Three Finger Cove: Billy ~ Book Six

Chapter Fifty~Nine

Lucky for Mr. Ken, Wayne had driven one of the other golf carts up to the Pavilion, so he had a ride back down to the house. As they drove back to the house, Mr. Ken explained to his Estate Master why Momma Maria was there that morning. They also had a good laugh at the way Momma took the other cart and drove back down to the Parking corral. The woman beeped her horn at them as she drove out the Main Gate.

Showers over, the nine boys were coming out of the garage door as the two Cover men were going inside. The boys told the men they were going to enjoy the Skate Park, while their friends weren't there. 'Dad' Ken told them he had a few things to tell them before they started cooking and to touch base with him before they did.

Owen and Nathan were enjoying more coffee and some of Momma's sweetcakes in the Kitchen Nook when the Cover men entered the room. Mr. Ken excused himself to get ready for the day and told the men he'd catch up with them in a few minutes.

Mr. Wayne was telling Nathan and Owen about the building of the Cove Skate Park and the Pavilion and the problems they had with the storm that came through about six weeks ago, when Mr. Ken came back from getting cleaned up for the day. The Cove's owner added his own perspective to the story when his cell phone rang.

"Mr. Thomas, there's a woman up there, with her son, who wishes to talk to you,' said the security guard.

When Mr. Ken asked him to explain further, the guard said the teen boy was there yesterday and was in the database, but the woman isn't, so he couldn't allow her in without his or Mr. Wayne's approval. Mr. Ken told the guard to tell the woman and teen then he'd be right there.

The four men loaded into a six-seater golf cart and headed up to the Main Gate. When they arrived, Mr. Wayne recognized the teenager as the Police Explorer from yesterday, who needed his mom to come back and sign the release, so he could skate.

"Gavin, what brings you back?" asked the Estate Master.

"My mom ... she wanted to personally thank Mr. Thomas for giving me the skating helmet and pads. I told her I had already thanked you, but ... well, she insisted," replied Gavin.

Then turning to the woman, the teen said, "Mom, you remember Mr. Wayne, and this is Mr. Thomas. He owns Three Finger Cove and was the host for yesterday's picnic."

"Mr. Thomas, I wanted to come here and personally thank you for giving my son those wonderful and expensive skating pads and helmet. They must have cost you a fortune and I understand you gave them to every boy and girl who attended your picnic, yesterday. You didn't have to do that, you know," offered the woman.

"Well, thank you, Mrs. ..." began Ken Thomas, when the woman introduced herself.

"Mrs. Pereece, Olivia Pereece, Mr. Thomas," announced the woman.

"And I am Ken Thomas," said the owner of The Cove, as he held out his hand to shake the woman's. "And, yes, I know I didn't have to do that, but ... well, I just built the Cove Skate Park for my 'boys' and held the Grand Opening yesterday, and I wanted them and their friends to have something as a memento of the day. Your son, as well as the other five Police Explorers, all received the skating equipment with my compliments."

"That was very kind of you to do that, and anyway, I still wanted to personally thank you for doing that for my Gavin. So, thank you for the equipment and for allowing him to use your new Park. He told me all about it and said it far outshone what the county has," countered Mrs. Pereece.

Just then the two lifeguards, Russel and Jordan, came to The Cove, and seeing and knowing Gavin, came over to the small group. The three shook hands and of course the conversation centered on why Gavin was there again today. Jordan then asked the teen if he received any call backs on his lifeguard applications at any of the places he applied.

Gavin told the two older high school students he had hoped to work at the Lakeside Water Park that summer, but heard the people that they did hire knew some people who worked there and that was how they got their jobs. Gavin said it was getting late to get a call back from his other applications.

"Gavin, how old are you and when did you get your lifeguard training?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Mr. Thomas, I turned sixteen earlier this year and I took my lifeguard training this past spring with these two (pointing to Russell and Jordan). Why do you ask?" replied Gavin.

"Well, Russell and Jordan don't know this yet, but I am going to need a few more lifeguards this summer. With upwards of fifty boys swimming out in the cove all summer long, I am going to need more than these two watching them.

"So ... what do say you? Are you interested in working at The Cove this summer?" out-of-the-blue asked the owner of The Cove, to the astonishment of everyone there, but especially Mr. Wayne.

Gavin looked at his mom with hopeful eyes, then back to Mr. Ken and asked him if he was joking. Mr. Ken told him if his mom could go home and get his training certificate and bring it there, so he could make a copy for his records, he could start working today. The man then told the other two lifeguards they needed to bring him their training certificates for him to copy for his files, as well.

Mr. Ken then explained to Russell and Jordan he wanted to hire five lifeguards for the summer. The man explained he wanted at least four guards on duty every day, and with the fifth guard they could schedule a day off every fifth day. The owner of The Cove added he wanted to have at least one female guard and would call Megan and Audrey to see if they were interested, otherwise he would ask them to recommend some other people.

Mrs. Pereece told her son she would hurry home and get her son his swimsuit and training certificate and bring it back to The Cove. Mr. Ken told Russell and Jordan to show Gavin around the indoor pool and explain what they did, and then show him the cove and what he'll be doing out there, once the boys begin swimming out on the water toys.

As the group was talking at the Main Gate, Todd and Conner came to The Cove, stood back and listened to the conversation. When they saw an opening, both teens said Hi to Gavin and welcomed him as an employee to The Cove. That brought about more conversation and introductions to Mrs. Pereece.

"Todd, Robert said he and his friends would help you build that Life Jacket rack and move all those life jackets to the beach. The boys are just now arriving, so if you'll head on down to the garage, I'll send them down as they arrive. Find Mr. Wayne if you have any questions," said a smiling Mr. Ken, as he looked at his Estate Master.

As the Covers' friends began to arrive, the moms and dads, seeing Mr. Ken at the Main Gate, got out of their vehicles and came over to the owner of The Cove to talk to the man and thank him again for yesterday's picnic. That caused a mini-traffic jam until the parents got to talk to the man and then moved on.

Owen and Nathan asked their host if it was always that crazy at The Cove. Mr. Ken shook his head and told his guests that he isn't usually at the Main Gate when the boys arrive, so that usually doesn't happen until the end of the day, and not every day.

Mr. Ken did call Robert to let him know that Todd was there and for him to watch for his friends and to direct them to the garage, so they could help the Beach Master and Conner. The teen's dad asked his son to keep the help to just his friends so it didn't get too crowded in the garage.

Mr. Ken saw Allison Whitely drop James off and then drive on. The man was concerned that she would have made a scene after learning her ex-husband was at the picnic the previous day. So, he called James over to ask if he ever told her.

"James ... did your mom find out about your dad's visit yesterday?" asked Mr. Ken.

"No, and I hope she never does. And, I want to thank you for doing that for me; for us, Mr. Ken. My dad and I talked a lot yesterday and ... and ... he told me ... he told me he was going to try to get custody of me. Isn't that great? So ... well, I need to keep his visit yesterday quiet from my mom. I don't know what I could ever do to thank you enough, Mr. Ken," offered a now teary-eyed teenager.

Mr. Ken hugged the boy and told him to hope and pray that his dad can work things out and get custody of him. And, in the meantime, he needed to stay positive and not let the cat out of the bag. James thanked the man again and then caught up with Charles and the rest of the boys.

Billy's friends arrived and they began skating, just as the other boys had. Today there was no more waiting in line for their turn, as they had to do on the old ramps. There was enough room on the new Cove Skate Park for all fifty some boys to spread out and skate and perform the tricks they knew, or try some new trick they wanted to perfect.

Mr. Ken, Wayne, Owen and Nathan stayed up at the Park to watch the boys, and, as they did, they talked about the old ramps and what Mr. Ken was going to do about them. Nathan was curious about having them dismantled and then rebuilt at their home for their boys to have to skate on.

Owen was a bit more reserved about getting the ramps. First of all, he said they took up so much space and, secondly, he was afraid of the neighborhood kids being hurt on their ramps, and they would be held responsible for their injuries. He said he and Nathan needed to think that through some more and asked when they needed to let Mr. Ken know for sure. He was happy to learn he had until about the middle of June.

Just then two young boys came bounding onto the Skate Park, threw down their skateboards and rolled towards the quarter pipe area. Everyone saw it was Luke and Toby. Since they were registered in the database the security guards allowed them to enter The Cove. Gramm Whittier wasn't too far behind.

"Is Jules here today, Mr. Ken?" asked Eleanor Whittier, as she walked up to the four men watching the skaters.

"I'm afraid not, Mrs. Whittier," replied a smiling Mr. Ken. "He has a company to run and my bet is, he is at his office reviewing yesterday's reports."

"Please call me Eleanor, or Gramm. Anyway, Jules said he'd try to stop by today, so I brought the grandsons over. I hope you don't mind," said Eleanor Whittier.

"No, no, I told you that you and the boys are registered in the database and, when we are here, you are welcome to stop by after twelve noon. We will be gone for ten days the week after school gets out. So, you may want to check with me for those dates. That way you won't waste your time coming over and we aren't here," was how Mr. Ken answered the woman.

"So, may I ask ... ahh ... how things went after you all left the picnic yesterday?" asked a curious Ken Thomas.

"Well, I started a brouhaha, that's for sure. But it was brewing for a long time and I guess I just ... well, let's just say ... I was the proverbial catalyst that got the ball rolling. My son ... he told me you gave him a phone number to call on Tuesday, and I am sure he will call it. He better, if he knows what's good for him," laughed Gramm.

"Ivy made some serious accusations this morning, which is why I have the boys. Drew didn't want them at the house as the two quarreled. I told him to make sure he had his cell phone set to record everything they said and for him to be civil to her. I just hope he listened to me," explained Eleanor.

Owen and Nathan knew exactly what the woman was saying, and they wished they had done the same when it came time for their divorces. Lucky for them their ex-wives were anxious to get out of their marriages.

Luke and Toby found Matthew and his friends and they joined those younger boys on the Skate Park. The two younger boys loved that they were invited to the big estate on the lake to skate, and they had 'big brothers' to show them what to do and how to do it.

When they asked Matthew to help them, the Cover told them to ask Billy and his friends as they had more experience and could show them how to do the tricks better. And that's what they did.

With there being so much room to skate now, the older boys were being asked to show all the younger boys how to do some of the things they could do. And with Mr. Wayne also being out on the Park the younger boys also wanted him to show them what he could, as well.

Before long there was sort of a mini-competition going on between Billy's friends, and Kaden in particular, and Mr. Wayne. Of course, it wasn't a real contest as Mr. Wayne was a college graduate and had skated for many more years than the high schoolers had, and he had honed his tricks to a much higher skill than the freshman had.

Owen and Nathan also got into the so-called contest. They too were college graduates and had spent many hours of their high school and college years on a skateboard, but they hadn't been on one in many years and were a bit rusty, to say the least. They gave it their all, but Wayne Mitchell ruled the day.

The Life Jacket rack was designed to hold upwards of sixty plus life jackets and, when put together, it would be not only heavy but bulky. The teens saw right away they should build the rack down at the beach and that way it would be easier to move the smaller pieces first, rather than the larger, heavier built stand.

While Todd, Robert, Conner and Logan built the rack, the rest of the teens took the life jackets out of the boxes, stripped off the plastic wrappings and then began taking them down to the beach. Luckily for them Eric was a Cover and he could use one of the golf carts to take the life jackets to the end of the driveway. That way they didn't have a long way to walk them to the rack being built on the beach.

Mr. Ken watched the time and when it came close to the time the boys usually burned the burgers, he gathered the boys and told them what they were to do to get things started to reuse the leftovers from yesterday's picnic.

He had Billy and Charles go down to the house and get a big pot to hold the beans and two deep baking pans to hold ice to set the potato salad and coleslaw in. He then showed the reluctant twins and Matthew how to turn the new grill on and get it hot. They didn't want to be the ones to mess it up the first time.

The man had a few boys get the burger and dog fixings out and other boys get out the plates, knives, forks and spoons, etc., while others filled the ice, ketchup, mustard and relish dispensers and placed them out on the counter.

Mr. Wayne directed the boys how to set up the serving counter with all of the items Mr. Ken had them bring out. By then, Charles and Billy had returned with the pot for the baked beans and the pans for the ice. Those two then went about getting the beans on the grill to heat and the ice in the pans for the cold items.

This was all new to the boys. They each wanted to help, but they were all afraid they'd mess up the new counter.

As the baked beans warmed, Mr. Ken had the boys sit at the tables and he explained to them that it would take them a few barbeques to get into a routine and for them not to hurry. He asked them to consider making a flow chart of what needed to be done and when. He then reminded his 'boys' they needed to create a Checklist so Momma can replenish what they needed, or else they may not have something the next time they have a barbeque.

While Mr. Ken talked, Billy kept stirring the baked beans to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When they were warm, he told his foster dad and then the man had the older teens get out the leftover hamburgers and hot dogs from the picnic and place them on the grill to reheat them. They were going to be the grill masters that day.

Matthew was sent to tell the lifeguards and the other teens that the barbeque was just about ready and they should start heading in that direction. Eric and Matthew shuttled the boys to the Pavilion using the golf carts. Robert got the third one and helped and in no time, everyone was at the Pavilion and eating.

What surprised Mr. Ken, and the other men, was the amount of chatter that was heard under the Pavilion that was coming from all the boys talking at once. The owner of The Cove knew the boys talked amongst themselves, as they ate their burgers and dogs, but he didn't know how loud they were until it was consolidated under the Pavilion roof.

The men laughed at what they were hearing. Billy heard the men laughing, so he asked Mr. Ken what they were laughing at. Mr. Ken told him to stop and listen. Billy did just that. But he didn't hear anything.

"Ahh, Mr. Ken ... I don't hear anything. What was it I was supposed to hear?" said Billy.

"Listen to the din coming from under the Pavilion, Bill," said Mr. Ken.

Billy listened more closely and this time he heard what his foster dad was referring to. All the noise coming from the boys talking was being collected under the roof and somehow being redirected back down at them. That was something not expected when they put the metal roof on the Pavilion.

Billy then went to his friends and told them to listen. They didn't hear it at first either, but after he told them to really listen, they heard the low rumble of noise, but they didn't know where it was coming from.

"Guys, it's coming down from the ceiling. Mr. Ken showed me. He thinks the metal roof is redirecting all of our conversations back at us and that din, as he calls it, is what is there. Kinda neat, huh?" said Billy.

The other teens listened now more closely, and as they did that some of the other boys saw what they were doing and asked them what they were doing. Learning they were to concentrate on the noise coming off the ceiling they began to listen too. Eventually, all the boys were quiet and now there was no more reflected sound coming back from the Pavilion ceiling.

"Hey, why can't we hear anything?" asked Greg.

"That's because everyone stopped talking," laughed Billy.

"Boys," called out Mr. Ken, "I want to introduce your new lifeguard to you. Gavin, please come forward. ... Boys this is Gavin Pereece. He was a Police Explorer helping park cars yesterday and you probably saw him out on the Skate Park a time or two.

"I decided that with the ever-increasing number of friends coming to The Cove there needed to be more lifeguards out there watching you when you start swimming out in the cove. Also, there is a new water toy out there this year, called Rock-It.

"My 'boys' played on one like it during our spring cruise, and Matthew asked me to get one for the cove. Todd and Conner got to try it out when they installed it last weekend, so you can ask them how they liked it.

"There will be a total of five lifeguards this summer. I am going to call Megan and Audrey to see if they want to work. If not, Russell and Jordan will make recommendations. Overall, I want four guards to work every day giving one guard a day off to do personal stuff. Any questions?" finished Mr. Ken.

"There is also one new Rule for swimming out in the cove this summer. Anyone twelve and younger ... is required to wear a life jacket. NO EXCEPTIONS! Todd, Conner and Robert and his friends were building the storage rack for the life jackets, while you all skated and then got the barbeque going. I also want anyone who isn't a strong swimmer to use one. If you have any questions you can ask Bill, Robert or Charles, who in turn can ask me, or Mr. Wayne, if they aren't sure of their answer.

"OK, now that we're all finished eating, let's clean things up. All the leftovers, except for the cake, are to be thrown away. Two or three of you, please handle that. There isn't that much so let's get out some trash bags and double bag it.

"Some of you need to wash the pots and pans and utensils. There is dish soap and scrubbing pads at the sink and when they are clean you can set them on the counter next to the sink to dry. The utensils can be placed on the magnetic holding rack to dry.

"A few of you need to collect the unused picnic supplies and place them back in the storage room. Others need to place the ketchup, mustard and relish dispensers back in the storage room, too. The ice in the dispenser can melt and go down the drain and you'll just refill it tomorrow when you arrive. The rest of you need to police the entire Skate Park area from yesterday's picnic and today's skating,

"Bill, Robert and Charles are your barbeque leaders for today and for the next few times you cook. They'll be creating the Start-Up and Shut-Down checklists you all need, as well as the Supplies Checklist, so you don't go without.

"You are all a part of this. If you see a step is missing tell them. If you think something can be done a better way, talk to them. This is all new to every one of you, so you need to work together to make this run smoothly on the set up and tear down for tomorrow and moving forward.

"There is also one more step that will be added to the start up. Momma Maria will be buying you a food cutting mandolin so you can slice your own tomatoes and onions. She will teach the Covers first on how to use it and what to do. They in turn will teach you.

"I've done enough talking. It is time for me, Mr. Wayne, Mr. Owen and Mr. Nathan to go back down to the house and that's where we'll be if you need us. Mrs. Whittier will still be up here with her grandsons. Now take your time and get the Pavilion cleaned up and then it might be time to go swimming, since you didn't get to do that yesterday," announced Mr. Ken.

The men loaded into a six-seater golf cart and headed back down to the house. As they passed the Main Gate, Jules Diamond was driving into the estate. Mr. Ken stopped to talk to the man for a few moments and then told him Eleanor was up at the Pavilion. Jules smiled at hearing that. Mr. Ken told the man that when the boys decide to go swimming, that he and her should come down to the front door and join them in his Study.

The four men stopped for fresh cups of coffee in the Kitchen Nook before heading to the Study to sit and talk before Owen and Nathan gathered their boys and headed home. In the Study, Nathan and Owen couldn't thank their host enough for inviting them and their boys for another fabulous weekend of fun, friendship and food.

Just as the men talked about their summer plans, Mr. Ken's cell phone rang. When he looked at the call I.D., he told the men it was Jason, his Crystal Lake Administrator and he needed to take the call.

"Yes, Jason, what is it that you need to tell me," answered Mr. Ken.

... ... ...

"OK, hold on, Jason. They haven't contacted you yet, right? You only heard what was said on the news reports that the Edgewood owners suspect that someone who visited the park with the intentions of buying it may have tampered with the inspection certificate.

"Those Edgewood owners are just trying to get the focus off of them, but we both know you did nothing wrong. You did your initial inspection back in January, and we both looked over the property in February. The rides should have been inspected before opening day, so those inspection certificates would have been provided well after our visit.

... ... ...

"When we finish, I'll text you Amy Ozarker's phone number. She's the lawyer I hired to help me with that highway issue out there. Call her and tell her who you are and that I want her to represent you, and for her to call me if she has any questions.

... ... ...

"Try to relax and stay calm. In the meantime, contact Amy and tell her everything about your first inspection and then our joint one. Keep me in the loop, please. Yes, you hold onto that thumb drive and wait until Amy tells you what to do with it. And, Jason, do not go to them. Have them come to you. And don't answer any questions without Amy present.

... ... ...

"Jason, I'm not going to fire you! You're doing a great job for me at Crystal Lake. Why would I get rid of a worthwhile asset such as you? If need be, I will fly back there to help answer any questions the investigators have. Now, call Amy. And, call me tomorrow. Bye!" finished Mr. Ken.

"You heard my side of the conversation. I am sure you could tell that Jason is afraid he'll be accused of taking the inspection certificate of the Rocket steel coaster from the folder when he did that on-site inspection for me back in January.

"The thing is that certificate ... it wasn't there when I visited the amusement park in February and the rides ... they are supposedly inspected prior to opening day, or soon thereafter. So, there being no record of the inspection could mean it was misfiled, or it wasn't done at all.

"Wayne, I'll probably go up there anyway to calm Jason down and talk to the investigators, who will eventually show up, and Amy as well. You'll have to hold down the fort for a few days while I'm gone. But you did a great job the last time, so I have no problem leaving you to do that again," added Mr.

"You know the boys aren't going to like hearing you're going to be gone again, so soon," spoke up Mr. Wayne.

The two Cover men talked about that very thing. Mr. Ken then decided he better leave tomorrow late afternoon, so he would be there first thing Tuesday morning. The two men then had to explain to their guests what that was all about.

As Mr. Ken explained his 'boys' aversion to his leaving, the Foyer Door doorbell rang. Wayne Mitchell went to answer it knowing it was probably Jules Diamond and Eleanor Whittier signaling the boys were going swimming.

When the three adults returned to the Study, Owen and Nathan were leaving saying they wanted to swim with their boys while they had the chance. Mr. Ken was also on the phone making flight and hotel arrangements for his trip back east. The man indicated for the three to have a seat.

While Mr. Ken was making his preparations for tomorrow's trip back east, Mr. Wayne asked about Luke and Toby changing into their swimsuits. Eleanor told the Estate Master that Robert had her grandsons change up at the Men's Restrooms and they would put their clothes in a locker on the pool deck. Mr. Wayne was happy to hear that.

When Mr. Ken got off the phone, he told Mr. Wayne, he would be leaving at 4 p.m. tomorrow and wouldn't be returning until Wednesday night, late. The man explained he wanted two full days to deal with the investigation issue and address anything else at Crystal Lake, or with the County Commissioners while he was there. He said he'd call Amy Ozarker in the morning to tell her what he intended to do.

The four adults hadn't talked for too long in the Study, when Eleanor wanted to see the indoor pool and watch her grandsons swimming. Mr. Wayne said he'd escort her down there. But before they left, Mr. Ken asked Wayne to get the swimsuit and t-shirt sizes of the lifeguards.

The owner of The Cove said he wanted the guards to look like lifeguards from now on and when Wayne saw Chris on Tuesday, he was to have him order two Lifeguard swimsuits and 3 or 4 matching t-shirts for each of the guards.

That got Mr. Ken to thinking of what else he might be missing, for down at the beach, so he opened his internet browser and did a search. In just a few minutes, he decided to have Wayne add a spine board and straps, head immobilizer, whistles and lanyards, emergency air horns, safari hats, first aid fanny packs, CPR masks, rescue tubes and megaphones to the list of things Chris needed to order for the lifeguards.

The man was also interested in having a lifeguard stand plus an umbrella on the beach and one out in the water instead of the guard standing on the floating platform between the two large floating water toys. He also didn't like the guards using the WaveRunners as they were a hazard in themselves. He knew he needed to talk to Wayne and Chris about what to do there.

Mr. Ken then remembered he invited Mary Taylor to come over on Tuesday to look over the plans for his retreat on top of his office building, going up next to the Lakeside Hotel he just opened. He quickly called her and told her why he had to cancel and that he would call her when he came back and was settled. Mary told him she understood and would be waiting on his call.

After the Covers' guests and friends left for the day, and the Covers were back in the Study after dinner, Mr. Ken broke the news to the boys that he was leaving tomorrow to head back east. He explained that the accident at Edgewood has now involved Jason and him in some roundabout way.

'Dad' Ken was straightforward with the boys and told them that the best way to resolve this issue was to be there and explain firsthand what they did and show them their reports, along with the pictures Jason took, and let the investigators take it from there.

"Dad' Ken further reminded the boys they had school Tuesday and a half day on Wednesday and he would be home later that night. Then they had the sailing lessons beginning that Thursday morning at 9 a.m., and before they knew it, they would all be heading back east to visit all four of the amusement parks.

Matthew was the least happy of the six boys. But he resigned himself to it, saying in his mind, that if his 'dad' had to go he'd just have to deal with it, even if he didn't have to like it.

'Dad' Ken and Mr. Wayne visited all the boys in their rooms that night, as they always did. The boys had a slew of different things they wanted to talk about. The end of school, the cookout checklists, the sailing lessons and much more. Of course, Matthew had to be consoled about Mr. Ken leaving for a few more days, but he wasn't as bad as he was the last time the man went away.

When the Cover men talked with Bill, strangely, the teen didn't have much to say other than with the new Skate Park his friends, and Kaden in particular, were happy as can be that they had the most awesome place to skate and they didn't have to fend off the county riffraff. Both men laughed.

That finished, Mr. Wayne headed back to his apartment and Mr. Ken headed down to his private retreat. The Cove was quiet again that night.

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