Friday, March 26, 2010

Casual Friday

Not much going on here... Cold, rainy, windy and forecast to turn over to snow later this afternoon.

Thought maybe y'all would like to read a piece of one of my current works in progress...
The house rolled past Beau’s camper at two a.m.
Woobie, the mutt he’d inherited when his Aunt Agatha died, raised her head and woofed softly. Beau blearily reached over his head and flicked the blinds closed to block out the lights. He’d imbibed too much Irish ale at the fall cookout The Traveler’s Rest held for the residents, so his mental processes weren’t firing on all cylinders. Knowing he didn’t need to get up the next morning because it was one of his half-days, he’d taken advantage of the chance to hang out and enjoy an impromptu jam session.
On the very edge of sinking back in the black hole of slumber, the words moving and house coalesced into an alarming picture. He struggled upright. His feet promptly tangled in the jeans twisted around his ankles. When he stumbled into his camper after the cookout he’d rushed to use the bathroom before passing out on his bed. He paid for his oversight as he ended up in a heap on his knees in the tiny space between the bed and the miniscule toilet.
Woobie whined as she trotted over to the edge of the bed. She licked his face and nudged him with her nose.
Beau absently patted the dog. Something was not right. As he plucked at the wrinkled fabric around his thighs he decided that must be the problem. Ahhhh. Stupid jeans. When he twisted so he was sitting upright, his balls came in contact with the icy tile floor, shocking him into a sharper awareness of his surroundings. Levering himself up on the side of the bed, he yanked up the plaid boxers twisted around his knees and then pulled up the jeans.
With a weary sigh, he stood up and finished hauling his boxers and pants in place. Won’t have to find my shoes, he thought. Never took them off. Zipping his pants half-way, he opened his camper door and sailed out into the darkness, missing the two steps entirely as he measured his length in the cold damp grass.
Spying the open door, Woobie took the opportunity to answer the call of nature. Business taken care of, she trotted over to Beau, tail wagging furiously as she snuffled his ribs with her cold wet nose before plopping down next to him. He rested his big hand on her head, gently rubbing the soft white hair between her floppy ears. She whined and wriggled closer. Her fluffy tail thumped the ground.
Beau lay there, cursing his stupidity and lack of judgment in hanging around with the Irish band after the cookout. Most sane people went back to their campers or RV’s. Why didn’t he? Because he was an idiot, he concluded. He groaned and sat up, noting the lights flickering through the hedge that divided his site from the next one over—the site that was empty when he came home from his ill-considered binge with the Irish rockers. The site that was reserved for staff members only.
“Go back inside,” he growled at the dog.
She sat up, tongue hanging out and woofed.
“No dammit. No barking. Go inside.”
Tail dragging, she trudged back to the camper and hopped inside.
Climbing to his feet he staggered out to the blacktop road that ran around the outer edge of The Traveler’s Rest staff area. Stumbling over to the driveway for the next site he wavered to a stop and stared at the occupant in disbelief. No one should be occupying the site. A chill breeze sifted across the wide driveway, raising goosebumps on his bare chest and arms. He rubbed his arms and frowned, trying to solve the conundrum presented by the inexplicable appearance of his new neighbor.
A tiny house was parked there. The little house was complete with porch, peaked roof, and stained-glass windows. Two pots of creamy mums sat next to the steps. A soft pink light illuminated the porch. At the foot of the steps a rubber mat with bright yellow sunflowers on it bid him welcome.
Beau had lived at The Traveler’s Rest for nearly six months. His working visit was part of the requirements imposed by his uncle in his will. If Beau wanted to inherit whatever his Uncle Richmond had seen fit to leave him, he first had to complete six specific tasks at The Traveler’s Rest.
At loose ends after abruptly ending his military service with a spectacularly busted ankle, Beau had shrugged and agreed with the terms, figuring his uncle’s behest was better than nothing. In the meantime, he had a place to live, an adequate paycheck, and responsibilities that kept him busy. During the time he’d lived at The Traveler’s Rest, he’d encountered quite an array of traveling homes from the minimalist Teardrop campers to the plushest converted bus RV’s. This was the first time an actual house had shown up.
Shoving his hands in his pockets, he hunched his shoulders against the cold wind and prowled down the driveway, slowly circling the house. The occupant had hooked up the electricity and water. According to the license plate on the truck parked at the other end of the driveway, the owners lived in Montana. Meandering down the other side of the house, he noted the fine attention to detail.
Shaking his head, he went back to his camper. Tomorrow would be soon enough to deal with his new neighbors. Next to the little jewel of a house, his trailer looked decidedly worse for the wear, even in the dark. He had an idea it was going to be more so in the glare of full daylight. Without turning on the lights, he climbed back inside, shucked his clothing completely this time and stretched out on the bed next to his dog.

Narrow shafts of sunlight sneaked past the blinds to bombard him in the face. Grumpily, Beau rolled over and pulled the lumpy pillow over his head. A series of muffled thumps from outside nudged him closer to awareness. Then the strains of a man singing wove their way from next door. Cursing, Beau sat up and glared at the door. The melody sounded a lot like opera—his least favorite genre of music. When it occurred to him that the man wasn’t even singing in English, his outrage knew no bounds. Snatching up his plaid boxers, he jerked them on wrong side out before leaping from his camper to storm his way to the driveway next door.
His eyes were bloodshot from the inside out and tiny leprechauns were lustily hammering in his head. He howled and cursed as he stepped on a sharp stone. Hopping sideways on his bad foot, he twisted his ankle landing squarely on his butt in a small puddle of water. Clapping his hands over his ears, he tried to block out the music as the singer reached a powerful crescendo.
Abruptly, the music stopped. He closed his eyes, savoring the exquisite relief.
And then she laughed.

Standing at the end of her driveway, Dulcia studied the nearly naked man sitting in a puddle on the edge of the road. His dark brown curls looked like they’d been whipped with an egg-beater. When he opened his eyes, she caught a glimpse of sharp blue bloodshot eyes. If he wasn’t so cranky he might even be attractive. The placket on his boxers gaped open, affording her a yummy view of his morning wood. Pressing her lips together, she fought the wild urge to laugh until a small white dog freckled with black spots trotted up and washed his face with an enthusiastic pink tongue. Dulcia gave up the fight.
“Who the hell are you?” Beau demanded as he pushed the dog away in vain. “Dammit, Woobie, quit licking my face!”
The dog sat down, tail wagging and regarded Dulcia with a friendly doggie grin.
“Apparently, I’m your new neighbor. Dulcia Fairchild. And you are?”
“Beauregard Barker.”
“Had a rough night, Beauregard? Too much booze?”
“Shut up.” His eyes traveled slowly down her body from head to toe. “Planning on peddling your ass?”
Dulcia cocked her head to one side. “It depends. You think there’d be sufficient money around here?”
“Hell if I know. But I sure wouldn’t advertise if it isn’t for sale.”
She nodded her head. “I’ll keep that in mind.” Turning on her heel, she strolled slowly back toward her little house. “Oh, Beauregard? That’s a mighty fine advertisement poking out of your boxers…How much do you charge?” she inquired before opening her door and going inside.

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