Saturday, March 17, 2018

Unforeseen Events: Day 15

Word Total: 90,001

Year to Date: 300,008

Summary of Events:
Emil called a lawyer friend to ask what it might take for him to become Sheldon's legal guardian; as the lawyer didn't specialise in family law, he didn't have any immediate answers. Sheldon and Emil were working on disassembling the steering when the RCMP officer arrived with a woman from Social Services who was there to take Sheldon home; Sheldon was incredibly upset by this, so Emil sat him down and had a talk with him.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Even though Sheldon was mostly sad, Emil could tell that some of the sadness was manifesting itself in anger. He saw it in the way Sheldon roughly tossed his clothes into his suitcase, in the way he manhandled the suitcase as he closed it, in the way he thudded down the stairs, in the way he roughhoused the hatchback of the SUV open, in the way he tossed the suitcases inside like he was trying to fire them through the windshield at the other end, in the way he slammed the hatchback shut hard enough that the vehicle rocked noticeably.
Miss Fabris stood outside the driver's door, watching Sheldon. As he approached the passenger door she opened her door and got in; Sheldon walked past the door, which led her to startle and bring her head back out.
She opened her mouth to say something, but Emil met her gaze and put his finger to his lips. She closed her mouth and watched silently as Sheldon knelt down in front of Chief, who smiled, seemingly until he saw the tears in Sheldon's eyes.
His ears lowered and moved back, a shrill whine came from his throat. Sheldon nodded before wrapping his arms around Chief and burying his face in the dog's shoulder.
Tears blurred Emil's own vision. Chief had often been sad after the family had been over for a visit and given him all kinds of playtime Emil didn't have the time to give him, but Emil felt like Chief's sadness here and now as a lot greater than it usually was.
After a long time Sheldon finally lifted his head and looked at Chief. Chief offered something of a smile and licked at Sheldon's cheek. Sheldon's smile was wan at best. Chief licked his cheek again.
Sheldon shifted back onto his feet and scratched Chief's head before unfolding himself back to his full height, which left him tall enough to be looking Emil practically straight in the eye.
Emil raised his hands, inviting Sheldon to hug him. Sheldon practically fell into the embrace and sobbed some more.
Biting his lips, Emil lowered his head in close to Sheldon's shoulder. Tears slid down his cheeks as he held Sheldon, his body trembling with heartbreak.
If he would've told himself in June that Sheldon would've been alternately destroyed and enraged at the fact that he was having to go home, he was pretty sure he would've shaken his head and told himself he was crazy.
He couldn't possibly put a finger on any one singular moment in which Sheldon had changed, and he was even less likely to be able to explain exactly why he'd changed, but he knew for a fact that he was glad Sheldon had changed and he was sad that Sheldon had to go home."

The next post will be March 31.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Unforeseen Events: Day 14

Word Count: 84,014

Summary of Events: 
Sheldon and Emil worked on extracting the various electrical components before the town's RCMP officer arrived because Mrs. Walden had erroneously suspected Emil of being involved in a recent robbery in the area — not that the officer believed her, but he did have to do his due diligence. Emil and Sheldon sat down for lunch and discussed their summer so far, with Sheldon expressing a strong distaste to the idea of going home. With the engine back together, sandblasted, and freshened up with a coat of paint, it was mounted into a machine that allowed them to test the engine without needing to be in the car; it had made noise so far, but not successfully turned over . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Grandpa turned the key again and the engine sounded more like it was going to actually go, but then it died.
Sheldon could feel his pulse, as if his heart were pounding on the bones of his ribcage in a desperate effort to escape its confines. He didn't want to spend two days doing this, he wanted the engine to start now!
Grandpa went over to the engine, checking some more things over carefully. Sheldon stepped over to the key, but he didn't touch it, as much as he wanted to just turn the key as hard as he could and get the engine to roar to life.
"Give her a try now," Grandpa said.
"Like, turn the key?" Sheldon asked, astonished.
"What else do you think I'd be asking you to do?" Grandpa asked.
Sheldon's fingers trembled as he reached for the key. Mom and Dad didn't even let him use the remote to autostart the car from the house, forget letting him actually slide into the driver's seat and put the key in the ignition to start the car.
Holding the key between his thumb and the side of his forefinger, Sheldon started to turn it clockwise just like Grandpa had done.
The engine uttered a wheezy throb that increased in intensity and life until suddenly, with a great roar, it turned over.
"Yes!" Sheldon shouted. He put his hands over his mouth as the engine throbbed, he could hardly believe it.
He almost wanted to cry. He couldn't believe it. He'd been able to be a part of getting something that had been completely dead restored back to life.
Sliding his gaze over to Grandpa, Sheldon saw that he actually had tears in his eyes; they'd completed the first step — and goodness knew probably one of the biggest — of bringing the car back to life that meant more to Grandpa than most cars meant to most people, and had that meaning for probably one of the most unexpected reasons.
Sheldon stepped over to Grandpa and gave him a hug. After a few moments Grandpa returned the embrace. Sheldon startled after a moment and released Grandpa. He didn't typically hug people, and the thought that he'd initiated the embrace made him feel a little uncomfortable.
"We did it Grandpa," Sheldon said.
"We most certainly did," Grandpa replied.
Grandpa hugged Sheldon, who let himself be hugged. It probably wasn't the sort of thing that would mean a lot to most people — Sheldon wasn't even sure his friends would get how cool this was — but Sheldon felt like he was the happiest he'd ever been in his life because he'd been able to be a part of bringing something back to life."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Unforeseen Events: Day 13

Word Count: 78,058

Summary of Events:
Emil and Sheldon worked on taking more things out of the car to see if they needed repair or replacement while they waited for the engine parts, and Emil was left with a sinking feeling that fixing the car would take longer than he'd thought. Sheldon learned some rather startling things about his mother as a young woman from Emil and Mr. Graham when Mr. Graham stopped by for lunch on his way home from the car show. 

Excerpt of the Day:
"Gingerly Emil grasped at the base and rotated his hand, they were removing all of the electrical, and, from the looks of things, the electrical was in pretty rough shape; not that Emil was really all that surprised.
In truth, he was pretty sure that the condition of the engine had instilled a false sense of optimism in him that the project would be pretty quick. As much as the engine was in impressively good shape for having been sitting for forty five years, pretty much everything else they'd pulled out so far — aside from the transmission, which was obviously what had necessitated the parking — looked like it had been sitting for forty five years.
He carefully removed the headlight and set it in the tray under the stool he was sitting on, being as his knees were too old for kneeling on hard concrete. He moved the stool over to the other headlight and carefully extracted it in the same fashion.
Holding onto the just-extracted light, Emil grabbed the other one from the tray and stood up. Stepping carefully over the front end of the car, he set them both on the workbench, using pieces of masking tape to indicate which one was left and which one was right.
Emil turned around to get the stool out before he lifted the car again and noticed that Sheldon wasn't there. Sheldon had told him he was going to the bathroom a good — he checked the clock — ten minutes ago. Where was he?
He removed the stool so that he didn't forget and headed toward the house. This last week had been milder, hovering more around the twenty degree mark, and there was a little bit of a breeze coming from the northwest, which was keeping all the silage dust from blowing onto his yard, as the rented field across the road was being turned into feed for dairy cows.
The field which bordered Emil's property to the west was in peas that were almost ready to go for likely the same purpose, and the other field to the north and east was in oats, which would probably stay until September or even October.
"No, I don't," Sheldon said, as if responding to someone as Emil stepped inside.
Emil walked over to the kitchen and found Sheldon with the phone to his ear. Sheldon looked at him and looked almost relieved.
"Um, hey, uh, Grandpa just walked in, do you want to talk to him?" Sheldon asked.
Emil wondered who it was that Sheldon would've answered.
"Yeah I mean Emil, he's my grandpa," Sheldon replied.
He lifted the receiver away from his face and held his hand over the mouthpiece.
"I don't know who she is but she won't stop talking," Sheldon said. "I didn't tell her much about me but she has more than enough to say about everyone else."
"Ah," Emil said. "It's Mrs. Walden, our own local conspiracy theorist.""

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Unforeseen Events: Day 12

Word Count: 72,040

Summary of Events:
Sheldon went outside by himself for a bit and ended up being inadvertently locked out of the house by Emil, but not for too long. Emil and Sheldon went to the big car show in Saskatoon and witnessed an accident at the entrance gate when a man tried to cut in front of someone else and got his car smashed. While looking at the cars Sheldon and Emil encountered one of Emil's army friends — who had also been one of his groomsmen — showing his 1933 Dodge truck; they talked for some time before continuing on . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Sheldon followed Grandpa back into the flow of people surveying the trucks.
"He was at your wedding, wasn't he?" Sheldon asked.
"One of the groomsmen, yes," Grandpa replied.
"I thought he looked familiar," Sheldon said.
"Yeah, even if age does change the features a little bit, you can still see the person that was in there," Grandpa said. "Although sometimes having a carbon copy helps."
"Carbon copy?" Sheldon asked.
"I'll have to show you the old photo albums," Grandpa replied. "Then you'll understand."
Sheldon nodded. He wanted to know what a carbon copy even was. He knew the government had carbon taxes, and that carbon dioxide was either what cars put out their exhaust pipes or what people exhaled, and that carbonation made pop fizzy, but none of those things had to do with copying.
He had a feeling he was the carbon copy; he'd noticed — especially in Grandpa's wedding picture — that the two of them looked pretty similar, even now they were practically the same height.
It was funny, though, Sheldon had to admit. Back home everyone had gone on and on about how much he looked like Dad: tall, well filled-out even for fifteen, sultry blue eyes, prominent cheekbones, chiseled jaw, luscious brown hair, but yet according to that picture he looked like Grandpa.
Dad wasn't Grandpa's son. Mom was his daughter. It made Sheldon wonder if Grandpa was somehow related to some Gallaghers closely enough that the same traits could be prominent on both sides of the family and leave him looking like both of them.
Sheldon shook his head and turned his attention back to the trucks. It was incredible to see this many old vehicles close up, all cleaned up and shiny like this, they really looked nice, even if they were ancient.
It got him excited, next year he and Grandpa might be here with the Pontiac, and she would look just as beautiful as these trucks — if not even more beautiful — and he would be able to inform people that he'd helped.
Seeing as it was mostly old guys, or guys that were old enough to be his father, Sheldon was pretty sure that might impress some people, it had certainly seemed to have impressed Mr. Graham that he was involved.
Sheldon wondered if people would be surprised that they brought her back to life after sitting for a good forty five years, or if more of these vehicles had sat that long, rusting away, until someone had decided to restore them to new condition and show people just how beautiful old vehicles could be.
He had to admit, he'd not really seen vehicles this old that often, and he'd always thought of the old cars he'd seen in traffic as outdated, and wondered why the people who drove them didn't get new cars, but even if he still wasn't sold on the idea of cars from the eighties being beautiful, he was totally sold on the idea of vehicles older than that being beautiful."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Unforeseen Events: Day 11

Word Count: 66,103

Summary of Events:
Sheldon and Emil cleaned all the engine parts that could hold liquid and tested them for leaks, deliberately soaking themselves and each other in the process to beat the heat. Later on they went through another photo album, one which contained photos from Emil's wife's funeral, and didn't prompt quite as strong a reaction as the photos of his brother's funeral, which puzzled Sheldon; Emil explained how his brother had been killed, and told Sheldon a little bit more about his brother's family . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Your brother had kids?" Sheldon asked.
"Five," Emil replied.
"Oh wow," Sheldon said.
"Joseph was twenty two," Emil said quietly. "He was almost a grandpa when he got killed."
"Oh," Sheldon said. "At least he saw one of his kids get married?"
"But not the rest of them," Emil replied, tears blurring his vision.
"No," Sheldon agreed.
"Theresa was ten," Emil whispered.
Sheldon nodded.
The tears that had flooded along the edge of Emil's eyelids breached the precipice and slid through his lashes down his cheeks. Shaky breaths shook him.
"I'm sorry Grandpa," Sheldon said quietly.
Emil put his face in his hands. Still, deep within, that painful ache clawed at him, that pit of loneliness and despair threatened to leap up and swallow him. Surely if he could have at least said goodbye he wouldn't suffer like this.
Just a goodbye, an actual goodbye, like he'd done with Roseanne, where she'd smiled and held his hand before her lids had fallen closed and he'd watched the silent rise and fall of her chest until it'd stopped, the smile remaining etched on her face even as her soul departed the earth.
The shock. He still remembered feeling numb, like he'd died inside but his body had kept on living, Helen's voice ringing hollow, ricocheting off of the empty walls his inside had become when those three words had been uttered.
He'd felt like a shell, and at times like these the feeling came back to him; he felt like a hollow chocolate, except worse, because the chocolate had sat for years and years and was now stale and disgusting.
If not for Roseanne he would still feel like that all the time. She'd resuscitated his insides and kept him alive, and given him the tools he needed to keep on living without her, but still, on occasion, he'd relapse.
"Do you want to talk about something else?" Sheldon asked, sounding almost distressed.
Emil took several deep breaths before dabbing at his eyes with the cuffs of his shirt, he shook his head, not trusting his voice to even utter such a short word as 'no.'
He took several more deep breaths before finally he gave up. His voice was just going to crack whether he liked it or not.
"I don't know why it provokes this response to think about him," Emil whispered, looking Sheldon in the eye. "I know where he is, but still I can't have peace."
"Do you think something would help?" Sheldon asked.
"That's what I'm trying," Emil replied.
"By doing what?" Sheldon asked.
"Fixing the car," Emil replied.
"Haven't you fixed other cars though?" Sheldon asked.
"Yes," Emil replied.
"So then it hasn't worked," Sheldon said.
"Sheldon," Emil said, looking him in the eye. "I didn't expect those cars to give me peace."
"Why not?" Sheldon asked.
"Because they're somebody else's car," Emil replied. "The Pontiac was Charlie's car."
"Uncle Charlie's?" Sheldon asked hesitantly.
"No," Emil replied, somewhat harsher than he meant to. "My brother Charlie.""

Monday, March 12, 2018

Unforeseen Events: Day 10

Word Count: 60,130

Summary of Events:
Sheldon and Emil got to talking about how Sheldon wanted to stay until the car was fixed, with him only fully realising just how things were going to be when he got home — in that his dad wouldn't be around at all, leaving him to be bullied by his sisters and picked on by his mom. Emil, wondering if he shouldn't potentially pursue custody of Sheldon, went to the cemetery to look at his wife's grave, although he came to no resolution on what he should do.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Hearing the crunchy grind of gravel being driven over by a slow-moving vehicle, Sheldon looked over his shoulder to see an old — really old — GMC truck pulling into the yard.
As old as it was — based on the body style — it looked new. All the chrome glistened, as did the glossy burgundy paint on the body. The tires were clean and their white walls were brilliant.
A man who looked really old sat in the passenger seat, and a man who looked as old as the guy they'd gotten the car from was behind the wheel.
The truck pulled up alongside Grandpa's Dodge, which it was definitely smaller than — although by the shape of the hood Sheldon could tell the truck was new enough to have a V engine in it.
Being as its headlights were round and it had a more rounded and even spacey-looking line to it, Sheldon knew it was significantly older than the Dodge; when about it was from, however, he had no clue.
The truck shut off and the driver and passenger got out. For all his age, Sheldon had to admit, he was impressed that the old man only walked with a cane.
"Gene," Sheldon startled at the closeness of Grandpa's voice and realised that he was standing upright beside him.
Stepping forward, Grandpa shook hands heartily with the old man.
"Is Canada Post not good enough for you or what?" Grandpa asked.
"I wanted to see her for myself," the old man — Gene apparently — replied. "The parts delivery was as good an excuse as any."
Grandpa turned and beckoned to Sheldon.
"Gene, this is Sheldon." Grandpa said. "And Sheldon, this is your Great-Uncle Gene Herle."
"Pleasure to meet you," Gene said, holding out a hand.
Sheldon reached his own out to have it heartily grasped by the rather smooth old hand that shook it firmly.
"And this is Annette's cousin Leonard," Grandpa said, indicating the man who'd been driving.
The handshake Sheldon received from Leonard was just as strong as that of his father, and they made Sheldon grateful he only had to shake their hands once.
"Where is she?" Gene asked.
"Right over here," Grandpa replied, leading the way back to the open door.
"I'll be," Gene said quietly, as if the car were sacred. "She's a beaut even in this shape."
"She was well taken care of," Grandpa said. "There's no doubt about that."
"No doubt," Gene agreed. "She'll just need a fresh coat of paint. You wouldn't even have to have her running for the show and she'd win all the prizes."
"Well her upholstery's been taken by the mice," Grandpa said. "But I'll worry about the aesthetics after I've got her going again, of course, that's going to be a challenge.""

Herle: hehrl'

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Unforeseen Events: Day 9

Word Count: 54,041

Summary of Events:
Sheldon continued to mostly observe as Emil extracted the transmission and started to dismantle it as he had done the engine. Due to the heat of the day a thunderstorm had come that made Sheldon — to Emil's surprise — quite nervous; their sighting of a small funnel cloud didn't help Sheldon's nerves, even though it didn't last long. Emil continued to show Sheldon photo albums, and Sheldon was able to see how his mother had changed from a nice young girl to an angry young woman who had shunned the family. Emil was making breakfast when he got a phone call from his brother-in-law Gene regarding the parts he needed for the engine and they got talking about the car . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""She's going to be a beaut," Gene said. "She going to be ready for the car show next year?"
"I don't know," Emil replied. "It depends on how far we get this summer and if I can get more than the transmission done over winter. She might be ready."
"There aren't many fifty two Pontiacs around, and with the work you do I'm pretty sure she'll get you a best in show if you bring her," Gene said.
"I might have to," Emil said. "If she's ready. I could show her to Helen then too."
"Why to Helen?" Gene asked.
"I would've thought nineteen fifty two Pontiac Star Chief would've rung a bell with you when I called you the other day, considering that you're such a Pontiac aficionado," Emil said.
Gene was silent for a moment. "She's that one? The blue?"
"The same," Emil replied.
"You're kidding," Gene said. "I thought he'd sold her."
"I would've thought the same," Emil replied. "But Rich invited me to the farm to look at a bunch of old vehicles Henry had from over the years, including Dad's Dodge, which actually doesn't look to be in that bad of shape, and there she was."
"Wow," Gene said quietly. "Wow."
Emil nodded, but said nothing.
"You think Helen's going to want her?" Gene asked.
"No," Emil replied. "She know's she's not getting any younger, which is something that doesn't seem to matter to you."
"Hey," Gene said.
"You're two years older than she is," Emil razzed. "You've spent more time than she has."
"I know where it's all going," Gene said. "Len's just as interested in Pontiacs as I am."
"Yeah, and Len's practically my age," Emil said, smiling.
"His boy Joel's interested in them too," Gene said. "Joel wants to buy my Super Chief, but I'm not ready to let her go yet. I want to enjoy her a bit longer."
"Yeah, I don't know who'll get the Star Chief when it gets to that point, but, you know, I have a full decade before I get to that point, so I won't really worry about it too much, I want to get her running first," Emil said.
"You aren't going to give her to Charlie?" Gene asked.
"The kids don't know how much she means to me," Emil replied. "To have found her after all these years, besides, I do want to make sure I clear it with Helen first even though I'm sure she'll have no problem with it. I think Roseanne knew a little bit, but I think, really, only Sheldon knows truly how much she means to me.""