Thomas pulled a carton of milk from the fridge and cereal from the kitchen cabinet and served a bowl. He sprinkled powdered chocolate on top just for good measure. His grandfather didn’t approve of his breakfast choices, but since Thomas was fit and worked out, he couldn’t forbid Thomas from doing it. He sat on the table and moved the newspaper ads that grandpa had been gathering for a week.
A task his dad used to do.
Like Morgan, Thomas’s dad had been an accountant. He’d always worked for city-based companies until his maternal grandmother passed away. He’d moved to Fullton, Ohio to help with the house and other legal issues, and fell in love with the easy-going and slower pace of the small town. Fullton was Thomas’s mother’s hometown, and it made it easy for Thomas’s father to move his newly-formed family over to Fullton. Thomas had been born in Carlsbad, but he was raised in Ohio.
His dad used to say that news from the world came from T.V. and the Internet. But the local news and business opportunities were always in the newspaper.
Being their only child, Thomas’s parents decided that Thomas should be close to his grandfather. Grandpa spent at least a month every summer in Ohio with them; they in turn visited Carlsbad during Christmas, and, they took trips together at every opportunity they could during the year.
Ever since Thomas’s parents had disappeared, Morgan had been searching for a job. Between his retirement fund, his savings and the rent he was cashing for Thomas’s house in Ohio they had more than enough to make ends meet. Thomas’s parents had life insurance, but since they had disappeared without a trace, the insurance could defer payment for up to seven years until they were presumed dead by law. Neither Morgan nor Thomas had pressed the issue; they wanted to believe they were still alive, somewhere.
Grandpa entered the kitchen “Good morning.” he said ready to job hunt. Suited and clean-shaven, he carried a manila envelope with his resume in one hand, and a fresh musky odor seemed to follow his every movement.
“Morning,” Thomas poured more milk in the bowl while his grandpa mixed egg whites, oatmeal, butter and heated it up in the microwave. “That smells horrible, Gramps.”
“It’s good for the heart, and low on sugar. You better start taking care now, diabetes is hereditary.”
“Come on Gramps!” Thomas blurted with a mouthful of cereal. “Thanks for ruining breakfast!”
“I’m just saying.” He sat opposite of Thomas and dug into his oatmeal.
Thomas was tired of seeing his grandfather go out every day on two or three interviews. They didn’t need the money, but grandpa insisted that it was to secure a better education for Thomas. “Any news?” he asked.
Grandpa sighed before taking another spoonful of oatmeal.
“So?” Thomas asked again. He wasn’t going to let Grandpa linger too much on self pity. But he also hated seeing him get hit in the face again and again. And since grandpa wasn’t going to concede, Thomas tried to get him to use the Internet, but he got tired of the job-hunting websites very quickly. He preferred the old-fashioned way, so every weekend he would buy newspapers and follow printed leads.
“Same old…” Morgan replied. “Everything’s fine on the phone, but when they meet me and see that I’m a little older, they smile and say that they’ll call if a position opens.”
“You’re a little more than older, Gramps,” Thomas teased. They had been living together for more than eight months and teasing Gramps about his age had always been his dad’s favorite pastime, so now Thomas had taken the task for himself.
“It keeps the old man sharp. Makes the blood run a little hotter. Promise you’ll do the same to me when it’s my time,” his dad joked with him one night.
He was now honoring that promise with his grandpa.
“And you should respect your elders more,” Morgan teased back, pointing with the spoon. “Age brings wisdom.”
“Then they would pick you immediately because you’re ultra-super-duper wise.” Thomas snorted and spurt milk out of his mouth. His grandfather always seemed to set himself up for that one.
“Yeah. Yeah. Laugh! I see you as I saw myself once. You see me as you will be seen,” Morgan said seriously.
Thomas stopped laughing for a second. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Morgan bit his lip. “I said it wrong. Your grandmother used to say that all the time.”
Thomas had never met his Grandmother. There were plenty of pictures and stories about her and his Dad always said that Thomas had inherited her dark hair and eyes. Of her native Spanish, Thomas only knew a couple of words, mostly curse words.
“Anyway…” Morgan took another bite of his breakfast. Thomas stopped laughing. He’d learned that a couple of jokes about age were okay, but when his grandfather said “anyway” it meant that they were done.
“So where are you going today?” Thomas changed the subject.
“Let’s find out, can you give me a hand?” Morgan tossed a couple of papers toward Thomas and they circled the accounting and management jobs offered on the paper.
There weren’t that many.
Halfway through the third paper Thomas found an ad that only had symbols. The logo was cool so he circled it for grandpa to see. It was surely one of those ads for secret parties or a practical joke.
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Genre – YA Fantasy / Adventure
Rating – G
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