Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-three - Neighbors (part three)
Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-three - Neighbors (part five)

Chapter Six Hundred and Forty-three - Neighbors (part four)


(part four)

Saturday morning — 11:47 a.m.

Marlowe School

“Hey!” Jacob yelled.

He waved his arms and the equipment truck stopped.

“We want to dig up this yard,” Jacob said.

“For raised beds,” Florence, the equipment driver, said from the passenger side of the vehicle.

“Right,” Jacob said.

“Any infrastructure?” Florence asked.

“We did ‘Call before you dig.’ There’s nothing here.” Jacob pointed behind the truck. “Plumbing is right behind you.”

An SUV full of Lipson Construction employees went around the truck.

“Where do you want us?” the SUV driver asked.

“The boundary is marked with wooden stakes,” Jacob pointed.

The SUV sped off. They reached the edge of the road, went over the curb, and drove to a wooden stake in the road.

“You have to go around,” Jacob said. “Through the fast food restaurants parking lots and then onto the dirt.”

“You sure we have permission to be on that lot?” the truck driver asked.

“Val owns it,” Jacob said. “Mom bought this entire lot when it came available. She thought we might need it for new offices.”

Jacob shrugged. The truck driver nodded, rolled up his window, and started the journey through the fast food restaurant parking lot. Another equipment moving tractor trailer arrived and followed the other truck. A truck carrying wooden planks took the rear.

Valerie and Sam drove up. They waved at Jacob and followed the tractor trailers to park on the edge of the lot. Jacob walked to where Valerie and Sam parked. Everyone was greeting each other with waves and elbow bumps. Some of the people here hadn’t worked in a while. Even with the facemasks and social distancing, they were happy to be able to work.

“Okay,” Jacob said. “The city came out and marked the boundary of this lot.”

Jacob pointed to the wooden stakes along the property lines. Sam took a ball of twine from his pocket and began linking the stakes with the twine.

“We want to fit as many raised beds as possible in this space,” Jacob said. “Anyone built a raised bed before?”

Jacob’s hand went up but no one else’s did.

“Okay,” Jacob said. “They’re not that hard. I’ll show you how and you can build them at home.”

Someone cheered, and everyone laughed.

“I have a team of carpenters working at the school,” Jacob said. “If I’m not here and you get stuck, any of them can help. I have my phone so you can call or text me. We’re trying to get the school ready to re-open so I’d prefer if they stayed working. But this is important too.”

Everyone nodded.

“We expect that we may have a few non-Lipson people wander over,” Jacob said. “Dad has money to pay people if they want to work. Does anyone have a problem with that?”

Jacob grinned when, to a person, everyone shook their heads.

“Thanks,” Jacob said. “When we can, we like to give people work.”

“Wha-ter-you doin’ wid dis lot?” Trevor, one of the equipment drivers, asked.

Trevor had a long career as an alcoholic. He’d lost all of his teeth by the time he had cleaned up enough to get a job at Lipson Construction. In the years he’d worked there, he’d never replaced his front teeth. He said it reminded him of where he didn’t want to go back to.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


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