(2018-09-10) Checking in on Everett
Officer Payne checks in on Ben and Everett Franklin.

The one story ranch dwelling of the Franklin family has an attached garage and a lawn that is more grass than dirt, something that's a little rare in this neighborhood. In the driveway is a creme-colored pickup truck with the words 'Ben Franklin Handyman' painted on its side in blue lettering. And, in the front yard, Ben Franklin is tossing a football to his son, Everett, while the sun starts to get low in the sky. The rest of the neighborhood is fairly quiet.

It's always a little awkward for Franklin to visit the… Franklins. GAWD. Good thing he frequently goes by Frank. Like today, he is doing his rounds around Willow Heights, and his usual routine is to drive slowly so he can talk to the locals as he drives by. The Franklin ranch is slightly off the beaten path, but today he is including it in his circuit. The squad car pulls up behind the pickup, the engine is killed, and out steps the large, bald cop wearing his mirrorshades. With unhurried steps, he makes his way towards father and son, calling out to both when he gets within speaking distance. "Throw me in, boys!"

Everyone usually knows when there's a cop car around. However, the typical alerts don't go up when that car happens to be driven by Officer Payne. So, when he pulls up into the driveway and gets out of the car, nobody runs for cover or otherwise stops their routines. "Evening, Officer Payne," he elder Franklin calls out.
"Wassup, Officer Payne! Man, did you hear we're two and oh to start the season? Two. And. Oh!" Everett calls, clapping the football between his hands as he emphasizes their record. He then throws the ball to the uniformed cop, a nice easy spiral. "We went all the way to New Mexico this weekend!" he adds, clearly excited.

The big cop slows down as the football is tossed, getting ready and reaching out to the right to catch the throw, nice and easy. "I heard." Frank calls back, a grin spreading over his face as his free hand reaches up, plucking the mirrorshades off and slipped into his breast pocket. "Actually I saw the last game; I was there with Luci." Giving the football a couple of pats, he holds it up and back. "Go long, kid."
Assuming Everett does so, Frank waits for him to get into position before tossing the ball at him - hard. There's a lot of strength behind that throw, but he figures Everett can handle it. This gives him the opportunity to approach the elder Franklin, who is clasped on the shoulder a couple of times. "Everything's calm and quiet at home, Ben?"

When Officer Payne says go long, Everett takes off at a dead sprint, straight across several neighbor's yards. Officer Payne has a cannon. Even as the ball is launched, he still has to run to catch up with it. This gives the adults quite a bit of time to chat. Nice how that worked out.
As Ben gets clapped on the shoulder, he reaches out to shake Frank's hand. "Quiet as it ever gets, 'round these parts. How've you been, Frank? Is Luci in middle school yet?" Ben responds with a knowing smirk. "I hear those tween girls can be a real handful."

"Next year." Frank nods to Ben, giving the elder Franklin a firm handshake. "She's got her mom's sassiness, so she's more than a handful. But she's a good kid." His big hands go to rest on his hips, and he lifts his chin to watch how far Everett runs to catch the ball. "How's Everett doing?" He asks, and turns a sidelong glance at Ben. "There's been some trouble around town lately. I wanna make sure the kids here are staying clear."

Ben looks after Everett as well, who's caught the ball and is headed back now at a leisurely jog. He nods a little and smiles, slightly. "Boy's alright. School just started and they've got him living on campus, in the dorms, so I'm hoping he'll be clear of most of the trouble. Those friends of that boy still ride by here once in a while, but they haven't done nothin' yet," he explains. "You know, if we had known that boy had been up to all that, we never would have let E hang out with him."

"Kids'll hang out with whoever they want, not much you can do about it. If the other boys cause trouble for you, you give me a call." Frank assures the old man, but looks up as Everett returns. The big grin returns to his face, and the cop lifts a hand up for a high-five. "Hey hey, nice catch. Keep that up, and they'll put you on First String for sure. You got good eye-hand coordination; you should try for a wide receiver position, huh?"

Grinning from ear to ear as he claps Frank with a high-five, Everett keeps the ball tucked under his arm. "Hey, I'm trying to get in where ever I can. Right now, they got me running quarterback for the scout team, so I might even get some snaps in at QB instead of just running back. I'm just tryin' ta get my feet on that field! I'd even return kicks," he effuses.
Ben folds his arms across his chest and smirks. "You /need/ to put some of that energy and effort into your homework. Grades are even more important in college than they were in high school," he admonishes.

Frank nods to Everett's football aspirations, lowering his hand after the high-five to rest on his hips again. "That'll be damn cool if you have a run at QB." He agrees, but the cop glances at Ben as the elder Franklin chimes in. "Listen to your old man, kid. Don't let your grades slip, man; you only get to play if you stay in school. Say, weren't you hoping to get a football scholarship?"

"Oh yeah, I know, pops! And they got me a tutor for math and stuff, so it's no worries!" Everett responds, smiling at his dad. He listens to Franklin and nods. "Yes sir, I know! And yeah, I'm really hoping to get a scholarship, maybe next year. They didn't have room to give me one this year, which is why they were talking about maybe having me redshirt. But I really think I could get one if I get a shot. I'm already as big as most of the other guys!" he says, lifting his arm and flexing it, obviously trying to impress the police officer.

Frank breaks out in a laugh as Everett flexes. With a shake of his head, the big cop reaches out to give the young man's bicep a squeeze, as if to test his sturdiness. "You sure are." Releasing the arm, Frank upnods at the young man. "Upper body strength is important, but if you're going for QB, you want to balance your size and speed." He then glances back at Ben, followed by a look at both father and son. "Listen, I should continue with my beat, but if you hear anything about the recent shootings, gimme a call." He arches a brow at both meaningfully, then smiles broadly. "It's good to see you boys again."

Balance size and speed. Check. Everett's admiration for the cop is plain as he takes careful note of his recommendation. But, then he announces he's leaving and Everett nods, spinning the football on his palm as he starts to back away. "Have a good night, Officer Payne!" he calls, grinning and waving.
For Ben's part, he smiles and nods to the policeman, raising his hand briefly in a subtle wave. "Thanks for all you do, Frank. Really," he says.

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