JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press

Table of Contents Character Summaries

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Chapter 8:

The Survivor Arrives

Thursday: About 11:50 a.m. MST
(Falcon Offices, Loveland)


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To ensure he would arrive in time for his lunch meeting with Mr. Falcon, Ernesto had to take the 6 a.m. flight to Denver from O’Hare, rent a car, and then drive the hour and fifteen minutes or so to the Falcon Foundation for Families building, which was located in Loveland’s historic downtown district. Ernesto had first visited Falcon when he was in elementary school. He’d been back a couple of times since, but it had been at least 10 years since his last visit.

Fortunately his United flight was uneventfully on schedule, the folks at Hertz found it in their hearts to upgrade him to a small SUV, and the 4-wheel-drive Toyota helped him navigate through the early spring snowstorm bearing down on the Colorado Front Range. Ernesto found himself rolling up to the familiar building on Fifth Street with a few minutes to spare. As he sat in the idling car looking at the doorway, the heater was slowly losing the battle to calm the growing chills he was feeling as he reflected on the first time he’d been there and when he’d met Mr. Falcon.

He was about 10 years old and had been nominated by his school to be a potential recipient of the Franklin Foundation for Families “future leader” college scholarship. As part of a small group of about 200 students from all over America who would eventually be selected that year, he and his family had traveled to Loveland to be interviewed and to learn more about the exclusive benefits and responsibilities of a future leader recipient.

At the time, Ernesto thought he was traveling to the Old West from his home in Chicago and that somehow going to Colorado would include seeing stagecoaches and six-gun shootouts. He hadn’t been prepared for just how modern everything was, nor was he prepared to meet Mr. Falcon. He was both charming and subtly threatening, and Ernesto found himself wanting to do more, BE more, just by being in his presence. Those feelings resurfaced as Ernesto prepared himself to once again spend time with Mr. Falcon. He was both apprehensive and eager, but most of all he was resolved to do what was necessary.

He shut down the RAV4, rechecked that he had his notebook and cellphone, mechanically opened the door, and began a slow walk from the visitor’s space toward the front door.

Upon entering, Ernesto felt as though he had been transported back to his youth. The décor of the reception area had changed very little in the 25 years since he’d been there first: dark wood, chrome-legged chairs and tables, faded lithographs of several foreign countries, and the all- encompassing push-pin map showing the homeland locations of all the former “future leader” recipients. Somewhere on that map he knew a pin represented Oaxaca, Mexico.

Ernesto walked to the reception desk and said, “My name is Ernesto Martinez. I have an appointment with Mr. Falcon today. He should be expecting me.”

“Welcome, Mr. Martinez. One moment . . .”
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Table of Contents Character Summaries

JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press