The Game Plan(10)

By: R.L. Mathewson

“I got it,” Uncle Jared said as Danny pulled out his wallet.

“No thanks,” Danny said, quickly pulling the money out and paying for his own food.

“Why not?” Uncle Jared demanded as his gaze drifted down and locked on the stack of cookies that Danny realized he’d have to eat first.

“Because of that bullshit rule of yours,” Danny said, grabbing his tray and headed towards his truck, hoping like hell that his uncle would be too distracted by his overflowing tray to follow after him.

“It’s not bullshit,” Uncle Jared grumbled, following after him.

“Yeah, it really is,” Danny said, resigning himself to the fact that his uncle was joining him for his second midmorning snack.

“If I pay for the food then I should be allowed to have a bite or two,” Uncle Jared explained as he helped lower the tailgate and set his tray down.

“It’s never just a bite or two with you,” Danny argued, not really in the mood to discuss his uncle’s fucked up rules about food, but if that meant that his uncle wasn’t harassing him about this new job, then that was more than fine with-

“You start the new job on Monday,” Uncle Jared said, deftly snatching a cookie off his tray.

“If it’s a summer job,” Danny began, shifting his tray away from his uncle. He could have snatched the cookie back, but he’d most likely be pulling back a stub so he grudgingly let the cookie go, “then let Jason handle it. He needs the extra money.”

“He can’t take this job,” Uncle Jared said distractedly as he tried to steal another cookie.

Knowing his uncle as well as he did, he shifted the tray further out of his reach. “Why not?”

“You cheap bastard!” Uncle Jared gasped with a pout that had him rolling his eyes and tossing the greedy bastard another cookie. It was either that or put up with his pouting for the rest of the day.

“Well?” Danny demanded as his Uncle took his time to savor the cookie.

“He has to work most of the summer at school,” Uncle Jared quickly explained before he washed down the cookie with one of the bottles of chocolate milk that he’d purchased. “He’s going to take hours working with us when he can, but he has a lot to do before school starts back up in September.”

“Isn’t he the head of the history department now?” he asked, pretty sure that Haley had told him about Jason’s promotion last night while they’d been waiting to have their stomachs pumped in the emergency room.

Jared looked proud as he nodded. “Youngest department head in the school’s history.”

“That’s great,” Danny said absently, wondering if his father smiled like that when he spoke about him, but after a minute common sense kicked in. He doubted that his father even remembered his name, never mind bragged about him. Not that there was much to brag about, he thought as he unwrapped one of the sandwiches he’d bought.

“Why don’t you get one of the other guys to run the project?” he suggested, hoping that he could continue with the status quo by punching in everyday, completing the projects assigned to him and going home. He didn’t want to have to run a project, supervise a team or any of the bullshit that came with a leadership position. He’d led enough men in the Marines and was done with the bullshit of being responsible for another human being.

“My other foremen all have projects to handle this summer. Carl is out for the summer to take care of his wife while she’s on bed rest and Jimmy retired last week,” Jared explained.

“So promote someone new. You have plenty of good men to chose from,” he pointed out as he was once again forced to shift his tray away from his uncle.

Uncle Jared shook his head as he considered his next food selection. “None of them are as good as you. You know how to handle a team, how to delegate work, you work your ass off and you’re fair. You’d make a great foreman.”

“What about Trevor?” he asked, touched that his uncle thought so highly of him, but he just wasn’t sure that he wanted to do anything more than follow orders.

“He can’t,” Jared said with a sigh as he settled on a sandwich, “not with his dyslexia.”