By Cindy and Walt
We were six weeks into the two cabin project as we had started to call it. Not only were we complete with the building, but I had Jeremy and Alice trying to take over all parts of my life.
For instance Jeremy was insistent that he and Alice keep up their physical conditioning regiment. So he ordered two trikes like mine, then called me to help assemble them. Talk about the blind leading the deaf, I thought at the time. Then they insisted on riding to breakfast with me. Not only that but Jeremy insisted we race.
I quickly felt overwhelmed by all the togetherness. Then Alice decided she should be the one to decorate the Cabins. Since they were the sample houses for one their villages, she thought it made sense. I didn’t and told her so. There were serious discussions but no real fights.
“Look why don’t you let Alice do one and you do the other. That seems like the only fair thing. You don’t want this hanging over you,” Jeremy decided.
“All right, but no built-ins and I will not pay for your fru fru shit,” I said handing over the keys to ‘Cabin Two’ as I now thought of it.
My cabin had a deck on the rear and just simple steps with a covered stoop in the front. The stone mason had come back and built me a chimney from the old dry pile foundation stones. The chimney was fake to surround the stainless steel stove pipe. It might have been fake, but it was beautiful.
Both houses had a fifty gallon water storage tank built into a closet in the back corner of the cabin. They also had a travel trailer type shower, and chemical toilet closets built to the left of the water tank. Since the foundation was so high, the toilet flushed into a tank outside the cabin. A disposal company had agreed to come remove the tank and replace it with a sanitized and deodorized one, whenever I called.
The well-insulated water tank closet could be accessed from the outside. The shower and sink water was piped into the yard to be used as a trickle irrigation system. Both Cabins were equipped with exactly the same water and waste systems but that is where it ended.
My cabin had a small wood stove in the kitchen for heat and cooking in the winter. It also came equipped with a slightly larger than dorm sized refrigerator/freezer and a two burner cook top. There was a microwave oven over the cook top of course. The one large sink, beside the water heater, was the only sink in the cabin. There were a lot of cabinets on both sides of the kitchen sink. It also had cabinets and a counter top across the room from the sink. There was more storage under the counter top. In the middle of the Kitchen was a narrow island on wheels. It could be used as a dining space or rolled away to reconfigure the space for extra sleeping space.
In the living room there were two sofas like the ones I used in Country Store. Each of them could be used as a twin sized bed. There also was a built in desk and a couple of tables and chairs. Clothes storage spaces occupied the complete end of the living room except for covering the two windows in the center of that wall. They allowed light into the room from the outside. The storage was in the form of drawers and cubby holes, some with hanging racks. It was the glorified version of my plastic shoebox wall.
Alice’s cabin on the other hand had electric heating and air conditioning. It had lots of the same features as mine, but was filled with much higher end furnishings and fixtures. I had to admit it had class, but I would never buy it for a getaway home.
Worst of all the fact that Jeremy was going to advertise them as model homes, and didn’t even have the property yet. Sure he said he had an option, but I would believe it when he broke ground on something. The houses were decorated and the open house set before I even knew what was going on. I found out about it at breakfast with the Bobbsy twins just a week after the houses were pronounced finished and ready for business.
“So we have scheduled the first open house for this Sunday. The Ad is coming out in the local paper as well as in the Metropolis paper today. It is important that we make a good impression,” Jeremy said.
“Does that mean you don’t want me anywhere around,” I asked.
“Oh no, it means I want you there dressed like a lady,” he said.
“Now that is going to be a stretch,” I admitted.
“I had thought about having you and Alice in period costumes. Alice might be able to pull it off, but you would never make it,” he said.
“Plus 1800s women didn’t have breast implants,” Alice added for him.
“They aren’t supposed to look like implants,” I said with a laugh.
“They don’t unless you try to hide them,” Jeremy said.
“I wouldn’t know, I have never tried to hide my light under a bushel,” I said. I knew it wasn’t true, when I said it. I often wore sloppy sweatshirts to hide my breasts.
“Anyway, wear an over sized sweater please. Just in case there are families,” Jeremy said.
“Gees Louise, that hurts my feelings. It cost a lot to look this cheap. To quote a famous singer,” I said it with a smile as I lifted my coffee cup.
When we first started racing I was beating the two of them by a block. In just three weeks they had managed to pull in the parking lot right behind me. People often remarked on the fact that we were a ‘bad assed triker club’. I really wished they hadn’t because Jeremy convinced me to place one of his advertisement posters on the rear of my trike.
It read, ‘Jones Lake Village Trike Club’. The second line in smaller letters read, ‘Where it’s ok to be different.’ I have no idea if it did any good or not, but people pulled up behind me to read the sign. That was if I went out during the daylight hours on the trike.
By the time Sunday came I was glad for the distraction because I was getting bored. I stayed in cabin one showing people all the features and explaining how things worked. “Jeremy’s motto is ‘the finest in 19th century living’,” I told everyone. There seemed to be some interest, but I turned them over to Jeremy. He tried to get a feel for the interest in Jones Lake Village not just the cabins. I had no idea what was going on. It was purely research as far as I was concerned.
I intentionally did not ask at the time. I even went so far as to tell Jeremy, “I don’t want to know the comments. Not till I read them at breakfast tomorrow.”
“Are you sure,” he asked.
“Yes, now I’m going to get on my trike and go grill a pimento cheese sandwich and warm some of Alice’s soup.” What I didn’t say was the soup reminded me of high school. It was very much like the watery vegetable soup we were served there. It was good, but had almost no body. They of course didn’t grill the pimento cheese sandwiches on the top of a wood stove like I did.
It was six o’clock when I finished preparing the food. I sat by the computer eating it. I was busy with the research for other sites to build a cabin just in case Jones Lake fell through. I still wasn’t convinced Jeremy was trustworthy. People who didn’t need money probably made for lousy business partners. Well, maybe silent partners, but certainly not ones as opinionated as Jeremy and Alice.
During the research I got totally bored with real estate. I had enjoyed building the cabin, but I hated the idea of real estate developments. I finally just went into an adult chat room and played fantasy games for two hours, then went to bed without having had an orgasm. I slept just fine believe it or not. I had thought that I was a functional sex addict, but it seemed I wasn’t as dependent as I thought. It had been a couple of weeks since I masturbated. Actually it’s been since my last night at Church Camp which had been five weeks.
I wasn’t celebrating being celibate, it was just a fact that I found strange. Maybe I was becoming normal. That was a nice thought, I said to myself. I ate my grilled pimento cheese sandwich cooked on top of a wood stove, and decided I definitely wasn’t normal in any sense of the word.
So I went to bed and touched myself till I felt sexy, then fell asleep. I slept till about three, then went to the bathroom and put another log on the fire. I was up at six even thought the Bobbsy Twins wouldn’t be honking till seven. I was tempted to shower before breakfast, but it would mean a cold shower and going out in the 8 degree temperature with wet hair. It was then that I decided, if I could live with the smell, so could Jeremy and Alice.
I heard the ooga horn from Jeremy’s trike outside my back door. I grabbed my gear and dressed quickly, I then headed onto the deck. Once I took the cover off the trike, I sat down and began to pedal it. Within seconds we were on the road and headed toward the plaza. Since there was no traffic we passed and re passed each other. I had to work to get the trike into the parking lot before Jeremy. In doing it I almost hit one of the State Motor Patrol officers. He didn’t smile and I figured I was in trouble.
While I parked my trike in one of the parking spaces by the window, the officers went inside. It took only a few seconds for Jeremy and Alice to pull in beside me. I locked one of the rear wheels of my trike in place, then waited while Jeremy and Alice locked their trikes down.
Inside Jeremy ordered the biscuits and coffee, “One of these days you are going to be buying real soon.”
“Not in this lifetime,” I said. Then I added “Pussy,” as I walked away.
“You know if you had hit me it would have been a felony assault on a police officer,” the SMP officer said.
“Well I’m sorry, but you didn’t have any lights on. In that dark Nazi uniform, you should wear a reflective vests at the least,” I suggested with a smile. He laughed and I walked away.
“Should you talk to him like that?” Jeremy asked.
“The four of them have been staring at my boobs for weeks. They aren’t going to do anything to ruin their chances of seeing them. Of course if you weren’t here, they might have tried to use this to make it happen now,” I laughed.
“Okay, do you want to see the comment cards now or wait till after you eat?” Jeremy asked.
“Will they ruin my appetite?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” Jeremy answered. I waved for him to continue. He threw them on the table. “Pink ones are from Alice’s Cabin and the gray ones are for your cabin.”
I nodded then picked up Alice’s stack. People seemed to be pretty split on what they thought of the cabin, but they mostly seemed to like the decorations. “Well that’s not good,” I said. “At least they liked your choice of decorations.”
“Yes they did,” she said smiling.
“There were only five cards for my cabin?” I asked. I was preparing myself for the ‘you suck’ comments.
“Yes,” Jeremy said.
The first one was from a guy whose comment was, I love it. I would live here year round, if I wasn’t married. I grew up much like this without the shower and toilet. Thanks a lot for reminding me of a better time.
“Well that one wasn’t too bad,” I said. “He kind of got what I was trying to do.”
The next comment was, let me know when you have the resort ready to go. I don’t need pools just some more rustic views. The second one said.
“Looks like he might want to take a look at Jones Lake Village,” I said.
The next two were more of the same. Lots of compliments on the marriage of convenience and rustic elements. The last one was a fucking offer to buy the model right where it sat. His offer said, ‘I will give you $50,000 cash on Monday morning for this cabin, if I can move in by the end of the month. Call me … Roy.’
“I’ll be fucked,” I said.
“So are you going to call him?” Alice asked.
“What did your appraiser say it was worth,” I asked Jeremy.
“He said sixty five on a bad day 75 on a good one,” Jeremy said.
“I think I’ll wait for a better day,” I said.
“I have to admit you and Jeremy were right. Nobody who looks at the cabins really wants cute,” Alice said. “It just isn’t a woman’s place and nothing I did would change that.”
“Yes I think that is true. There aren’t many women who would live in the Country Store either,” I said. Yes I was trying to let her feel that she hadn’t been wrong. It was just that her cuteness had the wrong wrapper.
“So what do you want to do next?” I asked.
“You probably aren’t going to like this,” Jeremy said.
“When you put it like that, I know I’m not going to like it, so just give it to me plain, no icing,” I said.
“Move the lumber you have left down to the village and build me a cabin,” he said. “When I sell it, I’ll pay you for it. If I don’t sell it, I’ll give you the lot it’s on. That, at worst, you have a summer place.”
“Are you planning on the village being clothing optional?” I asked.
“Yeah, is that going to be a problem?” he asked.
“Not unless we have to work nude, I sunburn easily,” I said.
“Not to mention splinters,” Alice said with a laugh. “And frostbite.”
“So when can you start?” Jeremy said.
“If I build a house out of my own pocket, You get no say in what it looks like or how it is built,” I said.
“We will be providing water and waste disposal inside the village so those cabins won’t need the portable systems. Outside the village proper, for now at least, they will need those things. To make it feasible we have to sell at least twenty houses to justify those systems,” Jeremy said.
“So are you telling me to build in the village first, or in the area outside the village,” I asked.
“I’m not sure what to do first,” Jeremy said honestly.
“Do you want my thoughts on it?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said.
“I would do it like a condo. The cabin on a half acre of land, they buy that for a set price, then pay a monthly fee depending on the service they use that month, just alike a real city charges. Everybody pays for the road maintenance, then for whatever services they use that month. If they need their holding tank pumped once a month then they pay a fee. If it is a second home and they only need it pumped three times a year, when they use the cabin then there is a fee those months, but not the others. It would be a great selling point. If they want to hook to the village’s grid then there would be a fee equal to a month’s fuel if they were running their own generator plus 10% for maintenance. If you did these things you could grow your infrastructure instead of putting it all out at once,” I suggested.
“You have given this some thought,” Alice said.
“I thought I might do it on a smaller scale, but I couldn’t guarantee I would be around to manage it. I don’t like the idea of regular employees doing what I can do myself,” I said.
“I can add some of my idea to that. We can get the office and clubhouse wired to the co-ops grid then have our own mini grid and charge the individuals a fee to use our power. Base it on the months they actually use it, rather than amount of power used. I have also become a believer in your lifestyle Rose. I plan on having a parking lot just outside the village. Autos will be banned from the village. People powered vehicles only. Bike or trike to your cabin and then the residents can walk, jog, run, bike, or trike around the village,” Jeremy said.
“Well that would work to generate even more revenue. The village has to be at least revenue neutral,” I said.
“Yes as much as possible from day one, but it won’t be really, not at first,” Jeremy said. “So are you in?”
“I’m in for a couple of houses. So if this thing fails miserably, I get two acres of land and my cabins?” I asked.
The lot size is one acre, more or less,” Jeremy said. “I will give you one lot per cabin and access to the property, but the cabins will sell.”
“We can give it a try,” I said. “I don’t think we have enough lumber to build another cabin. I am not going to change the way I do things. I will start looking for a building and you secure the land and cut me out a place to store material near the site of the first building.”
I went home to decide how I should buy what I had to buy. I had clean money on my debit card account and dirty cash in my grease pit. I was surprised to learn how much I had on the debit card. The first thing I needed was a way to move the left over materials from the former church parking lot.
My options were hire someone, rent a truck, buy a truck, or buy a trailer. I decided not to buy a bigger truck, just to have it sit in the yard way more than half the time. Renting a large truck seemed like a viable option for the one time clean up, but if we were in this for the long haul, it seemed like a waste. It would be a good business expense though however hiring someone else, when my friends needed the money to get through the winter seemed a crime. Buying the trailer or renting a truck were the best options, I decided.
I still wasn’t in any condition to help with loading even a trailer, so I would need to budget about 200 dollars for a full day to load and unload the trailer. First I had to buy a trailer.
I found a used 16 x 6 tandem axle trailer for 1000 dollars on Craig’s List. It was the time of the year to buy landscape trailers it seemed. It was the largest one I could find, but it was about half the price of a new one. I paid a thousand dollars cash for it with all the paperwork current. The guy even delivered it to the former church site parking lot. He did that so that he could get paid, while I was waiting to get a hitch installed on my pickup truck.
A local body shop provided a hitch for the truck and welded it on for three hundred and fifty dollars. It seemed a lot, but the hitch was rated for eight thousand pounds gross weight. They explained that gross weight was trailer and cargo. It was also a lot of weight according to them.
On the following Saturday Carlos and Juan loaded the material, I pulled the trailer with my Pickup and then they unloaded the trailer at my place. When I finally got the trailer out of the farm road, I took it back to the church property to store it behind one of the cabins and out of sight. I wanted to keep the area at Country Store as empty as possible just in case we found a new building to demolish.
Alice wrote and posted an advertisement on the Internet for me. I also put notices on the Crossroads Diner’s bulletin board. We counted heavily on word of mouth, plus signs on the pickup truck to get the word out. Even so it took two weeks for the requests to start trickling in. I looked around and found nothing. Boredom was taking over.
Carlos and Nita ended my boredom but not in a good way. They showed up at my door on a Monday morning at the end of February. I thought maybe he had found us something to demolish. My body was healing at a rapid rate. I thought that I might be ready to work again. I felt able to work without pain killers. So I was happy to see Carlos’ truck. I wasn’t so sure how I felt when I saw Nita was with him.
“Carlos come in and bring Nita with you,” I said as they entered from the rear deck. “So what brings you here?” I asked.
“I am sorry to bother you, but we have no where else to turn,” Nita said. “Carlos did not want to ask, but we have no one else.”
It was 10 AM and I had been back from my ride for several hours, however I was till in my riding clothes. I was being the lazy slut I had become. I hadn’t even washed the triking sweat from my body. I was sure I smelled of cocoa butter and body odor, a deadly odor indeed.
“So tell me, what you need and I’ll try to get it for you,” I said.
“I need $5,000 dollars,” Carlos said.
“Not that it matters, but why do you need that much money and why do you look so desperate?” I asked.
They looked at each other for a few minutes then Nita said, “Jose did not come home for two days,” she said it as if it explained everything. She just stopped talking.
“When did you see him last,” I asked.
“He said he was spending the night with a friend on Friday. He did not return on Saturday. We worried but could not go to the police,” Carlos said. So we waited. “It was the same on Sunday and Nita was going mad. Then this morning I found this on the windshield of my truck.” The note he showed me was in Spanish.
“I’m sorry what does it say?” I asked.
“We have your son, if you want to see him alive again you will pay us $5,000. If you do not we will tell you where to recover his body for burial. We will call you tonight at 6 PM with instructions. It is signed Q10,” Carlos said.
“And this Q10, are they a gang or something,” I asked.
“Yes they are thugs, as you say Senorita,” Carlos replied.
“Come outside with me just a second,” I said to Carlos. When we were on the deck in the cold, I went on. “Do you know anyone who has been a victim?”
“Yes, friends of friends, had their daughter abducted,” he said.
“After they paid was she returned unharmed?” I asked.
“She was returned, but she had been raped,” Carlos explained.
I instantly became concerned for Joan. Jose might easily have been with her Friday night. Jose could also be faking his kidnapping. I decided to give Carlos the money, but with strings attached. “Carlos we have to stop these men from preying on your people. I will give you the money and make sure we do not make a move until Jose is returned, if he is still alive.” I was blunt for a reason. I wanted to see how Carlos would react.
“He is alive. I feel that the men will return him,” he said. “Our community is close. If word gets out that they do not return their victim they would never be able to do business again.”
“When they call tell them they need to talk to the person who will be supplying the money. Then give them my number. If they absolutely won’t do it, tell them that I insist on proof Jose is alive before I put up the money. Put the blame for the hold up on me. I will have the money for you even if they won’t go along. You will have to pick it up here before you make the drop. I don’t have that kind of cash around the house,” I lied. “Now let me see your phone. I went back inside to my desk. I laid his phone next to my phone cloning apparatus. It blinked its success in just a few seconds. “Now give me Jose’s cell number again.”
“Why,” Nita asked? “He isn’t answering it.”
“I still need the number,” I replied. “I have some friends who might be able to do something with it. Nita it’s the price for the money. First we get Jose home, then my friends will go after the Q10.”
“No Police,” she demanded.