Once again I have to thank my editor "wires" for his assistance. This time he went above and beyond the call of duty in his assistance. I could not believe how much better this story was when he returned it to me. I am a typical author though and I made some changes after he returned it. As always, the errors are mine. Thank you wires.
Dave Stebbins came home from school Thursday afternoon like he always did. He was tired and bored, anxious to get home and do something fun for a change. Like the great majority of young men from households in the U.S., he tolerated school. He had the potential of being a good student but school, learning, and the way the teachers presented the subject matter did not excite him. As a result he did the bare minimum to get by. His parents were of hardworking stock, but both his father and mother had stopped their education when they graduated high school. His mother worked in a local diner as she had since her high school days. His father had gone into the Army right out of high school and been trained as a diesel engine mechanic. After he got out he got a good job working at a car dealership and he had been there ever since.
Dave's grandparents had been farmers all their lives. Their house and farm was on the edge of a small town about eight miles from the larger town he and his parents lived in. Dave had spent many happy visits with them in his younger years. In fact, he still spent a lot of his days during the summer on what remained of the old family farm. His grandfather was 68 now so only did a small amount of work on the land—more as a hobby to keep away boredom than for a living.
When Dave drove his old, beat up, F150 down the street his house was on he saw several cars and vans parked in front of his home. He was forced to park his truck almost at the end of the block because of all the vehicles. He angrily walked the half block home and into his house. When he got there he saw many of his relatives standing around talking quietly and drinking everything from coffee or ice tea through beer and up to the hard stuff. His grandmother was sitting in the chair she usually used when she came to visit. She was bent slightly forward and her shoulders were shaking as she cried quietly. Her skin was pale and her eyes were red.
Dave's mother looked up when she heard the door open. She set her glass of wine down and moved to Dave. He had just opened his mouth to ask what was going on when she said, "Dave, Honey, grandfather Ben passed away this morning. He was sitting in the coffee shop with his friends like he normally does in the morning and just keeled over from a massive heart attack. Why don't you put your books in your room and come back down to be with the rest of the family."
Dave felt like the world had just slammed him in the face. His stomach clenched up tightly. He just stood there for a moment, unable to comprehend the enormity of his mother's statement. Gramps was gone? How could that be? He talked to him just yesterday and he was fine. They were best friends. They hunted and fished together. They were going fishing this weekend and now he was gone. They would never fish together again, never look at a beautiful woman and make ribald comments to each other again.
The next week went by slowly as family members arrived in town. Finally the funeral was held and life slowly went on. Grandma moved into Dave's home with him and his parents because his father didn't want her living alone in her grief. He felt it would be much too easy for her to slip into deadly depression. Two weeks later Gramps will was read. He willed his old house and twenty acres to Dave. The rest of the land went to Dave's father. Dave's grandmother, Millie, got what was called Dowry Rights to the house and land. That meant she was allowed to live in the house and receive all the income from the land until she also passed away. If she left the house before she died she could receive any rental income it generated.
Dave graduated high school that May and found a job for the car dealer where his father worked. He was what was called a lot boy. He ran errands, washed and detailed cars, and performed other duties as required. The owner of the dealership always tried to help out the children of his employees and Dave was no exception.
Dave didn't have any great desire to learn any type of trade. He was like many young people and had no idea what type of work he wanted to do now that he was out of school. Dave's only real passion in life was to hang around with his friends, chase pussy and party. His job at the dealership generated enough money for that. Since many of his friends were furthering their education, he also decided to try and go to college, at least until he found out what he wanted to do with his life. Neither he nor his parents could afford tuition, room, and board at a four year University so he did what many of his peers did. He went to the local community college, a two year institution where he could obtain a two year Associates Degree. It would be easier for him to try several different career possibilities at the community college compared to a full university. Any credits he earned could be transferred to a full university when or if he decided to take that path and obtain a bachelor's degree.
Just before Christmas Millie died. It wasn't unexpected as she wasn't in the best of health and, despite living with Dave and his parents she missed Ben and was terribly lonely. In February of the next year his father and mother decided to sell their share of the farm and their house in town and move to sunny Florida. Dave was not invited to accompany them. It was just assumed he was now an adult and on his own. He moved into his grandparent's old home, now his home. He worked part time while he attended college.
Finances were tight for Dave. He scrimped and saved but he was rapidly running out of money. He and some of his friends were complaining about finances one day when one of them looked at Dave and asked a question that started Dave on the road to financial security. "Dave I know several guys who are renting rooms or small apartments from people while they go to college. You have that huge house in Titusville and only use part of the downstairs. Why don't you rent rooms to people or even turn the rest of the building into apartments and rent them? Hell, I pay $435 a month for a little efficiency apartment now. You could make at least four apartments out of your old house and still keep the entire downstairs for yourself. That would be a cool $1740 a month income for you. Man, you'd be on easy street."
Dave sat and stared at his friend. "I never thought of something like that. Don't guess it matters though. I don't have the money to do it."
One of his other friends spoke up. He said, "Hell, man, just rent some bedrooms to people until you get some money ahead then convert one apartment. Rent it and use that money to do another one and so forth. It might take you a while but you could do it. Heck, my dad is a contractor and I used to help him. I learned a lot about the building trade. Let me stay with you for free and I'll help with the work. Man, you can't lose."
Dave and his friend, Pete Thurgood, began work the next week. Pete and Dave had gone to school together since 7th grade and were best buddies. Pete moved into one of the rooms on the first floor of the old house with Dave. Dave decided to keep the whole downstairs first floor for himself. They rented the bedrooms in the third floor to other people they knew in college and to a couple of Hispanics working in the packing plants in the nearby large city. Before the summer was over they had two nice two bedroom apartments on the second floor. To Dave's surprise he rented them to married college students for $450 per month each. He was in the money!
The next room they completed was a small efficiency apartment in what used to be the attic. It only rented for $300 per month but that was almost like found money for Dave. He had not even planned to use that space until Pete talked him into it.
By the time the next summer rolled around Dave had converted all the rooms to apartments. He now had 4 one bedroom apartments and the small one in the attic plus the whole downstairs in which he lived. He was taking in $2100 per month on his house. Life was good.
Dave finished his two year degree at the local community college and was at a loss as to what he wanted to do with his life now. He didn't have enough education for a good white collar job. His advisor at the junior college tried to get him to declare a major and take his few optional classes in a specific field but Dave just had no serious interests in any particular area. Finally he obtained his AA degree in General Studies. As many of you know a degree in General Studies is worthless as tits on a boar hog but he did obtain his two year degree. Dave had no training for skilled work such as being a mechanic, computer repair, or so forth, so ended up once again in the job market with very minimal marketable skills. He had no training at all That would get him a decent job, as he found out. He really didn't want to move to the city and continue with his college education, either. Like many young men and women he hung out with his peers in local arcades, pool halls, and other teen hang outs when he wasn't working at the car lot. He came into contact with an Army Recruiter and fell for his sales pitch. Before he knew it, Dave was in the Army and headed for Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.
.... There is more of this story ...