Promptly at 8, Howard pulled in with a big briefcase in hand. “Morning ready to learn, Craig?” Howard asked as he said, “Carla we need coffee and water, no interruptions, I’ll call your cell if we need you ok.”

“Yes, Mr. Awls.”

Craig and Howard walked into the library and closed the big oak pocket doors behind them. Craig sat at the big desk as Howard pulled up the gold library chair up to the front keyhole of the old oak desk to face Craig.

“So Howard tell me, just how dependent is this town on me?” Craig asked.

Howard suggested, “Grab a pen and legal pad partner.”

“This is more than the oil and gas wells then.”

“Yes sir it is!”

“Here is how we are so deeply involved.” Howard said pulling out a large binder from his big briefcase and putting it on the desk with a thud.

“Wow” Craig said as he closed his mouth. “Do I need to make copies of this?”

“Nope it’s your papers! This is what we have to go over and make sure that we have this set up as partners. This was in Dad’s safe, everything in there has your name on it already; your Father had transferred all of it to you when he got sick, all the proceeds have been in the trust fund. That is the Awlsport account I just showed you the other day.”

Howard laid down a report in front of Craig, “This is all current as of this morning?”

Craig looked up, “This is the Awlsport Bank account, but how come the dollars are higher than the other day Howard?” Craig asked as he looked over the report and went to his laptop.

“Craig this account fluctuates daily depending on what the wells production is and the price per barrel. When Dad first explained this, I drove myself nuts looking at it every day. Now once a month I look at it, then move some over when I need to.”

“OK!” Craig pushed back his chair and pointed to the table. “We had better move all this to the table so we can spread out. Let’s see how well I understand this, and get this into my gray matter Howard!”

“This may take all day Craig.” Howard said as he handed Craig his black & gold Mont Blanc roller ball pen.


        Remember that long vacation and how you felt the morning of your first day back to work …when you sort of had that brain freeze or blonde moment of reality setting in.

Monday morning started at 6:00 AM. “Carla we need to treat our week days as work days now, so how about some breakfast for this business man, otherwise known to you as your husband?” Craig announced walking out of the bathroom all dressed and smelling fresh.

Carla kicked off the covers and stood up. “Hmm L’Homme do I get a smooch and squeeze for motivation?” Carla went down to the kitchen started to fix sausage and ran back

“I at least need to brush my teeth, you slave driver.” Carla said laughing, as she ran back to the kitchen. Mental note to self—put toothbrush and mouthwash down here in the powder room.

“Breakfast is ready,” Carla said as she ran out and got the papers, thinking you had
better add sweats to the powder room.

Craig was standing at the door when she came back in with the papers. “Don’t go out there like that again Carla.” He smacked her behind shaking his head.

“I know I’ll make sure I have sweats down here to change into or how about if I wear my big fluffy red robe?”

Craig gave her a serious look “I don’t want any animals getting you, sweats will do,”
kissing her.

“Oh, I didn’t think about that.”

“Breakfast is good, thanks. What are you going to do today?”

“I’m going to start to learn how to be a housewife and I have a lot of work upstairs to do. Of course there are my ING jobs.” Craig tilted his head and gave her a look “the ing jobs” then it dawned on him. “Oh the washing, ironing, cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, cooking what else did I forget Carla?”

“Actually you did real well, just forgot the shopping and gardening. I haven’t figured out eating bonbon’s yet. I think that must be while you’re lying on the coach watching all the TV talk shows; or is it the soap operas.” Carla leaned over and kissed his cheek as Craig smiled.

“So Carla, Howard will be here shortly, you might want to dress!”

“Oh yeah” 15 minutes she returned “Better?”

“Much we need to do this every weekday it is back to reality time, ok?” Craig winked at her as Carla asked.

“Should I plan a lunch for the two of you?”

“Got something you can throw together in a minutes’ notice?”


“Then we’ll see how the day goes and play it by ear.” Craig went back to reading his newspapers.

Craig’s Ex

How to explain your first marriage mistake…

Craig sat up hugged her and continued “I was on my way back to Vienna and met Aileen Fletcher at a bar she was about 5′ 7″ rail thin actually, now that I think about it she was anorexic. Aileen had long brown hair, fair skin and an hour glass figure with skin tight clothes on, I was horny!”

“As I remember it I must have been really drunk. I kept running into her after I came home and one day I said I love you, marry me. I was lonely and still horny.”

Craig finished his drink and got up to make another one for both of them “Maybe that pitcher would have been a good idea.”

Back on the couch Craig continued. “The first 6 months was fun. Lots of sex, which I thought was good. I know now it was flat and she quit playing. Her attitude towards sex and her husband completely changed. We started fighting a lot. Mainly over money, the apartment was not good enough she needed new furniture, clothes. Basically I was living a night mare 24/7.”

“That’s when I talked to my Dad, who suggested a change of atmosphere and invited us to the lake. That was a disaster, there was the Corps group gathering which was the second disaster. There was no satisfying her. I had my hands full trying to get a job at a good company.
That is where Mark came in. Aileen was furious. She didn’t want to move.”

“After I started at Standard, she started running around with every one under the sun. One night I came home and found her with a biker.”

Craig made a fist which was grabbed by Carla as she flopped herself back into his lap “Is this better Craig?”

Craig hugged her tight. “Yes, you know the rest of the story!”

“Thanks for telling me.” Carla laid a big kiss on his lips. “If I ever start to act like the “B” pounce on me. It will be part of our Deal. I can’t image how you felt, well maybe it was like” . . .

“END of this conversation Mrs. Jones!”  Craig took her in his arms and carried her upstairs . . .

Craig Tells All

                     Every one has a past… what are you ashamed to admit? 

Driving back to the house from Craig’s meeting, Carla was quiet. “Craig I want to talk about . . .”

“What Carla, you’re the one with a frown on her face now, what’s wrong,” Craig asked.

“I want to know about Aileen. She’s surfaced and I want to . . .” Carla asked praying it
was not going to be a mistake.

Craig said, “Ok, let’s sit at the breakfast bar and I’ll fix us a Mimosa. It’s my turn to talk.
Fair warning Honey, I get upset over this. Come sit by me.”

“Are you sure you want to sit here and not on the couch, or the patio, it might be more comfortable Craig.”

“Well you might be right. I’m not use to sitting on bar stools talking much anymore.” Carla asked him. “Do we need a pitcher of drinks?”

Craig shook his head. “No I think one tall one will be enough.” Craig got comfortable on the loveseat looking out to the woods, patted his lap for Carla to sit sipped his Mimosa then kissed her.

“The mood I was in at the time was . . . dark. Dad’s drinking had gotten bad. I had no word from Allan and Marcus, except they were both in the Navy and only God knew where. I wanted to go to the front, but instead I had been assigned to Embassy’s all over Europe. That was interesting, seeing parts of the world I probably never could have seen otherwise; but all the friends I had where out there in the action and I was far away from everyone.”
Craig sipped his Mimosa.

Carla asked “Just where were you stationed at Craig?”

Craig took a deep breath, “I started out in Kuwait City for a few months then I was sent to
Europe, first it was Luxembourg. Next, I was sent to Bern, Switzerland then over to Helsinki, Finland and Copenhagen. If I remember right Vienna was the longest tour I had, I even spent a couple months in China or was it Japan, hell I don’t remember I know I was only there a short time and ended up back in Europe.”

“Occasionally a letter came from Dad, or maybe Howard, Marcus or Allan. I was alone feeling sorry for myself drinking Jack Daniels straight. My life was a mess. Honestly, the drinking only made matters worse it was hard enough trying to remember what language I was supposed to be speaking. Carla it was not just one day it was years.” Craig took a
drink of the Mimosa.

Mr. V

“So how do I fit into the plans next week Craig? James sort of explained this when we went golfing; I’m assuming that his talk was about the AJ, JC, & H & A part, he didn’t go into a lot of this financial details.”

“I really don’t know what Howard has in the works for you to do; Girl Friday mainly I think, maybe some meals.”

Craig logged off stating, “I have to get going to see Mr. Vanderbilt’s at 11. Want to come along, I’ll buy you lunch at the Delta.”

“Sure be ready in a flash I haven’t seen Mr.V since the reception.”

“Greeting Mr. & Mrs. Jones please come in.” Mr. Vanderbilt motioned them into his office.

“This won’t take long Craig, just need to look over all these papers and insure Carla’s name is correct. I’ll buy lunch when we finished, if you like the Delta.”

“That be great Mr. V, I haven’t seen you in a while. How’s my paperwork and investments coming along,” Carla cautiously questioned Mr. Vanderbilt.

“Just fine, have you thought of changing things over for the business name Carla?”

“Mr. V. not yet, I’m tossing around a few names now. Do we need to do that before the end of the year or sooner?”

“End of the year for tax purposes, take your time Carla.”

“These all look great, let’s eat.” Craig stood taking Carla’s hand as Mr. Vanderbilt led them out to his Lincoln opening the door for them.


Craig took a deep breath. “There are 2 H & A businesses; the security is H&A with no spaces between the letters, that’s how you can tell the difference. H & A involves a lot of businesses, in the partnership that Howard, James and I have.”

He thought for a minute before he continued, “There’s the marina, ironworks, security, auto repair, properties; and then I think Howard’s sculpture is tied in there as well.”

“Anyway, all three do their business through Awlsport Bank, plus there is a separate account in my name, we need to open a joint account here.Actually I have thought of closing out the Centerville accounts and just moving it all here.”

“I agree with that Craig. We go to Carpenter now more than Centerville,” Carla said with a smile.

“Good, then we have made our first financial decision together, we’ll do that.”

“Ok let’s see what Awlsport Bank has to tell us, Carla.” Craig had to look up his log in information, “Just did this yesterday for the first time, here we go.”

“Ok Craig, so this explains why Howard’s been hounding you so much. This shows just how very important you are to this community. I now understand my bodyguard a whole lot more.”

Carla looked up “Craig you never knew about this?”

“No not until the other day. I never even got a report, don’t know why but I’m sure the IRS will want to see this now. That’s another headache to come in a few months.”

“This is why Howard said we are spending all next week filling my brain not only with H&A work but, explaining all this to me.”

“Craig you need some tax deductions.”

“Yes and you’re the first, and of course the kids will be too.”

“No I mean charities, like The Children’s Home and the Church Pantry.”

“Carla that’s perfect, I’ll do that tomorrow when Howard and I meet.” Craig jotted this down on a big notepad.

Carla’s Shock

“What’s next Craig?”

“Fidelity, ready” Craig asked putting in the password.

“Oh my, is this your IRA?” Carla inquired.

“Yes one of them.” Carla was in awe at what she was seeing. “Now I understand Craig, is
this a Money Market?”

“Somewhat, but my age controls withdrawals, so it’s untouchable now except for deposits. Fill up our cups. We have a few more to check.”

Carla returned with the thermos “Ready to go Craig.”

“USAA, this is from Grand Dad CJ, passed to my Dad Auggy, and now it has mine added to it. It’s never been touched Carla, ready?”

“Yep I think so, is this just investment or more Craig?” She asked him, “This is investment plus, there’s insurance, banking, retirement and a Visa card.”

“Craig, how do you keep track of all this, I’d be so confused.” Carla said scratching her head.

“That’s the reason I have Marcus.” Craig smiled “Ready” he asked


“Waukegan Trust, CAJ III Trust fund.”

“Craig you have a trust fund too.”

“Yes Carla, Dad told me that CA & Judith started it the day I was born, I’ve never touched it, hold on Mrs. Jones.” Craig took her hand, hit the enter key.

“Holy Cow,” her mouth fell open and her eyes got huge squeezing his hand.

“You ok Carla?”

She closed her mouth and swallowed, “Yes, just in a state of shock, when we talked before the wedding, you said I would never have to worry, that was the understatement!” They both drank their coffee in silence.

“Awlsport Bank, this bank account is new to me Carla, Howard just told me about it the other day. Before we look at this, let me see if I can explain this. There are 3 businesses that I’m partners with Howard in—AJ Inc., JC, and now H & A.”