A Courageous Battle (Chapter 3, page 1 of 3)

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Chapter 3

ROGER BROCK was almost home. After being up north at college for five years, he was starting his first job as a high school gymnastics teacher in the fall. His best friend, Mario, was driving.

They had been on a wilderness camping trip. Roger's thoughts were fixed on how soon he could get a car and get his own place, what the women would be like at his school, and whether he would get laid.

He had planted reforestation seedlings during his college summer breaks, enjoying the fact that he got paid for the work he did, while the losers who couldn't keep up got much less. He had not seen his parents for three years. Nor had he seen Lacey Wilson, the annoying brat next door, who had sent him cards and letters all through his college years, even though he never replied. None of them were in his thoughts as he fidgeted, anxious for the long ride to be over.

The youngest son of three, born decades after his two brothers, Roger had been indulged but largely ignored by his now elderly parents. Free from restraint or example, he had grown into a self-centered man who, at twenty-five, lived for sports, the outdoors and sex. As his house came into view and he started to gather his belongings, he hoped he'd find a beer in the fridge.

ROGER'S FATHER waved but didn't get up from his recliner and turned right back to his TV show. His mother hugged him.

"Hi, Mum. What's new?" he asked, not really interested and not expecting any answer other than "not much".

With a grave face she said, "You haven't heard, eh? Of course, how would you? The Wilsons were killed. It's so terrible.

The plane they were on caught fire or something and went down in the ocean. No one lived."

"My God! Lacey is dead?" he asked, surprised at the tug he felt in his heart.

"No, no. Not Lacey. It was Harold and Susan that went.

Lacey stayed home. She's working for the summer at some newspaper downtown. Don't know where."

He absorbed this news, then asked, "Is she next door?"

"I think so. You should go see her."

"I will, Mum. I'm starved. Is there any supper?"

He ate the sandwiches and soup she offered and cracked a beer. Then he unpacked his bags. Then he showered. Then he cracked another beer. He had planned to call up friends, or look at the want ads for cars. Bummer! I should go see her. Finally he finished his beer and headed across the driveway.

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