The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.
Mitch heard the now familiar sound of Cody’s wheelchair coming down the hallway. He smiled but didn’t stop packing even when he knew Cody had stopped at the doorway. Well, it felt like his after essentially living in it for the last month. It was a decent room and Gordy and Sam had been fantastic hosts. They had met the friend’s test—they hadn’t threatened to shoot him.
At least that’s what Darrin had told him. But his husband was skilled at telling him the unvarnished truth. A few days earlier, he’d gotten that lecture. Like many times when Darrin shared more opinion than Mitch really wanted, it had pissed him off… at first. But after he had thought about it, Mitch had to agree with Darrin’s assessment.
“You sure you have to leave?”
Mitch continued with his packing as he let Cody consider his question. After a minute or so passed, Cody sighed. “I guess it is time. Everything seems to be okay—months of PT is what I have left.”
“You’re doing fine. The doctors all said you’re going to make a full recovery. You’re getting off a lucky man.” He turned to look at Cody. “But would you do me a favor?”
Cody seemed surprised but after quick consideration, he nodded. “Sure. What is it?”
“Calm your driving down—a lot. I don’t think your parents can take another crisis as bad as this one. They were in rough shape when I got here.”
This time Cody’s face turned red as a summer sunburn. But he seemed to give the request serious consideration. Eventually, he nodded his head. “Okay. I know I’m an adrenaline junky. I like to go fast.”
“I understand that. I’m kind of the same. But you have to figure out how to get your adrenaline rush without it ending up with your pickup wrapped around a tree.” Mitch’s grin grew. “My personal addiction for meeting my thrill is coasters. I love them.”
“Roller coasters? Like at the fair?”
“Exactly! Who do you think builds those things?”
Cody looked confused. “Engineers?”
“No! It’s adrenaline junkies.”
“And who do you think they are built for?”
This time Cody was catching on to Mitch’s point and grinned. “They’re building them for adrenaline junkie!”
“Damn, the boy can learn after all.”
“Got it, Uncle Mitch. Roller coasters and swimming with sharks are safe ways to burn off extra adrenaline, drag racing on Johnson’s mile is bad”
Mitch grinned at the boy and shook his head, “I think your racing days are over. Do your parents a favor. Stick with safe thrills and jobs that aren’t risky. We almost lost you.”
A smile appeared on his face. “We? I figured I was driving you crazy.”
Mitch put the last shirt in his bag and zipped it shut before turning to Cody. “You did drive me crazy—sometimes. That’s what happens with family. I’m sure there were times when you wanted me to go back home.”
Mitch walked over and gave Cody a hug. He released the young man and squeezed his shoulder. “I have to go back to Oklahoma. You’ll be walking again in a few days. You don’t need me.”
Cody smiled again and Mitch saw a glisten at the corner of his eye. “You take care, old man.”
Mitch chuckled. “Stay out of trouble you young whipper snapper.”
They shared a moment, then Cody disappeared back into the house. Mitch waited but when he heard nothing, he grabbed the packed luggage. Cody was the last of his goodbye and he was ready to go home.
A few hours later he was headed for the Oklahoma-Colorado border…and Darrin.
[If you want to know more about Sam and Gordy don’t miss “Tackling the Subject” the story of how they met. Early Release began July 4th.]
The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.