It was another beautiful morning in New Castle.
The Hanson household woke up, ate their breakfast and then Mike was off to work.
Debbie did her normal routine of getting the kids ready for school.
Then she went off to work as a bank teller in town.
At his construction site, Mike wore his hard hat while he walked with Russ down the main street of the new neighborhood.
The sound of nail guns and saws filled the air while the workers worked on the homes in various phases of construction.
“Looks like our load of plywood for the roofs of units twenty-five thru thirty will be late,” Russ said.
“When will it arrive?” Mike asked a little concerned.
“In five days,” Russ replied.
“Five days? I can’t wait five days,” Mike said worried that the good progress will slow down.
Then something caught Mike’s attention while he looked at a framed house while they turned and walked down another street.
While he looked at this framed house, he did not notice the white Chevy government car that was parked at one of the homes down the end of that street.
Mike walked Russ to the framed house and they saw Ginger in the living room area eating part of a sandwich on the plywood floor.
“Get out of here you ugly mangy mutt!” Mike yelled at Ginger while he ran over to the framed house. He picked up a sawed off piece of 2×4 board then ran through the framed front door opening.
They didn’t notice the government Chevy while it drove down that street and turned onto the main street.
Ginger saw Mike with the board in his hand and she knew this meant trouble – again. She grabbed the sandwich and ran between the openings of the framed outside wall.
Mike ran back through the front door opening and ran across the dirt yard after her.
He threw the 2×4 piece of board and it bounced in the ground a foot behind Ginger’s running paws.
Mike walked back to Russ who stood in the front yard and saw the whole event.
“Tell the crew I don’t want them leaving food around the site. And check the perimeter fence for any gaping holes in the fence or under it,” Mike ordered while he watched Ginger run away to the perimeter fence. “Also have someone check the property to make sure that dog is gone,” he added.
“Got it boss,” Russ replied while he saw a worker walk out of the framed house. “Hey Jack, boss man wants you to check the perimeter and make sure that stray dog is gone. Then check it for holes in the fence or under it,” Russ called out.
“Okay boss,” Jack replied but he was the one that had been leaving Ginger food. He will pretend he fulfilled his order from Russ.
Mike and Russ walked back to the main street and headed toward the office trailer.
A few minutes later, they walked back to the trailer where that government Chevy was parked.
“This is just great. OSHA is here,” Mike replied as he recognized the car from previous visits.
They walked to the trailer with some hesitation.
Mike and Russ entered the trailer where Danny Malone, an OSHA Compliance Officer sat at Mike’s desk and wrote on a pad that contained a government form.
Danny saw Mike at the door of the trailer. “Good morning, Mister Hanson,” Danny said while he stood up and tore off the form from the pad. “I found four of your guys not wearing eye protection when using some power saws while cutting two by fours,” he said then handed Mike the citations. “I saw this three months ago and gave you a verbal warning,” Danny said then walked to the door then left the trailer.
Mike slammed the form down on his desk. “Now I have to deal with these OSHA citations. Can my day get any worse?” he said very upset. “I want a meeting right now with everybody,” Mike ordered Russ in a raised tone.
“Yes boss,” Russ replied then walked to the door and left the trailer.
Mike ran a hand through his hair in frustration.
Ten minutes later, Mike had his entire crew out by the trailer and gave them a good chewing at them for violating safety rules. He dismissed them back to work and he went back inside the trailer along with Russ.
Fifteen minutes later, the trailer door opened and Howard Langley, a fifty-year-old homeless man with long stringy dirty hair and a long beard stepped inside.
Howard reeked of body odor and his clothes were filthy and tattered, and stood by the door with a dirty old brown Fedora hat in hand.
“Excuse me sir, my name is Howard Langley and I’m looking for work. Any work even if it’s picking up trash,” Howard asked with hungry eyes.
Mike and Russ looked over at Howard.
Russ cringed the second he smelled his body odor.
Mike couldn’t smell due to some sinus problems twenty years ago.
Mike got up from his desk and walked over to Howard a little sickened by his appearance.
“Like I’ve told you before, we don’t have a job that’s suited for you. So you better get off my property or I’ll call the police,” Mike told Howard and looked serious.
“Sorry sir and bless you,” Howard replied then opened up the door and stepped outside.
Mike walked over to his desk and sat down.
“Man, it’s a good thing you can’t smell. That was some strong body odor,” Russ said while he sighed a sigh of relief Howard was gone.
The phone on Mike’s desk rang. “Hanson’s construction,” he answered the call.
“Hi honey. How’s your day going?” Debbie asked from the phone.
“Lousy, OSHA was just here and left me a fine,” he replied.
“That’s too bad, listen, I was talking with Kenny and was curious with your decision with helping him expand his animal shelter?” she asked.
Mike frowned at her request from the phone.
Inside Kenny’s I Luv Animals shelter, Debbie sat by Kenny at his desk.
Kenny Hamilton was Debby’s thirty-seven-year-old younger brother. He held Rascal, a one-year-old white haired Weshi puppy with a unique patch of brown hair on his left side, in his arms. Kenny looked hopeful while Debbie talked into her cell phone.
“I can’t ask my guys to work for free on a weekend,” Mike replied from her cell phone.
“You write it off as charity,” she said while she petted Rascal’s head.
“I’ll think about it some more. I gotta go,” Mike replied then disconnected his end of the call.
Kenny looked at Debbie with hopeful eyes.
Debbie shook her head and indicated Mike was not going to build his expansion.
“Oh well,” Kenny replied very disappointed.
Debbie looked at Rascal in Kenny’s arms, and her eyes lit up. “He sure is adorable,” she said while she petted his head.
“His previous owners left him out in the woods when they didn’t want to care for him. So the little guy needs a good loving home,” Kenny said while he kissed the top of Rascal’s head.
Debbie looked at Rascal and she smiled while she had an idea, as she could not resist his adorable brown eyes.
Back in Mike’s trailer, he got up and walked over to the coffee pot. He poured another cup of coffee.
“Another request on expanding Kenny’s shelter job?” Russ asked while Mike sat down at this desk.
“I need to come up with a good excuse to get out of it forever,” Mike replied then sipped his coffee.
“I think we could handle a little charity work,” Russ quietly replied to himself while he went back to ordering some lumber.
Mike ignored him and went back to his paperwork.
It was later that evening and Mike pulled his pickup truck into his driveway. He frowned when he had to park behind Kenny’s Toyota Prius.
“I just don’t feel like dealing with him tonight,” Mike said with a whiny tone while he got out of his truck.
He walked across the grass and headed to the front door. Then his face suddenly cringed when something didn’t feel right. He looked down at the bottom of his right boot and saw dog poop smeared all over the bottom. “That stupid voodoo woman!” he cursed while he wiped the bottom of his boot on the grass.
After his boot was cleaned, Mike went inside his house and he didn’t notice Louise who stood by her front door.
She heard the mean comment he made about her, and went inside her home furious.
“I’m home,” Mike called out while he closed the front door. He heard laughter that came from the bedrooms. He smiled at the thought of Jenny and Chris having fun.
Then Rascal raced into the living room. He stopped five feet from Mike and wagged his tail. He ran up to Mike and jumped up on his legs wagging his tail.
“Get this dog out of here!” Mike yelled out.
Rascal raced out of the room, scared with his tail between his legs.
Jenny and Chris ran into the room.
“Daddy, you scared Rascal,” Jenny scolded her father.
“Rascal? Why is there a dog in my house?” Mike asked a little upset.
Kenny and Debbie entered the living room.
Mike frowned. “Kenny, don’t bring your animals in my house. Keep them at the shelter where they belong,” he said.
“But daddy, Uncle Kenny gave us Rascal,” Chris told him.
Rascal poked his head around the wall from the hallway to see if it was safe. He gave Mike the sweetest brown eyes he could muster. He crawled on his belly at Mike to become friends.
“I told you, I don’t want a stupid dog. They’re useless!” Mike yelled while he glared down at Rascal on his belly.
Rascal sensed his hatred and got up on all fours. He made a quick turn around and ran out of the room and down the hallway.
“How could you not want a beautiful dog like Rascal?” Kenny asked a little upset with Mike.
“Jenny and Chris, go play with Rascal in one of your rooms,” Debbie told them while she glared at Mike.
Jenny and Chris ran out of the living room and then down the hallway.
Debbie looked mad with Mike while she walked up to him “What’s wrong with you? You had a dog when you were a kid,” she said in a raised tone.
“Yeah and the stupid thing got rabies, bit me and I had to get all those shots along with six stitches,” Mike replied. “Then dad shot it,” he added.
“Not all dogs get rabies, Mike,” Kenny said and felt sorry for Mike feeling the way he does about dogs.
“Did you see how much those kids love him?” Debbie asked.
“He’ll stink up the house,” Mike quickly replied.
“You can’t smell and besides, this is my decision and Rascal stays!” Debbie said and gave Mike a look that meant she wasn’t going to back down.
Mike opened his mouth to say something, but immediately closed it when he saw Jenny, Chris and Rascal poke their heads around the hallway with hopeful eyes.
“That thing can stay, but under my conditions. One, the mutt sleeps in the back porch,” he said.
“Ahh Dad!” Jenny and Chris replied in unison from the hallway.
“Like I said, he sleeps in the back porch. Two, you’ll clean up any mess he makes in the house or in my yard. Three, you’ll feed and give him water, as I won’t. Four, he’s not allowed in my den and I emphasize not allowed. And five, he’s not allowed in the kitchen. If any of these rules are violated, the mutt goes out the front door,” Mike said and meant business.
Jenny and Chris jumped up and down in excitement. Rascal joined along not knowing why they were happy but it appeared to be a good thing to do at the time.