid of falling, she lowered herself to the floor. There was some comfort in getting there on her own, instead of just dropping and alarming everyone. Then, she laid her head down on the cool wood flooring and quietly slipped off.  
“I’m just going to go check on your Mom,” Carley said, over her shoulder, once she reached the top of the stairs. James smiled, nodded and went into their bedroom in the corner. Carley pushed into the  room to the right and there before her on the floor beside the bed lay Ericka. “Oh. Oh, no. James! James, come quickly!” 
That beastly being, Grimmie, floated into the room.  Dark gray dust cloud and all. Carley glared at the entity. This was twice in so short a time, she felt sick to her stomach. She knew better than to try to plead for Ericka’s life. She was an ancient Sim. Tears welled up in her eyes, and Carley allowed herself to weep. Life just wouldn’t be the same without Ericka. But, there was no choice. In another moment, she was calling the authorities to come collect her.
As expected, James and Jett took the loss of their mother very hard. Being the eldest, James traveled to see Jaron and Johnny, giving them the unhappy news. James seemed to take it the hardest. 

“You have today off, are you not going to open up the restaurant?” Carley asked, after he got back from his visit.
“I don’t know. I just. I can’t get myself ready to do much of anything.”
“Why don’t you go open up. Believe me, keeping busy might help you in the long run.”
James paid heed to his wife’s words. There were problems at Oak Alcove, and before he knew it, working through the staff issues, greeting guests and working out the financials did take his mind off of his grief. After checking on all three waiters, his Host and both Chefs, he decided to pay for some additional training. While the restaurant teetered between three and half stars to four full stars, he made sure he chatted with the guests, beyond just seeing to their needs.
When he closed for the night, he felt a tad better. Tomorrow, he worked at his other job. Time would tell when he could let that one go and take over his own place full-time. Right now, he just needed to keep his family afloat, needed to get them above the ‘waves’ and into a semblance of prosperity. They were already down one wage-earner. Trenton would come of age very soon. He hoped to hand over an inheritance that was worth it. Shutting off the lights, James locked the doors behind him. Tomorrow would be another day.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Generation Seven — Chapter Six: A Cantrell Curse?

Trenton became a teen shortly after James got started in his restaurant business. James was anxious to get the boy trained for his eventual ownership of the Oak Alcove Diner, but it was decided, by all concerned, to keep the placed closed for a few days out of respect for Kai Mena and his family. Then, it was back to the grill. In looking around at the changes Jett had made, he found himself pleased. Jett did okay, even with the remodeling — although he should have consulted him, first.
Even so, they kept their same work schedules. Jett worked the entire weekend, including Fridays and Mondays and James took the three remaining days. Once in awhile, when it got to be too much, James would call Jett in to take over. Occasionally, Trenton would be called in, so he could get a feel for things. On this one particular day, James found himself wearing thin. The place had been busy from the moment they opened almost non-stop for eight hours straight. While he was glad the place rated four and a half stars, it was exhausting all the same.  Seriously needing a nap, James phoned Jett.
“Hey, Jett,” he said into the phone. “I could use a break. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’m exhausted. Can you come down and finish off the shift for me? I know, I know, it’s close to closing. But I’m close to passing out, here. Yeah, I know, I owe you one. And thanks.”
Before too long Jett arrived.   
“Hey, big brother, you’re looking a little peaked around the edges, you okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s just been a long day. I did close at my regular job last night, but somehow I guess I didn’t get enough sleep. I kept having this really weird dream, you know? Shook me to my core. Sorry, about this.”
“No, no, I could use the spare change. You go on, I’ll close for the night.”
“Thanks, and I’ll be here tomorrow, don’t worry.”

With that, James left through the kitchen and headed back to Willow Creek. As he arrived on their street, just walking up the drive to their house, he saw Carley standing at their mailbox.
“Carley,” he said, waving to her. He’d wanted to let her know he was home early, hoping to discuss just how they were going to pay that wicked utility bill before the Company shut off their lights when all at once, over his head he heard a most curious noise. A thrumming of sorts. Next thing he knew he was bathed in a bright beam of light. He couldn’t speak, blink his eyes or move in any way. He wanted to cry out, but nothing came from his mouth. Paralyzed, as he was lifted right off of the very ground he stood upon.

What was happening?
Trenton came running out of the house. He knew his mother had gone out front to mail a check. He heard a weird noise above him. The entire house almost rattled off of its foundation. Was that some kind of space craft — a flying saucer that flitted right out of sight?
“Mom!” he cried as he reached her and hugged her tight. “Are you all right, what was that?”
“Oh, Trenton. Trenton, they took your father!”
“W-w-who took Dad? Mom, what was that noise?”
“Space ship. It’s happened again. This family is cursed or something.”

“Mom, you’re sounding a bit hysterical.”
“I couldn’t move. I heard your father greet me, but before I could ask why he was home so early, a bright light bathed the drive and I couldn’t move or even cry out.”
“It’s okay, Mom, I’ve got you,” he said, holding her tight.
“You do realize that although your skin in a normal Sim tone, that you’re part alien.”
“What? Mom, did you bump your head or something? I know you want to be an astronaut and all, but seriously?”
“No, it’s true. Rory was bound and determined to understand all about aliens. You see his first two sons, your father and uncle John have normal skin tone, so he thought that it took four generations before the skin became human Sim tone again. But then, your younger two uncles, Jarod and Jett are lavender again. His theory was destroyed and I think it drove him mad.”
“Wait, wait, what? Are you saying Grandpa Rory was abducted?”
“No, it happened years before.  Gramp’s son Ayden was abducted, first. But, he was an Elder, so if he was impregnated, it didn’t take. I’m guessing maybe he was tested, more to see if his line would be a good specimen. Then, as it happened, his son Nathaniel, moments before his wedding, was abducted. He had little lavender alien twins, a girl and a boy. Marc, your great- grandfather. He had Joseph and Joseph had Rory. So, you see you’re the fourth generation from an alien impregnation. I guess the men in this family are deemed specimens.”
“I don’t like this,” Trenton said. “I’m too old to have a younger sibling. This is ludicrous.”
Staring up at the night sky, “I just hope your father’s okay.”
“Well, let’s get inside before anything more freakish happens.” Trenton, an arm around his mother’s shoulders drew her inside.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Generation Seven — Chapter Five: Oh, Brother!

James made a decision. Tired that only three of the adults living in this house were actively working and bringing in money, he talked it over, first, with Ericka their mother, then after she agreed he approached his youngest brother, Jett.
“Jett, it occurs to me that I only have three days a week to run the restaurant. Seems a shame it isn’t opened all week long. I really hate to disappoint the customers, you know?” He said, draping an arm over his younger brother’s shoulders.
“Yeah, I see what you mean. What do you propose to do about it? You have to work.”
“And that’s my point, exactly. Mom is working, Carley is working, I’m working. And you — what is it you do these days? I know you graduated high school recently.”
“Barely. And finding a job isn’t going so well, either. One look at my transcripts and it’s, sorry, that position has been filled. I guess I should have paid better attention in class.”
“Tell you what you need. You need some experience so that when you’re ready to get a different job, you can have something other than those rather lousy transcripts to speak for you. How about if I make you a manager of the Oak Alcove Diner, and you go and run things for me for a few days a week. I’ll do Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, unless or until my schedule changes and you can take Fridays, Saturdays, Sunday’s and Mondays.”
“You mean it, James? I could be the manager for most of the week? Manager, that’s quite a responsibility.”

“Like I said, if you do well, I’d be more than happy to write up a glowing report for your resume.”
No sooner had Jett taken over the diner, than James began to regret this decision. Bills from the place came piling in, all but eating up any bit of profit. What was the kid doing? He brought the bills over to Carley to show her. She flipped through the envelopes.
“Nobody said running a restaurant was cheap,” she said.
“Yeah, but I left over §1000 in the account. Now it’s barely over §200.00. What in all of Newcrest is he spending it on? If he keeps up this kind of spending, at this pace we’ll be broke in less than a week.”
Carley sat on the bed next to her husband. “Why don’t you ask him?”
“No, after I sold him on the idea and promised to write a good review for him, I can’t start interrogating him. He’s only been at it for less than three days.”
“So, you’d rather chew my ear off, is that it?”
“No. But there is something you could do for me. Other than listen to me grouse, that is.” James got that look in his eye again.
“Oh, let me guess, you need me to be your spy again. Need I remind you, that’s your mother’s purview. I’m working toward being an astronaut!”
“I just need you to drop in, give him a break, and see what’s going on. I mean, it shows here, he’s hired another waiter and another chef, too. Honey, you’ve got to help me out here. I’ve still got two more days before my ‘shift’ at the restaurant comes around.”
“Oh, all right. I’ll do it.”
The next afternoon Carley traveled to Newcrest. She casually strolled into the diner. What met her eyes had her gobsmacked. When she toured the place just after James made the purchase there was only three booths. Now, there was a fourth table along the east wall. An additional cook station in the kitchen, and a new waiter and a chef, too. The bathrooms had also been altered, the kitchen extended. This young man acted as if the place was his. Who authorized the renovations? No wonder James was worried.
To his credit, the place was humming. He was quick to greet the guests as they arrived, checked on their tables, expedited food whenever necessary. She also found out from the staff that he’d paid for additional training, for each of them in turn. Carley realized the training was a must, so Jett couldn’t be faulted for that. James probably would have done the very same. She knew she would have also.

“Carley,” Jett greeted with open arms. “What brings you here, have you been given a table yet?”
“Jett, the place is absolutely humming along. I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop in. You know I really haven’t been here since the walk-through. My, how it’s changed.”
“Well, yeah. I suppose I should have talked it over with James, first. But, he did make me a manager, and, well, some things needed to be changed. Does no good to hire a second chef to keep up the pace, if you don’t have a cook station. And that required the kitchen be enlarged. I’m thinking we may need yet another table, if not two, so I had the contractor make the bathrooms shorter.”
“I always thought they were a tad too roomy. Okay, I’ll take over for a bit. You probably could use a break.”

“Actually, I’m fine. It’s only been a couple of hours.”
“Well, to be honest, I need to get some hands-on experience with this. Once James quits his other job, we’ll be doing this full-time. So, if you don’t mind, this is my only day off this week. Why don’t you go take a walk, and if I get into any trouble, I’ll call you, okay?”
“Well, okay. All right. I’ll just take a quick walk. I’ll be back shortly.”
Things went well, the place was busy. Carley realized this was something she could do. She was even excited to see their old friend, Kai Mena, come in.
“Hey, Kai, so good to see you.”
“Carley, I heard you and James had opened up a diner. This is really a nice little place. Rory would have liked it.” The host showed Kai to a table. A few minutes later, Carley felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise, as well as those on her forearms. People stood up, dishes crashed to the floor. She turned quickly, catching the oddest image in the corner of her eye. A Sim all dressed in very black clothing, carrying a huge mean looking scythe, floated inward upon a cloud of dark gray smoke.

  Carley’s knees went weak. Glancing quickly around her, she saw Kai Mena on the tiled floor. “Kai, oh no! Somebody call nine-one-one! Hurry!” Carley threw her hands over her mouth. This was the man who had officiated over her wedding. She felt faint. That dark Sim, whose face could not been seen beneath its hood loomed over Kai’s still body.
Carley had heard old tales that it was possible to plead with the Grim Reaper to spare a Sim from death. She had never met a Grim Reaper before, but what was there to lose? Bending her knees before this entity, she clasped her hands and pleaded for all she was worth. Sadly, to no avail. Kai Mena was gone. He was elderly and it was just his time.  Sniffing back her emotions, she stood back up. As the active manager on duty, she made the call to the proper authorities to come deal with his remains. James wasn’t going to like this, but they were going to have to close the restaurant for a couple of days, at the least.