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The Never-ending Story This is where you can start or add to a work of fiction. Anything goes as long as it is fiction and it meets the standards of the public forum area.

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Old 1st May 2005
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Default "The Kid"... a Willyp story

It was the mid nineties. We'd heard there was work down south especially where the Olympics were going to be held so just because it was somethng to do, Shiloh and I saddled up and put the north behind us. As it turned out the rumors were true. Construction was going full bore, work was plentiful and the pay was decent. Those were good days and we lived them to the hilt. Heck, a man could quit a job at ten and be working again before noon and for better money if he played his cards right. It seemd like everyone was rushing to capitalize on the Olympic boom. The funny thing was, it never really happened the way they had it figured. Oh, they held them all right but nobody and I do mean nobody came. There wasn't a hotel in town you couldn't get a room in or a restaraunt you couldn't get a seat in. Rumors flowed about tenants being evicted from apartments in anticiapation of outrageous rents and if the rumors were true, there were a lot of disappointed landlords around. To give you an idea of what it was like, on the first day, parking lot signs were asking fifteen bucks. Day two and the price dropped to ten. By the third day it was five and after that you parked where you darn well pleased for free. There was never a night we couldn't have rolled a bowling ball down any street in Atlanta and never hit a soul. I mean it was the party no one came to. To make matters worse, cops were crawling everywhere and women were in pretty short supply so we decided it was time to hit the road again.

It's a fairly short ride to Macon, more work and then just a slow ride farther south where we'd hook up for short gigs and move along. You see, Shi and me didn't get into the savings thing. Enough money to move along was reason enough to ride. We finally made it to to Florida and suddenly the bottom dropped out on us. Now when I say it dropped, I mean it dropped. There wasn't much work to be had and what little there was didn't pay much so we began phase two which of course means, "what's next?" Winter was just setting in up north and we were in no particular hurry to head back that way.They say that life is what happens when you're planning your next move and it must be true because what happened next sure drove the point home.

We were sitting in one of the local eateries in South Florida having lunch and downing a few cold ones when he came throught the door, all five foot eight of him. He was a blustery banty rooster kind of guy, loud, affable and definetely amusing. In his arms he carried a baby lion of all things. It couldn't have been more than a week or so old. Someone said he owned the wild life rescue center nearby. Watching this guy work the crowd was poetry in motion. He brought begging to a new level as he wandered from table to table and along the bar looking for donations. I mean, who wouldn't cough up a few bucks for this guy's rescue center, especailly after he let you pet the cub and there's where the real story begins. Now Shi doesn't take much to strangers, at least until they prove themselves but there was something about this guy you just had to like. I don't know if it was his carney like attitude, his ever present smile or what but they hit it off pretty good. He claimed to be an ex biker and probaby was. He loved the Sportsters and knew quite a bit about them and by nightfall we accepted his offer of a trailer to stay in, all the food we could eat and a few bucks on the side in exchange for working at the rescue center. Not a bad deal, all things considered and it It sure beat heading back to snow country.

The place was easy to find. Ten or so miles down the interstate, exit right andt turn right off the highway onto a dusty gravel road and there it sits. If you looked, you could see the cages and animals of some kind inside. We didn't know quite what to expect but we were sure it was going to be different so we parked the bikes, unloaded our saddlebags and settled in.

Now if you keep going down that gravel road about a quarter mile and off to the left, you'll see a typical all American split level ranch with the obligatory attached two car garage, a yard barely big enough to justify the riding lawn mower, two dogs and a cat. That's where Donny lived. No one knew much about him other than he lived a little farther down the gravel the road. We kinda thought his foks both worked which is why he hung out at the center most days. He wasn't much older than eight or ten at the most and spent a lot of his free time helping out and doing odd jobs. He made his presence known the next day right after school let out. I guess it was the bikes that attracted him because he wandered right over and began to ask questions non stop and believe me when I tell you, an eight year old kid has more curiosity than a cat, I mean it. Especialy little Donny. He was a chatterbox alright but as his home life went, he didn't say and any questions only resulted in vague answers so we left it alone. Nor was it uncommon for the kid to miss a day now and then. We figured he had homework or maybe some chores at home. Regardless, he'd show up again in a day or two pestering us about the bikes or some such.

It's not well known that Shi had it pretty rough coming up. That probably accounts for his wandering ways and general disdain for most foks material values. He doesn't talk about it much but he always said that the biggest sin of all was to steal a kid's chilhood. One thing that is well known though was his love for kids and maybe that explains why those two were drawn together. I got along with the kid pretty well but it was clear that Shiloh and him had a special kind of connection and it was pure magic. Shi claimed he was a pain in the butt but as the days wore on, it wasn't long before he developed a seventy pound growth on the side of his leg named Little Donny. It was fun just to watch them hanging out together. It was never clear who towed who. One time Donny would be running from cage to cage in front of Shi, telling him all he knew about each animal, it'r history and how it got to the center. He even showed how he could hand feed a lion named Farrah. I guess the animals liked him too. Other times they'd be sitting around the bikes drinking cokes and that kid would be hanging on Shi's every word. He loved to hear the stories about life on the road and always asked the same question. "When ya gonna take me for ride Shi?" and the answer was always the same. "Just a soon as your Mom or Dad say it's ok" to which the kid would just nod and smile. After a while it all became routine. We'd work through the day and around 3:30 or so here comes the kid and the first question out of his mouth was always the same. "Where's Shi?"

I think it was sometime close to the holidays. It was day two that the kid didn't show. It wasn't cause for concern but we kind of expected him to show any minute. We'd noticed a little more traffic than usual on the gravel road but no one made anything of it. All in all it was just another day at the center. The usual senior citizens tour bus, some curious tourists and not much else. As it was, the day came and went without the kid's usual chatter and questions. Shi even remarked, "wonder where the pain is today?" to which the rest of us just grinned. Like it or not, Shi had been adopted. Just about then Shi's face lit up. "I have an idea" he said. "Tomorrow, while the kid's in school I'm goining to find his folks and get permission to take him for a ride. That'll make the little guy's day. Can you just see the look on his face when I tell him we're going on our first ride?" Shi's own face lit up with one of those smiles that starts deep within the heart and explodes in a facial expression that leaves no doubt. He had made a decision and he knew was a good one. We kidded him about it for a while. Then, as was our style at the end of each day, we fired up the bikes for our daily ride to the local hang out for some pool and a few cold ones.

~to be continued~

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Last edited by cantolina; 24th May 2009 at 19:00..
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Old 1st May 2005
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Aw, c'mon, Will! Don't leave us hangin' like that.... Finish the story! I hate those cliffhangers!
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Old 1st May 2005
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To be continued when?
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Old 1st May 2005
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Oh, you're ssssuch a tease WillyP!


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Old 1st May 2005
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I read him the "riot act" over that one......

You can't tell those artistic-types ANYTHING....lol
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Old 2nd May 2005
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Nice Going Will!!!!!!

JUST leave us Hanging!!!!!


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Old 2nd May 2005
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Hangin' on every word....

Sooner or later - you choose - you'll listen to me...

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Old 2nd May 2005
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Will;
Too bad I didn't get to know you while I was living in Fayettville, I think we would have had a good time together. I too was a sparky moving around looking for the next big gig. Been pretty good at it too, but the NewEngland area kept calling me back home.....I couldn't ignore it. My folks are still in F'ville, my Dad's in an assisted living home on 54, The next time I visit we'll have to hook up for a coffee or somethin' You like Mexican?...there's a great place in the Pavillion I could take you to.


Dave

PS,. what's wit the sporty on Ebay??
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..............................................
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Old 2nd May 2005
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Thanks everyone. Part two and the conclusion will be coming very soon.
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