Taking Control

This book is meant to be the first in a series.
The "Taking Control" novels address the problems
facing us today and extrapolate them into the future.

Street gangs were a menace to everyone. They didn’t care who got hurt by their actions. All they could think of was drugs, money and their whores. If it cost the lives of innocent children they could laugh it off. But, after today that would not be the case anymore. After today they would be the ones living in fear.


Don was an easy going man who loved his family. His wife Sally and his little daughters Elizabeth and Patricia were the loves of his life. They were as happy as any family could be until the Christmas they went back to Los Angeles to visit relatives for the holiday. The visit was wonderful until they left to go back home to Arizona. The notorious Southside Gang crashed into their SUV while fleeing the scene of a robbery and murder with the cops in hot pursuit. Don’s entire family was killed instantly. Don only survived due to the efforts of his cousin who was following them in his pickup. Over the space of the next year and a half Don prepared to mete out the punishment to the gang. They would have to die of course and not just die but in the most painful, gruesome manner he could inflict. He had learned many things about the human body during his recovery and could psychically cause pain that no one could ever imagine inflicting physically. They were going to pay and Don intended to enjoy every moment of the restitution.


Taking Control

By John Sleeper





John Sleeper Books



Copyright 2013



The Stage Is Set


Don brought his Harley to a stop at the top of a slight rise between two warehouses on the east side of the Los Angeles River. He had selected this particular spot because it gave a secluded view of the warehouse property of the Southside Gang across the river. There would be a large gathering of the gang members at the warehouse today. This being the day of the attack on this property by a rival gang, or so the Southsiders were lead to believe. His plan seemed to be working well since there were about forty or so at the site now. This would be nothing compared to the numbers that would be there within the next couple of hours. There would be nothing to do until then.

He looked at his watch and seeing it was almost 6 A.M. he decided to go for breakfast rather than remain and take the chance of being spotted.

He started the Harley but had to pause for a moment due to a shortness of breath and a few tears welling up in his eyes. This reaction had not lessened in the year and a half since the accident. He still would not allow himself to get past the memory of Sally whose place was empty on the seat behind him. He could still feel the softness of her body pressed against his back. The feeling of her arms encircling his waist and the angel’s touch of her cheek on his shoulder came back whenever the throaty roar of engine signaled that it was time to go. He knew that he would allow the pain accompanying this memory to remain part of the engine starting ritual for a little while longer, maybe two and a half hours. When the job was done today he would only allow the warm loving part of the memory to remain.

He twisted the throttle to make the engine roar then let the clutch out and made a quick U-turn and headed toward a diner a few miles away.

Chapter 1

The Awakening


Donald Reuss was a very unusual child. He liked being different though he was a normal enough child in most ways. He enjoyed all the things any other child his age liked doing. He and his cousins would play in the dirt, make forts and climb trees like monkeys. They enjoyed playing hide and seek, which Donnie excelled at. One day he decided to show off a bit. When he was “It” he waited for everyone to hide then called “ready or not here I come,” in the usual manner. Then with his lips curled up in a secret smile, he looked with his mind’s eye to see where everyone was hiding and then without moving he started calling out their names and locations, which meant they had to come into the home base and surrender. When the other children saw what he was doing they got upset and accused him of cheating. They threatened never to play this game with him again if he was going to be a cheater.

Donnie had always assumed that the other children could do what he could do so had never mentioned it to them. That said this accusation of cheating, came as a shock. He could not convince them that he had not been cheating. He was on the verge of crying because it hurt to think that everyone thought of him as a cheater.

When it was his turn to hide he told his cousin Ben to come with him to a hiding spot. They were not supposed to hide on the roofs but it assured Donnie of time alone with Ben. He wanted to talk about what had just happened and Ben was closest to his own age. When they were settled in on the roof of the old wooden shed Donnie asked Ben, “Can you see things when you can’t see them?”

Ben’s puzzled expression and “Huh?” answer were not what Donnie was hoping for.

“You know… if you were sitting in your bedroom and wanted to know where I was, could you just see me?”

“I guess so, if I came over to your house.”

“No, I mean could you see where I was without leaving your room?”

“Well, if you were right outside my window I could.”

“But you can’t just see me if I was home in my room and you were in your room?”


Donnie got quiet and thought this over. He had been sure that if he could see Ben this way that Ben could see him as well.

After a minute during which they were both quiet Ben whispered, “Can you?”

“Yeah, I can.”

“How do you do it?”

“I don’t exactly know,” Replied Donnie. “I just want to know where you are and I don’t think of anything. Sometimes I close my eyes and I see you and where you are in my head. It’s like seeing what’s around the corner before you get there. Can you do that?”

“Yeah, that happens all the time but I don’t think about doing it,” said Ben. “It just happens when I’m not thinking.”

“That’s what I’m talking about. But, when I think about something then stop thinking, I see it.” Donnie continued, “Don’t tell anybody about this because when I did it playing hide and seek just now everybody got mad at me, okay?”

“Okay,” said Ben. “Let’s go play something else.”

They both said in harmony, “Cowboys!” and they got up and climbed down off the roof. They walked over to the hide and seek base and yelled for everyone to come in. Donnie and Ben could do this by virtue of being the oldest and biggest of all the cousins.

When everyone had gathered they announced, “Let’s play cowboys.”

Everyone yelled their agreement and they all ran home to put on their cowboy hats and cap guns.

Donnie also did other things to occupy his time and satisfy his curiosity when he had no one else around to play with. Things that he kept secret because the other children and the adults had never mentioned being able to do these things that further set him apart from the other children.

Donnie was in the fifth grade now. In school today as most days, Donnie walked toward his classroom wondering what new things might be waiting there for him to discover. Thinking about this caused a change in his surroundings. Instead of seeing the pavement underfoot, the buildings and the other children around him, he saw the interior of his classroom as though standing in the doorway looking into the room. It was not as though the world around him disappeared; it was more like everything around where he was walking became background and faded out. At this point the classroom became very clear and he could see the blackboards that covered two walls and the chalked lettering on the one in the front of the classroom. It read, “American History, pages 154 – 189, report due Monday.” It was written in Mrs. Talbot’s precise printing. There was also a printed yellow flyer on each desk announcing the book festival that would be taking place in two weeks in the library. Nothing else in the classroom looked changed or out of place. Satisfied, he brought his focus back to where he was walking and the classroom disappeared. All about him came into sharp focus once more. He was not afraid of running into anything when he did this “peeking” ahead because no matter how much he looked at in the classroom, the entire “seeing” was always accomplished between steps.

He also played with this ability on his way home from school. When he approached a building that bordered the alley he always walked through on his way home, he would say to himself, “What does the back parking lot look like now?” He had learned to be specific about what time period he wanted to see; otherwise it might appear as it was last month or even next week. Again, the alley he was walking through would fade into background and the parking lot would appear before him. He would note the color and position of each car parked there and when he reached the parking lot all would be exactly as he had seen it.

He neither tried to hide the things like this that he could do nor did he advertise them. It was like digging in the dirt or playing kick ball or running races, they were just not worthy of mention.

Sometimes the things he discovered were a bit shocking. Once when he was seven years old and outside on a clear night he engaged in one of his favorite pastimes, stargazing. He would sit on a lounge chair in the front yard when there was no moon out, lean back and look up at the dark sky, amazed at the stars that filled his field of vision. He stared at the tiny points of light that twinkled with subtle reds, yellows and blues that he could just make out if he stared at them long enough. He could see the faint colors as very thin auras at the edges of the bright white of the star’s center. This night however, his fascination did not center on the beautiful colored points of light, but upon the depth of the blackness between them. He noticed that these areas were not a true black in most places. The more he stared at these areas the more they looked gray instead of black. As he focused his gaze, he could see there were many stars here, but so faint they were like dust. They became discernible if he looked hard enough.

Donnie found that by wanting to see these areas more clearly, they would grow in size like looking through a telescope. There was no conscious thought involved in this telescoping, just the desire to get a better look. There seemed to be some faint stars in all the dark areas until he discovered one area that looked darker than the others. He looked closer and closer but could not distinguish any faint stars no matter how hard he tried. He wondered what it would be like to fly through this seeming hole in the stars.

While staring at this spot in the sky with this thought in his mind, he went blind, or so he thought. It did not feel like he was looking into this area. The sensation was that he was there because the house and yard around him had not faded into background. All the things that had been around him were just gone. His head swam and he couldn’t tell up from down because nothing but the blackness was visible all around him. It did not take long for him to calm himself and take in the surroundings. The depth of the blackness and absolute absence of anything was fascinating. He tried looking deeper and deeper but found no stars at all. The blackness seemed to go on forever, giving the feeling of floating, but not falling. The feeling was not one of insecurity. He felt completely in control.

After a short while however, fear started to creep into his mind akin to the feeling that there was something hiding in your closet at bedtime, fear of the unknown. For Donnie this sensation of fear was unusual but coupled with the total blackness of his surroundings, the unfamiliar sensation of panic started to build. He realized that he must still be sitting in the chair in the front yard of his grandparent’s house where he and his mother lived. After all, he was there just a moment ago. He told himself that he was still there, at least in part, and all he would have to do was to wish himself back to that place to be safe again.

Donnie jumped and almost fell out of the chair as the mere thought of returning made it reality. He was back in the lawn chair staring up at the starry sky. He immediately dropped his gaze down to the trees, bushes and flowers surrounding him to forego returning to the black void. He realized he could go back to that place again if he wanted to. But just now he wanted nothing more than to avoid another trip until he had time to think about what had happened. He remembered he had not seen any part of his body while in the black void. It seemed reasonable to him that his physical body had remained in the chair at home. With this realization he concluded that he had never been in any real danger. This reasoning removed any remnants of the fear and panic of a few minutes earlier.

This experience occupied his thoughts for the rest of the night until he fell asleep in his bed. He formed no conclusions, but toyed with the idea of visiting other places the same way. Sleep dulled these thoughts as his eyelids crept down. He slept well that night and dreamt of the usual things, being a cowboy and riding his horse to chase down the bad guys.

Donnie had never heard the terms remote viewing, astral projection or out of body experiences. It would not be until many years later that he would associate these metaphysical labels with the things he was just discovering he could do. To him, they were all just a normal part of his everyday life, not something special to be marveled at. He never discussed what he did with his grandparents or his mother because their only question about his day was limited to, “What did you learn in school today?” He took this to mean what the teacher taught him and not such things as skipping rope, playing second base, looking about the classroom without being in it or even a trip to outer space.

One day while listening to his radio when he was 10 years old, Donnie’s interest was captured by a discussion about healing. He had always thought that healing was about going to the doctor and getting a shot. From the time he was a small child he hated shots. It always took the doctor, at least one nurse and his mother to hold him down to give him one. His mother loved to take him to the doctor’s office if she thought he was not feeling well or thought he was too tired. She thought a hypodermic full of vitamins was a cure-all.

The doctor’s office was on Fredrick Boulevard in an old building. The partitions in the backroom that divided it into two examination rooms were made of 2 X 4’s with plywood paneling on one side. Luckily for Donnie, but unluckily for the doctor, his mother and the nurse, the plywood was not on the examination room side of the 2 X 4’s. When the doctor would approach with the syringe not too cleverly hidden behind his back, Donnie would stand on the padded examination table. As soon as they started grabbing for him he climbed as high as he could, almost to the ceiling. The doctor was tall and could easily reach him. The shot was always administered amid lots of yelling and screaming. Donnie never submitted quietly. The idea of not fighting back never crossed his mind.

The radio went on about how some people believed they could heal wounds by visualizing the wound healing itself. Healing a wound by just thinking about it? This was a very intriguing idea and he filed it away in the back of his mind to be tried the next time he got hurt.

It was only a week later while cutting a stick to make a slingshot with his pocketknife; he slipped and put a cut 3/8 of an inch long on his left index finger. He dropped his knife and the stick and held his right hand cupped under the bleeding finger to keep blood from dripping on the floor on the way to the bathroom. It was a clean cut and was bleeding quite well by the time he got to the bathroom to wash it.

He did not want his grandfather to see the cut because he would want to scrub it out down to the bone and apply a liberal amount of rubbing alcohol to the wound. This treatment had been applied to him many times in the past, too many times to count. This operation stung a lot so he considered it to be one of those experiences that should be avoided whenever possible. He rinsed the cut under the faucet and dried it with some toilet paper. He retrieved a Band-Aid from the medicine cabinet and put it on to stop the bleeding. He then flushed the toilet paper and Band-Aid wrapping to remove the evidence hoping that no one would notice the Band-Aid on his finger. He returned to his room, sat down on the edge of his bed and picked up his pocketknife and the stick he had been working on.

Before he got started again, he remembered the radio comment he had heard on the healing of cuts. He decided this would be an excellent opportunity to try this visualization trick. The radio show had not given any exact procedure for accomplishing this magical sounding trick so he decided to make it up as he went. He gave no thought as to how to visualize such a thing but reasoned that since blood was coming out of the cut he could follow the blood vessels to the cut from inside his body. For no particular reason, he decided to enter his blood stream at a point near his left shoulder.

The sensation felt like flying. It was as though he could “see” the way he did when looking into the classroom or checking the parking lot before getting to them. He watched as he progressed through the skin and into the blood vessels which appeared empty to him. During the journey he would notice other paths intersecting his own. It never occurred to him to go any other way than the way he was headed.

He moved through his blood vessels unerringly to the finger where the cut was. The tissues that had been parted by the knife magnified under his gaze. Using his mind like fingers, he pushed the skin and blood vessels back together. Using a massaging motion, he got everything to fit together just right. When done it appeared there was no longer any damage to the area. Everything appeared to be a soft pink color that made him feel that all was well.

       Satisfied that everything was as it should be and he had done all he could, he returned along the same path he had followed to get to the cut and exited at his shoulder. He knew that exiting in this manner was not necessary but the trip through the blood vessels was fascinating.

When he was back sitting on his bed, he looked at his finger with the Band-Aid on it and wondered if what he had just seen was real. He carefully peeled away the Band-Aid and with only slight wonderment he saw his finger looked normal with no hint of a cut at all. The only indication that there had been a cut was a small amount of blood on the Band-Aid. Knowing that this was a good thing to remember how to do, he filed it away in the back of his mind for future investigation.

No further study of this amazing thing was warranted at the moment because the cut was gone and besides, it was time to go outside and meet his cousin Benjamin who lived next door. They had planned to have some target practice with their slingshots this afternoon. After some target practice they would go hunting. He did not know where this would lead today because they had run out of their favorite big game, balloons with faces drawn on them.

He and Ben were closer than any two brothers have ever been. Ben being seven months younger than Donnie made them close enough in age that they were interested in the same things at the same time. Plus, being the same size they could do things equally well. This made for a great partnership in everything they did.

Chapter 2

Growing & Loving


During the summer before fifth grade Ben’s mother, Gail, divorced her husband making the boys and her much happier. Her husband was a mean ex-marine that gave Ben and Don nothing but grief. Just before the divorce Ben’s family had moved away. Not too far, but it was far enough that the boys could not play together except on the occasions when their mothers would drive the twenty-three miles to visit. This continued until the boys were in high school and got their driver’s licenses and could then get together more often. The boys double dated quite often through their high school years. After graduation Ben married his high school sweetheart, Bonnie. Of course Don was best man at the wedding.

Bonnie was the sort of girl who was always trying to get Don to go out more. She was always fixing him up with some girl she knew for a double date. It never worked out but she never gave up trying. She was a great housekeeper and friend. You always felt like you could trust her and both Don and Ben told her almost everything that was going on. Don still had reservations about telling anyone including Bonnie about his psychic abilities. He had not even told Ben about these things except for the one time when they were little kids. Don was sure Ben had forgotten about the conversation since he had never mentioned it after that day on the shed roof.

Shortly after getting married Ben enlisted in the Navy and became a medical corpsman for a four year hitch. Don decided to go to school at the local Community College. Don had always wanted to be a teacher and his favorite subject was foreign language which he had taken all through high school. He got straight A’s in Spanish all four years. The rest of his grades had not fared so well. The college would not allow him to take the additional language courses he wanted during his first semester of college due to his GPA being so low. He got discouraged and angry. He decided he would teach the school a lesson and join the Navy. He headed for the recruiter’s office after walking out in the middle of one of the most boring classes he had ever been in, Basic English.

At the recruiter’s office he was told that he would have to wait four months before he would be allowed to enter the Navy. Don was already angry and had just dropped out of college two hours ago and did not want to wait. He told the recruiter, “No, I want to go in today.”

The recruiter almost snarled as he explained, “There is a 120 day waiting list and you will just have to wait. You can take the preliminary entrance test to see if you will be accepted and get that out of the way now if you like. Or, you can go over to the Army or Marines down the hall.”

Ben was in the Navy so Don said, “Alright, I’ll take the test.”

The recruiter took him into an adjoining room and gave him a test booklet and pencil explaining that he should read the directions and take the test then let him know when he was done, adding, “You will have 30 minutes to complete the test.”

Don took the pencil and booklet and noted that the recruiter checked his watch as he left the room and closed the door. He sat down at the table and started reading the directions which explained that this was a pre-entrance examination for all the military services. In bold print on the front page it commanded that he follow the individual directions for each question.

The booklet consisted of six pages of questions including matching up series of pictures. The answers seemed obvious to him as he sailed through each one. He finished in only 10 minutes and knew he had correctly answered all the questions, but since he had so much time he decided to go over them again to be sure. Fifteen minutes after starting, he opened the door to the outer office and as he walked across the room towards the recruiter’s desk, the recruiter looked up, checked his watch and said, “Is there a problem? Do you need something?”

Don replied, “No, I’m finished.”

The recruiter looked at Don with a slight smirk on his face and said, “Did you answer all the questions?”

Don said, “Yes,” in a flat sounding voice with his eyes monitoring the recruiter’s face for a reaction.

The recruiter took the booklet and pencil from Don and without inviting him to sit down he took out his answer sheet and started checking Don’s answers. The more he checked the more his eyes widened and his mouth opened. When he finished checking the answers a second time he looked up at Don who was still standing in front of the desk and said, “Why don’t you have a seat while I make a phone call.”

The recruiter went into the next room and closed the door. Don decided to use his childhood skill and “looked” into the other room just as the recruiter finished dialing. He heard the recruiter tell the person on the other end of the line, “I’ve got a kid here who has just aced the entrance test and we need to induct him fast so he doesn’t leave and go down the hall to the Air Force or Marines.” It was obvious from his expression that he got permission from the other person on the phone. He hung up and came back into the room where Don sat relaxed watching him. With a big grin on his face and a distinct change in the tone of his voice, the recruiter told Don that he had gotten special permission to waive the 120 day waiting period and sign him up right now.

I bet you did, thought Don but said instead, “Okay, so when do I leave?”

The recruiter said with a very slight quiver in his voice, “Well, the next induction ceremony won’t be held until Friday, four days from now but, I will sign you up right now and you will officially be in the Navy today.”

Don gave a wry smile and said, “That will be just fine.”

The recruiter released a long slow even breath and asked Don to remain seated and relax while he typed up the paperwork. After signing all the documents and getting his induction papers along with directions to the induction center in Los Angeles, he was ready to set sail. Don then left the recruiter’s office amid lots of smiles and hand shaking.

Luckily for Don, the Navy doesn’t go by what you did or didn’t do in civilian schools. They test everyone in their own way to determine what they are best suited to do as best benefits the Navy. Don expected to test high in language skills and hoped to be placed in a job such as translator. Though he did okay in language skills he tested extraordinarily high in mathematics and science. He was placed in the electronics program and spent the first year after boot camp in the Naval Electronics School at The Great Lakes training center.

Don had never had much interest in radios except for listening to music. But to his amazement the skills taught in the various courses he went through came easy to him. He excelled in troubleshooting. It was almost as if he knew the cause of a problem before he started looking for it. He spent four years in the Navy in this field and by the time he reported to his last duty station before being discharged he was the best at what he did without exception.

As he walked into the electronics shop his first day at this last posting, the USS Sperry in San Diego, the senior staff members of the Operations Department including the Division Officer, a full lieutenant, and a Senior Chief Petty Officer, happened to be there and welcomed him. As he looked around the shop he noticed a large radio receiver on a shelf that appeared to be in fatal disarray. He asked the Chief why it was up there and not in service with the others he had seen in the radio room. The reply came as a surprise when the Chief told him that everyone, including himself, in the electronics department had tried to fix this receiver and could not get it to work. He concluded with the statement that they were about to declare it unrepairable and scrap it out.

Don looked at the receiver on its shelf for a few seconds then turned to the Chief and said, “I will bet you that I can have that up and running and with better sensitivity than any other receiver in the radio room in ten minutes or less.”

The Chief, a tall thin man displaying five hash marks on his sleeve denoting over twenty years of service, gave Don a sideways look and noted his sleeve with not a single hash mark on it. The Chief said, “What sort of bet do you have in mind?”

Don replied, “Since I have just arrived in the area I would like the next two days as liberty to get my household goods arranged and moved into my apartment.”

The Chief said with a sing-song tone in his voice, “Okay, you’re on. But I will decide what you will owe me if you don’t make the ten minute deadline.”

Don turned and pulled the radio down from the shelf. He reassembled the parts that were lying loose in the chassis. He then grabbed a signal generator and plugged it in to the antenna jack on the back of the receiver. He did a quick mechanical alignment of the tuning gears smiling as the Chief watched him, noting that this was the problem everyone else had missed. He plugged it in and started the electronic alignment. In just under nine minutes he turned to the Chief and handed him the earphones. The Chief checked it out and sure enough it was operating better than any other receiver on the ship.

The Chief turned to Don, smiled and said, “So it was the mechanical alignment that was the problem we all missed?”

Don answered, “Yup, but don’t feel bad. Almost everyone misses that.”

The Chief looked at Don, smiled and said, “See you in three days. Welcome aboard.”

By the end of his four year hitch in the Navy, Don noticed a number of curious things concerning electronics. Mainly that electronics came easy to him and that he could do things that others could not. The first and most obvious of his electronic abilities was his skill at troubleshooting. The bet that he had made with the Chief upon his arrival concerning his ability to fix the radio was not in any way left to chance. He knew with certainty what the problem was and how to fix it before he made the bet. He had never asked anyone else if they had this ability but knew from years of observation that he had never met anyone who did.

One other ability he noticed in himself was that he could also affect electronics by focusing his mind on a particular circuit. There was one transmitter that he liked practicing this skill on. In most respects it operated like any other transmitter. One turned dials and observed meters to get it tuned to the proper frequency and power level for the job at hand. This particular transmitter however, had an additional circuit which continually swept a frequency range of 10 kHz above and below the desired frequency. When the coarse tuning knob got the frequency setting within this range the searching action of the sweep circuit would cease. By use of a small meter on the front of the transmitter, the fine tuning knob could then easily be tuned to the exact frequency desired. Don noticed that if he focused his mind on this small meter that he could force it to right or left of center at will. With practice he found that he could place the sweep hand on the face of the dial at any position he wished in this manner. Though this had no practical use he added this to the list of things to remember for future reference that he could do that others couldn’t.

After his discharge from the Navy, Don settled in Scottsdale, Arizona. His cousin Ben had settled here when he was discharged from the Navy with Bonnie. Bonnie was 6 weeks pregnant and looking forward to their first child.

Ben had looked into the employment opportunities in the electronics industry for Don just before Don’s discharge. There were computer schools to bring Don up to speed in that area of electronics as well as plenty of jobs available in the area. Ben was going to college and working part time to supplement his G.I. Bill money with the intent of becoming a lawyer.

Don attended one of the local computer schools to pick up the skills necessary to maintain and troubleshoot computers. His first day in class brought a smile to his face as he looked at the class materials and saw that everything was laid out in block format, not as an electronic schematic. With a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his lips he thought, this is going to be a cinch. He mastered the material in half the time of any other student. He asked the department administrator if he could challenge the rest of the course and with the recommendation of his instructor, was given permission. After graduation Don applied for and got a job at the Taylor Clinic, a very prestigious teaching hospital with hospitals & clinics throughout the country. He was hired to take care of their computer systems and was making top dollar in his department by the time he turned twenty-four.

Motorcycle riding was something the cousins had in common. Ben had found a five year old Harley Davidson Electra Glide that fit him and Bonnie very well. It was smooth riding and had all the bells and whistles which suited them right down to the ground. Don found a two year old Harley Sportster that he fell in love with as soon as he saw it. Don and Ben enjoyed taking short day trips together. Bonnie was included whenever she wanted to go and could arrange for a babysitter for their one year old son, Jason.

Bonnie was always after Don to find a girl to bring along on the bike trips. Don told her that he would as soon as he found someone he could stand being around for a whole day at a time. It wasn’t that Don never dated. He tried but he could always feel the girl’s emotions and they were all playing the dating game when they went out with him. Don defined the dating game as when one or the other on a date, usually it was both, would do and say what they thought the other person expected. Thus the dating game was a sort of dance where each partner tried to be something they were not, to please the other. It wasn’t long before Bonnie decided to play matchmaker and introduced Don to one of her friends.

Sally was as cute as they come with her light brown hair and peaches and cream complexion. Not only was she beautiful but her degree in accounting showed she had intelligence as well.

With Sally it was different. Sally was completely genuine from the very first moment they met. Don and Sally hit it off right away and were together at every opportunity. After a couple of months their names ceased to be their own and they were always referred to as “Don-n-Sally” by their friends.

Every weekend found “Don-n-Sally” going somewhere on the Sportster when the weather was good or in the car when it wasn’t. They both enjoyed fishing so Don taught her to fly fish which was his passion. Picking the correct fly and reading the water was always part of the contest between the two of them to see who could catch the most trout on the stream that day. Don excelled at this because he seemed to know where the fish were. Often he would misplace his fly on the water so as not to monopolize the contest and discourage Sally. If she was having trouble he would always offer some advice on where to place her fly in the stream. At these times she learned to watch the fly from the moment it touched the water. If she hit the spot Don had pointed out, a strike would occur the instant the fly touched the water.

They could hardly bring themselves to say goodbye at the end of the day and after two months they quietly moved in together sharing Don’s apartment. Within the year they decided to make it a permanent joining and tied the knot in a simple church wedding with Bonnie as Maid of Honor and Ben as Best Man; a year later Elizabeth was born.

4 months after Elizabeth, Michael was born to Ben and Bonnie.

A year after Michael was born; Patricia was added to Don and Sally’s family. They found a nice house in North Scottsdale with a pool that seemed a good fit. The area was quiet with almost no traffic, and the school was only half a mile away.

When Don would arrive home after work he was always met by two screaming girls charging full speed at him and leaping into his arms, ready or not.

“What shall we play until mommy has dinner ready?” Don would ask.

Tonight it was, “Read us a book daddy!”

“Okay, each of you go get one book each and meet me on the couch.”

They ran over to the bookcase and each grabbed a favorite book. This time it was, “The Fuzzy Bunny” for Patty and “The Northern Princess” for Elizabeth. The girls ran back to the couch with each taking position beside Don.

“Which shall we read first?” Don asked.

They both agreed on “The Fuzzy Bunny” first. Though they were both coming along well with their reading abilities they always liked it when daddy read the books because he didn’t read the words as printed in the book; he instead made up a different narration for the pictures each time he read it. Though he followed the general story line the story changed a little with each reading creating the illusion of a new story each time.

At bedtime he would carry them into their bedroom and tuck them in amid plenty of tickling, giggling and showers of kisses. Don watched the girls closely and gave them encouragement as he noticed their interest in “other” areas. One of his bedtime rituals was to ask the girls to play a guessing game for a couple of minutes before turning out the lights. He would ask what they thought mommy was doing right now or what was on the TV right now. In a very short time their guesses became so accurate that they could no longer be called guesses.

By the time the girls started school they had the basics of reading and writing, adding and subtracting down very well. Sally enjoyed creating games that taught these skills to the girls.

With his wife Sally, the love of his life, and his two blonde haired, blue eyed daughters Patty “the pill” (so called because of her propensity for asking questions) age five and Elizabeth (who loved to dress up in mommy’s clothes and have tea parties with her dolls) age seven, Don felt life was pretty near perfect.

The Scottsdale area seemed to be the ideal setting. They loved watching the birds and especially feeding the Quail which frequented their backyard by the dozens. Don taught his daughters to swim in their pool which was the girl’s favorite pastime. They took to the water like fish just as he had when he was young.

He remembered the time he and Ben had dug a swimming pool when they were 4 years old.

He and Ben loved the water. They got wet at any opportunity that arose, whether it was running through the sprinkler, throwing water balloons or the rare occasion that they got a 2 or 3 ring blowup pool. But what they really wanted was a giant built-in cement pool in the ground. They talked about how they would be able to dive and swim every day.

One day Donnie said, “Hey Ben, let’s ask Pop (this was what everyone called grandpa) to make us one up by the big shed.”

“Yeah,” cried Ben. “Pop’ll do it for us.”

They both went straight in to talk to Pop about the pool.

“Pop,” said Donnie, “will you dig us a swimming pool and put cement in it?”

Pop was taken by surprise at this request as evinced by his look and inability to answer right away. After a few ums and ahs he said, “I don’t know. We don’t really have a place to put a pool.”

Ben said, “Sure we do, up by the big shed.”

Pop replied, “Uh, well, I really don’t have the time to do it.”

Donnie piped up, “Ben and I will help. We can dig it and you just have to put the cement in it.”

Pop’s eyebrow went up and with a slight sideways look he said, “Okay, if you dig it out I will put in the cement.” He knew with absolute certainty that two 4 year olds would never be able to dig out a swimming pool. Over the next two days Pop learned a very valuable and surprising lesson that he never forgot. Never underestimate the power of two 4 year old boys named Donnie and Ben when they are on a mission to get something they want.

As soon as Pop agreed the boys ran out to the wood shed and got a 2 X 4 which they used to mark straight lines on the ground. Using a stick to draw with they carefully laid out a rectangle 8 feet long and 3 feet wide on the ground. This looked plenty big to two 4 year olds. They retrieved two shovels that were slightly taller than the boys and started to dig. To everyone’s surprise they had it dug to a depth of one foot by the end of the first day.

The next morning they were out bright and early digging. At noon grandma called everyone in for lunch. The boys were covered with dirt from head to foot. Grandma made them wash their hands before sitting down. She gave them a bit of a sideways look but did not ask why they were so dirty. She was used to seeing them dirty but this was a little beyond normal, even for these two. No one, including Pop, felt it necessary to volunteer any information to grandma on the project that was underway out by the shed.

After wolfing down their lunch Donnie and Ben were out the door and back at work. By the end of the second day they were getting very tired and wanted to go swimming. They stood back and took a good look at their pool and decided that nearly three feet was deep enough. They put away their shovels and went to get Pop.

The boys were very excited when they found Pop and told him that the pool was ready to be cemented. For some reason Pop didn’t seem as excited as the two boys as he walked with the boys toward the shed. Pop was amazed to see how much the boys had accomplished. He had to break the bad news to them and he knew that now was better than later.

He explained to Donnie and Ben why they couldn’t have a permanent cement pool here because it would block access to the shed. The biggest reason however, was that grandma would never allow it. That put an end to the pool.

The boys were not angry or even a little upset. Pop turned and left but the boys were not ready to give up their dream just yet. After all, they had put so much work into the pool they couldn’t just fill it in without ever having used it.

Donnie got the hose and Ben turned on the water. They watched their pool fill for the next two and a half hours. When it was finally full they couldn’t help admiring their handy work. Black and muddy as the water was it was still their pool. They stripped down to their underwear and jumped into the cold muddy water and splashed around for the next hour in total joy.

The next day the water had seeped out of the pool and their uncle had filled it in by the time they got up. Oh well, there were other ways two little boys could have fun getting wet in the summer.

One day while Beth and Patty were at school and Don was home, he asked Sally to sit down with him because he had something he needed to talk to her about. She looked at him a little sideways and he added in a hurry that it wasn’t anything bad. They sat down on the couch in the family room. He faced her, took her hand, looked into her eyes and said, “There are things that I can do that I have noticed that other people can’t do and I want you to know about them.”

Sally started to laugh softly and when Don’s eyes opened wide and his mouth fell open she said, “You mean like knowing what’s going on in another room without being there?”

His eyes opened even wider.

Sally continued, “Do you really think that I haven’t noticed that you and the girls are never really surprised by what your presents are on your birthday and Christmas? I may not know everything but this discussion is not a shock. I have wondered for a long time when you were going to get around to letting me in on the secret.”

“I’ve never told anyone before,” replied Don, “and I wasn’t sure how you would react. But, in my wildest dreams I never pictured this reaction.”

They hugged and kissed and chuckled a bit about the conversation thus far but then Don said, “Truthfully though, there are a few other things you need to know about me.”

As Don proceeded with his explanation for the next two hours, Sally’s face took on a look of mild amazement. Gradually her eyes widened farther and farther and her jaw dropped.

For the next few months Sally was riveted by the things that happened around their house as she watched Don and the girls with new understanding. She now understood what was behind the innocent seeming trivial things that Don and the girls said and did that she had always chalked up to curiosities or mistakes in grammar. Don had asked her not to make a big deal out of what the girls could do, but to just let them learn and grow at their own rate. For quite a while, whenever she and Don were alone, Sally would inundate him with a virtual unending series of questions. After this initial period of intense curiosity Sally’s world almost went back to the normalcy of before the revelations Don had given her. This was made even more intriguing when they purchased a computer for home use which provided both knowledge and entertainment. The computer became a game center for the girls and a workstation for Sally to keep the family accounts in order.

Having a computer at home gave Don the time to practice his ability to control electronics. He discovered that he could move the cursor on the screen without touching the mouse. Besides, this sort of cheating was the only way he could even come close to tying the girls when he played the computer games with them.

The girl’s speed at the computer games was phenomenal even to Don’s eye. This amazed Don even more when he noticed that the girls only held the joystick out of habit but no longer moved it or used any of the control buttons on the device. He smiled and shook his head.

Chapter 3

The Tragic Beginning


Don, Ben and Bonnie were born and raised in Southern California. Scottsdale was not too far from relatives still living there. The drive was not too long but just long enough so that they would not be expected to make the trip very often. The desert was peaceful unlike the hectic traffic and smell of the city of Los Angeles that Ben and Don had to make their way through on visits to see their families living there. They all made the trek together on the major holidays such as Thanksgiving. They would all get together for the holidays at their grandparent’s house where Don and Ben had spent most of their childhood.

It was December, Ben was in his 4th year of practicing law and Don was Vice President of Technologies at Taylor. The two families were caravanning to L.A. to spend Christmas with their mothers at their grandparent’s house where Don’s mother, Carol, still lived after the death of her parents eight years earlier. They arrived at the house at noon on Christmas Eve. Carol and Gail, had most of the work done making the traditional family meal for Christmas Eve which consisted of cold cuts, salads and breads from the local deli. This was always done so no cooking would be necessary which would only detract from opening the gifts on Christmas Eve.

       Jason, Mike, Beth and especially “The Pill” were beside themselves with anticipation all day. They checked the Christmas tree and the living room floor, which was better than half covered with beautiful wrapped gifts, every fifteen minutes. Of course the three older children didn’t have too much trouble convincing “The Pill” to go ask if they could open just one of their gifts every time they checked. The answer was always, “No, not until nighttime!” which sent the children running off giggling to explore the house and run around in the yard.

Don had talked with the girls about “peeking” at the gifts. He told them that this would ruin the surprise and the fun of opening the gifts for everyone if they did. Both Beth and Patty promised daddy that they would not do this because they enjoyed the surprise of opening the gifts as well.

Darkness seemed to come much too slowly today. It finally arrived and when it did


About the author:


John grew up in the foothills north of Los Angeles. He was a very active child, one of those who you never caught sitting still. He and his cousins, 25 at last count, would play outside making use of what they had lying about. They did not know they were poor and if anyone ever told them they were they would not have cared. They enjoyed each other’s company and never was the word bored used by any of them.

As he grew he collected memories and experiences like other children collected baseball cards. Through his school years and on into his military service in the US Navy he often thought of his many experiences and like many others he thought of writing a book about them.

John progressed through many phases during his life, the carefree childhood, rebellious adolescence, loving husband and father of 5, proud grandfather of 10, healer and finally author.

His first book to be published is Taking Control which portrays his idea of how the world should be if we could take control of our lives and be answerable only to our conscience and morals. ‘Do unto others’ and ‘an eye for an eye’ are recurring themes in this first book. He is not an advocate of anarchy but neither is he in favor of big government. The idea that a community founded on good moral grounds will take care of its own was the concept for the book.

The idea that he should sit down and write the books he has conceptualized was given to him by his oldest granddaughter, Kayla. She also enjoys writing and it was during a conversation with her about this subject that the seed of authorship began to grow in him.

He wants everyone to enjoy his books and come away with a feeling of empowerment and confidence in themselves. He is fond of saying, “If you have a desire to do something that is off the beaten track, don’t be afraid. As long as it doesn’t hurt you or anyone else, go for it. You may never know what pleasure and joy you may find at the end of the path.”

Purchase this book in paperback or e-book (see below) 


The new book “Taking Control” by John Sleeper, introduces us to a new kind of super hero.

The book takes us on a journey through tragedy, violence and discovery of the

powers of the mind. The hero of the book grows in understanding of the extent of his

mental power as he faces dramatic challenges. Well written and scary believable, can’t wait

to see what this new kind of super hero does next.

                    The Rising Phoenix – Michael Henigar


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