Chapter 2 of
First thing Wednesday morning, Terry found every gate of the park and counted locks. He tried the lock of the front gate and found that it hadn't been opened in so long, the lock was rusted. That only meant that it was just another lock to be cut and replaced. A list was made of items and a trip to the local Pro-Am Mart filled it. Pro-Am Mart was a national chain store for hardware, lumber, garden and appliances. The best place for Professional Contractors and Amateur do-it-yourselfers to get what they need for most projects. A total of twelve matching-key padlocks, reciprocating saw, two spare batteries and a pack steel blades took care of the list. The saw was battery operated, which was good. The batteries needed to be charged, that was the down-side.
After setting the first battery to charge, Terry began looking through the online listings for a counselor. Ten phone calls later, Terry had two options locally. One was a male Psychologist and the other was a female Psychiatrist. Terry had completely disregarded 'life coach' listings. Many of those took a religious route, which was a big no in his book. Those weren't the only calls. He also needed a Doctor, General Practice, a Dentist and an optometrist. None of those would be a serious problem, Terry could pay personally. However he was going to check what insurance those would take and if any were looking for a change of pace.
Something else, along those lines, were Paramedics and EMTs. Four teams of mixed pairs would be a good idea for a bare minimum. The main health problems associated with parks were heat exposure/dehydration, motion sickness and allergic reactions. The most common allergic reaction was food related, peanut products. One of the easiest preventive measures was not using peanut oil in fryers. Terry knew Trent was now meeting contractors privately. That was fine. When they came back with their bids, Terry would be listening in an adjoining room and use the computer to send any questions that popped up. That could all wait until then.
For three hours Thursday Terry went around and cut the old locks off and replaced them with new ones. The third battery was gone just before it was finished, so Terry ended up breaking the shackle with the maul used to set up the new sign. With that task finished, Terry stopped at a local burger place for lunch. Bro's Burgers and Shakes was pretty good. There was indoor, patio and the drive-in stalls. The hops working outdoor wore skates and would perform tricks on their return trips. Lunch done, Terry went to the first appointment.
"Hello, you must be Terry Frost." A woman greeted and offered a handshake. "I'm Adriann Marlo."
Terry nodded. "Doctor Marlo."
Doctor Marlo led him into her office and gestured to a chair. "Please, have a seat and call me Adriann."
"Alright, Adriann. I won't waste time. Put blunt, I'm here to see if you would oversee my transition." Terry stated point-blank.
Adriann nodded. "That is blunt. To be honest, I'll admit I have no idea what a transition entails. Actually I've never met a transgender person, to my knowledge. I wouldn't know where to start."
Terry looked at her intently. "Bottom line. Yes or no?"
Adriann sighed. "I have to say no. I have no knowledge about this. I think Brad Waverly does."
"I'm meeting him in an hour." Terry informed her.
The Psychiatrist looked visibly relieved. "That's good. I don't know Brad well, but I do know that he has experience I don't. He worked in the San Francisco area for ten years and I think he said something about LGBT groups. I hear that he's very good with his patients. He not one of those 'there's a pill for everything' types."
Terry nodded. "That's a plus."
"I'm sorry Terry. I just don't have the knowledge. I see now that I should get it. I don't know how long it'll take me, but check back if you need to." Doctor Marlo said.
Terry stood up. "Well, at least you are honest about it. How much for the consultation?"
"Nothing. I can't charge somebody I can't do anything for. All I ask is that you don't take it personally." Adriann said as she stood up.
"Fair enough. Have a good day." Terry said then left.
At Two that afternoon Terry greeted his second appointment. "Doctor Waverly?"
"Brad." The man with glasses and a goatee greeted. "And you're Terry Frost. Come right in."
Terry was surprised when Brad led him through the office and outside to a patio with two chairs.
"It's too nice of a day to stay indoors, don't you think?" Brad asked sitting down.
Terry quipped. "especially if you use clouds for a Rorschach test."
Brad laughed. "I never thought of that. I like it though!"
Terry made a hash-mark in the air.
"So what brings you to me?" Brad asked.
Terry gave him a flat look. "I'm transgender. I want to transition. Will you oversee it?"
"That's direct." Brad replied.
Terry nodded. Brad began interviewing casually. After thirty minutes Brad leaned forward.
"Terry. I'll admit, I wish you didn't need me. However, you do. I think it would be good if you see me every other week. What day and time would you like?" Brad asked.
"How about Monday, first slot?" Terry suggested.
Brad nodded. "Sounds good. Let's go in and take care of that."
Terry paid the consultation fee and collected the appointment card. Terry also took the list of insurance providers he could accept. From there he went over to the local technical college and asked for the Resources administrator.
"How can I help you?" The woman asked gesturing to the chair opposite.
Terry sat down. "Of your courses, I wanted to know if you have paramedic and EMT training?"
"Oh, of course! Would you like to enroll for those? We can combine the two or you could take EMT first and work as one while you take Paramedic." She offered.
Terry shook his head. "I'm not looking to go into those fields, but sometime in the next year or so, I will be looking for personnel to hire."
That surprised her. "Really? Are you starting up an ambulance service here?"
"No Ma'am. I'm not ready to hire yet. Until I am, I'd rather not say more than I'll be hiring four teams of mixed pairs." Terry stated.
She reached over to hand him her card. "Well, when you are ready to hire, please let me know. We try to get placements for our students when they complete their courses."
Terry pocketed the card. "That's good. I am going to warn you, I'll be an equal opportunity employer. I'll have no discriminatory monkey business. Likewise my employees had better be tolerant. At the very least, professional enough to set any personal b.s. to the side when it's time to work. Also, I'm the boss. I hire, I fire."
"You sound very Hands-On. The kind of person that walks through and not only knows faces and names, but details too." She surmised.
Terry nodded. "As much as I can. I'll be in touch."
"Good day!"Liz Quinlon smiled as he left and ten seconds later, wanted to kick herself. She had forgotten to get his name!
Terry starting going to the park everyday. Now that there were working locking on the gates, it was easy to just drive in and park his car in a spot not visible to any outsiders. It was still spring, but warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt. Terry was doing just that, along with sandals. Hair pulled back into a high ponytail as well. Slowly he walked around, notebook in hand, writing down what he found. In all honesty, not much looked salvageable. It really was looking like the park would have to be completely rebuilt from the ground up.
Over the weekend Trent had brought in a professional Drone operator to video the entire park. Five contractors had been brought in and given the video and high resolution pictures. Now they were waiting for the bids. There was catch. The plans the contractors have were the original plans for the park. Terry and Trent had done research and found the original plans and costs for the park. The objective was to see how close the contractor would get to that figure. Whomever did, was the one Terry wanted. It would also control information about what the new park was going to look like some. Details would eventually get out, but Terry wanted to keep it quiet for as long as possible. The bank President was the only one that officially knew the park had been bought.
That was what Terry did for four days. In the evenings, after dinner, Terry worked on the real plans for the park. First would be demolition, the whole park taken to bare earth, then truckloads of dirt brought in to build up to five feet above its current elevation. Terry wanted to take no chances of the park flooding. No one had said anything about it, but Terry had seen the signs of standing water on the structures that still stood.
Weather may not be a factor that can be beaten, but it could be anticipated and its effects lessened. Elevated land with good drainage aided by high volume pumps would keep the park relatively dry. There were various methods to direct excess water away from areas. Terry intended to use all he could find. Bad weather would always be an enemy to fight.
Terry's thoughts were interrupted by the cellphone. Trent was calling.
"Yeah?" Terry answered.
Trent informed him. "One of the contractors had to pull out."
"Oh? They give a reason?" Terry asked.
"Yep." Trent replied. "He had a stroke. Pretty bad one, he is going to be in the hospital for a while and then forced retirement."
Terry sighed. "And then there were four."
Trent agreed. "So it goes. Two of the contractors have said they're ready to turn in their bids now. I gave them time slots tomorrow. I'm just waiting on the other two now."
"Have any of them figured out we're pulling a fast one on them?" Terry asked.
Trent answered. "If they have then they aren't letting on. I found the firm that designed the park. We can wait until the contractor is decided. If that's cool with you?"
"Yeah. I have a session the following Monday first thing. I'm trying to get the first slot as much as I can, so I can get it out of the way." Terry stated.
"Question." Trent said.
Terry resisted the urge to chuckle. "Answer."
"Is Terry going to be here tomorrow or Tessa?" Trent asked.
Terry sighed. "Unfortunately, Terry will be there. Outwardly."
"Oh. I get it." Trent said understanding.
Terry would be wearing feminine clothes, just not obviously so. In short, the usual. Many assumed that Terry bleached his hair. It wasn't true. Terry took pride in being a natural platinum blonde. Even more so at having it long, almost to the middle of his back. Dark, almost cobalt blue eyes and a complexion that was practically tan-resistant made him seem doll-like.
Terry had been walking back to his car. "I'm pretty much done here. The first thing is to take this place all the way down to the dirt. Then it needs to be elevated at least five feet higher. Then we can start."
"You still want to start the housing projects first?" Trent asked.
"Definitely. The staff dorm and my house. That way I can start getting the cast and staff in and ready to go before the park is finished. As soon as we pick the contractor, I want to get the demo permits filed before close of business." Terry stated.
Trent agreed. "Sounds fine by me. See you tomorrow. First slot is at nine-thirty."
Friday was busy. The first contractor came in on time, but very unorganized. After ten minutes of fumbling around to find things, Trent asked an unexpected question.
"Mister Dugan, why are you here and not the man I met before? Mister Jeremy Tilden." Trent asked.
Dugan nervously cleared his throat and answered. "Mister Tilden had another meeting to attend."
Trent felt like he was being gas-lighted. "And what, exactly, do you do?"
"I file the papers. Permits and so on." Dugan replied.
"I see. So who is actually in charge with this company?" Trent asked.
Dugan now understood he was in trouble. "Blaine Woods. He's the contractor."
"Why is Mister Woods NOT here?" Trent asked.
Dugan looked like he wanted to crawl into a hole. "He's on vacation."
Trent wanted to face-palm. "Please be honest, does he even know about this?"
"He, uh, isn't up on the details. Specifically." Dugan side-stepped.
Trent sighed. "Mister Dugan, I don't understand what is going on with this company, but I will say that I don't like this. I believe this meeting is concluded."
Dugan was going to hand him the file, but Trent waved it off. "Never mind Mister Dugan. Good day."
On Trent's computer screen, in messenger, was the single line: they don't actually want the job, send him back.
Dugan left looking like everything that he thought could go wrong, had.
Trent walked into his office from the conference room. "Well that went to shit faster than eating ex-lax at Taco Bell."
"I checked the guy's social media. He has a place down in the Keys, been there for two weeks and isn't due back for another two." Terry remarked.
Their conversation was interrupted by Trent's new secretary calling over the intercom. "Mister Valens? There is a Mister Dave Wells, from Las Vegas, on the line."
"Thank you Lilly." Trent replied and took the call on speaker
"Trent Valens here. I have Terry as well." Trent announced.
"Hello." Dave Wells greeted. He didn't waste time either. "Tessa, is that offer still on the table?"
Terry answered. "It's yours if you want."
"Yes. I want. What do I need to do?" Dave asked.
"Start packing. Plan for a month here then go back and get all your stuff. I'll have a ticket waiting for Monday morning." Terry said.
Dave took a moment then said. "Ok. Text or email me the details."
Trent nodded to Terry and said to Dave. "Done. I'll meet you at the airport."
"Monday then. I look forward to the change in scenery." Dave signed off and disconnected.
Trent disconnected as well then turned to Terry. "He's going to be the head of security, right?"
Terry nodded. "Yeah. I met him Vegas. He's good, but they kept him down because he's gay."
"Well I know I'd feel a bit better if you weren't in that park all alone." Trent remarked.
Terry shook his head. "I'm done for now. None of it is worth saving. We'll be rebuilding it from the ground up. Including the ground."
Lilly interrupted again. "Mister Valens. Mister Smith of SmitCo is here."
"Thank you Lilly. The conference room please." Trent replied then said to Terry. "Let's try this again."
Terry sat down behind the desk. "At least this guy showed up himself."
Trent entered the conference room and found the man standing at the table laying out his things in his preferred order.
'This is a good sign.' Trent thought to himself then greeted him. "Mister Smith. Thank you for coming in."
Jack Smith reached over and shook hands. "Thank you Mister Valens. Couple more seconds and I'm ready."
"By all means." Trent gestured for him to continue then smiled as the contractor unfurled a diagram on the tale and used some logo'ed blocks to hold it flat.
"All set." Jack Smith said.
Trent watched and listened as the contractor began going over what the original task was. He was very take-charge and had apparently done some additional research himself. Trent was impressed when he flatly stated that the whole park needed to be leveled and start all over. All that was good, but then things started going in a different direction. The numbers started climbing, both in dollars and time. He was projecting seven to nine months of demolition. Then Smith said something that alarmed Trent.
"Basically what we need to do is depress the center of the property. That would create a cold-well. The cooler air would naturally fall into the center of the property and make it more comfortable." Smith explained.
Trent didn't even need to look at the computer screen to know this was a problem. Terry had already talked with a Tornado expert. The EF-3 Tornado had practically been funneled straight for the park due to the surrounding topography. This guy was proposing to make it even worse.
Trent let him get to a pause then asked him to wait a moment. Over at the computer he read the messages.
This guy has no idea what he's talking about, demo will take three months at most. He's done.
"Thank you Mister Smith." Trent said as he went back to the table. "I'll get back to you if we opt to pursue your plans."
Jack knew he'd been nailed, but there was nothing he could say about it. What he wanted to know now was, how they knew he was ripping?
Trent watched him gather up his things and leave. Lilly came to the door and waved to him.
"Yes Lilly?" Trent asked then saw a man sitting in a reception chair.
"Mister Roanoke arrived ten minutes ago. He told me that any numbers Mister Smith gave you would be at least three times more than reality." Lilly said quietly.
Trent looked over to the man. He stood up and strolled over.
"Young man. I ought to warn you. SmitCo is good at one thing, milking a project for all its worth. In truth, they only have office staff. He uses temp labor and charges three times what he has pay." Bill Roanoke stated.
Trent showed him into the conference room. "Well, I'm very interested in what you have to say Mister Roanoke."
"I don't go for all that. I'm Bill. Look here." Bill said then unfurled several rolls of diagrams.
Trent looked at them then noticed they were faded, but still good.
"Where did you get these?" Trent asked.
Bill smirked. "My office. I worked on the park when it was being built the first time. Here's how much it cost back then, here's what it'd cost to do the same way today. What's on my mind now, is why you'd want to do it EXACTLY the way it was, when you have a prime chance to do it right this time?"
The office door opened and Terry came in.
Bill gave a knowing smile. "Looks like I just got the boss' attention."
"You did." Terry remarked. "I'm listening."
"There ain't nothing I don't know about this park. Most importantly; I know where they went wrong." Bill said then shifted the diagrams around to a topographic layout. "This whole area here is a funnel. Park smack dab in the middle. That tornado coming through didn't have a choice but waste that park. The highway is up high, see? and then you got all this area over here, strip mall, school house and all that. It's built up too. Now the park sits low, now in the summer that makes a well. All the cooler air rushes in. It also draws a tornado straight to it. Lightning too. That's bad. The old rollercoaster was the biggest lightning rod for a mile."
"Save me some time Bill." Terry said.
Bill chuckled. "No-nonsense. I like that. Ok. First we strip all this down to the under-layer. That's red clay. We bring in more to build it up, with the highest point being the center of the park. I'd go for ten feet of elevation at the center, six foot at the outer edge. Then we start building the park the right way. Lowest point being the area under the roller coaster."
Terry looked at him intently. "What's your priorities?"
"I take my jobs serious. I get paid to do it right, not twice. The safety of my work crew is tops. They don't do nothing I won't. Whoever is paying, is the boss. If I'm taking their money, I do it their way." Bill said firmly.
Terry asked. "What if I was walking around in a dress and high heels?"
"I'd ask you to change. Don't misunderstand me. I mean them high heels to a safety shoe of some kind and hand you a hard hat and glasses. I take safety seriously. That's OSHA regulations and I encourage it. Otherwise, it don't make no nevermind to me. I got no say in how folks live. I only object to safety violation on the job-site. That's part of my job to." Bill said firmly. "If you intend to visit the site that way, I have to ask that you only come to the trailer and no further. I'll come to you there. Fair enough?"
Terry looked at the pages and saw the one he wanted. He picked it up and read then handed it to Trent.
"You're hired Mister Roanoke. I'm Terry Frost now, but I'll be changing that to Tessa Frost. By the time all the dirt work is done, the plans will be ready. Other things get built first. Any questions?" Terry asked.
"You call me Bill. I'll call you whatever you want as long as the check don't bounce. Pay in three installments." Bill said.
Terry smirked. "You'll be getting paid in five installments. To get started, after the dirt work, after the first phase of construction, half the park done and when the park is finished. How's that?"
"That sounds just fine by me." Bill nodded.
Terry unrolled a diagram. "Here's a rough idea of what I want."
Bill looked over the drawing. "A house and some kind dormitory? Let me guess; for you and for the folks working there?"
"That's right. I want to make sure my people don't have to worry about certain things. Housing won't come out of their pay. Things like phones and cable will but they'll have free internet. No rent and meals in the dorm are included. I'll still pay them fair rate, probably better than some other places." Terry said. "I'm going to be hiring a lot of people like me."
Bill sighed. "I hate to tell you this, but if you're wanting to keep it quiet something's going on, there's already talk. Big money coming into town, cars coming and going at the park and somebody saw the real estate sign ain't there. Word is, somebody bought the park and something's going to happen with it."
"I expected it. I'm surprised the talk didn't start the day I bought it." Terry admitted.
Bill shook his head. "Just the past couple of days. You want us quiet about it, it won't cost you extra. In fact, I still keep in touch with the folks that designed the original layout. They thought the owner was an idiot for not building up the ground too."
"Hadley and Associates?" Terry asked.
Bill nodded. "Ron Hadley was the designer. He died three years ago, but his boy is top notch. Name's Dominic. He'd jump at the chance to work on a new park."
Terry looked over to Trent.
"I'll call him." Trent affirmed.
Terry nodded. "I think we found our contractor. We got one left, but I like what you say Bill."
"I'd imagine you're expecting Whooten Brothers." Bill guessed.
Trent chuckled. "We are."
Bill nodded. "They're ok. They built the big mall in town. They've built two of the schoolhouses too."
"Nothing bad to say?" Trent asked.
Bill shook his head. "Nope. I guess if I had to say something, it'd be, they like to hurry."
"Cut corners?" Terry asked.
"I wouldn't say that. Just that they, hurry." Bill said.
Terry now understood. That company didn't like to take on long term or highly involved projects. They'd do the demo and maybe the ground work, but the actual building of the park they wouldn't be suitable.
Terry nodded. "I see. Well, we'll see them and hear what they have to say. I'll call you either way later today."
Bill nodded and picked up all his diagrams and papers. "I'll be waiting."
After he left, Trent looked to Terry. "Is he our guy Tessa?"
"More than likely." A contralto voice answered.
Monday morning Bill Roanoke walked into the Courthouse and went to the clerk of Court.
"Morning Bill. Permits?" The Clerk asked.
Bill nodded and handed over the applications. "Yep."
"Ok." The Clerk began to look them over then his eyes widened. "THE PARK?"
"Settle down now, Harvey." Bill said. "There's the applications, here's the check. Do your thing, quietly, so I can do my thing."
Harvey leaned closer. "I heard a rumor somebody bought up the park. So it is true?"
"Harvey, I got a job to do. I need you to do yours." Bill said.
Harvey began checking over the applications then approving them. Ten minutes later, he handed over the permits.
"Ok Bill. Permits issued." Harvey said.
Bill checked then nodded. "Harvey, its going to be done right this time. Don't say nothing."
Harvey nodded. "Good luck Bill. Go get it."
Hours later, a confident young man strode down a jet-way. He looked over by baggage claim and found who he was looking for.
"Trent." He called out.
Trent walked over and greeted him. "Dave Wells. Nice to finally meet you."
If you liked this chapter of VentureRealm Park, please do Kudo. No membership needed.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.