By Cindy and Walt
I decided that since Carlos wanted to end our relationship, I couldn’t stop him. I expected that I would just have to move on. Hiring a knowledgeable handyman wouldn’t be impossible, just difficult. Since I was still searching for a project house, I had a little time to think about it. I knew I probably should have someone in mind when the time came, since I might need to begin demolition quickly.
I had a problem even more pressing at that moment. I had run almost completely out of clean clothes. I was beginning to think about becoming more self sufficient and less dependent on other people. The convenience of a washer woman was great, but it had its drawbacks as well. I had to live on someone else’s schedule. Women are funny. We like some items of clothing much more than others. So I often had to do without a favorite blouse because I had worn it a couple of days before.
I loved the short sleeve thermal Tee shirts I had found at the end of last summer. I tended to wear one of them every day, at least as long as there was a clean one. I wore them under other clothes. So why not buy more you ask? Well for one thing, there are none to buy in the dead of winter. For another, If I bought ten, when ten had been worn, it would be the same as when five had been worn. I would still not have anything to wear under my sweatshirt.
In other words, when it was time to do the laundry, I wanted to do the fucking laundry myself. The large shower room could easily hold the washer and dryer. If I decided that it was too damp, then in the main bathroom would do fine.
The first thing to do was the plumbing, then buy and install the appliance. Since I was working on the drawing lessons online, as well as looking for buildings to demolish, I had time to wait at home to deal with the workers.
I went back to the craftsman board at Helen’s Crossroads Diner. First I had to suffer the abuse from Helen, “What brings you in stranger?” she asked.
“Thought I would try your heart attack burger on a bun for lunch,” I replied.
“I thought you didn’t eat lunch?” she observed.
“I don’t ordinarily but you have the largest list of casual labor in the area,” I said honestly.
“It’s good to know that bulletin board isn’t a total waste of space,” she said. “So enjoy the burger.”
I wrote a dozen names down. I would have had Home Depot install the washer, but there was more to it than plugging it into the wall.
I managed to get Wendell Everett on the phone by 6 PM. He agreed to come first thing the next morning to estimate the job for me. His idea of first thing was a lot different than mine. But I assumed he had a job he needed to show up at first.
I did some research on washers and dryers I really liked the cute little stackable units, but it seemed that if one of them died, the other one became a tiny floor model. Since floor space wasn’t a problem, I decided to go for the full sized model.
I went to their web site and ordered a set of small ones. They were on sale at a decent price. The set was far from cheap, but I figured they were reasonable like me. “Not cheap, but reasonable,” I always said. I opted for a gas dryer since I could get that done easier than an Electric one. The bill for them was going to hit $700 at least. I could live with that I suppose. It would take a lot of weeks of washing but eventually it would pay for itself, I hoped.
After the trike race the next morning, I hung around the house looking for demolition projects on line, or making calls still trying to track one down. It wasn’t like I wanted any old building. I didn’t want anything with drywall or plaster to be disposed of. I guess I wanted old barns and the like. They were getting hard to find I soon found out.
In order to secure a constant supply of lumber I might have to rethink the demolition part of my cabin building experience. It seemed that doing legal shit wasn’t all that easy, or profitable. Like someone else had said if crime really didn’t pay, there wouldn’t be so many criminals.
I only had a fair night’s sleep because Joan and Jose kept coming to visit. Unlike Liam they wanted to touch me. Even with half my usual sleep I did my morning routine. Then I rode with Jeremy and Alice to breakfast. As usual I made it into the Hardee’s with my heart pumping, and almost gasping for breath. Jeremy seemed to be fairing better lately.
“How come you are older and you don’t seem to be in as much physical distress as me?” I asked.
“I live a healthier life style,” he said.
“You and I both know that is bullshit. You do nothing all day long but scheme and have sex,” I said.
“So, isn’t that what I said?” he asked.
Alice just had a knowing smile on her face. “You should try it. It does help with the breathing,” she admitted.
“That’s just too much sex for me,” I said. I smiled just to let them know that I might be joking, or not.
“So what are you planning today?” Jeremy asked.
“I have a man coming to plumb the house for a washer,” I said.
Are you ever going to get back to work on our project?” he asked.
“Yes I’m about to give up on using all recycled materials. I would rather have them, but it seems as though I would have to take apart meth labs, and that is impossible,” I admitted. “Beside I look fat in a hazmat suit. Others are just too much work to obtain far too many modern building materials. I need old barns but they are in use until the owners die while plowing a field.”
“I can see your problem. Then a lot of the building up for demolition are masonry, and we have no use for old brick,” Jeremy admitted.
“So, I guess I am going to have to go to modern lumber. I hate it but I don’t know of any alternatives. I could call down to that demolition company in Metro City. They probably have some used windows and things. It looks like the framing will all be new though,” I said.
“Have you looked into buying those old houses built in the twenties in some of the small towns,” Alice asked.
“I made some calls, it looks as though when a family stops living in them, they rent them out till they fall down,” I said.
“New or re-purposed makes no difference. We need to move on the project,” Jeremy said,
“I know you are getting antsy, so I promise I will make a decision just as soon as the man puts the washer connection in,” I said.
I went back to the house and waited for my plumber/handyman. I did more research and got pretty interested in a building technique that seemed to have some possibilities. A method I would never even consider except for the shortage of vintage building materials. Actually I did consider it earlier and decided it was too labor intensive at that time, but things change.
Wendell showed up at 10 AM more or less. I knew I couldn’t work with him on a daily basis, since he didn’t even explain why he was late.
“Well” he said. “You do have a problem here. You don’t want your drain pipe to run across the floor to that drain, I’m sure. All your openings out here are on the back wall, so it would be hard to put the washer here. It’s an awful bad idea to have them plugged in where there is a lot of water. I just don’t know what to tell you Ma’am.”
“Well here is the thing Wendell. I use what is called a gray water return system. Everything that doesn’t require treatment is returned to the ground. So I was thinking we could cut a hole in the outside wall and run a drain down the back outside wall. Then we just run a little pipe long the ground like that black shit that they use to move water from the gutters on houses,” I suggested.
“Yeah that would work in that big bath. Most people don’t think that way, but it might even come out near enough to the deck to drain it under there,” he said.
“So when can you do it and what’s it gonna cost?” I asked.
“Parts about fifty bucks and I can do the work for a hundred,” he said.
“Tell you what that is too much, but I’ll do a hundred and twenty five and you supply everything. Don’t let the boobs fool you Wendell, I can chisel a hole in that wall,” I said. I had no idea if I could or not, but I was willing to give it a try.
“Okay a hundred and twenty five bucks and I’ll supply every thing. You do know you are going to need an electrician to wire that dryer. You got an outlet that will be good for the washer but the dryers are 220. I guess you could go LP Gas for that.” He said it looking at the crazy hot water heater. “I could run a fitting over there to tape the line at that hot water heater.”
“How much more are we talking about if you do that?” I asked.
“Make it one fifty for everything and I’ll feel like we compromised,” he said with a big grin.
“Done, so when?” I asked.
“Tomorrow morning before lunch but not real early,” he said.
“Okay, I’ll be looking for you.
I did research on a new idea I had. I would probably be sorry, but I could do it. Being able to do it, and wanting to do it, was not anywhere close to the same thing. Still it was worth considering.
“I went to sleep after all the research without once going to a chat room. Why should I? Horny Joan was coming my way most every night. It was strange, but I had at least calmed down some. The orgasms weren’t as intense as before, so they weren’t as frightening either.
The next morning over breakfast with the Bobbsey twins, I broached the idea with Jeremy. “Jeremy how much land do you have in that parcel?” I asked.
“About three hundred acres why,” he asked.
“I’m wondering how many log cabins we can build by harvesting the timber. Just enough to build the cabins and not enough to change the land,” I suggested.
“Now that is a plan,” he said. “But how would it work?”
“We would need to get ourselves a portable sawmill. Use the trees we have to remove and get them into the site to build the house or for firewood. Try to have as little impact on the site as possible. We might have to go to another part of the land for additional logs, but I expect it would be a minimal amount of trips. I haven’t crunched the numbers but it might not cost too much more than my cabins on the church site.”
“Okay, after your plumber is finished, why don’t you and I take a walk over the property,” Jeremy suggested. “Then we can crunch the numbers.”
When the three of us reached my driveway entrance Jeremy shouted, “Hold up a second. I have been thinking. I know a guy who is a retired logger who worked around here. I think we should wait till the three of us can walk the property together.”
“Suits me, if you can get him before tomorrow call me, if not we can talk about it over breakfast,” I suggest. He nodded so I pulled into the drive. I tried to figure out where the hole for the gray water would come through the wall, but I really couldn’t decide.
I gave up the effort and went inside to shower. I had hot water so I showered and then dressed in a gray tee shirt with the symbol D36D across the chest. I had worn it when I worked the strip club in Capitol City. I pulled a sweatshirt over it, since it was a blatant reference to my boobs.
The sweatshirt was red and the jeans were blue. I was wearing work boots when Wendell arrived. “Hi there I have the stuff so are we ready to go?”
“Sure. I decided to vent the drying here,” I said pointing to a spot at the base of the wall in the corner. “The washer discharge should be through the wall about here I think,” I said pointing to the wall again.
“Yeah there is a plug half way up the wall there,” he said.
“Yes it was a wall switch in a past life,” I explained.
“Right,” he said, “Well let me get my hole saw and get to cutting.”
He worked about three hours cutting the hole and rigging the pipes. “So here’s the deal,” he said. “Your dryer goes over in this corner near the water heater. You can use this metal flex hose to attach to the dryer. I have the dryer vent and the plumbing setup for the washer. Cold water line from the sink up to the ceiling, then over to the rear wall and down. Hot water directly to the tank a discharge pipe for the hose. I also have the proper cut off valves on the water lines.”
“Fair enough here is your money,” I said handing him the $150 dollars in cash.
“You need a receipt,” he asked.
“No you can think of that as a bonus,” I said. It was about 3 PM when he left. I went to the downloaded files from the school to work on a sketch class.
My mind drifted to Sarah, Joan’s daughter. I asked the cops about her and was told that Joan’s mother had her. Joan was young so I hoped her mother was a young grandmother. I had Sarah at the house once and thought she was beautiful.
It took two more days to get Jeremy’s friend Tom, with a last name I never caught, to the site. I rode about half an hour in the rear seat of Jeremy’s large European sedan to get to the site. We parked at the entrance to a grown over fire road.
“Been logged before. Looks like ten or fifteen years ago,” Tom said. “Probably took out the old growth. Some farmers let us log those trees, but nothing under ten inch diameter could be cut. There was a huge bond forfeiture if they found a log under ten inches, so they checked us close.
I had a thirty three inch chain, if I could close it around a tree we left it. If it wouldn’t close we harvested it. Made logging slow as hell. We need to walk it and see the stumps to be sure.”
“Did you replant?” I asked.
“No the farmers wanted the trees to have room to grow, something about erosion control. I never understood that. Seemed to me pulp growth would do the same thing,” he said.
“Not for several years,” Jeremy said. He actually seemed to understand. “It was cut eighteen years ago. The loggers pull the logs out with mules,” he said.
“How do you know,” I asked.
“The son told me he was twelve years old when they started but he was fourteen when they finished cutting and taking it out. His dad and his uncle did the logging. Pulled them out and sold them to the sawmill. There was one that used to be at the bottom of the mountain.”
“If it was a family thing they most likely didn’t work in the summer. They probably did their logging in the winter, when nothing grows on the mountain. If you can stand the cold, it is the best time to log up here. The snow made snaking easier,” Tom said. “Plus they probably needed the money.
“Snaking?” I asked.
“Pulling the log behind a mule to get it out of the woods. Can be some dangerous shit, if the hooks come out of the log.” he said.
We came upon what looked like a path through the woods. “That is a snake trail. They would pull the logs down that cleared area then load them on a truck to be carried to that saw mill the kid told me about,” Tom said.
“If we do it we can clean the road up with a chainsaw. Go back in and down the path a couple of hundred feet. Clear it enough for a three wheeler. Saw down the tree, then cut it to length and snake it out with a three wheeler,” I suggested.
“You ever do any logging?” Tom asked.
“No why?” I asked.
“Because that exactly how I would do it,” Tom said.
“I watch a lot of TV. I love those Alaska shows,” I said.
“Snake them out to your portable mill. Dress them down load them on the truck and off you go,” he said. “When you cut all you can here move the mill down about a hundred yards and start all over.”
Yeah that sounds about like three days cutting trees, then two days milling and transporting. We might have enough to spend the next week building,” I guessed.
“Not the most efficient way to do it,” Tom suggested.
“Okay Tom, what you got?” I asked.
“You should be milling while you are downing trees for the ultimate efficiency,” he suggested.
“I don’t think two men can cut them anywhere near as fast as a man can mill them,” I said. “Mostly because I just want to square them up and cut most of them into three inch thickness. That should take only six or seven passes with the mill. Some we will just square up to use for posts,” I suggested.
“Sounds like a good plan to me. What about your build crew?” Tom asked.
“I don’t have anyone right now,” I suggested. “I’m going to be looking for equipment and men soon.”
When we returned from the walk around it was dark. Jeremy drove to his house. Jeremy insisted that I go in the house to speak to Alice. When we got inside Alice had cooked steaks and there was lots of wine available. I ate the steak and had one glass of wine. I don’t know what Jeremy promised Tom, but I left shortly after the steak.
“I need to get home. I have some research to do now,” I said. I did exactly that when I got back to my place. I found what I thought was a good way to build a wilderness cabin. We could make three or four pieces of siding from a single tree. By setting a post in concrete every five feet, we would have a secure frame as well. The plan was designed for unskilled labor, so if Jeremy got Tom into the project, he and I could probably make it work. I knew the design was good for us, plus it gave us lots of possible variables as to materials.
That night, when I finally got to sleep after considering all the likely project glitches, I had what I began to think of as visitations. If I ever found the courage to talk about them, I would probably call them dreams.
Anyway Jose was sitting on one of my sofas with Joan kneeling between his legs. I watch while she sucked his only average penis. “Doesn’t he have the most beautiful cock?” she asked me. When I didn’t answer she said, “Well?”
“Yes it is beautiful,” I admitted.
“Would you like to help me. I know you know how to do it,” she said.
“I know how, but you know I don’t want do that for him,” I said.
“Then do it for me. I would love to see his cock move in and out of your mouth,” Joan said.
“No Joan I am not going to do that. No matter what you say,” was my reply. In response to my reply she moved away from Jose and began kissing and touching me till I came in waves. I was shocked to wakefulness, as I had been most nights, since I learned of their deaths.
“You know your parents hate me.” I said to the Jose, who was no longer alive to defend himself. “So tell me is there anything I can do to change it. Tell the truth.”
He seemed to answer. Of course I knew that the voice in my head was my own. They were like family and I was going to hurt them no matter what. In the case of my involvement with Jose, the truth would not set me free. I wasn’t going to be able to plead not guilty. I could only hope that Carlos and Nita could forgive me when they found out they were wrong about me screwing him. My actions in the situation that caused his death were just as damning. I was guilty of aiding him with his involvement with Joan which got him killed.
I was still upset the next morning, as I was most every morning lately. I stoked the fire in the stove and started the fire under the hot water heater all while feeling sorry for myself. I wasn’t clinically depressed just very, very sad.
The cold air made me feel better for some reason. The cold trike ride did even more for me, since I couldn’t feel anything but cold and a pain in my lungs from gasping cold air. By the time I got to Hardee’s, I wasn’t thinking at all of Joan and Jose. I was thinking about the resort Jeremy was planning.
“So how you doing Rose?” Jeremy asked. He knew that Carlos and his family blamed me. He also understood why I couldn’t set them straight. When I denied to Nita that I was involved with Jose, she should have believed me. I had never lied to her or Carlos, but they really didn’t know that for sure.
“Just hanging in there,” I said. Unlike Jeremy and Alice, I took no comfort in making sure the world was turning a little more true because of us. God knows I took no pleasure in the torture of Martinez. It was something that had to be done, and I did it well. That’s all there was to it.
“We need to talk about the project and the trees, if you are up to it,” Jeremy said.
“I know my heart just isn’t in it,” I admitted.
“I know. Tom has offered to supervise the logging and cabin build for me. I want you to know that if you tell me you want to do the project, Alice and I can do without Tom,” Jeremy explained.
“No, you need to assume that I won’t feel like this for years,” I said. “I’m not depressed really, I just can’t seem to find the motivation to do anything right now.”
“I can understand that,” Alice said. “It has to be hard to go through all that emotional stuff with Carlos and his wife.”
I might have told her about Joan and Jose coming to me at night, if I thought she wouldn’t call the men in white suits. I had a feeling I just needed to get really well laid. Then again it probably wouldn’t help.
“Tom couldn’t figure out the thing about cutting the logs in three or four pieces,” Jeremy said. “Would you take a meeting with the two of us? Just spend an hour or so designing the cabin for me.”
“Sure why not,” I said.
“I knew you would help. Just meet us this afternoon and talk us through it,” Jeremy suggested.
“Sure Jeremy whatever you want,” I said. Just then I felt a hand on my leg. Of course it wasn’t at all erotic. I had two layers of clothing on so I barely felt it.