At the same time, the country is dealing with the moral issue of Gay Marriage. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments and close to a decision that may rock the country and even reach into the Presidency.
What will the President have to do to keep his promise of a return to fiscal sanity? Can he keep the Christian Right Wing of the Republican Party in check and avoid the label of a "RINO"?
With ALOHA!, the authors take you beyond today's traditional thinking and set you up for a ride into the future. The interesting part of this fiction is that it could be reality within a few more years. Are you ready for it?
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By Stephen A. Enna Dennis J. Wootten
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Stephen A. Enna & Dennis J. Wootten
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIN THE BEGINNING
Sturgis, South Dakota 2010
Sturgis Cigar Bar, the former home of Mike and Toni's used appliance warehouse, was named after the famous Motorcycle Rally held in Sturgis South Dakota. The Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club started the rally in 1936. The Gypsies were founded by Pappy Hoel in 1935. It was 2010 and the 75th anniversary of the club. As motorcycle clubs go the average life cycle is three years. So to reach three quarters of a century was a major milestone.
Mike and Toni Morgan would simply not miss the event in South Dakota. At age 53 and 54, respectively, they fit the average age of the club members. In recent years the club had grown to the point that it now had over 200 members world wide.
The used appliance business was sketchy, at best. They only survived for the three years they had been at it because of the deep recession that had been going on. The recession was the primary reason George Bush left office with a black mark on the history books and Barrack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. Who would have thought that the United States would elect a black President in 2008.
It was the eighth rally that Mike and Toni had attended and what a celebration it was. Mike with his well worn tattoos and 300 pound body and Toni, with her very plentiful store bought boobs, fit right in. In fact, the boobs were an investment they made after attending their very first rally. If you have never been to a Sturgis event then you can't imagine why Toni would insist on a new pair that was fitting of the occasion. Needless to say, her pink leather outfit brought out eyes from every corner as they crossed the country heading for the rally on their hog. It was only when they arrived that they looked perfectly normal and fit right in. Everywhere else they looked like a side show. You guessed it, the tattoo was a Harley Davidson logo. Not bad marketing when you can get a guy to tattoo your label on his body without even asking.
"Mike, I did the bills before we took off from Portland, our business is in the tank. We had almost no used appliance sales this month. Our rent is eating us alive and at this rate we are going to go under. I'm not sure what we need to do but I've been thinking a lot about it lately."
"Really, what have you been thinking about?"
"Well, we both know that smoking has come under fire lately from all sides. People who smoke are unable to do so just about anywhere these days. The regulations have gotten stricter and now some people can't even smoke in their own apartment if the ventilation system could send the second hand smoke to others apartments."
"So what does smoking have to do with used appliances? We both smoke and have for about as long as I can remember."
"Well, I read about this club in Chicago where smoking was legal because it was posted as a smoking club and if you're going to go in you know what you're getting into."
"Toni, I still don't get what you're talking about. Would you do me a favor and dumb it down so I can understand."
"O.K big guy, here is what I think. Our warehouse is smack dab in the middle of the Pearl District. The Pearl District has taken off and is getting more and more high end. The bars and the shops are filled with men and women in their 20's and 30's. The district is no longer the dump that we have always known it to be. So I thought that with three years left on our lease that we could take our warehouse and turn it into a cigar bar. We wouldn't need to do much other than add a bar and get a liquor license. We have adequate rest rooms and the open beam ceilings will lend themselves to the atmosphere that young people are looking for."
"The cigar bar will be for smoking. Everyone would be welcome - Men, Women, Gay or Straight. Who cares as long as they are willing to pay? I think that we can make some real money if we do this and, if so, I can stop thinking about how to sell a God damn used toaster."
"Now I get it woman, not a bad idea. What would we call it?"
"Look around, stupid; why not call it Sturgis Cigar Bar."
Bruce Gavin had known Mike and Toni from growing up on the east side of Portland. Mike was a greaser in his youth and Toni was one of those kids from the east side that could be difficult to bring home to Mom. She was attractive as hell, but the way she looked and talked presented a problem to almost every adult with whom she came into contact. The product of a broken home with a full time working Mom. Toni was on her own, did what she wanted and didn't care about anything other than Mike. Bruce played baseball with Mike in the Montavilla Little League. The park was not far from 82nd and Stark where his parents, Bill and Mildred Gavin, had raised him in a World War II house. The house was on Washington Street, one block off Stark. The original price was $4,000.
As a kid, Bruce did the things most other kids did. He went everywhere he had to go on his Schwinn Bicycle. He attended the same parties everyone else did. Kissed his first girlfriend with the lights out in the basement of Howard Funnel's house and did what he had to do to stay in school. His parents and grandparents were proud and his childhood was as normal as a kid's could be with a total annual family income of $4,500 and a very used 1950 Chevy. Both parents worked; his father Bill was an iron worker and his mother was a school secretary.
Mike, Bruce, and Toni would often attend the afternoon movies at the Academy Theater on Sunday afternoon. The funny thing about it was that it was always just the three of them, never a fourth.
No one in the Gavin household was religious and, thus, Sundays were spent as the second day of the weekend. He was free to roam, hang out with Mike and dream about the future. Religion was never discussed, so he had no frame of reference, or concern in anything having to do with religion.
High School was easy for Bruce. He played baseball, tried his hand at basketball and was a defensive back on the football team. Baseball and Football fit him well, his basketball days were numbered as he could barely hang on to the sixth man spot on the Junior Varsity Team. "Jump! You have to learn to Jump!" his coach would say over and over to the point that even today he hated the word. At 6 feet 2 inches he had the body to be good but there was just something about basketball that he just couldn't handle. His social life was pretty normal, however, few, if any girls, interested him. He attended all of the proms and double dated with Mike and Toni from time to time, but girls were simply not of interest at this time in his life.
The world interested him. Local politics and people's positions on issues interested him unlike everyone else his age. Most of all he liked numbers. He wasn't entirely sure why but things like budgets, income, expense all fascinated him.
Over the years the thought of going on to College crossed Bruce's mind but never interested Mike or Toni and for that matter very few of his high school friends wanted to go. It was the east side of Portland, and when you graduated from high school you went to work or went into the military.
It was during his junior year in high school that he was asked to come into the counselor's office. His grades were fair considering he really didn't care. A 3.4 grade point average was achieved with little or no effort.
Her name was Rebecca Laceful. Ms. Laceful was a well know figure around John Marshall High School. Besides serving as a counselor she was also the Vice Principal and in that capacity, made few, if any, student friends. In fact, Mike constantly referred to her as Ms. Facefull and he should know because he met with her on a frequent basis, and rarely at his request.
Ms. Laceful was not a looker. She carried a significant amount of weight and, as a result, she had few distinguishing features. Most of her features simply disappeared into her massive face and body. Even today he smiled when he thought of Mike's description of her as a watermelon with a wig.
"Mr. Gavin", the voice came out of know where. "Mr. Gavin, are you awake?" "Yes Mr. Von Burton, I'm awake."
"Would you please come up to see me after English Class, I have a message for you from Ms. Laceful."
At 10:50 the bell rang and Bruce walked up to Mr. Von Burton's desk. "Sir, you said you have a message for me from Ms. Laceful. Do you have any idea what she would want to see me about?" "As far as I know, I have done nothing that would warrant a visit to the Vice Principal's Office?"
"No, I don't know what she wants. I was notified this morning that when you finished my class she wants to talk to you in her office. Here is the message. Good luck Bruce."
The bell rang at 10:50 AM and like the others he filed out of class but rather than go to the library to spend some time on his American History class he turned left and walked the long hallway to the administration office. The school Secretary was one of the nicest people he had met during his time at John Marshall High School. Perhaps it was due to the fact that his Mom, Mildred, was also a school secretary, but in any event, Mrs. Martin was one of the Marshall High School's staff that made his good guy list.
Mrs. Martin saw him enter the office and welcomed him with a smile and "Hello". While he wanted to say he was here to see one of the bad guys, he refrained and said, "Ms. Laceful has asked to see me, any idea what this is about?"
He thought she started to respond but the voice stopped when the door to Ms. Laceful's office opened and suddenly the entire door frame was filled to the brim with Ms. Lacful's bountiful body.
"Come in, Bruce. I have a couple of things I would like to discuss with you." He entered her office and watched as she maneuvered her huge body in such a way that she seemed to perch on her regulation-sized chair. He took the seat in front of her desk and waited for her to speak.
"I asked you to come to see me today because over the past month I have had three of your teachers come to see me about you. I should say at the outset that the subject of my conversation is positive not negative." A silent sigh of relief passed through him like a knife through butter. He was almost positive that he'd not done anything wrong enough to be called in for discipline. Still, just being summoned never failed to raise a multitude of guilty feelings – real and imagined.
"Each Teacher independently has drawn the same conclusion. They all feel you are smarter than everyone in their class and that you are so far ahead with your thinking about the subjects they are trying to teach you that you have become bored and as a result do slightly better than average work when you are capable of A+ work. The teachers who have come to see me are your Political Science Teacher, your Advanced Math Teacher and your World History Teacher."
"I looked at your grade point average and it is currently a 3.4. Not bad, but not good enough to go on to a top level university. Have you ever considered what you're going to do in a year and a half when you leave this school?"
After a moment's thought, Bruce had almost said "I'm going into the Navy" but he thought further. Finally, his response surprised even himself. "I have not given it much thought. I have great parents who care about me a lot but we are not any different than most families in my part of town. We just don't have the money to send me on to college, even a local one. But I suppose if money were not the issue, I'd consider possibly going to a local junior college."
"Well, that brings me to the second point I wanted to discuss with you. I have received notification that Catholic Charities of East Portland have received a gift from an anonymous donor that will enable them to award two scholarship grants to students at John Marshall High School in the year you are scheduled to graduate. The only catch is that if a grant is awarded, it must be to a student attending a Catholic School. Are you by chance Catholic?"
"I'm not anything." "Religion has been totally absent in my life. I have read about the religions of the world and their influence on people. In some ways I think religion could be the cause of all the wars and much of the suffering that the people of the world have experienced."
"Thoughtful answer, I'm not a very religious person myself but in this instance you may want to focus on the Catholic religion as it could possibly be the key to your future education."
"This brings me to the final point I wanted to discuss with you. Each of your teachers has expressed their belief that you have an enormous untapped potential. A potential that could take you far from the east Portland surroundings. We believe that as teachers and educators, we have an obligation to do everything we can to unleash your potential."
"So, in conclusion, I think you should consider where you are and what you want to do. If this scholarship opportunity is something that interests you, then you should look into it, study its requirements and, if desired, apply for it. I checked into West Coast Catholic Schools that would meet your academic interests and at the same time provide you with a new point of view and the opportunities that could expand your potential. The University of San Francisco fits all of the requirements. Frankly, it's too bad you don't excel in basketball because I'm told they have a great program and produced some professional players. Lastly, I would encourage you to start exploring the Marshall High School Political Science Club and consider running for class office. We all think these activities could add up on the positive side of your ledger."
"It is a lot to consider. I'm not Catholic, have never been out of the State of Oregon; don't belong to any school organizations other than the baseball and football teams. I will, however, give what you have said thought, discuss it with my folks and let you know what course I have chosen. Thanks very much Ms. Laceful. I appreciate your comments." The old girl, Bruce thought, was actually moving up on his list.
"Toni, look at this place. Why are Greyhound Bus Depots all the same? They are old, dirty and attract a bunch of people that make us look like members of congress." "Mike, the folks you see here are for the most part homeless. My guess is they have no place else to go and like all of us they need someplace that is dry and warm."
Bruce started laughing and said, "Mike, for you to even begin to remotely look like a member of congress, you would have to loose about 200 pounds, get rid of your Harley tattoos and quit smoking. Somehow I don't think that is going to happen."
"It's almost time for the bus to leave and I've got to get back to school, but before I do, I want you to know that all of the staff and many of the students at Marshall High School are very proud of what you have accomplished in the last year and one half. We all wish you the best of luck at USF." Having said that Ms. Laceful gave him a hug, turned and headed for her car.
"Who would have thought you would get a hug from Ms. Laceful. I can tell you with all of the time I spent with that woman there was no chance I'd ever get a hug. I have a hard enough time getting one from Toni and I think she likes me."
"Don't push it big guy, if you get any bigger hugging you will be physically impossible."
"Well son, we wish you the very best, we love you and will be anxious to hear from you once your settled in. Dad and I will miss you a great deal."
Bruce had his ticket in his hand and the bus for San Francisco was departing in five minutes. Mike, Toni, Mildred, Bill and Ms. Laceful were all part of the reason he was here. It had been a whirlwind year and a half since his "come to Jesus" meeting with Ms. Laceful. He was elected Student Body President, grades improved to a 3.8 GPA, studied the Catholic Religion, converted to it and received the East Side Catholic Charities full scholarship to the University of San Francisco. The time was 4:35 PM and the date was August 2, 1974.
Chapter TwoCHINA 1950's
Woo Wong was born on October 21, 1956, on a small peasant farm just outside of Beijing, China. His birth was the result of an arranged marriage between two adults who had never met and had only minimal interest in each other once they had been introduced on their wedding eve.
Mao Tse-Tung was Chairman of the People's Republic of China, but not all was under his control. Zhou Enlai was the Nation's Prime Minister and, even though Mao claimed to lead a coalition government representing 14 separate political parties, the country was really run by the Communist Party. Officials for the Party were in charge of every level of government including the media.
The country had little industry, a valueless money system, towns with high unemployment and waves of food shortages at a time when the population was increasing by 14 million per year.
Excerpted from Aloha! by Stephen A. Enna Dennis J. Wootten Copyright © 2011 by Stephen A. Enna & Dennis J. Wootten. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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