It was a beautiful early day in May across Western Pennsylvania and especially in the city of New Castle.
On the outskirts of New Castle, was a new housing development being built by the Hanson’s Construction Company. This new development was called Highland Estates with thirty new homes constructed with a nice woodsy country setting.
At the entrance of the construction site was the office for Hanson’s Construction, which consisted of a single wide old trailer.
The owner of this company was Mike Hanson; a forty-year-old married man of average height and average sized potbelly for men of his age group. Mike was still a handsome man with a sprinkle of gray hairs that started to peek through his full head of brown hair. Mike inherited the business from his father, Ernst, who founded it in 1960.
It was now 4:30 in the afternoon and the sounds of power saws and air hammers pounding nails just ceased to indicate the end of another workday.
Mike stepped out of his office trailer and watched while his workers headed off to their cars and pick up trucks parked in the dirt parking lot. They were all smiles, as most of them planned on meeting for a few beers before heading home.
“Great progress today, guys. See you tomorrow morning bright and early,” he called out to some of the workers while they got into their vehicles.
A few of the workers acknowledged Mike with some waves or nods of their heads.
“We’re going out for a few beers over at The Pounding Hammer bar. Want to join us, Mike?” one of his workers offered.
“Nah, I have tons of paperwork to finish, you know, paychecks,” Mike responded.
“Well, then, I think you should get back to work,” another worker replied jokingly then got inside his pick up truck.
Mike went back inside his trailer and walked over to the coffee pot. He poured a cup of coffee then walked over to his desk filled with paperwork and sat down. He frowned when he stared at the large checkbook and hated office work. Sometimes he wished he were out there pounding nails into two by fours.
The trailer door opened and Russ Gates, a fifty-five-year-old foreman for Mike, entered the trailer. Russ was hired by Mike’s father back in 1975 and had continued to be a valuable asset with keeping Mike’s company profitable. “Progress is looking great with the units,” Russ said while he removed the hard hat off his head and sat down at his desk. He kicked his Steel Toed boots up on his desk and ran his hand through his gray thinning hair.
“Good, are there any concerns with making our August deadline?” Mike asked then sipped some coffee.
“No indications yet,” Russ replied then placed his boots on the floor and stood up. “I’m going out for a few beers with the guys at The Pounding Hammer. Want to join me?” he offered.
“Thanks, but I need to get the payroll finished,” Mike answered then sipped some more coffee.
“Well, don’t stay here all night,” Russ replied then walked to the door. “I’ll see you in the morning,” he said then stepped out of the trailer.
Mike went back to work writing out paychecks for his workers.
While Russ walked over to his Chevy Silverado pickup truck thirsty for a few beers.
Twenty feet away, a mangy looking female reddish haired terrier mix mutt named Ginger, snuck out of the construction site through a hole she dug under the chain link fence.
Russ got into his pickup truck and drove out of the construction site and onto the two-lane country road.
Ginger moped away from the fence and headed toward the two-lane country road.
Fifteen minutes later, Mike walked out of his trailer and locked the door.
He walked over to his Ford F-250 pickup and got inside. He started it up and drove out of the construction site. He stopped, got out of his truck and locked the front gate to the site. He got back in his pickup and drove off down the two-lane country road.
A little while later, he turned on his radio and the Aerosmith’s Walk This Way song played.
Mike sang along with Steven Tyler and played some air guitar. He felt like a rock star.
Then he spotted Ginger while she moped down the road on the right hand side. An evil smirk grew on his face while he accelerated his pickup and raced after the stray dog.
Then the second the front of his pickup was by Ginger, he blew his horn.
Ginger got startled and jumped off the road and landed in a big mud puddle on the side of the road.
Mike glanced in his rearview mirror and saw Ginger while she stepped out of the puddle, soaking wet, then she shook off the water. She continued to mope down the road.
He chuckled and felt proud of himself. “Stupid ugly mutt,” he said then returned to his song and sang out with Steven Tyler while he drove down the road.
In Mike’s neighborhood down on Kiscoe Avenue, Louise LeBlanc was seventy years old with long white hair that contained some purple dyed streaks down the side. She walked down the sidewalk with a limp and a hand carved wooden cane. She was a spooky woman from New Orleans and spoke with a thick Cajun accent. A massive male black Mastiff dog named Boodro walked alongside Louise where he was connected to a leash.
Louise and Boodro walked down the sidewalk and walked across Mike’s driveway.
Mike pulled his pickup into his driveway and blew his horn.
Louise felt threatened by his pickup so she bolted across his front yard dragging Boodro by the leash almost choking him. She stopped and glared back at Mike with her evil eyes.
“I hope that stupid Boodro didn’t use my front yard as a bathroom!” Mike said while he got out of his pickup and walked to his front door.
“You shouldn’t treat your neighbors that way!” Louise scolded Mike with her right index finger.
“I don’t consider a dog or a weird voodoo lady neighbors. If I had my way, I would give him to that new Chinese restaurant down the street. And deport you back to New Orleans!” Mike replied with a mean tone.
Louise hissed at him like a mad cat. Boodro snarled and showed his teeth.
“Give me five seconds alone with him. Just five seconds,” Boodro said quietly to himself.
Louise walked Boodro across Mike’s yard to her house light purple painted house, which was next door.
Mike walked to his front door.
The Hanson home was nicely furnished.
The living room had a mahogany wood entertainment center with a 52-inch HDTV on a stand, nice expensive beige couch, and plush lazy boy chair on oak wood floors.
“I want that voodoo queen and her ugly mutt to stay off my grass!” Mike said the second he stepped foot into his living room.
Jenny Hanson, Mike’s six-year-old girl daughter rushed into the living room. “Daddy!” she cried all excited out the second she saw Mike.
Then Chris Hanson, Mike’s eight-year-old son rushed into the living room after Jenny. He had a base-ball glove in his hand.
Mike knelt down and gave Jenny a hug the second she rushed up to him.
“Daddy, will you have a catch with me?” Chris said while he held up his glove and baseball with hopeful eyes.
“Daddy will you join my tea party?” Jenny asked with a gleam in her eye.
“Maybe another day kids, daddy’s exhausted from a hard day at work,” he said while he walked over and plopped down on his lazy boy chair. He grabbed the remote off a small table next to the chair and turned on his TV.
Debbie Hanson, Mike’s forty-year-old blonde haired wife entered in a jogging outfit and stood at the archway.
Chris and Jenny moped out of the living room and felt hurt that Mike wouldn’t play with them.
Debbie watched while Jenny and Chris moped down the hallway and went inside their bedrooms.
“What did you say to them Mike?” she asked a little concerned.
“That voodoo lady,” he answered.
“Her name is Louise LeBlanc and don’t make her mad,” Debbie quickly interrupted him.
“Whatever, anyway, she had her ugly dog in our yard again,” he replied while he surfed through the channels. Debbie eyed the hallway. “Okay, but what did you say to Chris and Jenny to upset them?” she asked a little concerned.
“They wanted to play, but I’m too exhausted, Debbie,” he replied while he stopped on the ESPN channel.
“You better get some energy before the kids are all grown up and will definitely want nothing to do with you,” she snapped back.
“I hear you,” Mike replied but he could really care less, as all he wanted to do was relax and watch TV. She rolled her eyes knowing she was fighting a losing battle against his thick head. “I’m going jogging, I’ll make dinner after my five mile run. We’re having spaghetti and meatballs,” she said then walked to the front door and went outside.
Mike kicked back in his lazy boy chair and watched the ESPN channel.
Later that evening, Mike sat in another lazy boy chair in their fourth bedroom, which was his playroom.
Mike played the Aerosmith Train Keep A Rollin song on his pristine Sunburst Les Paul guitar. He was really good and missed those days more than twenty years ago when he played in the band called The Rockers in high school.
Debbie entered the den all sweaty in her jogging outfit. She glanced over at Mike and got a little upset. “I guess you’re not too tired to play your guitar?”
“When’s dinner?” Mike replied ignoring her question.
“After I take a shower and hopefully in twenty minutes if I’m not too tired,” she replied in an attempt to imitate Michael. She walked away upset with him.
Mike continued to play his song on his Les Paul.
Later that evening, the Hanson family sat around the dining room table and ate their spaghetti with meatballs dinner.
“Chris has a little league game this Saturday and Jenny has a ballet recital,” Debbie told Mike.
He frowned while he sipped his ice tea. “I can’t Debbie, the crew’s working Saturday. I could get a nice bonus for finishing this project early,” Mike replied then he munched on a meatball.
“You’re always working! Can’t you spend a weekend doing something with the family for once?” Debbie in a raised tone he knew all too well that he was in trouble.
“I’m sorry honey, somebody has to work to pay for our lifestyle,” he quickly replied then looked at Jenny and Chris. “So kids, how was your day at school?” he asked to get Debbie off his back.
“Carey Whitestone barfed in class so we had to stand in the hallway while the janitor cleaned the room. It stunk!” Jenny said when slurped up some spaghetti noodles.
“Don’t use the word barf, Jenny. Just say Carey go sick in class,” Debbie corrected her.
“Joey Brooke showed us his new puppy. Can we get a puppy?” Chris said with hopeful eyes.
Mike frowned at his request. “You know how I feel about dogs. All they do is use the house as a bathroom and chew toy,” Mike replied.
“But Mommy talked with Uncle Kenny and he has a new puppy at the shelter,” Chris added with a gleam in his eyes at the prospect of playing ball with a puppy.
Mike gave Debbie a stern look. “I don’t think so, they’re a waste of precious money.”
“But they’re so cute!” Jenny added.
Mike continued to eat and ignored everybody.
Debbie discreetly winked at Chris and Jenny.
They both smiled and knew what her winks meant. Continue part 2