I walked up and looked around, the Model T pulled up to the garage. A breezy young woman walked inside and greeted Mr. Mike. The woman walked over to the Coke machine and put a nickel in the slot. Out popped a nice cold glass bottle of soda. She popped the bottle cap off and it went flying onto stacked tires. Mr. Mike stared at her with a look of disgust across his face, “Ms. Hawkins what would you like from me today?” he asked.
The woman looked around the little garage and locked her eyes on the big upright radio in the corner. “Well Mike, I would like that radio to be delivered to my general store within the week, I think it will look great in my ice cream parlor.” Ms. Hawkins said. Mr. Mike looked at the radio that his late father had given him and then he looked at Ms. Hawkins and sighed. He asked himself how life had turned out this way, giving everything he had to a short, dark haired, woman who had no qualms about robbing an old man.
All of the town people loved Mr. Mike, his stories of the Civil War made them all appreciate the time they were in now, where there were no battles being fought in their backyards. Mr. Mike was not as naive as the rest of the town people, he realized that there was still a war going on, a war that was in their backyards.
This war was the War of Dixon as he called it, and this shameful woman in front of him was a part of the war in the most vile way possible. “Mike!” Ms. Hawkins called out forcibly, bringing him out of his thoughts and back into the present. He looked up and into her loathsome eyes, “Yes, Ms. Hawkins?” he asked politely. “I asked if you understood that you will have that radio delivered to the General Store by Friday, or else there will be bigger losses to you than this radio.” She waited for the slight nod of his head before turning on her heels and walking briskly back to her car and driving away.
Mr. Mike was sitting outside of his garage on his wooden bench the next day, he could not bear to be inside and look at that radio. He thought to himself some ways that he could keep his radio. His first idea was that he could give Ms. Hawkins a double payment this month, but he did not have enough money for that. His second idea was to hide the radio and say it was stolen but he knew he couldn’t do that, not when his son’s life would depend on that radio. Last month his son’s life depended on that model T that Ms. Hawkins drives now. Mr. Mike needed a way to get his son safe and then he would put his plan into motion.
It had been two years since Mr. Mike had last seen his son, he had watched as his son was driven away and taken to an insane asylum and had not heard from him since then, except for an update from Ms. Hawkins every time she came to collect the fee for having him at the “Sanctuary” as they called it. When he met Dixon, the man who managed the Sanctuary, he thought he was an admirable man. Dixon had told him that a grown man with autism, like his son, needed to be watched carefully and that he could keep a close and careful eye on him, but Mr. Mike would need to pay some money for his stay.
Shortly after his son was moved in Dixon raised the fee and started cheating him out of all his valuable possessions. Dixon started finding reasons for the town people to send their loved ones to the insane asylum also and when they could not pay their dues he took their possessions as payment. Ms. Hawkins was employed to help Dixon collect his payment by sweetly telling them that their loved ones could not be provided with treatment or transportation back to them if they did not give them something.
Mr. Mike was tired of the bullying and threats, he gathered the townspeople and they made their way to the asylum. They were going to demand that their loved ones be released to them, and if Dixon did not comply they would take him and his workers down. They would do whatever it took to get their loved ones back.
Mr. Mike and the town people came up to the asylum and their mouths dropped as they saw what stood before them. The entire building was engulfed in flames as the three-story building burned to the ground in an intense blaze. Mr. Mike dropped to his knees as he heard the scream of his son.
“Mr. Mike, Mr. Mike, please stand up! You are scaring the other folks” cried a nurse. Mr. Mike looked up at his surroundings and saw the other senior citizens staring at him as he kneeled in the art gallery they had been touring. There was a painting in front of him. The painting was of an old wooden garage with a Coke machine out front and a Model T car pulling up the road. He saw the painting and realized he had let his mind lose itself again with thoughts of stories his younger self would have developed into books. As the nurse took them back to the home, he wondered if the dementia and delusions would ever go away.