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A Belated Thank you and a Short Story for you.

Your help made my launch do well.

A Belated Thank You

To All Those Who Helped

I would like to thank everyone who ordered “Mariah: Blood of the New Moon.” The launch went well and it was because of all of you. If you haven’t left a review, please do so that other readers may find the book. It was fun and the book did better than I expected.

With that said, I’m hard at work on a book in a different genre along with the second book to the Jillian Factor. Since I love romance books, I’ve two that I have close to being ready to publish. They will be classified as inspirational romances and will be under the pen name of B.A. Lethco since they are a totally different genre.

Below is the short story that I promised you as a thank you for helping my book to be a success. Enjoy and Thank you again.

 

As High as the Moon by B. A. Mealer

 

Jody slithered outside through the doggie door. He was small for an eight-year-old, but that didn’t matter. Not tonight.  He ran to the far end of the yard that surrounded the old farmhouse before putting on his shoes. The clean smell of the damp earth and wet grass filled his lungs. He had time. No one would notice he was gone until morning, but he would be back long before then.

His heart sped up when he saw the rising full moon, peeking over the hill, changing the landscape into a dark silver. He had just enough light to follow the narrow path to the big tree perched at the top where he could see the whole the farm in the daylight. He scrambled up the hill and stopped just shy of the old wood fence posts, the stars twinkling in the expanse of the dark sky overhead.

What held his attention wasn’t the small twinkling lights, but the big silvery orb inching its way into the sky. Unable to stop himself, his right arm rose, reaching toward the moon. It appeared so close that he could touch it. A longing poured into him. A longing he knew would never come true. A longing to be an astronaut who could explore the moon and space.

Unable to look away, Jody stood unmoving. The moon had fascinated him for as long as he could remember. Tonight was one of those rare nights when the moon filled the horizon, appearing close enough to the earth to travel there easily. The longing to go there increased.

Without looking away from the moon, he moved under the tree, his hand finding the old swing that had hung there from the time his father was a child. He wiggled onto the board seat, smoothed from years of wear, before setting it to moving back and forth. Soon he was going as high as he could make the old swing go. He tilted his head back, eyes closed, pretending he was leaving earth, destination the moon. He hung onto the slight given in the atmosphere, exhilarated with the thought of space travel to explore the last frontier for mankind.

When he opened his eyes, with a thud, the dream fell away and shattered into little pieces. A poor farm boy who was barely able to move most of the time wasn’t going to go to the moon. He’d be lucky to make it to adulthood.

Jody stayed on the swing, the sadness mixed with anger filled him, until the moon had shrunk to normal size at the top of the trees. It was late and he needed to return to the house and get back to bed. Dreams were nice, but he had learned at age five that they seldom came true. He rubbed his left hand, straightening the stiff fingers. As much as he wanted to explore space, his body let him know he would be lucky to be walking by the time he became a teen.

*****

“Mr. Enfield.”

Jody raised his head, not sure what he had missed of class. “Yes sir.”

“I asked you a question.”

“I’m sorry. I was working the problem you put on the board.”

His teacher’s mouth dropped into the normal frown. “In that case, use the board to show the class what you have completed so far.” Mr. Wallace’s voice was sharp and cutting.

Jody took his notebook and went to the board. Using the pen, he wrote the physics problem at the tope before methodically working through the steps, not caring what anyone thought today. Without referring to what he had already done, he wrote the equations and plugged in the numbers, not stopping until he wrote the answer.

His eyes slid to Mr. Wallace, the physics teacher. Jody squashed the satisfaction he had when he found the answer. No one else cared about what he could do. Mr. Wallace was blinking, staring at the board, lips partially open. Carefully, Jody put the pen in the tray and took his seat. The classroom was silent. Everyone was staring at the board instead of him for a change.

This was an easy problem. The couple of problems he had seen in a book from the library were much more challenging. The answers hadn’t been given, but Jody was confident he’d find those answers before returning the book to the library.

Mr. Wallace cleared his throat. “Will you please go over those steps and explain them to the class Mr. Enfield.”

Jody painfully got up again and made his way to the board. It took the rest of the period to explain what he had done while Mr. Wallace listened along with the students. The bell rang just as Jody finished. He put the pointer down and went to his desk to get his books to go to his next class.

“Want to explain where you learned how to solve physics problems?” Mr. Wallace was looking at him with respect instead of the normal derision.

“From books. I like solving the unsolvable problems. This one was easy, but even the easy ones take time to work through the steps.”

“Let me see your notebook.” Mr. Wallace held out his hand for the notebook Jody held in his hand.

Jody bit his bottom lip, fear surging up at what the teacher would find. He held out the notebook with his latest computations on the problems from the library book he was reading. Mr. Wallace opened the cover, looking at each page. Every line was filled with notations, formulas and computations.

“I’ll look into having you transferred to advanced physics, trigonometry, and geometry. I’m also going to recommend that you be sent to the Space and Aeronautics laboratory to be evaluated for the scholarship to study there.” He handed the notebook back to Jody. “From what I understand, you are above your grade level in English, all mathematics, and sciences but are struggling with things like history, sociology, literature, art and gym.”

“I’m unable to do much in gym, but the teacher doesn’t understand.” Jody held up his left hand. The knuckles were swollen and knobby. The fingers were permanently bent. “I have rheumatoid arthritis. There are days where I can barely walk. As to the other classes, I’m doing my best, but my mind keeps coming back to these problems and how to solve them.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Mr. Wallace said, patting him on the shoulder.

Right. I’ve heard that one before on more than one occasion. The doctors say it all the time.

He rushed off to his next class, not expecting anything but hoping for everything.

*****

Jody finished the equation he had been working on for the last two weeks. All it needed was physical testing to see if he was right. That meant getting the hands-on guys to rig up what was needed.  At twenty one, he was the youngest person working at the lab. He had gotten his doctorate earlier this year with his quantum theory on space travel. A glance at the clock showed that it was late, and he had a date with the full moon.

He got home in time to get to the old swing to watch the moon peek over the horizon. The dream of him traveling to the moon was long gone. The most he could do was to make space travel a reality for others who wanted to see the moon and stars.

He reached for the moon, wanting to touch it, but it would never happen. Maybe….

*****

The airship full of space travelers took off for the large space station that had been built over the past two years. Jody smiled as the plane like aircraft filled with space travelers disappeared. The space station would house the men and women who were leaving the solar system to go to another one, hoping to find a planet that was habitable. This first craft had already been to Mars and to the outer regions of the solar system and back. He had done what many considered impossible. Warp speed was now a reality.

The wheelchair motor engaged at a push on the lever. He had lost his ability to walk ten years ago. Today his hands barely worked, yet he had been a major contributor to space travel and communication. Too bad medicine couldn’t keep up with the other sciences.

He returned to his office where his assistant, Liam, was waiting. “Everything packed up?”

“Yes sir.”

“Let’s go.” Jody took one last look at what had been his office. At age forty, he was being put out to pasture. No one cared that his mind was still good even if his body wasn’t. He thought he had proven that he could do the job over the years he had been here, but apparently not.

Liam followed him into his home, carrying one of the boxes filled with books and papers. If they thought he was leaving all his work for whoever was replacing him, they were wrong. He still had more work to do. Just because no one at the lab seemed to see him as still functional, he would prove them wrong. After the rumors about him being replaced, he took the job offer with a private contractor for space travel. A job where they didn’t see his disability, only his abilities.

Early the next morning, Jody was awakened by his phone ringing. He chuckled when he heard who was calling. “Dr. Enfield here, what can I do for you?”

The person on the other end didn’t answer right away. “There were a lot of things in your office that belonged to us. We need to come and retrieve those items.”

Time to let them in on what they hadn’t paid attention to in his contracts.

“I left everything that belonged to you in the office. The work I did is mine, not yours. Everything is copyrighted to me and the plans I developed are patented in my name. If you want to use them, I’ll have my lawyer contact you.”

“But…but—”

“No buts. My work stays with me. I’ve magnanimously allowed you to use it, but it is my work. Besides, it isn’t complete.”

“But you were contracted with NASA and the government.”

“Contracted, yes. That means I worked with them, but I made sure to retain control over what I developed during my tenure there. I signed agreements to help them develop the space program. Again, if you want to use what I developed beyond yesterday, you’ll need to contact my lawyer.”

“You can’t take government work with you.”

Jody almost laughed. His lawyer had been correct. They didn’t read the contracts, assuming they were the standard contracts. From the second year on, each contract had a whole section on his owning what he developed.

“It was work I did to help the government, but according to all my contracts, all my work reverted to me when my contract wasn’t renewed. Everything you need to keep that space station working is in the office. Everything else belongs to me. If you read the contracts from year two on, you’ll see that I retained all rights to my work and the resulting plans from that work. I graciously gave you the rights to use the propulsion system and various other working parts for this one space station and shuttle, but the rest belongs to me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call my new employer and let him know when I’ll be coming in to work.”

Jody hung up before laughing. They thought the young man who came to work for them wasn’t smart in the ways of the world. They were so very wrong. He had seen the way things were going to go when they refused to hire him as an employee, instead contracting with him to develop the propulsion system and shuttle. That was their mistake.

The phone rang again. He answered with a smile in his voice. “Good morning Mr. Dawson.”

“Morning, Dr. Enfield. So how did it go yesterday?”

“They didn’t discover I had retained all rights to my work until this morning.”

“I love it. When do we have the pleasure of having you come in to work?”

“I’ll be there by ten. Liam is gathering the things that I’ll need as we speak.”

“Great. I’ll have the team assembled to go over where we are right now so you can make plans on where we need to be. I’m looking forward to a long and profitable relationship with you. NASA will find out quickly that they made a major mistake in letting you go.”

“They already know.” Jody didn’t expand since Mr. Dawson didn’t know about what he had been working on prior to being told his contract wasn’t being renewed. The space station NASA was using was only a prototype. They would soon learn that space travel wasn’t just for the military and that the refinements he was doing were going to make their station obsolete within the next two years.

*****

Jody lay on the hospital bed staring at the moon as it rose over the hill. He could almost feel the old swing giving him that sense of flying without gravity. Somewhere out there among the stars were six space stations filled with people who were exploring other galaxies because of him.

Mr. Dawson had promised him the moon. Soon he would be there, watching the earth rise over the horizon. That was all he ever wanted. To go to the moon.

His eyes drifted shut. His breathing stopped. His heart stopped. Tomorrow he would be on the moon. There for eternity, watching the earth on the horizon and the galaxy swirling around him. A frontier he had helped to open simply because he believed in no boundaries.

 

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