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The conclusion of the story.


I was up at seven, reaching over to turn the alarm off as I watched Sandy stretch. A minute later I had put her out and retreated to the bathroom to shave and brush my teeth. She was back in once I was dressed in a tee, shorts, and sandals. I ate a quick breakfast of Cheerios and banana with a cup of strong coffee. I had to be up early to accommodate the caterer who arrived at 9:30 to set the tables with white linen, put out large coolers filled with ice—one with soda and mixers, a second with canned beer. We didn’t have enough beer drinkers to justify a keg and I didn’t want glass bottles out near the pool. They could easily break where Sandy would walk and we’d be in bare feet.

It was after eleven when I put out the table cards showing everyone where to sit. Forty-two guests meant only six tables sitting a maximum of eight around the portable dance floor, keeping friends together, although we already knew how well all of our guests got along with each other.

One of the questions we’d had to deal with was Sandy. We didn’t think we could leave her in the house. She would bolt out every time someone went in to use the bathroom. Although she was not a big barker we were sure she would howl at being stuck inside while we were just outside. In the end we agreed that we would let her out with us. She knew almost all of the guests and we were sure she would lie at Scarlett’s feet while we were seated; while we were dancing? Well, we’d cross that bridge when we reached it.

We had told everyone to come around one for pre-wedding drinks and snacks so I went in around noon for a shower and another shave. Once I was dressed in my new navy suit, a crisp white shirt, cranberry paisley tie, and my favorite cordovan loafers, I checked my hair and walked down to greet our guests.

Fred and Judy were first. Next were Mom and Dad with Nick and Victoria. I was surprised at how well Paul Martin looked when he walked in with Ginny. I laughed when he asked if the room was available for his wedding. “You’ll have to talk to the new boss about that,” was my reply.

I wasn’t at all surprised when Ginny told us, “I may just do that.”

During all this, Sandy was sitting calmly at my feet. She did jump up to greet Fred and Judy, but that was to be expected. She had stayed with them while we were in Houston and knew them very well. The waiters began to take drink orders. Even I had one—ginger ale—and I even had a couple of the extra-large boiled shrimp, taking extra care not to get cocktail sauce on my clothes.

I knew that Scarlett had arrived when Sandy suddenly jumped up, running to the French doors and wagging her tail wildly. Sal waved as he let Sandy in. A few minutes later Sandra walked out to join us and I cued the deejay to begin the wedding march. Sal led Scarlett out, closely followed by her furry bodyguard. The caterer had placed a red carpet from the end of the pool deck to the wooden dance floor where our union would take place with Audrey Boardman standing in her judicial robes on a low riser.

Scarlett had chosen an extremely light gray sleeveless dress that came almost to her knees with a darker gray bolero jacket that came to her waist and matching three-inch heels. I knew that she’d been to the beauty parlor this morning even though I thought that was literally a case of gilding a lily. She wore her diamond and sapphire pendant and matching bracelet in addition to her diamond studs. Her hair was done in a French braid and I could see that her lipstick and fingernails matched exactly, not that any of that mattered. All I could see was her brilliant smile.

Sal handed her to me with a quick kiss and a brief whispered comment. I took her hand and we turned to face the magistrate as Sandy calmly sat between us. Audrey greeted us and our guests with a smile as she said, “This has always been one of my favorite and most positive aspects of my job.” Then she got down to business, reading a few passages from the bible before turning the ceremony over to us for our vows.

We had written our own, taking time from making love a few nights and practicing many times since then. By agreement, I went first. “Scarlett, I’ve told you this several times, but now I’m saying it in front of our families and friends so they know exactly how I feel about you, although I’m pretty sure they already know how much I love you. Okay, here goes—Scarlett I was broken physically when you first entered my life. Not only did you help my back to heal, but you also healed me emotionally, as well. Your smile and your gentle touch were the only things I had to look forward to then. I had no idea that my appreciation would turn into the kind of love that knows no boundaries. Even though I’m not very religious I thank God every day for bringing you into my life. I promise to love you, care for you, and protect you from harm every day of my life. I further promise to cherish every moment with you and to be the very best partner you could ever want.”

Then it was Scarlett’s turn. “Sean, I was really insulted when you offered me money for my services.” As expected, that drew laughter from our guests. I could see my mother bring her hand to the mouth to cover her titter. Scarlett continued once everyone was quiet. “Just in case you’re wondering, it was for nursing services. Nursing services! At first I thought of helping you as a good deed for my aunt—a way to help pay her back for everything she’s done for me over the past thirteen years, but it wasn’t long before I could see what kind of person you really were. You’re a strong man, Sean and you have the right kind of strength. You’re not flashy or a braggart. You use your strength to help and protect others. That’s a rare combination these days. You were always so polite and accommodating. It wasn’t long before I began to have feelings for you and it wasn’t long—less than a week--before I realized that I was falling hopelessly in love with you.

You, Mom, Gail, Sandra, and Sal know that I was a virgin when we met. My parents were serial cheaters and were suffering from an advanced STD when they died. I swore then that I would save myself for the man I would love and marry and I’m glad I did. I once told you that this ring meant that we owned each other. The ring you will give me today will only make that bond stronger. I swear before God and all those present today that I will give you all of my love and all of my support for all of my days. I pray there is a heaven so I can then give you all of myself for eternity.”

Magistrate Boardman asked for the rings. I removed Scarlett’s engagement ring, slipping it into the wedding band—between the two semicircles of diamonds--and returned the two to Scarlett’s finger saying, “With this ring I thee wed.” Then Fred handed my band to Scarlett. She was grinning from ear to ear when she placed it onto my finger, repeating the vow as she did.

Then came the part I was waiting for. “By the power vested me by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Montgomery County, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.” I turned to Scarlett and gave her a little peck, knowing what her reaction would be. She gripped my head by my hair and pulled me down for a long hot kiss, telling me, “I love you so much, Sean,” when she broke it. There was a hearty round of applause before I could respond.

We thanked Audrey Boardman then turned to face the onrushing guests. There were hugs and kisses galore, some of them, like Mom and Dad, several times. Eventually we reached our table just off to the right side of the dance floor where we sat as Fred gave us his toast. I wasn’t paying much attention, but I did hear something about the patter of lots of little feet—something both Scarlett and I both prayed and worked for. We ordered drinks then sat back to enjoy our party. The waiters brought trays of cold shrimp and assorted other goodies for our enjoyment.

We were seated with Fred and Judy, my parents, and Sandra and Sal. Looking at my mom’s face I could tell how pleased she was with Scarlett as my wife. I was sitting between them and I could barely get a word in. “When was the moment that you knew you were in love with Sean, Scarlett? Do you know?” I had a feeling, but I still wondered if I was right.

“I had told Sean that I was waiting for Mr. Right.” She hesitated then to give me a quick kiss. “I don’t believe in teasing men so after dinner I took care of Sean and then he took care of me. I won’t go into the details, but I will tell you that it was incredible—so incredible that I passed out.”

“Let me know when you want some tips Fred,” I joked. He laughed and so did everyone else at the table.

“Sean put me to bed and climbed in behind me. We were both naked and somehow I managed to climb part way onto his body. That’s how we sleep every night now. He was awake when I finally woke up the next morning. I remember asking what had happened and he told me that I’d had the grandmother of all orgasms and passed out. He told me that keeping me here was safer than trying to wake me and having me drive home. I asked if he had…you know. Sean told me that he could never take advantage of me like that. I realized then how much respect he had for me and how much he cared for me. I get hit on almost every day at work. Most men act like I’m a piece of meat on their table. I liked Sean a lot before that moment, but I think that was when I realized that I was in love with him.

Oh, before I forget, I want to show you what he’s giving me as a wedding present. I’m sorry, Sean, I didn’t get you anything.”

“That’s quite alright. I got you. That’s the best present, by far. Why don’t I go in and get the drawing? I think you’ll do better with Sandy if you stay here.” Sandy was exactly where we had predicted—right behind Scarlett’s chair. I kissed Scarlett quickly and walked into the house. I was not at all surprised when Sandy ignored me. There was no question—she was Scarlett’s dog.

I returned a few minutes later with the architectural drawing. Scarlett had asked Dave Specht to explain what we were looking at. “This will almost be a two-story greenhouse enclosing the pool and abutting the upstairs deck. It will run just under the deck to the family room doors. We’ll have to restructure the stairway to the deck, but that’s an easy job. It’ll be attached to the house over there where the master bath is located. Because the roof is rounded another gutter will be formed where the structure meets the wall.” Pointing to the open yard, he continued. “This end will be a foot lower than the other by the deck to drain the water away from the house. There is a door at this end for access to the yard and I can already see that we’re going to need a doggie door.” He went on, describing how the glazed panels would be opened in the summer and how the solar panels would heat the water and also the air in the enclosure in the winter.

“And all this because my wonderful husband heard me say it would be a shame to have to close up the pool in a few weeks.” Then she leaned over to kiss me. Once again, she surprised me by holding the kiss for more than a minute, breaking it only when she pulled me up to dance.

We danced a lot, but we skipped all of the hokey dances you’d find at many wedding receptions. I did dance with my mom and Sandra; Scarlett danced with Sal and my dad, but the dances weren’t anything special. We hired a photographer who took some posed photos, mostly of Scarlett and me, but also group shots with our parents and friends. The rest of the party she took candid’s or pictures of us dancing or kissing which we did often. Later, when the proofs were delivered we laughed like crazy at photos of us doing the Electric Slide and the Macarena, not to mention YMCA. I never did get all those darned letters done in time with the music, but who cared? We had a great time.

Dinner was even better than we had hoped. Prime filets cooked to order, Idaho potatoes baked in salt, and an ear of fresh corn. In lieu of wedding cake we served our guests hot fudge sundaes with their choice of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream. Me—I’m contrary so I had chocolate AND strawberry. You can get away with that when you’re paying the bill.

The party broke up around six with everyone coming forward to hug and kiss, shake hands, and give us an envelope. We thanked everyone for coming and sharing our special day. The rental company came at 6:30 to take down their canopy. I tipped each of the workers as I did the waiters and cooks then I gathered the scraps I’d kept for Sandy and led my wife and her beast into the house. Sandy wolfed down her dinner as I led Scarlett to our bedroom. It was too early for bed—yes, even for that--so I changed into a tee and shorts so I could take Sandy out. I wouldn’t let her out on her own while all of the workers were there. I wasn’t worried about her biting them, but she might follow them out the gate and get lost or worse if she tried to cross Route 73, only a hundred yards away. We returned to the house once I had cleaned up her mess. By then Scarlett had hung her dress in the closet put her shoes away and removed her jewelry and underwear.

She was in the bathroom, preparing to warm the water in the shower when I walked in, almost tripping over Sandy who had run ahead. “No question—she’s your dog,” I told her as I took in her incredible beauty. I took her hands in mine as I told her, “I can’t believe you’re mine.”

“I can, but I can’t believe that I have you. I’m so lucky.” Then she reached up to kiss me. “You know, Sean—you look really great in a suit. You should wear one to work. You’d look so professional.”

I couldn’t help myself. I laughed like crazy before pulling Scarlett into a big hug. “You know what the best thing about owning a business is? It’s getting to wear whatever you want. All of my workers wear jumpsuits, primarily for safety, so they won’t have anything that could get caught in a machine. I’ve already told you about the hard hats and the protective shoes. In my case, I usually wear an inexpensive golf shirt and khaki’s because I sometimes have to go onto the floor to fix a machine and it’s much cheaper to replace a $25 shirt and a $20 pair of slacks that are covered with grease than it would be with a $600 suit and an expensive tie. I do wear a suit if I have to visit a client’s office like I did in Houston, but if they come to me they see me in my normal duds.”

“I think we should get a quick shower and go to bed. I have an itch that needs scratching and a marriage that needs consummating.”

“It is awfully early,” I said teasingly.

“Don’t worry; I have a few ideas how we can fill the time—more than a few, actually.” She reached around me to start the shower with one hand while her other opened my belt. Two minutes later we stood together under the steamy water—holding, caressing, and loving each other. I must confess as I have several times in this story, my love of Scarlett’s breasts, areolas and nipples. I must have lathered them five or six times while she laughed and humped my thigh. Then she got even—washing my blood-engorged cock and my sensitive balls—until I could barely stand. She turned the water off and pulled me out of the shower.

Once dry, she pulled me to the bed. Sandy was already lying on hers when Scarlett pushed me onto my back. “Tonight’s my last time up here until I know that you’ve done your husbandly duty.”

“Isn’t it a little early to worry about that? I thought it would be at least a month and probably even longer.”

‘I spoke with Dr. Spaulding at the hospital on Thursday. She’s a very highly regarded OB/GYN. She told me that thirty days was just a guideline and that the actual delay varied greatly from person to person. She told me of one case in which the woman became pregnant only a week after going off the pill. You know I had my period just last week so there’s a chance I could be fertile within the next three to five days. I’m not taking any chances.” Then she slowly slid down my pole until she was fully seated on my cock. She exhaled after an unusually long breath. “Oh God, that feels so damned good, Sean. I love having you inside me.”

“I kind of like it, too,” I teased.

“Oh…you!” Scarlett was trying to sound serious, but she couldn’t keep the smile from her face. I leaned forward to kiss her, our tongues exploring as my wife began to slowly rock around my cock. I laughed just a little internally as I was reminded of the old rock and roll song, wondering what the lyrics for “Rock Around the Cock” might be.

It wasn’t long before I was totally lost in Scarlett and, looking up at her, I thought she was sharing the same experience with me. We moved together, our timing sheer perfection, our rapture unparalleled. Scarlett paused for several seconds before she totally lost it. I’d seen that dozens of times before so I thought I knew what to expect. Wrong again! Her orgasm was much more intense than anything I had seen in the past and I’d seen her have some really strong ones. Her body seemed to move in three or four directions at the same time as her scream shattered the still night and when the orgasm had ended she continued to make incredible love to me and with me. I couldn’t believe it!

We were working hard for each other and for ourselves—so hard that we were a sweaty mess when she came for the second time—no scream, only a mighty and long exhalation that ended only when her lungs were totally empty. I drove into her, lifting her bodily as I sprayed her uterus with my seed. Her head on my chest, she spoke softly. “I missed that last night. Promise me we’ll never spend another night apart.”

“I’d love to, but you know I can’t. What would we do if I had to leave town for business and you had two young children to care for? I can promise that I’ll keep our times apart to an absolute minimum and that I’ll love you to the maximum whenever we’re together which I pray will be almost every day.” That must have satisfied her because she moved up, her oozing cunt making a total mess of my thigh, by the time she kissed me.

Her head was on my chest when she softly asked, “Sean, darling? Did you see me speaking with Ginny at the party?” She continued once she had seen me nod. “She asked me if they could have their wedding here and I kind of agreed. I’m sorry, but I got carried away.”

I was idly stroking her hair when I replied. “No need to apologize; did you tell her we’d pay for the canopy and the deejay?”

She rose from my chest so she could look into my eyes. “I…I couldn’t do that. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Well, tell her that the next time you talk with her and don’t wait too long. They have a lot of planning to do. Paul has done so well managing his crew that he’s making us a fortune every day.”

“Really? Is that going to be our present to them--the canopy and the deejay?”

“Yes, to your first question. I built an eleven dollar profit into each valve for Omni and we’re producing 1,500 every day. I think it will be one of our gifts. Let’s take a break and maybe your old husband will be able to make love to you again.” I kissed her nose and she returned her head to my chest. A few minutes later we had drifted off for a short nap. Neither of us had slept very well last night.

We did make love two more times that night, Scarlett screaming uncontrollably each time. When Sandy first came to us she reacted strongly, running in, her fangs bared, until she could see that Scarlett was okay. Scarlett reached out from under me to smile and gently pet her protector. After the first week she completely ignored her horny orgasmic mistress.


After that night we settled into our married life, making love every morning and again every night with Scarlett’s legs in the air for twenty minutes or more every time. She really wasn’t taking any chances. She must have had viable sperm swimming in her vagina and uterus for three weeks running.

On Wednesday night we were forced to wait because we had to attend my first “Meet the Candidates Night” at the Middle School auditorium. There were six of us—three Republicans and three Democrats—running for three seats. The school district was divided into three regions. I lived in Region Two which also included Boyertown in Berks County. Those from the other regions had won primaries, but there was no primary for Region Two. The sitting board member had died in his sleep only six weeks ago. That was less than a week before I was asked to run for office.

We drew lots to determine speaking order so when I pulled the card with the number one on it I had my choice. I had already told Scarlett and Audrey Boardman that I would go last. Based on the comments I thought that some of these people were delusional—making promises that would be impossible to deliver without the support of at least four additional board members. My remarks were brief and to the point. “I’m Sean Sloan and, other than four years at Penn State and two in my first job in Pittsburgh I am a lifelong resident of the Boyertown Area School District. I attended the public schools from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade, graduating second in my class. I learned recently that I am the third highest property taxpayer as the result of my factory’s recent expansion. All of my 137 employees, save two, are graduates of our schools so I have a vested interest in seeing that we graduate literate thinking students. You might think that these are only factory jobs, so what’s the big deal. The work we do is potentially very dangerous so in addition to learning their jobs, they also have to learn safety procedures from OSHA, the Commonwealth, and me. My employees are in training for eighteen months until those safety requirements are fully internalized. I anticipate further expansion so I will need a steady stream of competent workers. I’m not going to make any wild promises, but I will tell you that I will work tirelessly to give the students the very best education that the taxpayers can afford to give them. I plan to do that by insisting that every tax dollar is spent wisely. Thank you.”

My candidacy must have been taken seriously because I answered at least three times as many questions as any of the other candidates. One guy wearing a light green jacket seemed to be out to get me because he asked several questions about my personal life that were intended to embarrass me and obviously angered Scarlett.

“Is it true, Mr. Sloan that you live with an unmarried woman?”

I smiled as I answered, “No--that is not correct. I live with my wife in Gilbertsville.”

“Haven’t you, in fact, lived with a woman out of wedlock?”


“How do you think the parents would feel about someone like that on the board?”

“I’d like to think that they’d be more interested in what I was doing to benefit the students, but since you seem to be incredibly interested in my personal life I’ll explain. My first fiancée asked to move in with me because of a fire in her apartment block. We were married less than a month later. However, that relationship was based on fraud so the marriage was annulled less than a month after the wedding. That has all been well documented in the Reading Eagle and in the Pottstown Mercury.

“My second fiancée also asked to move in with me. I hadn’t asked her at that time, but we and both of our families knew that I was just waiting for the right time and place. We were married last Saturday afternoon. Had I known of your interest I would have invited you. Scarlett is in the audience tonight so feel free to ask her about it.”

The question and answer session lasted another forty minutes before we were thanked and left the stage. Audrey Boardman pulled Scarlett and me aside once we had shaken hands and greeted those in the audience. I thought the event had been well attended. The large auditorium was more than half full. We were standing alone in the parking lot when Audrey told me that she thought I had done an excellent job. “The Republicans are really worried about you, Sean. I’ve seen that blabbermouth several times and always in a group of Republicans. You handled him exceptionally well.

“You’re scheduled to meet with the Lions Club tomorrow at one and the Elks on Friday evening. Next Monday night you have the High School and Middle School PTA’s. Will you be able to make the evening meetings, Scarlett?”

“Of course; I plan to attend every possible meeting and I’ll even go to some on my own, if necessary.”

“That’s good, Scarlett. It’s important that people see Sean as a family man.”

“Well, we don’t have one yet, but we’re working on it every single day—several times a day, in fact.” That drew a laugh from Audrey and an embarrassingly red face from me. We said good-night and I drove us home, noticing the red, white, and blue campaign signs with my name and face on them at several businesses and homes during the drive. Most surprising was the multitude of signs at Zern’s. They were the only campaign signs I could ever recall there. Of course, there was a big one right in front of my factory.

I knew my signs were up at The Pit Stop, the Bear’s Den, and at Ralph’s and I knew that many of my employees were working for me. Paul and Ginny had already canvassed their neighborhood and would be working again this coming weekend. I was willing to serve, but it wasn’t going to kill me if I lost.


Scarlett had always run into my arms when we met at home after work. That’s why I was surprised on the second Tuesday in October when I found her reading on the couch in the family room with Sandy curled up at her feet. I walked over for a kiss and again I was surprised when Scarlett broke it quickly. “Sean, while you’re up would you mind getting my phone for me. It’s in my purse on the counter.”

I turned and took the four steps to the counter. I never went into Scarlett’s, or any woman’s, purse thinking it a violation of privacy. Reaching in, the first things I saw were two white cylinders about five inches long. My curiosity piqued, I picked one up, turning it in my hand. The word “YES” took a moment to register. I found the other with the same message.

There were tears in my eyes when I turned around to find Scarlett standing right behind me. She looked up into my eyes with that same goofy smile on her face as she said, “I love you, Dad. Nice going! I think we should celebrate, don’t you?”

“Is this it? I mean, it’s conclusive?”

“It’s not one hundred percent, but close enough. I have an appointment at the hospital lab tomorrow morning for the blood test.”

“Do you want me to come?”

“No, there’s no need. The procedure will take less than five minutes, but you can go with me to the doctor’s office next Wednesday at 2:30. I’ve asked for the day off. Dr. Spaulding has agreed to be my doctor.” She barely got to finish that sentence because my lips were mashed to hers as soon as she had finished. We were still kissing when I pulled her up and carried her to bed. No shower tonight; we went straight to make love. Scarlett literally ripped the clothes from my body, laughing as she told me she was taking the top. I laughed, too. That was fine by me.

I was almost naked by the time I was able to pull her scrubs from her body. She laughed again when I deftly removed her bra. “Mechanical Engineering 101, eh?” My response was to lift her bodily and lay her gently on the bed as she shimmied out of her lacey panties. She pulled me to her by my rapidly expanding cock. I needed no encouragement. I had been totally in love with Scarlett before, but now—now that I knew I was going to be a father and that she would be a mother—my love for her knew no boundaries. I hadn’t known that a love such as this could even exist.

Scarlett pulled me to her then rolled me over onto my back. I looked up into her sparkling eyes as I told her, “I can’t believe how much I love you. You are everything to me. I’d be totally lost without your love.”

“You have no reason to ever worry about that. You’re going to be stuck with me forever.”

“Good, now hush up and kiss me.” She did and somehow she managed to lift her hips in such a way that she slid down my pole a second later.

She broke the kiss that to tell me, “This is still my favorite part, although I do love the part when you make me cum and squirt. Hell…I just love the whole thing as long as you’re the one doing me.” She closed her eyes then and began to move, twisting my cock in small circles as she rotated her hips, gently rubbing her hard clit into me. We were so excited that neither of us was going to last very long. I was almost there when I saw the signs in Scarlett’s body. One second she was relatively tranquil and the next she was gyrating wildly, held in place only by my rigid tool and my hands on her butt. Sandy rose up from her bed to look at us then she yawned just as Scarlett fell onto my chest. I held my love tightly as we fell asleep for a short nap.


The following night we drove again to the Middle School for the second of three Meet the Candidates sessions. Audrey Boardman met us in the parking lot and we walked together into the auditorium. I recognized the man in the light green jacket immediately. I wondered what he’d come up with next. I didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“I can’t believe that a man who was in a fight at Ralph’s Bar and Grill would even think of running for the board of education.”

“Is there a question in there somewhere,” I said in response.

“Do you deny that you were in a fight?”

“I do. I will tell you that three men surrounded my girlfriend—now my wife--when I went to the men’s room and one of them tried repeatedly to pick her up despite her just as frequently repeated protests. I will also tell you that he threatened me and sucker punched me in the gut. Fortunately, I saw it coming and although I demand the right to defend myself, I never punched him back. I did grab him by the throat and restrain him until Ralph threw him and his friends out.

“While we’re talking about defending myself, I’m sure you’ll make an issue out of what happened at Hershey Park. There I did take offensive action, but only after my assailant had stabbed me. Once again, I was defending my girlfriend, now my wife, from a man who had threatened to rape her. You probably think I should have walked away, but I’m not built like that.” I stopped speaking then as the audience applauded. Scarlett returned my glance with an approving smile.

I was surprised when the program ended to be approached by two Republicans—my opponent, John Werner, and another candidate. “We’re sorry about that, Sean. The county committee chairman has told him to shut up, but he thinks he’s helping us. Please believe us when we say we don’t want that kind of help. The county committee plans to give a press release tomorrow decrying his comments and allegations.” We shook hands and I walked into the audience where I was greeted by my wife and a beaming Audrey Boardman. More than a dozen people approached to compliment me on how I had handled myself and it was also when I learned that my antagonist was one Charles Hudson from Pottstown. He wasn’t even a school district resident.

I thought I’d heard the last of him for a while, at least I hoped so. Scarlett had gotten her blood test result back the following morning and had phoned me immediately. I was in an important meeting when Sandra told me I had a call. “Tell whoever it is that I’ll call them back.”

“It’s Scarlett.”

I was up from the conference table in a flash. Her message was short and to the point: “It’s confirmed; you’re going to be a dad.”

“That’s great. Let’s go out to dinner tonight, okay?” A few seconds later I had told her that I loved her and was back in negotiations with John Deere. They’d seen and tested the Toro all aluminum mower deck and wanted the same for their small tractors and mowers. The push mower deck was simple enough, but the mower deck for a tractor was different. It needed at least two points of attachment to the tractor and they had to be able to support the weight of the entire deck, blades, belts and pulleys. Moreover, they had to be able to do that repeatedly while in use for a minimum of twenty years. That meant they had to be of a special alloy and welded on both sides to the deck and they had to balance the deck so it would be level. That meant a lot of manual work unless I bought another robotic welding machine. I promised to have the quotation on both items within a week.

The rest of the day crawled by—of course. Isn’t that always the way? Finally, at five, I was able to go home, the one thing I had prayed for all day. I wasn’t at all surprised when my loving wife ran and jumped into my arms, closely followed by her faithful furry companion. I pulled Scarlett up for a long passionate kiss even as I petted Sandy’s head. Scarlett laughed when Sandy’s tail beat repeatedly against the backs of her legs.

“Sean,” Scarlett whispered when she broke the kiss, “do you think Sandy will be okay with the baby?”

“I think she’ll be even more protective of her than she is of you. Dogs take their behavioral cues from their owners. We’ll show how much we love our daughter and that will show Sandy what to do. Isn’t she great with Nellie and Allison? Now, what about dinner?”

“How about The Pit Stop?”

“No, not tonight; Nick will see that you’re not drinking wine and he’ll know before we tell my parents and Sandra. I think we should have everyone to dinner next Saturday and we can tell them then…after dinner. If we do it beforehand the meal will be bedlam.”

Scarlett agreed and we spent the next hour planning the meal. We’d buy a spiral-sliced smoked ham at Zern’s tomorrow. I could pick up some large potatoes for baking and perhaps some tomatoes and green peppers for a salad. They wouldn’t be local, but they would still be better than anything from the market. Before we knew it my watch said 7:10. By the time we showered and dressed it would be too late to go out for a big meal. We opted instead for Chinese so I drove us to Peking Gourmet--my favorite, by far.

Once again, we ordered combination plates—orange chicken for me and General Tso’s chicken for Scarlett. We had a good meal, not the celebration feast we had hoped for, but—given the choice—I’d take making glorious love with Scarlett over eating every time.

After my impromptu meeting with the Republican candidates I thought I’d likely heard the last of Mr. Hudson, but that only showed how wrong I could be. Scarlett and I had a lovely dinner at Stokesay Castle the following night and, she was right—the food was better at The Pit Stop. We’d made love once we were home and were ready for sleep when Sandy jumped up from her bed running in circles and growling. I knew then that something was wrong.

“What’s going on, Sean,” Scarlett asked.

“Something or someone is in the back yard if Sandy is to be believed. Stay here and keep the lights off. Turn your phone on and I’ll call you when I have more information.”

“How could anything get into the yard?”

That was a good question. I’d cut my factory buildings and my house from what was a major area of thick woods. There were all kinds of animals there—deer, raccoons, skunks and other small animals like bobcats, foxes and possums. Then there were the bigger animals like coyotes and brown bears. That was why I had sought a zoning variance for an eight-foot chain link fence all around the back yard. It wouldn’t keep all of the animals out, but I knew from experience that few could climb or jump over. That meant entering through the gate which was always kept closed and latched.

“I think the only way would be to go through the gate.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to get my rifle. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” I leaned down to kiss Scarlett then walked with Sandy to my office where I opened my gun safe. Like many local boys I’d been hunting since I’d been able to carry my first rifle. I think I was six then and my rifle as a bolt-action .22 caliber rifle that Dad had bought used from a dealer in Reading. I still had that gun, but my weapon of choice was my Winchester 94 lever-action 30-30. I’d taken plenty of deer over the past ten years and now I had several major enhancements. I clipped a red laser sight onto the top of the barrel and a high power LED flashlight onto the bottom. Once they were in place I loaded five cartridges into the slot. That should be more than enough. I slipped back to my closet for a tee shirt, shorts and sandals then I led Sandy out to the garage. Once Sandy was leashed I led her out through the garage door and around the corner to the gate. I padlocked it and let Sandy lead me into the yard.

We picked our way through the construction materials for the pool enclosure into the back yard. There I could just make out the silhouette of a man sneaking away from the house. He was still a good two hundred feet from the rear fence when I decided to stop him. I flicked the laser sight on and the safety off then I cocked the lever, chambering a round. “Stop right where you are. Take a good look and if you think you can beat the dog to the fence go ahead and run. But before you do that I suggest you turn around and check out the red light on the middle of your torso. This rifle will cut you in two at this range.”

He stopped and I turned the light on. The first thing I saw was the light green jacket. Goddamn! I was hoping I’d seen the last of this bastard. “Put your hands on your head. Stay, Sandy. Sit and stay there.” Sandy sat, but she growled and it was more than enough to convince Hudson to follow my orders. I stepped behind him to pat him down. I pulled his wallet and keys from his jeans and put them into my pockets. “Okay, let’s go, asshole…to the house.” I phoned Scarlett, telling her to open the door to the family room.

I sat Hudson on the couch while I pressed 9-1-1 to report a prowler. “I live at the end of Hidden Knoll Lane. It’s a private road just one block east of Zern’s Market on Route 73. I’ll have my wife turn on the exterior lights and open the garage for the deputies. I have the situation under control between my rifle and my dog.” I rung off and Scarlett, now also dressed, walked out to open the garage doors and turn on the exterior lights. While she was gone I asked Hudson, “What’s this all about? You don’t even live in this school district.”

“Please be careful with that gun. I got a wife and two kids. I did it for the money. I’m broke. I’ve been out of work for months.”

“I don’t understand. Werner told me he wanted nothing to do with you; that the county committee was going to claim you were demented.”

He gave me a wry smile. “Welcome to politics. Werner needs this election. He wants to run for state office in a few years and then for congress so he needs a history of success. He’s really nothing but a colossal shit. I’m sorry, but I needed the money.”

“You could have applied with me. I just hired almost eighty workers. Too bad; now you’re going to have a criminal record, but I do have a few with worse records working for me.”

“You mean you’d still hire me after all this?”

“A man has to support his family. Just tell the cops the truth when they show up.” No sooner had I finished than a familiar face strode through the door to the garage. “Rory! Don’t tell me they still have you working nights.”

“No, I was passing by when the call came through so I thought I’d stop in. This the prowler?”

“Yeah, but he has an interesting story to tell. Let me unload my rifle and we can talk.” I worked the lever five times until the five cartridges were in my hand. I put them onto the counter and leaned my Winchester against the wall. Scarlett walked in a few seconds later with two deputies.

“Scarlett, this is an old friend of mine—Reinhard Calhoun, but everyone calls him Rory after the old time actor. How the hell did you ever get a name like Reinhard, anyway?”

“Some rich uncle of my mother’s; she thought she might get a few of his bucks if I was named after him. She should have checked before I was born. She could have saved me a lot of grief. He hated the name as much as I do. Okay,” he continued once Hudson had been searched and handcuffed. “Let’s hear why you’re trespassing on Mr. Sloan’s property.”

Over the next ten minutes Charles Hudson told his tale of woe—from losing his job and almost losing his house and family to being approached by John Werner and several members of the Montgomery County Republican Committee about digging up as much dirt as possible against me and asking as many embarrassing questions about my behavior at political meetings. I was surprised to learn that he had been paid by check. “If you can get a copy you’ll see that it says ‘campaign expenses’ in the memo area.” Rory gave me a look that said more than a thousand words could have. This could evolve into a big scandal with lots of negative publicity.

I was inclined to withdraw charges until Rory took me aside. “If I know you, Sean, you’re thinking of dropping charges. I suggest you wait until we investigate so we’ll have some leverage. At most we’re dealing with trespassing and possibly harassment, neither of which is much of a deal, but it’s better than nothing.” I nodded my agreement and escorted the deputies and Rory out through the garage. Five minutes later Scarlett and I were back in bed. It could have been sooner, but we spent a few minutes thanking our pet for her vigilance.


It was Monday morning before I heard anything from Rory. “There’s some guy on the phone says he’s Rory Calhoun. Is this some kind of joke?”

“Trust me, Sandra, it’s anything but. We had a prowler at the house Friday night. Rory’s a friend…a sergeant for the Montgomery County Sheriff.”

I picked up the phone and spent the next ten minutes listening in amazement to what they had learned over the weekend. Armed with a warrant, deputies had contacted Hudson’s bank and with their records they had then contacted officials of Werner’s bank. Now they had several checks written by John Werner for campaign activities that were seriously unethical if not actually illegal. He agreed to my request that Werner be taken in for interrogation late Wednesday afternoon so he would miss the final candidate’s night. That alone would give me a measure of justice and revenge.

I said nothing about Werner’s absence Wednesday evening, but many in the audience did. The whole story was in both the Reading Eagle and the Pottstown Mercury the following morning. Werner and two high ranking members of the Republican County Committee had been charged with election law violations dealing mostly with charging illegal expenses against the campaign. Letters to the editor over the next few days as well as a telephone poll conducted by the Mercury pretty much assured that Werner’s political career died in its infancy. Charles Hudson did come to my office for an application on Thursday and I had already told Angus to hire him. We could use a few more for our growing evening shift.


We prepared for our family dinner on Saturday morning, knowing that my Dad, brother-in-law Pete, Sal, and Fred would all want to arrive early enough to watch the Penn State game on TV. With the exception of Sal, we’d done this probably twenty times over the past four years. We greeted everyone at the door with hugs, handshakes, and kisses. I picked up my nieces, Andrea and Ginny, for body-squeezing hugs and kisses then I repeated with Nelly and Allison, Fred and Judy’s girls. They ran to the back yard with Sandy as soon as they were in the door.

We were in the family room where I made the first drink, reminding everyone as I always did that they should help themselves to anything they wanted afterward. Beers in hand, I led our friends and family out to see the progress on our “greenhouse” over the pool and patio areas. The framework had been completed. It stood like a giant skeleton’s ribs extending from the house to the lawn. As expected, the successful bidder was Four Seasons, but they suggested a dramatic change in the interest of structural strength and aesthetics. Dave Specht brought the suggestions to me for approval and I agreed. The revision would completely enclose the deck outside the living room, sealing tightly against the house’s rear wall. The design would actually be slightly less expensive than the original and would keep cold air and water out of the entire area. We expected the entire job to be completed within the next two weeks.

I had just brought a big bowl of chips and some dip to the table in front of the sectional when Mom, Gail, Sandra, and Judy walked down the stairs from the living room. I could tell from the expressions on their faces that something was up. “We were just wondering, Sean,” Mom began, “why you invited us to dinner today. Do you have something you want to tell us?” She and the other women all had huge Cheshire cat grins on their faces.

Scarlett and I did have something to tell them, but not quite yet and not without pulling a few legs first.

“Actually, Mom, I do. It looks like I’m going to win the election. I received phone calls Friday morning from the publishers of the Mercury and then the Reading Eagle to tell me that I was getting their endorsements. It looks like Werner has shot himself in the foot even though what he did to me wasn’t actually illegal. Some of his other activities—well…they appear to be something else entirely.”

“Maybe not,” Dad chimed in, “but that rat who did all the dirty work should be strung up.”

“No…he’s been out of work and was about to lose everything.”

“That may be true, Sean, but we already knew about the endorsements. Isn’t there something else you wanted to tell us?” Mom was nothing if not persistent.

Under other circumstances I would have laughed my ass off, but Mom was so serious. She wanted to confirm that Scarlett was pregnant. Problem was—I wasn’t biting. Then my lovely wife walked up behind me, wrapping her arm around my waist. She leaned up for a quick kiss, teasing my mother even more. “I don’t know about telling you anything, but Sean and I agreed that we wanted to ask Fred and Gail a question—would you consent to being godparents?”

Mom and the others sat there silently for a few seconds until it hit them like a hammer. “Arrgh…you two! That’s just cruel.” But then she and the others laughed as they rushed forward. There was hugging, kissing, back slapping, and—yes—there was plenty of crying too. Somewhere in there Fred and Gail did agree. Scarlett and I had both been raised Catholic, but neither of us were much for organized religion which I thought of as just another big industry. As such, the titles were more honorary than real, but being selected to be a godparent was always something to be prized.

When the women started to talk about the technical aspects of Scarlett’s pregnancy I shooed them upstairs so we men could deal with the day’s important issue—the big game between Pennsylvania powerhouses Penn State and Pittsburgh.

I excused myself around five to remove the ham from the oven and set it aside for carving. Scarlett had plenty of help, mostly from Judy and Gail. My primary job was to stay out of their way. Carving the ham took me less than fifteen minutes and once I had placed the pieces onto two large platters I took drink orders from our guests. Most agreed to wine. The four girls had milk—small glasses placed on their “special” table.

My house was big with oversized rooms and furniture to match. I had placed a twenty-four inch leaf into the table so it would seat ten comfortably. We placed Fred and Judy and Gail and Pete on the side near their daughters with Scarlett, Sal and Sandra, and Mom on the opposite with Dad facing me at the far end.

The meal went well. We had more than enough food and even better companionship, being in a circle of family and our closest friends. Not surprisingly, the pregnancy and the baby were the main topics of conversation. At one point Fred asked if I’d train my son to be a wrestler.

“I might if we were going to have a son, but I’m pulling for a daughter—four of them, in fact. I will train them in some of the advanced self-defense tactics so they’ll never be at some drunken jerk’s mercy, but other than that I just plan to enjoy them. Hopefully, they’ll look and act just like their mother.” Everyone seemed to be shocked, but Scarlett grinned and agreed.


I gave my final election interview Sunday morning for a talk radio station in Philadelphia. The host and I spent almost ninety minutes for what I was told would be pared down to an hour. One topic I struck into hard was fiscal responsibility. “I will always support board members attendance at seminars and conferences. I know how helpful they have been in my own field. I also support bringing one’s spouse to partake in the social activities at night. If elected, I plan to bring my own wife. However, any expenses my wife incurs will be mine, be they room charges or meals.”

“Are you saying that some of the current board members have charged a spouse’s expenses to the school district?”

“I have it on very good authority that those expenses have been charged to the taxpayers for a number of years. That has to stop. So is the idea that the school district should pay for alcoholic beverages. Again, I have it on good authority that a $140 bottle of wine was charged to the district two years ago. If elected, I will propose a resolution banning the district from paying for any alcoholic beverages and I will expose anyone who charges any such expenses to the district.”

“Won’t that make you a bit unpopular with the other board members?”

“Probably, but I’ve been an independent all my life. I’m running as a Democrat because they asked me. I see no reason not to act as an independent in the future. I told the party officials that before I accepted their offer and they seemed to accept what I told them. Bottom line—it’s the kids and the taxpayers I’ll be serving and no one else.”

Scarlett and I were at my parents’ house Sunday evening when the program aired. I thought it went well and they agreed. I received a phone call from the show’s host the following morning telling me that phone calls to the station after the show were 94 percent in favor of my positions.

Scarlett and I went to vote early. For some reason Pennsylvania allows electioneering right up to the polling place’s doorway. In the past I either ignored the people who harassed me or took their materials deliberately so I would know who not to vote for. We ran into Henry Duttenhoffer and Audrey Boardman, but neither was doing any electioneering at my request.

They welcomed us as they did the others, thanking them for voting. I kissed Scarlett good-bye in the parking lot and we went to work.

They say that success begets success and that certainly seemed to be true for me. My contracts with Omni and John Deere led to more than a dozen new opportunities. That meant buying additional new equipment and hiring dozens of new trainees. It also brought a lot of attention from the press. I had received a request from the Philadelphia Inquirer for an interview and a tour of the plant. I agreed, but told the editor that I needed to know the height, weight, and shoe size of any visitors. He laughed when I explained why. The interview part of the session began at 9:30 that morning. An hour later, clad in jumpsuits, steel-toed shoes, and sound suppressing hard hats,

I led them onto the production floor where the din created by the machines was almost deafening. They spoke to more than a dozen workers, leaving just after noon with the making of an extremely positive article that was almost guaranteed to bring me even more work.

Scarlett and I joined Henry and Audrey in the high school gym awaiting the election results from the two additional polling places in the school district. Board of Elections officials accompanied by representatives of each party read the vote totals on each machine. There were contests for Congress and for the state legislature as well as county and local municipal positions. In comparison, the board of education contests seemed trivial. After more than an hour all of the outlying votes had been tallied and compiled in our central location.

A representative of the Board of Elections read the results, starting with the national contests and working his way down until he read the results for the school board. “In Boyertown District 2--John Werner 484 votes, Sean Sloan 1,352.” Scarlett jumped into my arms, hugging and kissing me before I was congratulated by Henry, Audrey, and several dozen bystanders. I congratulated the winners of the other two districts—one Republican and one Democrat, not that it mattered even a little. Both said they would support my efforts at fiscal reform. We shook hands again and I led my beautiful bride out the door. We joined my parents, Sandra and Sal, and most of our friends at Ralph’s for a brief celebration, teasing Scarlett good naturedly about her ginger ale.


Our pool enclosure was completed more than a week before Thanksgiving, necessitating a party in celebration the following Saturday afternoon. Poor Sandy; she jumped up from Scarlett’s feet as soon as Nellie and Allison ran in. A second later she disappeared out her doggie door in hopes of playing Frisbee with the girls. She poked her head back in, Frisbee in mouth, just as the girls jumped into the pool. That scene was repeated when Gail’s daughters, Ginny and Andrea appeared a few minutes later.

We all had a great time and I used the grill to cook hot dogs and burgers for dinner. Four Seasons had installed a stainless steel exhaust vent complete with a solar powered fan over the grill to eliminate smoke and odors from the pool area. It worked perfectly I learned over the following months and years.

My first official meeting as a member of the school board was something that locals remembered for years. There were fireworks aplenty—almost as many as Fred had provided last July fourth. I introduced five resolutions, all dealing with how the board spent the taxpayers’ money. I was cussed out by several members who swore revenge, but in the end they were all approved unanimously at the next meeting. I met privately with the dissenting members and threatened to expose them as abusers of the public coffers and trust. One guy had spent more than $10,000 on his wife and children during his four year tenure on the board. I was reelected three years later and spent twenty-four years serving the children and taxpayers, most of them as board president.

Scarlett had a relatively uneventful pregnancy although she did suffer badly from morning sickness. She laughed it off telling me it was a small price to pay for attaining her lifelong dream of being a full-time wife and mother. I laughed as I reminded her that she was already a full-time wife. She got the last laugh later that night when she fucked me until I could barely move.

After standing by her side during the birth of our first daughter I thanked God I was a man. Anyone who thinks of women as the weaker sex has never witnessed a woman giving birth. It was enough for me to stop after one child, but Scarlett was not deterred. All told, we had four and, as I had predicted they were all girls—Alicia, Brianna, Heather, and Christine.

Thankfully, they all looked like their beautiful mother. As promised, I did teach them some serious self-defense moves. After sixteen year-old Alicia came home early one time from a date I knew my teaching had been successful. Her date was sporting a lovely shiner when he walked her to the door. She never had another problem and neither did her sisters. Word travels fast in a small town.


Alicia was almost five months old when I received a phone call from Caleb Oates, the CEO of Omni, asking if I could come to Houston to receive an award. “Thanks, Caleb, but we have a daughter now who’s only five months old. I think she’s too young to travel on a commercial airline. God only knows what she’d be exposed to in the airport and plane.”

“Don’t worry about that, Sean. I’ll send our corporate plane for you and we’ll put you up at my ranch. I have an entire wing you and your family can use. I know my wife will be thrilled to see your baby. I’ll also arrange for a limo to pick you up at home and drop you off once you’re back in Philadelphia. Of course, the entire trip will be on us.” I did agree once he told me that my parents could join us to serve as babysitters during the banquet. I actually laughed when he told me not to pack a suit. “We’ll all be wearing really casual clothes. Jeans are considered fancy dress in these parts. Make sure you bring bathing suits, too.” He also asked if I could bring a short video about the firm. I turned that job over to Angus and Paul Martin. They brought a DVD to the house the Saturday before we left.

With Sandy safe at Fred and Judy’s we climbed into the limo at 10:00 Sunday morning for the flight to Midland, Texas where Omni had its headquarters and primary factory. I had to admit that the trip was great. Our seats were better than any first class flight I’d ever taken and we even had an attendant to see to our every need. The Oates’ ranch far exceeded our expectations, but the highlight of the trip was the video.

The banquet was held at a big convention center and Scarlett and I were surprised at the number of people—at least three hundred, I guessed--in attendance. Dinner was a tasty steak with baked potato and no sooner was dinner cleared away than Caleb Oates and Bill Preston got down to business, introducing Scarlett and me, commenting that my efforts had made their entire jet engine project possible. After surprisingly enthusiastic applause they asked me about my company. “I think this video will tell you all you need to know. At least, I hope so because I haven’t seen it. My production manager and forge foreman made it over the past week.” I stepped away from the podium to my seat as the lights were dimmed and the huge screen came to life with a picture of the main factory building and sign.

Next we listened as Angus and Paul introduced themselves. They spoke for a minute before the camera turned to Lisa and Jennifer, my two mold makers. After a few general statements they started to get into specifics. As they did Angus held a sign that said “CENSORED!” in large black letters and honked a big bicycle horn that made it impossible to hear what they were saying. That procedure continued throughout the entire video and I thought it was hilarious. The crowd must have agreed because they laughed even louder than Scarlett and I did.

We laughed again when Paul Martin told everyone, “Now you know as much about what we do as we do, but I still have to tell you about our most important asset—our boss, Sean Sloan.

“Sean is two years older than me and I still remember the day we met. I was a new kid in school in second grade and a bunch of fifth graders were picking on me on the playground. They had pushed me to the ground when this kid I’d never met walked up and told them to knock it off. He wasn’t much bigger than me so I thought he was in as much trouble as I was. Thirty seconds later the two biggest bullies were on the ground and the third was running away as Sean helped me up. We’ve been friends ever since. Now I want to show you some photos from Sean’s wedding. It was held in his huge back yard.” There were shots of the big canopy, dance floor and the back of our house. Scarlett took my hand and pulled me forward for a quick kiss.

“Now here are some photos from my wedding six months ago. I’m sure you can see the similarities. Sean and Scarlett not only let us use their yard for our wedding they also paid for the canopy, tables and chairs, and DJ. There isn’t a single employee or person who lives in our area who doesn’t have the highest respect for Sean. We’ve been approached three times by unions who wanted to represent us and each time they’ve been voted down. Last time the vote was 134 to zero. We have higher wages and better benefits than we could hope for through a union. We also have profit sharing which is almost unheard of in our industry. Would you believe that Sean trains us for eighteen months? We know OSHA regulations better than some of the inspectors. Thanks for taking the time to learn about us. I should also tell you that we did this video on Saturday morning on our own time. Good luck, Sean…Scarlett—enjoy your vacation.” The screen went black and I returned to the podium while everyone applauded. Caleb Oates and Bill Preston joined me. They presented me with a plaque showing their appreciation for providing consistently outstanding quality products that had made their revolutionary jet engine possible.

We returned to the Oates ranch and flew back to Philadelphia the following morning. Our darling daughter slept through the entire trip. We picked up Sandy, thanking Fred, Judy, and the girls before driving home. Sandy was thrilled to see us. She showed her enthusiasm all night long, almost knocking us over with her tail when she wasn’t standing guard over Alicia. She treated our daughter even better than we had hoped, even sleeping in her room and running to us as soon as she woke up.



Enclosing the pool proved to be a fantastic idea. Scarlett and I swam every single day, even through her pregnancies. I did laugh when she cried, "Watch out, here comes the whale," in her later stages. I did laugh, but I always reassured her that she was beautiful and that I loved her.

Our closest friends and family had carte blanche to join us and they often did. Our only requirement was ten minutes notice so we could be sure to be dressed when they arrived.

Our daughters seemed to inherit the best of Scarlett’s and my qualities. Physically they looked like lower case versions of their beautiful mother. They were smart as hell, graduating at or near the top of their classes. Of course, they all attended and graduated from Penn State. Alicia played soccer, basketball, and softball in high school and starred in softball as a Nittany Lion. Brianna, Heather, and Christine starred in Cross Country and Track at both the high school and college levels. I’d never found watching running races terribly interesting, but watching our daughters beat the snot out of the competition really got me charged up—Scarlett, too.

All four had successful careers and even better marriages—Alicia and Heather as accountants, Brianna and Christine as teachers. They both worked at Boyertown Area High School teaching math. I didn’t help them, not at all. I had been retired from the board for more than five years and there was a new principal and a new superintendent. However, everyone in the community knew Scarlett and me and they knew our daughters almost as well.

Believe it or not, all four girls—yes, I still consider them girls, sometimes calling them that just to get a rise out of them—got married within an eighteen month span. Luckily, I had a prospering business.

You might be wondering what happened to the four who had conspired to enslave me. My wish came true with Marge. She died in prison of a stroke. Michael was murdered in the shower when he was caught sucking the dick of the wrong inmate. His cellmate apparently took offense and beat him to death. Troy was met by four of my friends when he was released. They drove him to the Reading bus station where they put him on a bus to Tucson with $500 and sincere advice that he never return to the Boyertown area if he valued his health. He must have taken them seriously because he was never seen again. Only Lori returned to the area. Scarlett and I saw her working as a waitress in the Pottstown Diner on occasion, but we never said a word to her other than our order. She made headlines in the Pottstown Mercury when she was arrested several times for prostitution. Her third arrest resulted in another prison term for her and she must have moved away when she was released.

When Angus decided to retire I promoted Paul Martin to his job and made Clark manager over the night shift. I promoted two of the furnace employees to foreman. Sal did retire when the Route 100 project was completed even though it went on for five years beyond the original estimate.

Scarlett and I talked about me retiring as my sixtieth birthday approached. I’d had a big national accounting firm analyze the business to determine its worth. I’d made one more major expansion with a fourth building that was one hundred feet wide by eight hundred long. When it opened I had more than 490 employees split almost evenly between two shifts. I was well pleased when they told me that the firm I’d started on a shoestring was worth more than seventy million dollars.

I mentioned to Paul Martin that I was thinking about selling and what I would be asking. I as a bit surprised when he asked me to hold off for a few weeks. I was glad I did because he had worked out a plan with a local bank for the employees to buy me out at twenty million up front and another five million a year for the next twelve years. That money, of course, would come from the annual profits.

Scarlett and I kept our house on Hidden Knoll Lane and bought another near Tallahassee, Florida. We took up golf, playing poorly several times a week, but mostly laughing and loving each other as much as we had when we were young. We also bought a boat, one that was big enough to go offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, so we could go fishing or just find a secluded beach where we could skinny-dip. Other than just before and just after giving birth, Scarlett and I made love almost every day well into our fifties. Then we slowed down a bit, but not much. Making love was just one of the ways we told each other every day just how much we loved each other.

Sandra decided to retire when I decided to sell the business. Scarlett and I agreed to give her a $500,000 retirement bonus. After all, it was Sandra’s advice that had really pushed me to move forward with Scarlett. She had told me that I’d be infinitely better off with Scarlett. That was obviously the very best advice I’d ever followed.
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