Enduring on the Lake

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chapter 25


It was noon before all of the ruckus died down as cops came around, evidence was taken, people were questioned, and those still at the lake wanting to add their two cents got their chance.  Half of them swore they knew all along what pervs they were and had been warning folks and the other half said they were just about shocked to their core and traumatized by the whole thing.  I hid in the kitchen with Max making muffins.  I even won over Deputies Laurel and Hardy. 

“And you’re saying that you called the authorities immediately?” 

“Yes Sir.  Daddy said that I was to do whatever it is that Mr. Lawrence and Uncle Red tell me to.  He wouldn’t let me stay up here as caretaker if he didn’t think there wasn’t someone to oversee things.” 

“And how do you know them?” 

“Oh, well I think Daddy and Uncle Red served together but Daddy got shot in the line of duty and got discharged because he then had to have pins in his pelvis.  Uncle Red finished out his tour and after discharge became a sheriff.  I think Daddy said they were in the National Guard together but neither one of them likes to talk about it and they don’t think it is appropriate to talk to me about it.  Things were kinda rough when they were in service.” 

“Hmm.” 

“Would you like a muffin?” 

“I … er … well …” 

“I made a bunch.  I hope you’ll eat one that way the Slowthowers will eat one.  I think they need to settle down their stomachs a little.  And Max needs to eat something and won’t if the grown men don’t.” 

“Er …” 

“They’re apple streusel.  Homemade.  And I have butter or margarine if you’d like some.  I’m afraid I don’t have any coffee.  Daddy never approved of me drinking it so I never developed the habit.  Not to mention that stuff is expensive as all get out.” 

Soon enough I had to hand out napkins for all the men to brush the crumbs off their shirts.  Annie had just come from settling her mother and grandmother down and stuck her head in the kitchen to say, “That’s a good trick.  I’ve used it a time or two myself.  Just watch that acting empty headed … somebody might think you really are.” 

I shrugged.  “The ones that know me know I’m just me.  The ones that don’t know me I’ll figure out if they matter when I need to.  Right now all I want them to do is stop doing the testosterone dance.  It’s getting thick enough you can cut it with a knife.  A couple of them are strutting worse than my rooster does.” 

It was only a moment before I realized where Max’s rusty laugh came from.  Annie had an almost identical one.   “How about I send Zane in here and you can smooth his feathers.  And you go sit down, you are about the color of sour milk.” 

“Gee thanks,” I muttered at her retreating back. 

I rushed to the bathroom and washed my face and tried to make my hair behave like something other than medusa’s wig.  I stepped out into the hall to find Max leaning against the wall.  “Need the bathroom?” 

“I didn’t know where you were.” 

“Trying to fix my hair and face so I didn’t scare anyone that looked too closely.” 

He rolled his eyes.  “You need to tell people where you’re going so they don’t worry.” 

Trying to neither smile nor roll my eyes I said, “Oh really.  I’ll try and remember that.”  Changing the subject I asked, “How about a muffin or three?  Muffins can cure just about anything if you let them.  If you don’t want a muffin I can scramble you an egg.” 

Completely out of left field he almost cried, “Terrance is going to call social services.  He says we’re lying.  He says I’ll be better off in foster care with proper influences in my life.” 

“Yeah well he can kiss my left big toe.  Your influences are just fine thank you very much.  Especially compared to him and his friends.  And if that isn’t enough the deputies got all their stupidity on record.” 

“You sure?” 

“Yeah.  They were kinda hard to miss.  All of those nut cases were making complete fools of themselves and yelling at the top of their lungs.  The older couple staying two cabins over could even hear them and called the authorities just about the same time as I did and their place is over a hundred yards away and closer to the lake.” 

“Positive?” he asked obviously still worried no matter what I said. 

“Positive.  Now if you don’t want a muffin or a scrambled egg, what would you like?” 

He sighed like an old man then asked, “How come you are always trying to feed me?” 

“I do it now because there may come a day when I can’t.   And besides, I like to.  You don’t eat like you’re chewing cud and that matters.” 

I could see he didn’t know what to make of my answer.  “What’s cud?” 

“That stuff that cows chew, swallow, then spit up to chew on some more whenever the mood takes them.” 

Max made a face.  “That’s sick.” 

“So’s the fact that one of my college professors liked to lecture on the danger that cow flatulence used to pose to the environment.  He claimed that all the cows in the world were one of the main causes of global warming.” 

Completely distracted from his worry, at least temporarily, he said, “No … way.” 

“Yes way.  So what do you want to eat?” 

“A scrambled egg please … uh … can I have two?” 

“Sure.  The cluckers gave me almost twice what they normally do.  I think I must have slept through Monday for some reason.” 

Max nodded.  “Yeah, Zane was kinda upset that you never answered your phone.” 

“I must have slept right through the ringing.  I think I shouldn’t have eaten all that good food at the church potluck.  Between that and the excitement my guts were done in rather righteously.” 

He laughed and said, “Ew … gross.” 

We turned the corner into the kitchen and while I might be willing to discuss my bowels with an young boy I just about died to realize that Zane had overheard the entire conversation.  But all he did was nod and say, “Wasn’t feeling all that hot myself yesterday.  I love Sister Mixon’s chili but it is definitely on the rich side.

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