The story so far:
Hagerville, Rural Bank
The heavy iron doors creaked as the bank manager turned the lock and pulled it open. Marlene Tanner set the briefcase on the table and dropped in $20,000. Her favorite customer, Jeremy Cline, is closing his account. They knew each other personally through family and over the last few years, become good friends. Cline was rumored to be the wealthiest man in town but never had more than this in his account at any time, usually less. He built his wealth through farming and a local processing and packaging facility with which he packages his own produce, as well as most of the nearby farmers.
Marlene closed the briefcase and latched it. She stepped out of the vault as the assistant manager closed it, turning the large locking handle until it snapped.
“Mr. Cline, here is everything from your account.” She set the briefcase on the desk in front of her. He grabbed the handle and slapped on one side of a pair of handcuffs, having already clipped the other side to his right wrist. “Don’t you want to count it?”
“No thank you, dear. I trust your honesty and skill. There is no reason to worry.”
Seeing Cline start to stand, Marlene popped back to her feet. He reached over and tapped her face, remembering her as a child as she would ride her bike to his farm to visit the horses he used to own and back into the orchard to see when her dad would be home.
“What do you intend to do now?” She walked with him toward the door.
“Oh, I don’t know.” He sounded tired. “Probably just spend more time with my grandkids. I only see them a couple times a month these days." His voice cracked. "Thinking about taking a trip to Seattle to visit my son. I haven't seen him in two years." The pair stopped at the door. "Wish you mom well for me. How has she been since your father passed?"
"Better. She can now get up in the morning without my help." Marlene pushed the door open for Cline. "We are sure going to miss you, Mr. Cline."
"Sweetheart, don't you think we have known each other long enough for you to call me Jeremy?" His aged face wrinkled with a smile. "You are also like a father to me. The only thing that stops me from calling you "dad" is that my real dad did raise me." He hugged her and she gave him a peck on the cheek. "Call often. I don't want to loose touch with you."
He pulled away and looked in her eyes. "Absolutely." He then turned and left.
Hagerville Middle School
"Mom." Logan's plee dragged on. "Don't kiss me in front of everyone." He turned to make sure nobody saw that display of affection.
Bridgette just laughed at his embarrassment. "What's the matter? Do you get laughed at?"
"Not yet. I just know it'll happen." He used his sleeve to wipe off the invisible kiss. "I'd really like it to not begin." He opened the door and climbed out. "Bye, mom."
As soon as he got to the door, Bridgette pulled away from the school. She reached down to pick up her coffee when her pager started beeping. Pulling it from her hip, she looked and saw that the number was her boss at the bank, Marlene. Annoyed by the page, she cleared the number and tossed it to the seat.
Bridgette didn't really get along with Marlene, mostly because Bridgette has about 10 years on Marlene yet was passed up for the promotion to manager. Also because they are half-sisters, from their dad, and his passing severed the only thing they had in common outside of work. Marlene was assertive, optimistic, and always loved listening to the stories of the older folks she would pass by. Bridgette, however, was very passionate, passive-aggressive, and always too busy to sit and chat. She became convinced that Marlene was promoted only because she used to sit with the bank owners father and talk with him prior to his passing.
She turned her small, blue sedan into the bank parking lot and dreaded the next step: going in late again.
Hagerville, In front of coffee shop
“I’m tellin’ ya, Joe. This is going to be big.” The stout young man grabbed Joe’s shoulder and turned him around. “I think this stuff will work.”
Much taller, Joe looked down to his friend. “Randy, you’re a farmer. You’re not doctor, or a pharmacist, or scientist. You’re a farmer.”
“Right, and where do most of them medicines come from? Plants, that’s where. I think this stuff is it.”
Joe gestured to the coffee house as he began to speak. “Don’t you think they would have tried onion and garlic? I’m sure those hospitals and universities have already tried it.”
“Maybe so. But don’t you think I should try anyway? What if they didn’t or maybe I just did something different. This could be the one.” The short man pleaded with his friend.
Joe threw up his arms. “Alright, I’ll help you. What do you want me to do?”
“Get me a meetin’ with your wife so I can show her.”
“My wife is just a doctor. How can she help you?”
“I’m sure they have what they need to test it.”
Joe leaned back and waved to Vinnie, the shop owner. “Coffee, black.” He turned back to Randy. “Okay. I’ll talk with her, but no promises. I don’t know if she is able to help you.”
“That’s all I want.” Randy leaned forward to talk to Vinnie. “Vinnie, can I get a cappuccino?”
“Cappuccino? That’s a little different than what you usually get, isn’t it?”
Randy sat back, satisfied with his request. “Hey, if this works, I’ll be rich. And you know what them rich folks drink? Cappuccino.”