A little humor…

This is just for the ladies… everyone else can skip 🙂

I haven’t found Mr Right, but I have found Mr Cheap, Mr Sleazy and Mr Wrong

Next mood swing: 6 minutes

I’m in touch with my inner bitch

Don’t stare at me, buy me a drink.

It ain’t the size, it’s… no, it’s the size.

Are those your eyeballs? I found them in my cleavage.

Not Drunk. Just Blonde.

Therapy has taught me nothing is my fault

So many men… so few who can afford me.

You can either agree with me, or be wrong

I’m busy. You’re ugly. Have a nice day.

I have PMS, an SUV, and no chocolate. Were you considering cutting me off?

I’m really easy to get along with, once you learn to worship me.

Veni, Vedi, VISA: I Came, I Saw, I did a little shopping.

And which dwarf are you?

Don’t worry. It’ll only seem kinky the first time.

I can see your point, but I still think you’re full of crap.

I’m sorry honey, I just don’t have the energy to fake it tonight.

51% Angel, 49% Bitch. Don’t push it!

God made us sisters: prozac made us friends

You can stare at my as* all you like but you aren’t getting a piece!

I love you. Leave me alone. Where have you been all day?

I want my man to have a VCR: Very Cute Rear

I’m not infantile … You stinkybutt poophead.

You Say B*tch Like It’s A Bad Thing

Bad driver on board

Chaos, panic, disaster, I think my work here is done

I can SO drive

I have PMS 5 children a disloyal husband and a gun! Any questions??

Oh, I’m Easy… I’m just not Cheap!

You KNOW you want me.

0% Angel, 100% Bitch, 100% Your Fault

Yet another bitterly single thirtysomething proud to be a bitch

Starlight Starbright, where the hell is Mr Right ?

I have a pc, a vibrator, & pizza delivery. Why did I even leave the house?

And for us guys…

The Rules

  1. The Female always makes the rules.
  2. The rules are subject to change at any time without prior notification
  3. No male can possibly know all the rules.
  4. If the Female suspect the male knows all the rules, she must immediately change some or all of the rules.
  5. The Female is NEVER wrong.
  6. If the Female is wrong, it is because of a flagrant misunderstanding which was a direct result of something the male did or said wrong.
  7. If rule six applies, the male must apologize immediately for causing the misunderstanding.
  8. The Female can change her mind at any given point in time.
  9. The male must never change his mind without express written consent from the Female.
  10. The Female has every right to be angry or upset at any time.
  11. The male must remain calm at all times; unless the Female wants him to be angry or upset.
  12. The Female must, under no circumstances, let the mail know whether or not whe wants him to be angry or upset.
  13. Any attempt to document these rules could result in bodily harm.
  14. If the Female has PMS, all rules are null and void.

So…

All the commentators on the ground in Puerto Rico are digging up the most pathetic sob stories they can find, playing it for all it’s worth, and pointing the blame at the administration for the ‘failure’ to support the poor disenfranchised people of Puerto Rico, cause they’re not white… (gee, where have I heard ‘that’ line of BS before… Um… Lemme think… Oh yeah, Katrina)

Really?

There ARE real problems, no question. And it’s questionable if the island can be rebuilt in anything approaching a timely fashion, much less actually start the process, due to the lack of planning and current state of the infrastructure. But they are not of the administration’s doing.

Puerto Rico isn’t a few hundred miles drive  to fix… It’s about 1300 miles from Jax to San Juan! That’s three hours flying time, or 100+ hours by ship. And it’s a protectorate that has SERIOUS problems before the first hurricane hit. $70B in debt, people leaving the island in droves, infrastructure marginal at best, ever since the military pulled out in 2004, and rampant corruption. There appears to have been no real plan by the governor or service entities to actually prepare, or plans for handling the situation, they knew was coming. It’s not like this is the first time a hurricane has hit there!

As of the earlier in the week, there were already 10,000 military boots on the ground, with helicopters and trucks being flown in by C-17s in a steady stream. As of yesterday, there were over 10,000 CONEX boxes sitting on the piers at San Juan, because there is no power, and no cleared road structure to actually move the goods to where they need to go, and no truck drivers to actually drive the trucks. The Army Corps of Engineers has been authorized to do what they can to get infrastructure back online, but even with all them working, it’s NOT an overnight fix…

But the administration isn’t responding fast enough…

They tried to find issues in the response to Houston, and didn’t; Florida, no luck there either. But now… Oh boy… Licking their chops, “We’re going to nail them on this one! We got them this time! Front page, lead story on every news cast! This… This is the screwup that will get the president impeached!”

Yeah, they really want to do that. Don’t remember which congresscritter said it, but this administration can’t be allowed to succeed. If it does, it makes all those career politicians look like the buffoons they really are!

In other news, it appears the NFL’s past weekend and Thursday games were down 11% and 13% respectively from last year, and the networks are purposely NOT showing the empty seats or any posters in the crowd.

One behind-the-scenes TV staffer at another stadium told Sporting News that camera operators were ordered to avoid crowd shots in case they showed fans counterprotesting the protests.

Full article HERE, at Sporting News.

NFL fans could be heard booing as hundreds of players protested during the national anthem over Week 3, but the spectators’ presence was conspicuously absent from television coverage.

Full article HERE, from the Daily Mail. It’s pretty bad when a foreign newspaper has more honest coverage than the MSM…

One other thing I find kinda humorous in all this, is that taking a knee is considered part of the oath of fealty to someone… So by taking a knee, effectively these players are swearing fealty to the United States. I wonder if they even realize that…

History, HERE.

Something to think about…

While this is based on the Volt, I can’t help but wonder how close this is to all the other electric cars…

IT WOULD SEEM THAT IF ELECTRIC CARS DO NOT USE GASOLINE, THEY WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN PAYING GASOLINE TAX ON EVERY GALLON THAT IS SOLD FOR AUTOMOBILES, WHICH WAS ENACTED SOME YEARS AGO TO HELP TO MAINTAIN YOUR ROADS AND BRIDGES.  THEY WILL USE THE ROADS, BUT WILL NOT PAY FOR THEIR MAINTENANCE!

Ever since the advent of electric cars, the REAL cost per mile has never been discussed.  All you ever hear is the mpg in terms of gasoline, with nary a mention of the cost of electricity.

Electricity has to be one of the least efficient ways to power cars, yet it is being shoved down your throats.  Glad somebody finally put engineering and math to paper.

A British Columbia Hydro executive supposedly said: If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, you have to face certain realities.  For example, a home charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp service.  The average house is equipped with 100 amp service, meaning you’d have to upgrade to a 200 am service at some not inconsiderable cost.  On a small street (approximately 25 homes), the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a Tesla.  If even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.
 
This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles. Your residential infrastructure cannot bear the load.  So as your genius elected officials promote this nonsense, not only are you being urged to buy these things and replace your reliable, cheap generating systems with expensive, new windmills and solar cells, but you will also have to renovate your entire delivery system!  This latter “investment” will not be revealed until you’re so far down this dead end road that it will be presented with an ‘OOPS!’ and a shrug.

A man named Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors and he writes, “For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.”  Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery.  So, the range including the 9-gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.
 
It will take you 4.5 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph.  Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.  In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.
 
According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity.  It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery.  The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned.  If you pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $0.36 per kwh. 16 kwh x $0.36 per kwh = $5.76 to charge the battery.  $5.76 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.23 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery.  Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg.  $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.

I think this might be a little skewed, maybe high, but it still doesn’t take into account the hydrocarbons, etc. used to make the electricity. IMHO, the only ‘fair’ way to calculate the ‘carbon tax’, if you will, would be to also factor in the amount of hydrocarbons used to make the electricity vs. the hydrocarbons burned by a gas or diesel engine. And there are small diesel engines now getting 70mpg in Europe. I drove a little Mercedes with one.

The gasoline powered car costs about $20,000 while the Volt costs $46,000-plus.  It looks like the “Greenies” in the American Government want loyal Americans NOT to do the math, but simply pay three times as much for a car, that costs more than seven times as much to run, and takes three times longer to drive across the country.  

Say What?

And one more thing, granted this is a couple of years old, but I was talking to a highway engineer in NOVA, and he said the electric cars with their hard narrow tires (for mileage purposes) are actually harder on the roads than SUVs! He was looking at legislation to make EV users pay a road use tax, based on mileage driven, to offset the damage to the roads. When you add that in, it should get even more interesting!

Heh…

Well, I got another one star review on The Morning the Earth Shook… And this one is a ‘good’ one!

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and it’s interesting that this is another unverified purchaser. I know I’m not the greatest writer in the world, nor do I claim to be, but it would be rather hard to write this without using military terms, and I ‘thought’ I did my best to actually footnote those that I thought would trip people up. I guess not…

on September 19, 2017
Short and frustratingly opaque with its gratuitous overuse of military acronyms. Seriously unreadable hogswallow.
Huh, the ‘definition’ of hogswallow, according to the urban dictionary is-

Act of deception. To fool someone. An act intended to dupe or cheat.
I don’t think I did that, did I? I thought I was pretty up front with the description and the fact that this was a novella…
Welp, I’ll take it on board and go forward…

Random things…

Well, we finally got rain up here, and it lasted all day, and it’s supposed to do that again tomorrow, with temps never getting out of the 60s!!!

Talking to an older gent who was slogging through the rain yesterday morning, cowboy hat/shirt, jeans, boots, he grumbled words to the effect that he didn’t have one in Vietnam, you damn sure didn’t use one around a horse, and he didn’t think he even owned one.

Difference between city folk and country folk… City folk are worried about getting wet, and fuss with umbrellas; country folk just put their heads down and go about their business, because they know they won’t melt. 

Peter, over at Bayou Renaissance Man, has a post up on a confrontation between Antifa and some DPS troopers down in Austin last weekend… It’s HERE! No riot gear, no helmets (unless you count bike helmets on the bike officers, and Antifa made a mistake of ‘thinking’ if that’s possible, that they’d be treated like they are in California… Snerk…

And due to either yesterday or the day before’s post, I got hit with over 100 spam comments, after being ‘normally’ in the 2-3 per day range… Obviously, one of those posts pissed somebody(s) off again…

And in a ‘the rest of the story’ mode, it appears the guy who stopped the church shooter in TN was pistol whipped, then got up, went to his car and got HIS CCW pistol, before coming back and confronting the shooter, who somehow shot himself in the face, link HERE. It appears the MSM ‘forgot’ to include that part… Sigh…

Interesting letter…

This one came over the transom via the mil-email string…

I can’t find anything wrong in it, and it was sent to both Ryan and McConnell…

Gentlemen: I’m a 68 year old Vietnam Vet and retired 3M Executive.  

 I am on the verge of leaving the Grand Old Party.  No big deal for you – huge deal for me.  I have come nearly to the end of my loyalty to a party that seems to have lost its backbone.  

 The lack of leadership displayed by the two of you — for whatever reason you’ve decided to not support or defend the duly elected President of the United States — is beyond me. 

 Yes, President Trump is not the typical political bureaucrat, but he is the President of the United States.  It appears from where I sit that you both have decided to lay down on the job you’ve been elected to serve.  The 60 Million + people that voted this President into office made this decision based upon the absolute requirement to have someone outside the beltway to lead the nation. As distasteful as this appears to be for not only the Democrats, it appears to be equally distasteful to the GOP leadership.  Your lack of action on numerous legislative issues that this country desperately needs is visible to all.  

The electoral map of the U.S. is RED because President Trump mobilized the electorate.  These same voters are going to clean house again in 2018 if you don’t start acting like leaders.   Former Arizona state lawmaker Kelli Ward is out in front against Senator Jeff Flake by 25 percentage points today.  Can you say: “We are tired of GOP leaders in Washington D. C.?”  This is only going to increase across the U. S. for all GOP mid-term candidates if they continue to demonstrate no backbone and will not support our President.

My best description of where this country is headed was voiced by David Horowitz. “Friends, this isn’t George Orwell’s “1984.” It is America, 2017.” |

When I look at the current GOP, I’m struck by a comparison that I recently heard. This is a basketball example that really does reflect what the GOP appears to be today.  The metaphor is the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals.  The Democrats are the Globetrotters and the GOP are proud to be the Washington Generals.  The Generals know going into the game that they are going to lose, but it’s a nice gig and they get to be on the court with the big boys.  The GOP and The Washington Generals don’t mind losing – they just want to be in the game!  Sound familiar?  

That is exactly how it appears to the loyal GOP voters out here in America right now. Why is zero legislation moving forward?  We have the Presidency, we have the House, we have the Senate!   What’s wrong with this picture?   We are wasting valuable time here, Senator McConnell and Representative Ryan.  The voters are not going to waste time in 2018.  This is the last chance for the GOP before it morphs into something none of us recognizes. And, by the way, when are you going to support the laws on the books?  Sanctuary Cities, Antifa, tearing down statues, covering statues: the progressives are running wild and the GOP is laying down.

Remember freedom of speech?  UC Berkeley?   The progressives are worried about what shoes the first lady is wearing and the media is supporting it.  What a wonderful world we are living in. Well there you have it.

President Trump and Vice President Pence are being copied on this plea for help.  Hitch up your pants and stiffen your backbones.  It’s about time!  I know what’s coming because I live in a state that has already gone off the cliff – CALIFORNIA.  The Progressive have already won here!!  I mean the Globetrotters. 

I have an extensive cc list of over 1,500 people.  I’m asking them to send this note to 10 of their Conservative Friends.  We the people will not sit still while this country is being abused and our values are not being represented.  The Left will not take this country away from us.

Respectfully,

Lenard XXXX

Spit… I’m done with the NFL…

As a veteran, I’ve had it…

The players disrespecting the flag and the NFL ‘supporting’ their right to protest is so much bullshit! Yesterday was Gold Star Mother’s Day, and this is what those mothers saw? Really???

This is the same organization that wouldn’t allow decals in support of the Dallas Police officers killed, or tribute emblems to 9/11 among others, but this is okay?

One report I heard yesterday was that 70% of fans polled DID NOT like the protest, and felt it had no place on the field. It’s also been instructive to see the ‘lack’ of pans through the crowds that we usually see at the games…

The media and everybody else is pandering, saying there is nothing wrong, there’s no impact on anything, everything’s fine, yada, yada, yada…

But those who follow the money are saying something different… From Forbes, HERE; Fortune, HERE; CNN, HERE. And one more, this one is interesting, from Bloomberg Politics, HERE.

Apparently, only ONE Pittsburgh Steeler even showed up for the anthem, and that was Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who’d done three tours downrange. At least HE still respects what the flag and anthem stand for.

US Code does not specify any ‘rule’ about standing and saluting the flag,  it is a guide.  Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8. of the US Code, called “Respect for the Flag,” spells out the dos and don’ts when it comes to the national symbol. Like another section of the US Code, which describes the proper behavior during the singing of the national anthem—“all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart”—the “Respect the Flag” portion is a guide.

There is no federal punishment for violating it, but there is what appears to be a significant ‘financial’ punishment in the offing for what is going on…

But I can’t help but wonder how many of those supporting this and saying they have a right to protest, even if it is their workplace; would be happy if law enforcement, in uniform, started protesting Antifa or others while they were at work…

As for me, I’ll watch college football, at least they haven’t gotten stupid yet, and be happy with golf and racing on Sunday. NASCAR has a different take, HERE.

My response to all the protesters of the National Anthem…

From this day forward I will no longer watch, purchase tickets for events of the NFL, their teams or venues. Additionally, I will also no long support any sponsor of said leagues, their teams or venues including, but not be limited to, merchants, manufacturers, organizations, or vendors of licensed league products.
Signed
A Disgruntled Vietnam Veteran

Stole this from Jay G, but it’s pretty good…

Sigh…

I know better than to go by car shows…

Especially Corvette shows…

‘Fake’ 57, with an LT-1 motor in it… Sigh…

Real 57 Fuelie… With an automatic! The only thing that ‘spoiled’ this one was the hood scoop. But everything else was correct!!!

Pristine 62 Vette, all correct except the paint, lots of chrome, but a multiple show winner! And all the chrome was NOS (New Old Stock), I hate to think what that cost them!!!

Real 67, 427/435 all original except new paint! Beautiful!

The real deal!!!

‘Fake’ 67, with a 67 body dropped over a late model chassis and with an LS-7 powerplant.

Labor of love, this is the 67 GS replica that was destroyed a couple of years ago at an auction, where high winds blew the show tent down, destroying the body on this one. It was a 13 month evolution to restore it!

Even a correct GS frame under it!

And it is drivable and runs like a scalded dog!!! 😀

There were a lot of ‘new’ Corvettes there, but I didn’t waste any pictures on them. It was a really nice show, put on by Lone Star Corvettes, kudos to them, and all those who came out and brought their cars!

While I miss the camaraderie, I don’t miss the efforts to clean the car up after driving in, and I sure as hell don’t miss judging… There was always going to be at least one pissed off person, regardless of the event, the judges, or ‘some’ thing that sets them off!

Friends… Sigh…

Soooo… I’m minding my own business, and I get a text yesterday…

You want a lunch date? X3?

My first thought is who else… Hey, this isn’t the normal number.

Turns out it’s three high school classmates, coming through town, so I say sure! Figuring I’ll have a half hour to figure out what’s happening. Yeah, right…

So I call and ask where they are, of course they just passed the exit I was going to tell them for the restaurant, and I’m 20 minutes away from there.

Sigh… So I give them directions, jump in the car and haul it over to the restaurant and meet them for lunch, only to find that one lady doesn’t like BBQ… Double sigh…

But she likes shrimp! Yea, that’s also on the menu! We had a good time, got to hear of their ‘adventures’ in Colorado, and it was good to see them happy and enjoying themselves!

Sadly lunch was over too quickly, but they were on the tail end of the trip, and wanted to get home to their own beds (trust me, ‘I’ can identify with liking to sleep in your own bed, after a road trip)…

I’m truly glad I got a chance to see them, and it’s funny how, now that we’re approaching the 50th HS reunion in 2 years, folks are getting back in touch, and actually taking time to stop, smell the flowers, and do things like wild hare vacations. Most of us are now fully retired, or close enough for government work, and we’re trying to make up for all those vacations/trips we never got to take during our working careers.

So I’d say, send that text, make that call… You’ll probably make someone’s day, and might even get a free meal out of it! 😀

The Grey Man… Last tease…

Okay, one more tease, and I’m stopping until I finish the book…

As always, unedited….

Underfoot

Jesse huffed a stray strand of hair out of her face, looked around the display area and spotted the old farts as she thought of them, comfortably ensconced around the coffee pot. Walking over, she asked, “Tom, would you mind helping out behind the counter?”

Tom, looked up startled, “Me?”

“Yes Tom, you! You know guns, I’ve seen you helping people on the sly, thinking we aren’t seeing what you’re doing. And I’m too damn busy to help everybody. Besides, it’s time you earned your coffee.”

Ed, Bob, and Joe, the other three old farts laughed, and Ed snickered, “You go Tom. Take one for the team.”

Tom got up slowly, rising to his full five foot six inches, minus the badly bowed legs, which really made him about five foot four. Hitching his jeans up, he asked, “What you want me to do Mizz Jesse?”

“Just what you’ve been doing. Help people. For a broke down old cowboy, and one that claims he hates people, you seem to do a pretty damn good job of guiding people to make good decisions.”

Tom shrugged, “Kinda like herding cows, but they talk back. I jus’ answer their questions.” He stumped over to the end of the counter, followed by Jesse, and asked quietly, “Why me?”

Jesse leaned hipshot on the end of the counter, “Matt’s doing ranch stuff, and Khalil is going to be heading back to school in a month. We’re busier than I thought we would ever be, and I need to keep the books, do the BATF paperwork, and pay the bills. I can’t afford to get distracted in the middle of that. We’ll even pay you, how about twenty dollars an hour, plus coffee?”

Tom’s eyes got big, “You’re going to pay me? Just to stand back here and talk to people?”

Jesse shook her head, “Yes, we’re going to pay you. Why shouldn’t we?”

Tom leaned forward confidentially, “Well, if you’re a gonna pay me, you might want to know Ed and Joe are both retired Army DIs, and Bob is a dab hand tinkerer, he fixed my old Colt after it got out of time.”

Jesse glanced over at the other three, and mumbled, “Damn… Right under our noses…” That thought was interrupted by the cowbell over the door jangling as a mixed bag of folks came through the door as soon as Khalil unlocked it, some making for the coffee pot, others for the gun counter, and a couple of the young ones, for the play area at the far end of the display area.

Tom said, “I ain’t doin’ kids. Don’t know how. I’ll do big people.”

Khalil caught Jesse’s eye and waggled his fingers, asking which direction she wanted him to go. Jesse pointed to the kids’ area, and Khalil started that way with a nod. She hated dumping what she thought of as kiddie patrol on him, but he wasn’t twenty-one yet, so there were issues.

Fernando came through the door in a rush, “Sorry I’m late, had a flat…”

Jesse waved him off, “No problem. Shit happens. I don’t know how busy we’re going to be, but we may be shorthanded. Especially if a lot of folks want to shoot today. If you need help, grab Ed or Joe to help you out, and let me know how they do, okay?”

Fernando grinned, “I can do that. I’ll go get the ranges set up.”

***

At noon, Matt brought tamales, rice and beans, along with the usual jug of iced tea, and set them in the conference room, then walked over to the counter, catching Jesse’s attention, “Soup’s on.”

Jesse sighed, “Good, I’m starved and I haven’t slowed down all morning. This has just been nuts!”

“What’s up?”

“I don’t know for sure, I think it’s folks that are buying while the prices are down. I’ve got ten signed up for a class this weekend, and it’s only Tuesday.”

“Why’s Tom behind the counter?”

“I hired his ass. That old fart knows guns, and turns out he’s damn good with people, too!”

“Hired him?”

Jesse bristled, “Well, who showed up to work today? Me, Khalil, and Fernando. You’re doing ranch stuff, Felicia is watching the kids, Aaron is sleeping, and there were ten people at the door when we got ready to open. I don’t want folks to have to wait, and the old farts have been underfoot, damn near since day one, but they have also been helping out on the side anyway. I may hire all of them!”

Matt held up his hands, “Whoa! I’m not…”

Jesse laid a hand on his arm, “Sorry. It’s… well, that time of the month, and… Dammit, we need help. Apparently it’s been under our noses the entire time, and we just didn’t realize it.”

Matt cocked his head, and Jesse continued, “Two retired Army DIs apparently, both of whom are former range officers, and a shade tree mechanic, who’ve been drinking our coffee since damn near the day we opened.

“Damn… Are you going to put them on the payroll?”

“Of course. Part time, full time, whatever they’ll do. I’ll take care of the paperwork today. We need to find somebody to replace Khalil too, he’s got to go back to school.”

“Let me see if Ernesto has any friends that want to work part time. What are we going to pay them?”

Jesse cocked her head, “Well, we’re paying Fernando twenty an hour, and I don’t think it would be fair to pay them any less.”

Matt winced, “That’s a lot, just to work the counter or do range… Never mind. Safety… I wasn’t thinking.” Glancing at the clock on the wall, he continued, “I gotta go move cows. Tell Fernando we’ll be working north of the thousand yard range this afternoon.”

“You want to close it?”

“Yeah, let’s do that just to be on the safe side.”

“Okay.”

***

Aaron came through the door at a little after five to see Tom, Ed, Bob, and Joe sitting at the table, filling out paperwork, with Jesse standing over them. Aaron cocked his head, “Should I ask?”

Jesse grinned, “Meet our newest employees.”

“What?”

“I hired all these old reprobates today.”

Ed grumbled, “Hey, I resemble that.”

Tom laughed, “You are that, Ed.”

“Ah shaddap, you’re not anything to look at yourself, ya old fart.”

Aaron interrupted, “Why, may I ask?”

Jesse replied, “Well, it’s actually pretty simple. They’ve been drinking free coffee since damn near day one, and we were shorthanded today.  I put Tom behind the counter. Ed and Bob, who, by the way, are both certified NRA instructors and range officers, in addition to being retired Army, worked the ranges with Fernando, and Joe put on five sets of sights and sighted in three rifles for customers. I’ve already told them we’re hiring them as part-time employees, so they can work when they want.”

Aaron took one look at Jesse’s expression, and said, “Yes, dear.”

He was saved as Toad and Cindy came through the front door, surprising everybody. Jesse said, “You’re early!”

Cindy laughed, “I took a half-day, and Toad was done at nine this morning. He’s been frothing at the mouth to get whatever he was working on finish…”

Toad, with an injured expression, interrupted, “I was not frothing, drooling maybe, but not frothing!” He shook hands with Aaron, then slapped him on the back, “How goes it?”

Aaron chuckled, Same o, same o… Another day in the trenches.” Turning to the guys, still sitting at the table and watching the byplay, he said, “And these are our new employees. Tom is…”

Tom got up, whipping off his cowboy hat, Ma’am, Tom Kline. Broke down ol’ cowboy. Now I guess I’m a gun seller.” He shook Toad’s hand, “You’re Matt and Aaron’s buddy, right?”

Toad laughed, “I wonder some times.” Ed, Bob, and Joe got up and introduced themselves, hands were shaken, and Toad disappeared into the back room, with Joe in trail.

Jesse grabbed Cindy, “Come on, let’s go up to the house. You guys finish the paperwork at leave it on the table. I’ll get it in the morning. Aaron, would you make sure everything is closed down and lock the door on your way out?” She gave him a peck on the cheek, as she and Cindy went out the door, whispering and laughing.

Aaron rolled his eyes, “Women…” Prompting a laugh from the guys, as they went back to filling out the paperwork.

Bob said, “I noticed you didn’t say that until they were out of hearing…”

Aaron chuckled, “I have learned a few things. And I do appreciate you guys being willing to help out.”

A loud ‘Gahdammit!’ was heard down the hallway, and Aaron shook his head, “This ain’t good. It usually takes Toad at least fifteen minutes to get this pissed.”

Tom asked, “Why?”

“Toad’s an armorer first, and a gun builder second. Something isn’t fitting exactly like he wants, and he’s getting pissed. Which means he’s about to…”

A loud ‘clang’ echoed down the hall, and Aaron continued, “Get out the big hammer.” He started down the hall, with the guys following him into the shop portion of the building. Tom hung back a little, not sure if he wanted to be in the shop with a pissed off Marine, but finally shrugged and straggled in behind the others.

Toad was standing at the workbench, mumbling to himself as he screwed an action into a barrel held in the barrel vise, while Joe, eyes bugging a little bit, holding a big wrench in his hands. Aaron looked around and asked, “What was that all about?”

Toad glanced up, “Damn McMillan makes their stocks tight,” gesturing at the A5 stock lying on the bench, “I test fitted the action, and couldn’t get the sumbitch back out. Had to have Joe give it a whack. Ain’t doin’ that again until I’ve got a barrel on it, and can get a good grip to pry it out if I need to.”

“Remington seven hundred?”

“Yep, long action. Reamed the receiver threads, squared the receiver lugs, squared the receiver face, lapped the bolt lugs, and squared the bolt face. Once I get this barrel on, I’ll try that again.”

“Schneider?”

With a grunt, Toad put another 1/8th inch turn on the action, then stepped back, “What else? I know his barrels, been using them my entire career. Now comes the fun part.”

“Um, I’m gonna send the guys home, no need for them to stand here and listen to you cuss.”

***

An hour later, Aaron’s phone beeped with a text, YOU COMING TO SUPPER OR NOT? Aaron quickly typed, BE THERE IN 10! Turning to Toad he said, “We’re being summoned. It’s chow now or the couch later.”

Toad looked critically at the almost completely assembled rifle on the bench, “Oh well, I couldn’t sight it in tonight anyway. Guess we might as well go eat.”

Aaron shook his head, “Does Cindy let you get away with that at home?”

“Oh hell no. Most nights I’m cooking, since she’s usually late getting home. I forgot once, that was all it took. Found out she doesn’t like pizza.”

“What? She doesn’t like…”

“Apparently never has, and to quote her, never will, unquote.”

Toad flipped off the light, and followed Aaron out as he locked up the shop. Stepping out on the front porch, they saw that it was already twilight, and Aaron said, “At least the business isn’t losing money.”

Toad looked at him, surprised, “What brought that on?”

“We’ve been running on a shoestring, basically with no employees other than family, and Khalil and Fernando. I guess Jesse’s decided we can’t do anymore ourselves, without… I dunno, burnout? I was getting to the point that I was starting to dread having a day off from the department, knowing I’d have to come work down here. I can’t remember when we actually took a day, maybe the fourth was the last time.”

“Damn, that was four months ago! Y’all haven’t taken a day off since then?”

“Well, technically Sunday and Monday are days off, but we do church, then come back here and do stocking, cleaning and maintenance, and I’m usually on the schedule one way or the other on Monday. And Jesse usually comes in then to do the books, and take any deliveries, so no…”

As they started up the steps, Aaron continued, “Don’t say anything, please.” Toad nodded as they walked in the house, “Lemme dump my junk and I’ll be right there.”

Toad was pounced on by Boo Boo, closely followed by Yogi, then Jace. Toad picked him up and flipped him in the air, prompting childish laughter and, “Again!” Toad continued playing with him as he walked into the kitchen, nodded to the old man and plopped Jace in his high chair.

The old man handed Toad a glass of tea, and smiled, “What are you building now, Toad?”

“Thanks! Putting together an M40A-5 for one of the guys I drill with. He’s a scout sniper, but because of the weird rules, he can’t check his gun out to practice with, other than on drill weekends. So he wants something to take to the range on a more regular basis.”

“Smart move, but kinda expensive isn’t it?”

Toad shrugged, “I’m building it for him at cost, but don’t tell Cindy.”

A pair of arms came around Toad’s chest and Cindy asked, “Don’t tell Cindy what? That you’re not charging Michael for building his rifle? I knew that.” She gave him a hug, then went to help Jesse and Felicia get the food on the plates.

After dinner, the old man took a cup of coffee out to the front porch, enjoying the cool breeze, the starry night, and the momentary peace and quiet as he sat on the steps. Toad came out and asked, “Mind if I join you?”

“Feel free. You ever play with old guns?”

“How old?”

“Late eighteen hundreds. Say eighteen seventy-three and on?”

Toad cocked his head, “What did you have in mind?”

The old man nodded toward the office, “Got a few old ones in the safe that I’d like to get checked out.”

He didn’t see the grin that crossed Toad’s face, but he heard the wistfulness in his voice, “I’d love to, sir. You pick ‘em, I’ll fix ‘em.”