Chapter 17

Sam had gotten dressed.  The baby had awoken, and so had Laura.  Kelsey 
suggested that he feed the baby before they left, so Sam did and he changed 
her one more time.  He felt that he was getting pretty good at it too.

Kelsey had Laura ready by the time Sam came out of the bedroom with the baby. 
 He took the Laura's car seat out of Kelsy's car while Kelsey strapped down 
Kelly.  After both kids were strapped in, the two of them got in the car.

Sam started up the car, wondering where this Mark lived.  He was trying to 
come up with a nice way of asking, when Kelsey volunteered some information.

"Mark is staying with his sister.  You remember where that is?"


"You got to take the Interstate to Ulmerton Road.  Take Ulmerton past Starkey 
Blvd, it will be the second right.  I'll point it out to you from there."

Sam started the car and headed out.  The girls were quiet in the back, with 
Laura talking softly to the baby.  Kelsey turned to Sam.  "I hope this works."

"Me too."  Sam was still trying to come up with a plan to get up some money.  
There had to be some way to raise it.  Something he hadn't thought of.

No matter what he came up with, he could not think of any way that two young 
women on welfare could raise that kind of money legally or without borrowing 
from someone.  He drove in silence for a while.

He exited the interstate at Ulmerton, and Sam had to stop at a red light.  
Laura took this moment to announce, "Potty, Mommy. Need potty."

"Jess.. turn off at the new shopping center.  Oh look WUSA FM is there.  I'll 
take Laura in the grocery store, you can look for Martin"

Sam pulled into the parking lot, and sure enough, a large balloon proclaiming 
WUSA FM LIVE TODAY was set up.  Sam wondered what the big deal was.  He 
stopped outside the grocery store and let Kelsey and Laura out.

Pulling into a parking space, he decided to investigate.  He unstrapped 
Kelly, and cradled her gently.  A crowd of people was gathered around a big 
red, white, and blue van with the words WUSA FM 101.7 painted on it.  A small 
stage was set up in front of the van.

An announcer was speaking.  "That's right! Live from the grand opening of the 
new K-Mart Shopping Center!  We have games and prizes for everyone.  In just 
a few minutes Martin Dillion will pick the next contestants.  So stay tuned!" 
 The cheers almost deafened Sam.

He worked his way to the front of the crowd.  About the same time an older, 
but distinguished man exited the van to a chorus of "MARTIN, MARTIN" from the 

The man spoke in a rich baritone that Sam was sure drew listeners from all 
over.  "Martin Dillion here, Live from the new K-Mart Shopping Center.  Who 
is ready to play our next trivia game?"

Hands shot up all around Sam.  Martin scanned the crowd, but then his eyes 
stopped on Sam.  Probably because he was the only one not screaming and his 
hand was not raised.  Figures.

Martin reached out for Sam.  "How about you?  Come up here and take a try!  
First Prize is $100."

Sam felt his face redden, but how could he say no when the crowd was staring 
at him?  He stepped up carefully beside Martin. Scanning the crowd he saw 
Kelsey coming out of the grocery store with Laura in tow.  She saw Sam up 
there and cheered.

Martin turned to Sam.  "What is your name?  And the name of this very 
adorable baby?"

"Jessica.  My baby is Kelly."

"Okay, Jessica.  Ready to play?"

"I guess so."

Martin pulled a card from a stack and began to read from it. "Silence 
Please."  He looked at the crowd to quiet them.  "Jessica for $100 name the 7 
major characters from the original series Star Trek."

"Umm..." Sam tried to dig the names out of his rusty brain.

A familiar voice behind him was a welcome relief.  "Aww come on Sam, you 
gotta know this one."

Sam rattled off the first thing he could think of.  "Kirk, Spock, ummm 
McCoy.."  He racked his brain harder.  Black woman. "Uhura, Sulu, ummm.."  
Russian .. "Chekov, and ummm"  Who was the last
person?  He glanced at Al.

"Beam me up....." Al hinted.

"Scotty!"  Sam said with relief.

"Correct!!" Martin gloated.  The crowd erupted in cheers.  "Now for a chance 
to double it, to $200..." the crowd went "OOOOOO!" Martin silenced them again 
with a wave of his hand.   "Name the 7 characters of Star Trek: The Next 

Silence fell over the crowd.  Sam tried to remember the show, but he had 
caught only a few episodes, and couldn't remember.  He felt his face redden 
again with embarrassment.

Al took pity on poor Sam.  "Sam, they are Picard, Riker, Data, Crusher, Worf, 
Troi, and Geordi."

Sam rattled off the list to Martin.  The crowd literally exploded with 
cheers.  Martin grinned up a storm as he handed Sam four $50 bills.  "See how 
easy that was?"  He shook Sam's hand and led him off the stage so he could 
corner another contestant.

Sam was only too happy to leave the spotlight.  And so was Kelly as she was 
starting to fuss from all the loud noise. Sam turned to Al as he made his way 
across the crowd to his car where Kelsey and Laura were waiting.

"Thanks, Al."

"No problem, Sam."

Sam could tell from Al's tone that something wasn't too kosher at the 
project.  With Al's earlier departure, he wanted to find out what was wrong.  
He reached the car.  "Kelsey, can you watch Kelly for a moment while I go use 
the bathroom?"

"Sure. No Problem.  Boy you must be excited.  Winning the money and all.  You 
sure are lucky.  And Martin is so dreamy."  She took Kelly out of Sam's arms. 

"Thanks.  I'll be right back."  Sam headed into the grocery store.  Once 
inside the bathroom, he faced Al.  "Al.  Is everything all right?"

Al put on his best poker face.  "Yeah Sam.  Everything's fine here.  We had a 
slight crisis earlier, but it's under control now."  He tried not to think of 
Donna laboring away just down the hallway.

"What kind of crisis?"  Sam tried to recall the words he had seen. Something 
about water being broken.

"It's not important now.  We've got the situation taken care of.  What you 
need to concentrate on, is keeping those two out there alive."

"Anything new you can tell me?"

"Ziggy says that they were shot.  So keep away from guns."

Sam tossed Al a withering look.  "Okay.  I'll do my best."

Al keyed in the sequence to leave.  "Oh and Sam, you did great out there.  

"You helped.  Thanks.  I never knew you were a Trekkie."

"Aww Sam, we used to watch it every week with .. " He broke off before he 
could say 'the women' and tried to cover his slip. "With Gooshie and Tina." 
he finished lamely.

Sam caught Al's slip-up but didn't press him.  "I'd better get back before 
the cavalry comes looking."

"Yeah, and I have to check on our situation here.  Make sure there are no 
more problems.  Remember, keep Kelsey with you and it should be fine."

Sam nodded and watched Al leave before he headed back out to where Kelsey and 
the kids waited.