By Cindy and Walt
“Luis, we have decided you must vacate your apartment since you have broken two of the articles in the agreement you signed when you moved into the towers. We would like for you to be out by the end of the month,” the chairman said.
Luis looked shocked. Why I don’t know since he had expected it. He looked at me like do something. “Mr. Chairman I think you need to give Luis the required thirty days notice at least. Thirty days would give him till March 20th. March 31, would be better,” I said.
“And who are you?” the chairman asked.
“I’m Luis’s advocate, his daughter could not be here. I also have a very good friend who is a reporter with the Capitol City Times. He would probably want to interview the so called victim in this matter to make absolutely sure that you aren’t lynching the Latino immigrant,” I said.
I could see the wheels turning. The Latino community had been organized by the liberal politicians during the immigration reform fight. Since then they were always looking for a fight. His job would be on the line, if he got bad press of the magnitude that could be brought down by this issue.
He made the executive decision to allow Luis till the end of the next month. I considered it a victory even if Luis didn’t.
“What was all that about?” Luis asked angrily.
“I told you to stall. I can give you a choice, if you wait till the end of March to move out,” I said.
“What kind of choice?” he asked.
“I have bought the site to build an artist community in Roaring Gap. I can use a first tenant and manager of the community. You can make a final decision when you see the building I’m going to offer you. Either move to Roaring Gap, or move in with your daughter. It will be totally up to you,” I replied. It was quite a speech, but it helped me understand my plan to finally say it out loud.
“You will have this Village ready by the end of March?” he said.
“If we don’t have a big spring snow, at least one house will be ready then yes,” I suggested.
On the drive back to the senior towers we picked up a pizza. In his apartment he leaned against the window ledge with a slice of pizza in his hand. “You know I don’t have many friends from the old days. Most of them are dead now and some are still in jail.”
I waited but he didn’t go on. “Well I guess you get lonely then?” I suggested.
“I haven’t known anything else for at least thirty years,” he said. “I guess I’m used to it. Being alone, I mean. I’m trying to say thank you. I think living with my daughter would kill me.”
“Well we can’t have that till you teach me all you know,” I suggested.
“That may not be long. You are a pig when it comes to devouring information,” he said.
“Well this pig needs to get home, before dark. I will have a place for you, just keep your head down in the meantime. Don’t gloat over your partial victory,” I said as I started for the door.
The drive back was uneventful, just long. Driving from the plaza exit to the Country Store could be treacherous at best. The road was icy in spots even though there had been no new snow recently. The sun caused the standing snow’s runoff. It ran across the road only to refreeze at night. That’s why I wanted to be home before dark. I made it even though the roads were starting to refreeze even in the dusk hours.
The Country Store was chilly since the fire hadn’t been banked for several hours. I tossed a paper plate on top of two new split logs. The animal fat of the paper plate caused the fire to catch very quickly. It would still take half an hour to reach maximum temperature in the room so I sat in my thermals and heavy outerwear. I removed only the hunting coat.
The cabin had finally started to warm up and I was down to the thermal underwear when the phone rang. “Hello,” I answered since I didn’t even check the caller ID.
“Senorita Rose, we are ready to begin?” Carlos asked.
“Yes we are ready. We can start in the morning, if you are free,” I replied.
“I will be there at eight and work until five.” he suggested.
“I might be there a little later. My morning begins with a trike ride to keep fit, even if I am working on the buildings. So it might be 8:30 so begin with the house that needs the most work and is close to the concrete block bones. Start demolishing the house and I will be there shortly,” I said.
“Very well we will begin with the house across from the black walls. I know you want to rebuild the block building first. That way the materials will be close at hand,” Carlos said.
“That sounds reasonable. I should be there before you get very far into it,” I promised.
After talking to Carlos I had to get back into my routine, if I hoped to calm down enough to sleep. From my freezer I took a tray of frozen beef stew. It was a brand I enjoyed. I put it into a small aluminum pot. The pot had two handles, one on either side. The handles looked like cabinet hardware more than handles for a cooking utensil.
It would remain on top of my wood stove for some time. At least until the house smells of the cooking stew. I opened a pack of the fancy rolls. I used them for everything from garlic toast to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I took my one cast iron frying pan and put it on the stove once the stew was ready. I let the butter melt then I grilled the split rolls with just enough garlic salt to make it noticeable on the buttered toast. A can of diet coke off the back deck and dinner was served.
After dinner I check the mail and found the test message awaiting me. It was a monthly exercise in futility. Since the Church Camp seldom had a message for me, they sent a test message once a month or so. I was expected to respond with something nonsensical just to screw up anyone who bothered to hack into an account that seldom said more than come to papa in a very elaborate book code.
I began looking at floor plans for small modern houses. I should draw something, I thought but I just really didn’t have any desire to draw. I was too excited about the new project we were starting. At about 10 PM I found my way into the Matchmaker chat room. It was a Wednesday night so there wouldn’t be such a high percentage of losers like there would on Friday or Saturday nights. Those nights it was guys who couldn’t find a date. Weeknights it was mostly bored men. Some claimed to be recently divorced or widowed, other claimed to be my age and never married. If I read between the lines it looked as though there were several men looking to find wives. Lots more of the women were looking for serious relationships, ones that had the potential to lead to marriage.
I was surprised at the number of women claiming to have had bisexual experiences. I guess they were trying to appear fun and adventurous, since very few of them were looking for female partners. I wasn’t either but I also didn’t want adventurous, since I had that at home. Jeremy and Alice came to mind for that kind of thing, not to mention my first few jobs for the SBI.
What I wanted was a guy I could drop in on and spend a few days in bed. Someone who had a real job that was so boring when he described it at cocktail parties people fell asleep. In other words, a man who was disgustingly normal. I did not find him that night so I hit an adult chat room for a quick fantasy fix. Quick turned into an hour in which time I managed to find a man who could write well enough to get me inside my own head and the fantasy orgasm which ended with me clenching my teeth and forcing the climax. It was a slimy orgasm. I was forced to wash before I went to bed.
The next morning I got out of bed early to get the heat up then bank the fire so it would last till I got home. We were still having freezing temperature right up until noon. However spring was on the way. The old guys hanging around Hardee’s said the weather would be changing soon. It would be cold but not freezing during the daylight hours. There might still be a few freezing temperatures at night, and it might be cold during the daylight hours but not icy.
So I banked the fire to keep some heat in the house, even if it dropped down to forty inside I could live with that. I just didn’t want frozen pipes or any of the other nastiness that went with below freezing conditions inside.
I raced with Jeremy and Alice to Hardee’s. It was a good race and even Alice finished within seconds of Jeremy, who finish too close to me to declare either of us the winner.
Once inside I agreed to buy since it would have been my turn, if we had done it that way. When I sat down at the table I noticed the SMP officer point a cell phone toward me. I hung my head. Since I had my hair tucked into a knit cap like a laborer, I figured I was pretty unrecognizable. Still it bothered me to have a cop shooting a picture of me. I decided to shake his ass up. I stood and walked to his table. I took a picture of his badge, his nametag and finally his face. Then I took a picture of each of them.
“What the hell do you think you are doing?” the one with the Sergeant’s stripes asked.
“Ask the officer here what he was doing taking my picture,” I suggested. “I think there is such a thing as professional standards where you work. If not there should be,” I said.
“I wasn’t taking a picture,” the officer said.
“Of course not, and I didn’t really take yours either,” I said. “Of course it might have looked like it, but I really wasn’t.”
“So tell me whose picture were you taking?” I asked.
“You three are here so often, I was just curious,” the SMP officer said.
“What plans do you have for the photo? You plan to do some background check on us without any probable cause except we eat breakfast where you do? Boy this is really going to look good on the State Police Takeover blog,” Jeremy said.
“Oh I think we might interest the State Cable News Channel, especially since I have pictures of your badges and faces,” I suggested. The government intrusion nuts should have a field day.
“Okay, what do you want?” the sergeant asked.
“There really isn’t anything we can do to protect ourselves, except to tell our story to someone who can get some leverage,” Jeremy suggested. “I mean even if you give us your word to lose the file, it isn’t really going to mean much.”
“I’m going to have to agree with Jeremy, the only way we can keep our privacy from being invaded is to tell our story first. At least that is what we will have to do should anything come of those pictures you shot,” I said. “We might have no expectation of privacy in a public place, but then neither do you.
We were outside about to get on our trikes when Jeremy said to me, “There is never a dull moment around you.”
“Yes he is right. I am so glad we became friends,” Alice agreed.
When I got home, I ran around like a maniac grabbing clothes from here and there. Then I stood by the banked fire in the stove to change again. I stripped right down to my bare ass. Everything I had on was damp from the race. Well the inside layer and probably the second were moist. I hung those on an old fashioned wooden folding towel rack with six hanging bars. It was pretty shaky when empty, but fairly stable with all the clothes handing on it.
I put my damp thermal short sleeve tee shirt on it as well as my tight fleece running pants and top. Last but not least my slightly small heavy sweatshirt went on the rack along with the ski mask I wore. It might not be wet when I came in, but I rinsed it before I hung it on the towel rack. My nose ran in the cold. Not exactly a flattering look, but a fact none the less.
Standing there naked I walked to the ‘yard sale’ full length mirror in a wooden floor stand. It was probably from the early 1900s, but I didn’t know it might easily have been a reproduction like I care at all. It had lost some silver, so in it I appeared to have black spots on my legs. The mirror’s condition wasn’t perfect, but then ‘x’ would tell you that mine wasn’t either.
I redressed in a clean short sleeve thermal tee shirt, a pair of white bikini panties and a pair of red fleece running pants. The lightweight tight red fleece sweat shirt came next then a navy blue red wool blend shirt followed by a pair of over sized jeans to accommodate the running pants underneath. It was an outfit that didn’t make me look too much like the doughboy, but it did hide the fact that I was a female. I might no longer be a young girl, but I still liked to appear girlie. That outfit was anything but girlie. On the way out the door I pulled on a heavy sweatshirt and my heavy mustard colored hunting coat.
Since I had to hitch the heavy trailer alone, it was fully 9 AM when I arrived at the Village. Carlos, Juan and a third man were on the roof of the house across the street from the block building. They were using coal shovels to remove the shingles from the roof. Since they didn’t have to be careful about it they worked quickly. The third man’s leg went through the roof a couple of times. However, they got through the job with no major mishaps. I had no idea what Carlos had agreed to pay the third man, but I knew it would not be as much as he and Juan got paid, so I was okay with it for a while. I would never pay him that much to pull nails, when I could do it myself.
“Good morning,” I shouted up to them. “What can I do?”
“You can load the roofing material up. Watch out for nails,” Carlos said.
So that’s what I did. I started and finished far behind the three of them. They were carefully removing the layer of roof deck called sheeting. It was comprised of rough-cut boards used to hold the asphalt shingles in place. Some of the houses had metal roofs which had faired better, but they had very little salvageable roof structure material.
Carlos explained to me before he started on the house that it had the most salvageable materials and was in the worst shape. The roof over the kitchen had collapsed into the house. It had rain and snowed inside for several years. Most likely the floor was rotten at least in that area.
I found it odd the houses with the cheapest roof construction has lasted better then the ones with the more modern shingles. It was interesting, but not really anything other than a simple fact, so we were dealing with it. I loaded the trailer and sorted lumber with the help of Edwardo aka Eddie.
Eddie had a couple of really awful tattoos. I wouldn’t have noticed them before Luis, but I knew that they were awful. Even so he was a good worker. He stayed right with me and even worked though the frequent, though short breaks. Breaks I required due to the shoulder pain. It might or might not ever go away, I had been told. Still it took only a five minute respite from the task to reset the pain meter. That and a hell of a lot of Tylenol Arthritis Strength, alternated with Ibuprofen.
At lunch I drove to Helen’s for a grease burger and fries to go. I picked up a case of coke which had been stored outside. When I arrived I offered them to the men who had brought their lunch from home.
After lunch we went back to work. My shoulder was bearable but still painful. I removed the hunting coat and worked in my wool blend shirt as a jacket. The roof structure was down completely shortly after my return. After lunch Eddie joined me in pulling nails and sorting the roof structure into salvageable and the too damaged to use pieces. I found that we could salvage a lot of the boards that had some rot, just by cutting the rot away.
With that knowledge I went to home depot in the plaza after I left the job site on the first day. Since Carlos pulled the trailer filled with roofing shingles and the rotten pieces of lumber to his special dump site, I was free for the plaza run. At the home depot, I bought a 7 1/4 inch circular saw, a 3/8 inch drill and an angle grinder all intended for demolition only. I knew that I was no carpenter but figured I could tear shit up with the best of them.
I went home pretty much hungry, even though I had eaten lunch, which I seldom did. I found a can of beans on the shelf, so I cooked a couple of pieces of the frozen bacon and mixed them together. I also used the toaster oven to make a half dozen corn muffins in my cast iron pan that formed the muffins into a long thin shape. It had to be heavily greased but I did have all that bacon grease available.
The meal was wonderful but would never get me to the next round of top chef wilderness, I thought with a chuckle. After dinner I looked at floor plans for houses again, then went to the dating site.
That night I played messenger tag with a clerk in a law office. I wondered about a male clerk, but decided it was none of my business, besides I like slightly feminine guys, I decided.
While playing messenger tag with him, I played fantasy lover with another man in an adult chat room. In the end I orgasmed from the fantasy. I didn’t bother to say good night to the sexually dominant man with whom I had fantasized. I said goodnight to the law clerk before I left the computer. Then I cleaned up and went to bed.
I slept well with no more visits from the zombie couple as I had begun to characterize Joan and Jose.
“Maybe we should go to a different restaurant,” Jeremy suggested the next morning.
“Hell no, let the fucking cops go somewhere else,” I demanded.
“Okay, but you really don’t want to create any animosity with the police,” Alice said.
“Fuck ‘em all,” I said before taking off on the trike. I got a good thirty yard lead which I maintained all the way to Hardee’s. When I pulled into the parking lot, I noted the missing cop cars. It wasn’t unusual for them to show up later, but they never did that morning. They were either off or letting me and Jeremy cool off.
After breakfast it was back to the house where I stripped naked again then started the washer with all my first layer clothing from the three previous days. I put on more of my favorite items then took off for the job site. First thing I noted was that the trailer was empty and parked behind the concrete block skeleton. The Saw service we had ordered was hot, so I had bought the electric saw just in time. I ran one of Carlos’ long extension cords into the street and set up a saw station where I salvaged the lumber with rotten spots.
“Saw the rot off completely, but save all the good wood you can,” Carlos demanded. “Don’t worry about how straight the cuts are, just get the rot off we can dress them as we build.”
The three of them dismantled the house walls on day two and began on the floor. On one of my breaks, made necessary by the shoulder injury, it was time to get rid of the squatters occupying a few of the houses. I went and either posted or served the thirty day cease and desist orders. They were forms from the Internet, but they were legal. On a later break I went to the County Courthouse. I gave the clerk a copy with the names and addresses in case I had to request that the rural police remove them.
We had thirty days to work before it became an issue so I went back to it. I was way behind but I worked steady until the pain became too much. That was about 4 PM.
“Carlos I have to stop my shoulder hurts like a mother fucker,” I said. He was not used to hearing me use language like that.
“I will put Eddie on your job for the rest of the day. We need to keep the lumber moving,” he said.
“Fine I’m going to take the cut off pieces with me. I can burn them in my stove,” I said.
“Do you need help loading them,” he asked.
“No I can manage, but that is going to be all,” I said. I had two hours before I could take more pills but I toughed it out to load the wood. The rotten ends would burn well when they dried. Some had frozen and thawed many times so they needed to dry thoroughly.
When I got home I didn’t even check my mail. I sat by the stove and drew a picture of a barefoot boy cutting firewood with what I had learned was a buck saw. I found that a lot of the shading and depth tricks that Luis taught me came naturally, but it still wasn’t as good as he would have done.” I sent it off to Luis, then read my mail.
There was nothing from Church Camp, so there was nothing of interest. Since I didn’t need Viagra and my hard rubber penis didn’t need enlarging there was nothing of interest in my spam either.
My messenger did pop up. The law clerk said he hoped we could meet and chat more on line. I answered in a message ‘why not, I’m home now’. We played messenger tag, while I heated a frozen dinner on the stove top.
Clerk wrote…I had a rough day…my boss is an ass.
So he just wants to complain, I thought.
Me…hell so is mine and I am the boss.
Clerk wrote…that’s hilarious
Me…not really, kind of sad I think. I do hope my workers show up tomorrow, I forgot to ask and it is Saturday.
Clerk wrote…working on Saturday maybe you are an ass.
It went on like that all through the evening. Between messages I got an email from Luis. ‘Not bad but the shadows on the child’s face should be softer to keep him from looking like an old man,’ he observed.
‘You should know’, I replied. I wondered if Luis could fix Eddie’s bad tattoos. Just a thought I had. I also slipped into an adult chat room while I held the conversation with the clerk. His chat didn’t require much deep attention. It was slow enough to allow me time to give him a got ‘phone call’ message brb, then concentrate on the fantasy that gave me an orgasm. When I calmed down, I went back to chatting with the Clerk.