Bill Sutherland. 6 in STOPWATCH
Chapter 1

Copyright© 2012 by Old Man with a Pen

The second thing Bill did wrong was test out of highschool. Suddenly his dreams of a football scholarship at college was down the tubes. But he didn't know it yet.

Neither of them knew they weren't going to take Senior year and they were given no hint about it.

There's always the walk-on tryouts. Instead of running, passing and agility exercises to keep him in shape ... they spent second semester Junior year with the local flight school, learning to fly. That's a lot of sitting. In Ground School and in the aircraft the idea is 'no sudden moves."

He and Mina, the older sister, had to take a major exam in Texas History ... he never agreed with Mina that the nation as a whole, and Texas in particular, was sinking deeper into the morass of Mid-Eastern oil. First, they tried to keep pace with OPEC and prices were rising. Then the idiot behind the wheel of the country was a Texas Oilman ... and he had what was referred to as a median brain ... easily led by others, Mr. President turned out to be a terrible follower.

"But, Mina, look at all these oil wells. Texas can't be going broke."

"How many oil pumps do you see running?"

"They're resting."

"Ha! They're empty."

"They run at night."

"Bill, they're noisy ... I don't have any trouble sleeping."

"They have electric motors."

"Have you noticed how OLD those electric motors are?"

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"Nothing has been repaired in 30 years."


"Another thing, Bill ... how old are the refineries?"

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it's that bad ... and I'm not saying it is ... they can refract coal."

"China is selling us coal ... DELIVERED to US ports ... for ten dollars a ton cheaper than we can mine it."

"That's a whole lot of propaganda from the Democrats."

"How about global warming?"

"More propaganda ... The president says we're fine and if you can't trust the president who can you trust ... besides ... we're going to make Iraq a State. Just as soon as the Army kicks ass."

"Our essay questions ought to be interesting."

"What? You know something?"

"I've been taking the old Texas History Finals that are posted online."

"And that's another thing ... the internet is jam packed with subversive information."

Dr. James J. James, Ph.D., set their exams for a 'teacher's day in' so he had help watching. They were in the auditorium, seated as far apart as possible ... catty-corner ... Mina in the front row far right side. Bill, back row left. Both aisle seats. Even though neither of them knew where the test was going to be held, the seats in front, to the side and behind were removed and the floor freshly scrubbed.

It was interesting ... the preliminaries ... They met in JimiJac's office and walked to the rear of the auditorium and up on the stage. While they were seated on three 'teacher's chairs, ' they watched the custodians remove the three seats around their testing seats and mop the floor where the seats had been. This was no problem ... all the seats were being removed and replaced during the next week.

If JimJim was expecting to see either one of them panic ... they didn't.

They were seated. Dr. James compared the several tests to assure himself that they were all different and had the World History teacher choose one test to hand deliver to Bill while the American History instructor picked one test for Mina. The pair were given several Number Two soft pencils and a hand sharpener ... just in case.

The three monitors were seated in the teacher's chairs.

"Are we ready?" That question was for the two instructors. "Begin." was for Bill and Mina. Dr. James set the timer.

Talk about your insidious distractions ... the timer was three feet square and had a ticking second hand. Normal students were intimidated by the clock. Bill and Mina never even noticed.

It was like they already knew the answers. Pencils flew ... the first parts were:

T/F, 175 questions ... some of the questions were the same answer as another question ... the question was worded differently.

Multiple choice, 150 questions.

Best answer, 75 questions.

Eliminate the WRONG answers (that one always caught those who didn't read the instructions.) 100 questions ... as few as 5 and as many as 10 answers were wrong.

and the five short essays.

Then came the long Essay. Bill and Mina were hand delivered fresh sheets of paper and the previous one removed and collected. No referring back to what you wrote above.

The essay question was interesting.

Using Texas as a microcosm, Mina wrote several pages on "Where the Country started and Where it's going to Finish." She dealt with the corruption of government by the Corporations and how it grew more subversive as the Media became more investigative. Then she described how biased the media had become.

Bill wrote his on "The Greatness of America and how We Will Win Control of The World." He dealt with Corporations as individuals.

How twins could be so diametrically opposed is one of the wonders of the World.

As they see it ... their World View ... they were both right. The answers to the essay question were insightful, thought provoking, presented two new ways of looking at history and two opposing views. Either one would have made an excellent 'State of the Union' speech for a sitting president.

Mina beat Bill by 15 minutes. They both beat the timer.

The tests were similar to the difficult Citizenship tests given to those applying for naturalization. Your average native born American straight A student couldn't pass one.

Bill and Mina even wrote the correct answers for the two questions that had no correct choice.

Dr. James bundled up the essays and packaged them to be sent to Austin.

Mina was waiting for Bill outside the Auditorium doors. They High Fived, much to the disgust of the SecurityGuard. Since they weren't officially students they were parked in Visitor parking ... and that chapped the guard's ass too.

"Whoa, that was hard." said Bill.

"Whoa, that was easy." said Mina.

"What shall we do today?"

"I dunno ... fly?"

"Maybe ... where's Megan?" Bill was thinking of a small celebratory orgy.

"New Orleans ... with her Dad. For the week."


"And shuckydarn."

They both cracked up.

"We need to buy an airplane."

"Trade-a-Plane!!" That's more like twins.

DD was home ... hobbling still, but getting better every day. The run to save Pyewacket from the four football players took a lot out of her.

They fired up the computer and went to the website. 767 Cessna single engine aircraft from 120 tail draggers to brand new singles. From five thousand to nearly the price of a new twin ... and everything between. They spent the day looking at planes and babying DD.

Some slow sweet sister love before sleep and then breakfast out. Bill carried DD ... she beat him heavily about the head and shoulders saying she could walk but she was grinning every step of the way.

"What for breakfast?"

"Huevos Rancheros ... pile on the salsa!"

TexMex is something two kids from Ohio found to be intriguing, great flavors and HOT ... just the thing for a winter warmup. The best restaurant was on the east side and that's where they went.

The first time, 2am in the morning, ... they were the only Gringo's in the place ... Bill ordered Chili ... the waitress put a bowl of fire in front of Bill ... he thought it was the chili ... he ate it and asked for more ... THEN she brought the chili. Sweat pouring off his brow and snot running from his sinuses from the 'season it yourself' bowl of salsa, he was smiling through the heat. Instant good guy.

By the third time in, they knew the names of the waitresses ... their children ... the cook and his children and the regulars who frequented the place late at night.

"You're one of us," Maria said. "You're white Mexicans."

"Naw ... we're just folks ... you're just folks. 'Somos todos sólo(justo) la gente, ' We're all just people."

They left good tips and they ate what everybody else ate. Nothing on the side ... one plate and dig in.

They rolled corn tortas and scooped.

So ... Huevos ... eggs on chili on corn ships ... lots of hot salsa, was their weapon of choice. A little rice and beans. Mmmmmm, good. Kind of late for breakfast but neither of them had eaten before they went in for the test.

They sat and played with the kids ... drank chocolate and practiced their Mexican ... not Spanish ... Mexican.

Megan's phone rang... 'Out of Area.' "Bet it's Megan."

It was.


"I knew it was you."

"You won what?"





"A plane? Airport ... take the ferry pilot to New Orleans ... ok. Megan? What kind of plane? hello? ... hello? Lost Signal."

"What was that about?" Bill asked.

"Megan won one hundred five million dollars at Harrahs."


"The IRS took twenty four million before she got out the door."


"She's going sailing with her dad."

"He has a boat?"

"Big one, she says."

"She just bought us an airplane ... we need to go to the airport ... we have to take pilot to New Orleans."

"DD? Do you want to go?"

"I'll stay home. I'm still awfully sore."

"Carry her Bill."

"I can walk!"

"Not on my watch!" Bill started ducking ... and laughing.

On the way home, the phone rang again.

"Megan." Mina said to Bill ... not a question.

"What kind of plane, Megan?"

"Blue ... what kind of an answer is that?"

"It's all you saw?" Disconnect.

"Blue, Bill. She bought us a blue airplane."

"Only Megan!"

"Only Megan," Mina agreed. Everyone started laughing. Bill had to pull over.

The cop asked if they had a problem.

"No ... we were laughing so hard it wasn't safe to drive."

"What was that funny?"

"Do you know Megan Fox?"

"Ah ... yes ... I see." And that set them all off again.

When they finally stopped the cop asked, "What did she do this time?"

"She bought us an airplane."

"And that was funny? What kind of plane?"


The lieutenant drove up ... someone had called.



"That's Megan."

Chapter 2 »