Note: This Jake Chronicles episode takes place just before Homecoming.
We took a vote at the treehouse and decided we were ready to start our own business. After many hours, cookies, and juice later, we came up with a great idea. The adults in the family seem to do pretty good with being in front of a camera. Uncle Tate is doing good with his podcast Tate’s Texas Talk. Grandma says it’s his way of keeping his creative juices flowing while he’s writing new songs. He’s pretty popular and he’s even interviewed some famous friends and family. He talks about music and the family; his listeners get a kick out of him talking about the kids antics around the ranch. So, we got the idea that we should do a podcast too. Face it, my crazy group of siblings and cousins are pretty funny. Grandpa said we’re the new Little Rascals, whoever they are.
We need to use Uncle Tate’s studio but we kinda don’t want to let him know. It’s a surprise for the adults and he may still be a little sore that we stored our active volcano experiment in his Studebaker. Connor and Jack “eyeballed” the ingredients, what a mistake that was. How were we supposed to know it would keep flowing after we left it in his car?
So, we’re going to go into the studio and take a look around. We need a way to get in, so I asked Tucker to bring some tools from his dad’s workshop.
“Where are they?” Connor groaned.
Jake looked at his watch. “You know Tuck, if he passed a brownie on his way to the tool barn, it’s going to take them another thirty minutes.”
“I think he eats more than Uncle Tyler.” Colby laughed. “Grandma says it’s amazing how Tuck eats so much but is skinny as a rail.”
“Well, let’s head to the front door.” Jake said and looked at the pup. “Rowdy, you stay and be on the lookout for Tuck and Evan.”
Rowdy barked and wagged his tail, signaling he understood.
“Come on gang.” Jake waved his hand and began to walk around the building. “Let’s get to it.”
“What am I supposed to be doing again?” Jack scratched his temple.
“You and Matt are in charge of the lights. Kenzie and Gabe are going to be the stage designers. Owen is the studio manager. Everyone else is security.”
“What are you going to be doing?” Matt asked.
“I’m the talent. I’ll be interviewed by Taco and Bell over here.” Jake nodded in the direction of his twin brothers. “It’s practice for when I win my first Super Bowl someday.”
“That cold Jake had last month gave him a fever. He’s had delusions of grandeur ever since.” Connor laughed.
“Says the wanna be hockey star.” Jake huffed.
“Not wanna be. Will be.” Connor smirked. “Uncle Derek says I’m a natural with a hockey stick in my hand.”
“You’re usually breaking something with it.” Colby laughed.
“Not on the ice.” Connor replied. “Off the ice doesn’t count.”
“You two have the egos the size of Texas and a piece of Oklahoma.” Matt chimed in, shaking his head.
“Matt, you were on cloud nine for days after you played with your dad and Aunt Leigh Ann at their concert. You insisted on giving us autographs we didn’t ask for.” Jake said.
“I can’t help it if I was a smash hit. Those autographs are going to be a collector’s item some day.” Matt ran his hand through his blond locks.
“Yeah well.” Jake stopped abruptly, just short of the front door. “What in the world?”
The rest of the gang knocked into him, looking in disbelief as well. Instead of the standard lock, there was a sophisticated numbered keypad in its place.
“When did they change the door lock?” Connor asked.
“Last week.” Owen said.
“Owen.” Jake squinted at his cousin. “You were supposed to do recon. Part of recon is reporting they changed the security system.”
“Oh. Is that what recon means?” Owen replied.
“I see the bandits are at again.” An adult male voice said behind them.
The gang all jumped. Jake turned to see his Uncle Tyler standing there with cousins Tucker and Evan. Rowdy came trotting behind them wagging his tale.
“Uncle Tyler!” Jake held his hand to chest. “You dang near gave us a group heart attack!”
“Yeah.” Connor feigned exasperation. “What are you doing creeping around?”
“Hi Uncle Tyler.” Kenzie gave him a toothy smile.
“Hey Kenzie.” Tyler smiled back. “Anything you want to tell Uncle Tyler?”
Connor covered his sister’s mouth with his hand. “She’s got laryngitis.”
“She just said hi.” Tyler raised an eyebrow.
“It comes and goes.” Connor replied as Kenzie pushed him away from her.
“Connor!” Kenzie punched Connor in the arm.
“What are you doing here?” Colby put an arm around his little sister and gave her a squeeze.
“I’d like to know the same thing.” Tyler put his hands on his hips. “Who do you think was going to give your security team a ride to the scene of the crime? You’re just lucky they asked me instead of their Momma.”
Jake sighed. “I knew I should have picked them up. But no, Tuck said they’d find their own ride.”
“Well, they also asked me if I had a lock picking kit.” Tyler laughed. “OK, spill it.”
“We wanted to do a podcast show as a surprise. On our own.”
“Do you know anything about doing a podcast?”
“No.” Jake replied. “But Uncle Tate’s producers make it look really easy.”
“Yeah.” Connor chimed in. You have a seat in the chair, stick a mic in your guests face and hit the record button.”
“Connor if it were that easy, everybody would have a podcast.” Tyler replied.
“Have you seen social media? Everyone does have a podcast.” Colby said.
“True. But not everyone with a mouth needs to run it in front of a microphone. Some opinions are best left unsaid, especially if they have no beneficial wisdom.” Tyler replied.
“We just want to have some fun. Uncle Tate makes it seem really cool and he tells awesome stories. We have awesome stories to tell. Let us do one podcast. We even have money for studio time. Show him Owen.”
Owen pulled an envelope out of his back pocket and handed it to Tyler.
“See.” Jake said. “We all put in our allowance to cover to usage cost.”
“Impressive.” Tyler looked in the envelope.
“Don’t rat us out just yet.”
“Please Uncle Tyler.” The rest of the gang chimed in. Evan threw in a tug on his dad’s pant leg for dramatic effect. Kenzie gave him her best pouty face.
After a few minutes, Tyler spoke. “OK. Everyone calm down. You have ninety minutes of my time and we’re not going to bother anything unnecessary.”
“Yay!” The gang applauded.
Jake turned serious. “But we have a problem. The new security system is numbered coded.”
“Let me see.” Tyler waded through the sea of kids. “I’ll give it a shot. But I recommend in the future if you’re going to pull a stunt like this, talk to an adult first and you may want to train your security team.”
“We will be discussing it in the next meeting.” Jake shot a look at the rest of the kids.
Uncle Tyler is a good guy. I heard Mom and Dad say he was good at managing our hair brained schemes because he’d done a lot of crazy stuff as a kid. I liked that he didn’t yell, he’d hear us out before he told us our plans weren’t a good idea. But sometimes he’d join us.
Uncle Tyler typed in a six-digit code and the door opened on the first try. We were all impressed with the fast decode. Maybe he should be on the security team too.
“That was quick.” Colby said.
“I took a shot that Aunt Michelle’s code would be her birthday.” Tyler smiled as the door opened. “Boys, whatever you do, never forget a woman’s birthday. You’d be better off setting your own eyebrows on fire.”
Tyler waved them all inside.
We made our way to Uncle Tate’s studio. Uncle Tyler hit the light switch and the room came to life. It was rather cool, seeing the all the machines and controls that made his podcast work. The decorating crew went through the next door and onto the set and got to work arranging the chairs. The rest of us moved closer to the control board. There was a sign taped a big, red button.
Boys & Kenzie,
Whatever you do, don’t press this button.
Owen took the note off the button and Connor hovered his hand over it.
“Wait!” Jake yelled. “Didn’t you just read the sign?”
“Yeah.” Connor shrugged. “But that button is just begging to be pressed.”
Jake slapped his forehead with his hand. “It’s probably a booby trap.”
“Let’s see.” Connor hit the button.
Several of the lights on the board lit up as well as the monitor connected to the camera in the studio aimed at the chairs. Uncle Tyler’s phone chimed with a notification. He took his phone out of his pocket and read a text. He smirked then slipped his phone back in his pocket.
“That was your Uncle Tate. He got an alert that the studio equipment had fired up and figured you all finally found your way in and probably with my help. He said that button is all you need to press for whatever you’re up to and don’t forget to hit the lights on the way out.”
“It’s showtime!” Colby said as the gang scattered.
Jake remained, giving his Uncle Tyler a skeptical look. “This seems too easy.”
“Let me guess.” Tyler chuckled. “Now it’s not worth the challenge?”
“No, we still want to do it but—”
“You want to know how the adults knew what you were up to.” Tyler replied.
“You boys and Kenzie have your ways. We have ours.” Tyler took a seat at the control panel.
“Huh.” Jake took a seat next to his uncle.
“You know Jake, even when y’all out finding some mischief to get into, I never worry. You’re just like your dad. There’s only so much trouble you’re willing to get into before you do the right thing. You always do the right thing. They’re in good hands with you.”
It could have been any of us that gave away our plan, but it was still fun trying to pull it off. Sometimes we were successful and sometimes the adults cut us off at the pass. The main thing was that we got together and had a great time making plans. Grandpa said there was nothing like having a group of people who loved being together, having adventures and sometimes getting in a spot of trouble. Dad said to enjoy this time, because before we knew it, we’d be all grown up.
I’ve learned that having a place in the world where our roots were strong and there’s plenty of love to go around, makes life all the better. I have no doubt as we grow older that we’ll always be close, having fun and being there for each other.
Love, family and football. It’s a Blake thing, after all. I look forward to adult shenanigans with my crazy family. It’s time for the next generation to spread its wings.
See you soon.
Hope you enjoyed Jake’s latest adventure with his family! For those sad to see the series end, no worries! I will explain the next phase of the Blake Boys universe in my upcoming podcast this coming weekend!
In case you missed it, check out Tree House Follies with Uncle Jared, Kangaroo Court with Uncle Channing, Phone Follies with Uncle Tyler, Big Brothers Club Meeting with Uncle J.J., Music Lesson with Uncle Tate, Running Interference with Uncle Robert, Field Trip with Uncle Bubba, Babysitting Avery & Wyatt, Present Hunting with the Gang, New Year’s Eve on the Ranch, Love Lessons from Mom and Dad, Thanksgiving at the Ranch and Chores Around the Ranch.
Copyright © 2021 Rhonda Laurel. All Rights Reserved.
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