It’s been kind of … uh … productive having Cal around for almost two weeks. But I swear he is bossier than Daddy and Papa combined. And at least those two men credited me with a modicum of common sense. Sometimes Cal acts like my brain is made of Swiss cheese.
It was nice to have someone around to talk about all this new stuff going on in my head but that said, it is also nice to have him out from under my feet now that he has gone home. Well sorta anyway.
If we’d been any more productive I would have expired. I’ve canned, I’ve smoked, I’ve dried, I’ve planted, I’ve inventoried, I’ve printed, I’ve discussed and I’ve shopped … and shopped … and shopped … until I hope to never, ever, ever, ever shop again.
Fat chance that happening if Cal has his way.
I never knew that Cal and his brothers were closet survivalists. All of their wives are apparently totally on board too which is the complete opposite of how Lily is. His brothers, all but one more than ten years older than Cal, have all moved out west onto their own “spreads.” They’ve been at this for years and according to Cal could survive without contact with the outside world for three years or more.
“Sure they can.”
“Have you seen this giant ‘bunker’ or whatever they call it?”
“Well … no. Besides, they each have their own.”
“Uh … huh.”
“But they’ve told me about it.”
“Right. Sent you pictures? Asked you to move out there to be with them?”
“Well … Lily and ... You know they are all older than me. I’m just kinda the odd man out.”
“Hmmm. They sound like wonderful big brothers. Did they lose you in the mall every chance they got too?”
“Uh … they … they never let me come with them.”
I rolled my eyes and groaned, “Oh brother. Cal, you’re a cop. A really, really, really good cop. You’ve got all the skills that would be perfect for a family of survivalists. But they’ve never asked you to come see their places?” I smacked him with a pillow. “They don’t want you to come out there because they know if you do you’ll spot their lies.”
“They wouldn’t do that. They’re not like that at all.”
“And you call me naïve?! The whole world is like that. People build up their reputations, deserved or not, to feel better about themselves. They want people … need people … to look up to them, to believe that they are more than what they are. If your brothers really didn’t want you out there, they wouldn’t have told you a single thing. You said yourself that you don’t just advertise what you have because of all the data mining going on. The IRS alone has specifically targeted people claiming to be survivalists to make sure they are properly filing their gross and net worths at tax time. If they were so smart why would they tell their weakest link what they have?”
“Hey! I would never turn on my brothers!”
“Not you you oversized Boy Scout … Lily. You’ve said they’ve discussed things openly with her around, put it in writing in emails, even though they know she can’t stand them because of the way they’ve treated her since … well, for a long time now.”
He shook his head and complained, “You just don’t understand. They’re not like that. They wouldn’t have lied to me all these years.”
“So don’t look it as a definite lie, think of it as a possible exaggeration. Maybe they even keep things from each other and it’s kind of like a weird one-upmanship thing going on between brothers.”
He didn’t answer me. I’d made him half way mad. But at least I’ve got him thinking.
Like he got me thinking. He went on the sheriff’s website and showed me calls for service and all of the unsolved murders in this area of the county. He made me look up the type and number of incidences in the area and what addresses they came from. I had no idea that the house three doors into the ritzy community to the west that overlooks Cockroach Bay had a murder in it last week. Or that there is a habitual sex offender living four doors away from me as the crow flies.
I now have a concealed carry license. There is a hand gun in my nightstand. A rifle in my bedroom closet. And bright and shiny new locks and bolts on all the doors and windows … including my bedroom door and closet door if I need a last bolt hole. There are also fold away fire ladders in all of the upstairs rooms including the attic. Smoke alarms, flashlights in several convenient locations, and the list goes on and on. Next up a heavy gate at the drive way entrance, perimeter alarms and surveillance cameras and a really crazy idea for a panic room under the house that doubles as reinforcing for some of the oldest floor joists. No, I’m not kidding.
The only stipulation that Cal has made is that I’m not allowed to tell anyone about any of it. Not Trish. Not Amaris. Not Mack. Not Dorrie who I’ve been getting reacquainted with as her mom and grandmother are as into canning and stuff like that as I am and own their own u-pick tomato field. Not Josh or any of his friends if they come out here fishing. Not anyone. Especially not Lily.
I’m not sure what to make of it. The more Cal and I discussed things the more into it he got. It was a little weird. A little scary. When it was just me I could think small and I was comfortable with that. It kept the bad stuff at a distance. Cal doesn’t know how to think small. And his job doesn’t let him hide from the bad stuff that might happen.
And now he’s got me looking at the shadows in a different way.