Hoyt Harris hoped that the call to his one-time boss and long-time friend would end on a positive note. Ten minutes into the call, it was clear that was not going to happen. Hoyt was not surprised when the conversation turned in the wrong direction. This was Ty Lewis, after all. One good thing about Ty was that he would always give you a straight answer, always his honest opinion. That was exactly what Ty gave Hoyt.

“Hoyt, that’s crazy. You can’t do that.”

Hoyt smiled. It wasn’t the first time he had been told that.

“No, its sane. That’s why you think it’s crazy. And you’re wrong I can do it.”

“Even if you can, you shouldn’t. It is either illegal or someone will make it illegal as soon as word gets out about what you intend to do.”

“You see? That’s part of the plan. Kick the ant hill, swat the hornet’s nest. Stir things up. Get people thinking and talking and then thinking some more. There is no down-side.”

It was easy for Hoyt to hear Ty’s exasperation as he asked “Is there some other objection that I can raise that you won’t ignore?”

Hoyt paused for a handful of heartbeats. He wasn’t considering Ty’s question seriously, but he wanted Ty to think that he was.

He sighed and shook his head, even though Ty couldn’t see the gesture. Trying to keep the smile out of his voice, Hoyt gave Ty the straight answer he deserved to hear.

“I can’t see one. There really isn’t anything or anyone that will make me change my mind. I’m doing what I think is right the only way I can see to do it. I understand if you can’t be part of it. But, seriously, Ty – stay involved, stay in touch. Let me know what you are thinking. Just because Going against your advice now doesn’t mean I always will. No matter what, I value your feedback above nearly anyone else.”

It was Ty’s turn to sigh. Hoyt couldn’t tell if it was a sigh from anger, frustration or sorrow. Perhaps a bit of all three.

“I should ask whose feedback you value more than mine, but I’m not really sure I care. For the rest, about keeping in touch … I’ll think about it. Once you get arrested for this crazy stunt, I promise I’ll come to your trial but damned if I will visit you in prison.”

“Your open mind a honest opinions are all I am asking.” Hoyt waited for a goodbye, but there was only a click from the other end. Damn, he thought, now he’s pissed at me. I didn’t want that.

Hoyt tapped the End Call button and put down the phone. He leaned back his the office chair and pushed himself back from the desk. Had he been wearing a tie, he would have loosened it and unbuttoned his collar – the signal of an end of a long day.

The desk lamp cast a circle of light on the desk, illuminating his phone and a list of names, all but one of them either checked off or lined through. The last name was Ty’s and he couldn’t quite bring himself to cross that one out. Seemed too final.

Perhaps it was final. That might be the last time he heard from Ty or Susan. Either way, that was the last phone call he needed to make tonight.

He had been through a list of all people he considered to be friends. Most of those he considered to be his closest friends were people who knew him from before the money showed up. After he had money it was hard tell the difference between real friends, the kind you trust, and sociopathic bottom-feeders, who wanted to appear to be the kind you could trust. The money and its aftershocks had made him more cynical than he ever expected or wanted to be.

He had never expected or wanted to be rich. His parents weren’t poor by any measure but rich they were not. Hoyt had grown up comfortably in an upper-middle class family. He had never seen a path that would lead him out of that existence or, frankly, any reason to want to look for a way out.

Hoyt was the unexpected surprise in a blended family. Unexpected might not be quite strong enough to convey the situation, but surprise he certainly was. Frank had two siblings, one each from his parents’ previous marriages. The youngest of the two was 18 years older than Hoyt. The eldest had children. Hoyt’s nieces and nephews who were older than him.

Somewhere in grade school Hoyt realized his family was different than those of his peers. His friends said it was like staying with  your grandparents full-time. That was, as far as he could tell, one of the best things about his life. His mom and dad were both mellow. They were unlikely to become angry over how he was doing in school, or ground him because of where he went or what he had done. His friends were extremely jealous of Hoyt’s freedom.

Those tables turned.

His dad died from an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer that took almost no time from diagnosis to funeral. That was during Hoyt’s junior year in high-school. His mom died 2 years later, almost to the day. Her death was considered suspicious, which meant the state performed an autopsy. Hoyt knew his mother would have hated that. The medical examiner found a ruptured aneurism in her brain. She had been asleep and the doctor made certain to let Hoyt know that she hadn’t suffered, would most likely have slept through dying. Hoyt wasn’t quite sure how that was supposed to make him feel better; she was still gone no matter how or when it happened. A freshman in college, he was now an orphan. That was certainly something he never expected or wanted to be.

Something else he had never expected or wanted to be was a revolutionary. Yet here he was, planning the overthrow of the US government. Now that he had finished calling his list of  contacts – Ty being the last on that list –  he was ready.

Time to start a rebellion.

Continue reading:

Chapter 1

Fiction Imitating Art