Hanna’s Place

   I was at the lumber mill, cussin’ under my breath while welding a broken blade back together, when JJ. Parker came up with R. SirTom behind him pulling a cart. “Mornin’ Bart,“ he said, “Needed to talk to you so I figured I’d take a load of dried stuff back with me.”

   “Got just what you’re looking for,” I told him , “ RoDan will help SirTom get it loaded.” After giving the necessary instructions, and setting the blade welder to anneal, if the blade didn’t cool down slowly it would become brittle and break again, I turned back to JJ. “So what can I do you out of?”

   “Actually it’s for my Mom. I convinced her to start on the permanent First Inn and she and Dad have come up with a world of ideas. Some of her ideas are pretty extreme though, so I’d better fill you in on what she wants and you can tell me what you figure she can get.”

   “Well, to coin a phrase, 'A woman’s grip should exceed her grasp or what’s a heaven for'…Go ahead, tell me, what does she want? And where does she plan to build it?”

   “As to where she‘s going to build… at first she wanted to locate in Liberty City proper, but I convinced her that it would be much better to put it up on her freehold grid at [ac-19], after all that land touches the northeast corner of the city set-aside and has such a great view of the river. The road to the power plant and upper bridge will run right by it so most of the people on the other side of the river will pass it every time they go in or out of town. A near perfect location.”

   Picturing the spot I nodded, “Sounds perfect to me too. Don’t be shy now, go ahead and tell me what she wants to build.”

   JJ. gave a wry grin, took a deep breath, and began, “Oh, something about two or three times the size of the Community Building, with a cellar for storage and upper level to use as a dorm type boarding house, separate partitioned off kitchen, bar, and dining areas with large windows overlooking the river and a conveyor from the kitchen to bring out the meals, some private living quarters on the lower level and a foyer where people can hang their coats and store their weapons while inside. And of course a room for the daycare center, a couple of large restrooms, a covered area in the back to put the grills and hold picnics in when it rains and covered porches all around.” He had run out of breath and eyes opened wide looked at me.

   “Is that all?” I asked, returning his look, “You could tell her it’s been done before. Sounds a lot like the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island near where I grew up.”

   “Well I left out the parking lot and the fireman's pole between the first and second levels.”

   “I don’t think the Grand Hotel had fire poles,” I managed to get out before we both broke into fits of laughter. After we calmed down I said, “Say what you want about your mom, she certainly thinks big. And not to change the subject how’s the stone work going on the Community Building?”

   “It’s going good now Bart. Was slow at first but we’re moving right along and ought to be finished up by the end of the week. That’s when I want to get started on the First Inn.”

   “Ok then JJ,” I said, “this is what I think. What with all of the building going on right now, especially with Andy putting up the hydropower plant, plank cut lumber is at a real premium. So do the foundation and walls out of stone. I can get enough robots from the labor pool to do the work out here so I’ll send the Jeep to help you. I’m sure Janie will send EmyCee also and Joe should be out of the camp guard business so you should be able to use RoDan much of the time too. I’ll check with Gene Washburn, and unless I miss my guess, you’ll also get R. Krebs when he’s not out here. If you can talk your mother into keeping it down to say 24' by 50' for the time being with about half that much on the second story as their living spaces, what the heck, she can add on later and daycare should stay in the Community Building anyway, sometime in the next 10 days or so I can get you the material for floors and a roof. You’ll have enough site work and stone to lay that even with all the bots you can get helping out I should have the lumber ready before you really need it. So then, how does that sound? Think it‘ll make your mom happy?”

   “Better than I hoped for Bart. I think if I tell Dad first and we can both gang up on her, we’ll even be able to convince her that’s what she wanted in the first place. But how am I gonna pay you back?”

   “Don’t worry about that JJ.” I said with a smile, “When Janie and I start building our place, and we’ve been makin’ plans too, we’ll think of something.”

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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