Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapters 37 and 38

Chapter 37

My Dearest Nicole,
If you are reading this than it means that I am no longer by your side. I have loved you since the day I met you and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Unfortunately I was not the man you thought I was and I had no right to marry you as I was already married. In fact, my name is not actually Nicholas Patterson. The truth is that I really don’t know who I am or where I came from.
My earliest memories are from a church home for unwanted children. My personal space consisted of a bunk bed and a box I could keep under the bed. As there were two of us on the bunk, the box could not be very large. All I really remember about that place was being cold all the time, even during the summer. I really didn’t have any friends. Most children that are raised that way become loners. Every once in a while one of the boys would go home with a family, but never me. Finally when I was fed up enough I just left. At first I thought someone would come looking for me, but that didn’t happen.
            I know I was born in 1947, but no one knows exactly what day. The home celebrated it on November 12, as that was when they figured I was a year old. That is what I had always used as my birth date until I went out on my own. The year was 1961 and social security cards were available. I didn’t realize how easy it was to get one until after I got my first one. You only needed to appear in person, state your name and age and a number was issued. The home called me Joe and I knew that I didn’t want to keep that name anymore, but my first social security card was issued to Joe Smith. I then went to several different offices, after all I had no home and eq   traveling kept me busy, and registered myself as Sam Patterson, Nicholas Patterson, Jason Flint, Frank Brewster, Fred Williams, Tom Stanford, Aiden Grant, Brandon Grant, Carl Roman and Lester Hunt.
            I cherished each identity and kept all the cards in a safe place. By the time I met you I was already married; twice in fact. My days were spent conning people out of money so that I could support my family(ies). I literally ran into you on campus after I had managed to gain a massive grant from the college to do research on the social behavior of ants. Of course I had no intention of doing that research, and in fact the grant was given to Brandon Grant, who for all intents and purposes did not exist anywhere but on paper.
            I had no intention of falling in love with you, but you were beautiful both inside and out. I realize now that I have done you a great disservice as I was never and could never be completely honest with you. Please understand that I did love you and the children you gave me.
            I do not think it would be wise for you to try and seek out my other wives (of which there are 4 more), as this story is fairly implausible.
            My last con was by far the largest. I used my name Tom Stanford and flew to San Francisco and managed to get twenty three million dollars from the trust fund set up for all living heirs of the Stanford family. I had managed to make my story solid and had all of the proper documentation to prove it. If I were to get caught for this I would never see the light of day again.  I cannot go to prison. The one year expedition is really just another rouse as I will not be returning home with you.
            I have made sure that you, Bruce and Adriana are set for life. The house is completely paid off and there is another envelope in this box that has a key to a safe deposit box that has money in it.  
Chapter 38

Bruce re-read that letter several times, each time garnering more questions. He could not believe that his father had done all of those things. But there was a part of him that was in awe of this man who had managed to created separate lives for himself with several families.

He had met one of his set of step-siblings, were there more?

Did every family get one of these letters?

How many people had he conned out of money to be able to afford five families?

Why had he done this?

His head was spinning as he went through the rest of the contents in the box. There was an envelope addressed to his with the Deed of Trust for their home. The deed was in his name.  There was an envelope addressed to Adriana with bank statement in her name with a balance of $785,000.00, and that was years old. And there was an envelope with a key in it.

He put all of the contents from the original box into his pocket, as best he could, and went in search of the bank manager.

“I would like to close out the account on this box,” he said handing the manager the key. “And I would like to open this one.” Bruce showed the manager the second key he had.

“I’m afraid that key is not for our bank,” the man said. “I can possibly help you locate what bank that is though.”

“That would be great!” Bruce had the beginning of a headache and all of the twists and turns in his father’s life were making it much worse. Why would he provide a key to a bank box that was not in this bank?

“I believe I have located your bank”, the manager said interrupting his thoughts.

“That’s good,” Bruce smiled at the man, “Where is it?”

“It appears to be in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it is not a bank key, but a bus locker.”

“A bus locker?” Bruce asked.

“See the number on the side of this key?”

Bruce nodded.

“That is the locker you will be looking for and it’s in the main Greyhound terminal in Las Vegas.”

Bruce took the key back and said, “Thank you very much. I really appreciate all of your assistance. I have one more thing I need to accomplish and perhaps you can help me with that.”

“Certainly Mr. Patterson, what can I do?”

“I just returned from a very long expedition and have over three hundred thousand dollars in cash. I was hoping you could assist me to open a couple of accounts.”

“I can help you with that. Were you thinking about an investment account or a simple savings and or checking account?”

“I’d like to definitely open an investment account for much of it and then I would like a checking account and perhaps a credit card. I have found it difficult to do much business with cash only.”

The manager nodded his head and said “I could see where that might raise some eyebrows. Do you have all that cash with you right now?”

Bruce shook his head, “No, it’s in a safe place.”

“I will get all the paperwork put together for two accounts and a credit card. Come back tomorrow around this same time and bring in the money and we will get you rolling.”

“Sounds good,” Bruce said.  “Thank you.”

Bruce went back home and opened the safe again and decided it was time to go through everything that was in it. Both his and Adriana’s birth certificates were there, the pink slips to all the cars, jewelry, and fifty thousand dollars in cash.

He booked the next flight to Las Vegas and drove over to the airport. He decided as he was driving that all four cars needed to be sold and that he needed a more modern vehicle. “Just put that on the list too!” he thought.

Standing in front a row of lockers in the bus station, Bruce felt completely lost. This was not an uncommon feeling for him anymore, but this was a different experience entirely. He looked around and saw people going in every direction; each one with a purpose. What was his purpose? Did he really want to spend the better part of his life chasing down a ghost of a man he did not completely understand?

He placed the key in the appropriate locker and found a large duffle bag stuffed inside. He pulled the duffle bag out, determined not to open it until he returned home, left the key in the door and went back to the airport for his return flight.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 36

Six Months Later:

Waking up in a familiar but strange room, Bruce tried again to clear the cobwebs from his head. He had moved into the home that he had occupied as a child. The house was exactly the same way it was the day the family left over nine years before. He had left the home as a grown child and returned as a broken adult.

Upon arriving in D.C. with the team he had immediately booked a flight to Nebraska. He had no identification so it was difficult to rent a car. He managed to get to his home via taxis. Remembering that there was a key under the brick in the front walkway he tried the door, only after knocking and getting no answer.

It was odd returning to this place after all that time and finding that nothing had changed. He knew the first couple of things he needed to do was get himself some identification and get the money had earned into a safe location.

All four cars were still in the garages and even though his took a while to start, it did eventually. He drove over to the bank that the whole family had always used to see if he could find some information in the safety deposit box. Entering the building he realized how much had actually changed since 1992. He asked to speak with the bank manager.

“I’m the manger, what can I do for you?”

“Bruce looked the man straight in the eyes and said, “My name is Bruce Patterson and I need to get into our family safety deposit box.”

“No problem Mr. Patterson. Do you have the key?”

“What key?” Bruce asked dumbfounded.

“Every safety deposit box requires two keys to open it. One is held by the bank and the other is held by the owner.”

Bruce asked, “Is there any other way to get into it?”

“I could check you identification against that which is on record.”

Bruce just shook his head, feeling hopeless. “Let me go back home and see if I can find the key.”

“Mr. Patterson, do you want to tell me what’s going on here? Most people that are trying to get into their own boxes know all of this information. Are you sure you even have a box?”

“Yes, I am sure. But it has been a very long time since anyone tried to open it. It is critical that I get into it as I am hoping it has all the information I’m looking for.”
“And just what exactly is that?”

“My birth certificate.”

Bruce left the bank and headed back home to see if he could find the key. He doubted if either one of his parents kept that key on their daily set of keys. He started in their bedroom and began looking through their drawers and closets. He did not find anything there, but as he was leaving their room he wondered if perhaps there was a safe somewhere. He started moving the pictures on the wall and right behind their wedding picture was a small wall safe.

Not knowing the code he decided to try their wedding date. That worked!  He opened the door and pulled everything out. There was some jewelry, some documents and a key. That key had to be the safety deposit key. But why would you need a different box if you had a safe?

He read through some of the documents. There was nothing of significance that Bruce could see. He hadn’t realized how long the search had taken. The bank was already closed. He went into his sister’s room, having decided that there was no point in keeping any of her clothes, shoes and other things. He threw away over half of the things he found and neatly stacked the things he was going to donate.

Early the next morning he set off to go back to the bank and begin making a life for himself. This time when he walked into the bank he asked to go to his box and was immediately led to the vault. He placed his key in the box and the bank manager placed his key in the other keyhole. Opening the door and pulling out the box was the manager’s job. He placed the box on the table and left the room.

Bruce opened the lid to the box and the only thing in the box was an envelope. It was addressed to Nicole. He pulled everything out of the envelope. There were a few smaller envelopes inside. The paper on the top however was a letter to his mother.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 35

The only way that man could be their father is if he had lied to Amanda and had really been an orphan since birth.  Knowing now all the lies that he had told, there was no doubt that Sam/Nicholas Patterson was the baby that had been born on Jul 1, 1947. The rest of his story that Lillian Patterson had been his mother was completely made up.  It was quite difficult to track a boy in the system when they really had no idea what name he used then. The reality of all of this is that no one really knew who the man they called dad really was.

By the time March arrived the entire crew was ready for a change. The end of their contract was in May and many really wanted to go back to civilization. Others however, like Lyle and Stuart had no one to return to and loved the ship life.

Matt and Bruce took off on March 1, 2001 to find Nicole and see if they could get any information from her. They had packed enough supplies for two weeks and knew that this was their last chance. Knowing what the coordinates of the island made the trip much shorter.  As soon as they were on the island, Bruce knew something was wrong. All of the markers had had set up were gone. His humble hut had been removed and nothing looked familiar.

“Are you sure we’re in the right place?” He asked Matt.

“These are the coordinates we wrote down when we left, so it has to be the right spot.”

“But nothing looks the same.”

The two men began to walk toward the location they had known was the village. The path had been destroyed and was completely covered with discards from the trees above. There were large boulders in the way as well as dead animals. “I didn’t even know that animals lived on this island,” Bruce commented.

As they reached the peak where they could look into the village they were stunned. What once was a thriving community was now destroyed and abandoned. “What could have done this?” Bruce asked Matt.

“I’m not sure,” he responded, “But whatever it was it used deadly force.”

“Could it have been a storm?”

“Not sure,” Matt answered, “It seems like this would have had to have been a hurricane, not just a regular storm. The fact that it is this far inland means it would have been a catastrophic hurricane. We’ll have to wait until we get back to look up weather patterns.”

“I think we should go down and explore,” Bruce suggested. “Maybe there’re clues down there that will give us more understanding.”

As the men gingerly approached the village, they had both been expecting something or someone to dart out at them. Nothing happened.  They approached the first building and found that all of the walls had been damaged, some more severely than others. What once appeared to be a building with several rooms looked like a series of misaligned walls and brick debris.  The continued walking through and discovered more buildings in the same disarray. What was not seen was any sign of life, or death.

Going from building to building extracted the same results: destruction of the buildings and no sign of life.

“Do you think they all escaped?” Bruce asked. “Or did whatever happen here take all the lives elsewhere?

“Not sure,” Matt answered. “But whatever it was, it was cataclysmic.  We can either continue to explore the island or ask for an early pickup.”

Bruce dejectedly replied, “I don’t see any point in exploring further. The truth is my mother is either dead of somewhere on this island. If she is here it would take more time than we have to find her.”

Matt radioed the chopper and asked for a pick up. The men had only been on the island for three days.

Upon arrival Matt and Bruce both headed down to the charts room and asked Lyle and Stuart to find out anything they could about weather activity within the coordinates of the island. What was revealed was devastating. There had been a hurricane in the area, but the eye of the hurricane was right over the tiny island. There would have been no way for any survival as the winds were in excess of 150 km per hour. As Lyle said, “Anything and everything in that area would have been lifted off the ground, swirled around and spit out hundreds of kilometers away. I would be amazed if any tree survived that kind of attack!”

Bruce had to resign himself to the fact that his mother was lost from him forever.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday's post

T      Thoughtful
H   Hopeful
U    Up
R    Resourceful
S    Steady
D      Diligent
A      Aware

Y      Yes!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapter 34

Chapter 34

Both men realized that they had run out of time. Their supplies were almost gone and their pick up point was a day’s hike away.  Matt had taken note of the coordinates for that point on the island and they determined that the next time they came they would drop down closer to that point and have more time to approach Nicole.

Returning to the ship, Matt set about getting a map charted and placed the island itself on the bigger maps as a new uncharted island that had just been discovered.

Bruce’s task was more difficult.  He had to convince his sister that going back to the island was imperative to finding out t more about their father, when in fact he had no idea if that would even work.

Monica was sympathetic, yet wary of the plan.  Although here original intent was to locate her father, the expedition had been funded to do something completely different. She would have to justify the cost of the helicopter and the time involved to send the men back.

After two weeks of deliberations, Monica gave the okay. Matt and Bruce were all set to leave the ship for the island the next morning. But a sudden storm approached and they cold not fly.  September was the beginning of hurricane season and the reality was that they might not have safe passage for another six months.  Bruce did not want to take the chance to be stranded again and he agreed to wait until March. By then it would have been more than a year since he actually talked to his mom.

While waiting out the hurricane season the team set about the task they had been commissioned to do. They slowly made their way further down the Amazon river, encountering all the jungle had to offer. Bruce saw piranhas destroy a full length boa constrictor. He saw a boa constrictor squeeze the life out of a monkey. He saw a black caiman destroy an entire school of piranhas, he saw a giant otter and was scared to death when he saw the huge anaconda swimming next to the ship.

Nothing in Bruce’s past had prepared him for his present state. He no longer had a plan for his future. He was completely unsure about his here and now. He spent a lot of time, as it was available, speaking with Monica and Steve. He wanted to know more about the man they all called dad. Strikingly familiar were the stories of his being gone for long lengths of time. It became so normal that none of the kids thought life should be any other way.  Also consistent with all the stories was their mother’s undying love for their father and her defense of him at any cost.

Amanda Patterson did not seem to be the same personality type as Nicole Patterson. Where Amanda was independent, Nicole was dependent. Where Amanda was self-sufficient, Nicole relied on others for everything. How could a man love such diverse women at the same time?  The only place to find that answer was to learn more about the man they all called Dad.

Amanda found out that Sam Patterson had been orphaned by the age of ten and never really knew his father. Nicole only knew that Nick Patterson had no family. Monica, Steve and Bruce could not believe there was not more information about their father available somewhere. The World Wide Web had become very popular and with the satellite on the ship they should be able to access the internet.

All three agreed that his birthday was somewhere in 1947. Amanda heard that he was born to an unwed mother. In 1947 that was a crime and there were only specific places where he could have been born, if he had born somewhere other than a dirty alley. That was a dead end.

Was there any way they could come up with his social security number and perhaps they could track him that way?  Monica was not sure if social security numbers were required for high school back then, but she figured that was good place to start. She contacted the school that her mother and father attended together and introduced herself as his daughter and wondered if they could provide any background information on him. It took almost three week for a response to come back and all the school could provide was his birth date was June 1, 1947. His mother’s name was Lillian Patterson and his father was unknown. They provided an address that was on his record.

The three grown children were elated. That gave them somewhere to start looking. They looked up Lillian Patterson; they looked up Sam Patterson DOB. June 1, 1947, and they looked up Patterson in Nebraska in and around 1947. The only information they received was from a hospital in Azusa, Nebraska. It stated that an unknown woman had come into the emergency room and given birth to a baby boy. When it was time for them to be released, the woman was gone and the boy was turned over to the state. Could this be their dad?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Journal

I am sitting here in front of a blank screen and now realize that the idea of setting myself up to post a chapter a week and a journal entry a week is just setting myself up for failure.

I have been writing the rest of Bruce's story in my head and I now know where it is going and how it is ending, but when I sit down to type it the words just aren't coming.  I am sure the book will be completed by the end of the year and I will post as it is being written.

My journal was a place for me to explain - for later reading - what I am doing, feeling, etc....but it turns out that I am not so willing to share that with whomever decides to open this blog.

I am seriously thinking about just creating a journal blog that is locked from outsiders.  That way I know my word will be kept safe.