Closed Door

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Part 65

Dear Diary, 

Wish I could write what a giggle sounds like in this journal.  Geez but I have got to find out why Cal snores so loud.  And he’s doing it right behind me.  I had to put Feena back in her crib but pull it close to the bed … my side.  She kept trying to stick her blankey in Cal’s mouth.  I was afraid he was going to gag and suffocate.  He only does it between being lightly asleep and being fully asleep; I ought to know, I listen to him most nights from down the hall.  Only tonight?  No more down the hall. 

It is been a full day.  When I woke this morning it was to a beautiful winter day.  The sky was cerulean blue and not a cloud in sight.  Humidity was so low all Feena wanted was her cuppy all morning long.  I didn’t sweat a bit as I worked on the garden and around the house.  Then about eleven thirty as I was feeding Feena her lunch I noticed that the sky wasn’t quite so bright.   

I stepped outside and sure enough off to the northeast I saw a line of storm clouds … a front.  The wind had picked up a bit as well; not so that I would really notice it, but the water did as I saw a few white caps had started to form here and there.  I put Feena on my hip and walked towards the dock to look towards the mouth of the river and sure enough, the closer to the Bay it got the slightly rougher the water became. 


I jumped and turned.  It was Darla. one of the women from yesterday.  She and someone else were out in sea kayaks and wet suits.  I waved. 

Darla came close to the dock.  “Wetha bulletin says a cold front is cuhming.  Be heyah by evening.” 

I looked at her and said, “It’ll be here by six the way it is moving.  We’re already getting white caps into the river; usually means the Bay is really gonna churn.  I probably don’t have to tell you that you better tie down good on the Bay side.  If the wind is pushing the water this hard already no telling what it will be like tonight, probably pretty cold.” 

“This is cold?” 

I smiled and admitted, “OK, maybe not for you but you might be surprised how nasty what we call a cold front can be.” 

She gave a small smile then just nodded her head and gave a casual wave of her paddle; she and her companion were off and around the shoreline vegetation and then out of my sight though I noticed they weren’t all that silent.  They slapped the water with their paddles too much like they were afraid of gators or something.  She’d be better off watching out for something coming out of the mangrove swamps.  I’ve seen novice kayakers freak out and turn themselves over at sighting horseshoe crabs or baby sharks. 

We started having rolling brown outs at one o’clock and I could already feel the temperature dropping.  The radio said they were trying to conserve energy for the hospitals and emergency shelters since not all of the electrical capacity had been rebuilt.  It was bound to get cold sooner or later, it is December after all.  I sat Feena in the swing Cal had strung in the old oak near the rear of the house and I started moving my more sensitive tropicals into the Florida room.  What a job that was.  Lucky for me I got a nice surprise right around three thirty. 


He looked tired but when he saw me and smiled and got out of his truck, came over, and swung me around in a happy greeting. 

I laughed, “Are you crazy?!  Put me down you big goof!”   

He was still smiling and so was I when he said, “I can’t tell you how good it is to have someone welcome me home and mean it.” 

“Well I’ll do more than say it.  Why don’t you go get cleaned up and I’ll put some soup on.” 

“Actually I brought dinner home.” 

That surprised me so much I didn’t know what to say at first.  “Brought … brought dinner home?” 

“Let’s get this in the house … should stay warm in the oven even without turning it on … and then I’ll help you finish getting this stuff put up.  I wasn’t sure whether you’d know there was a cold front coming in.” 

“Honestly, you’d think I’d never lived here before.  All I had to do was look outside and see that line of clouds and see the white caps.” 

He nodded.  “Yeah, you’d notice that.” 

“And besides a couple of people from the base or compound or whatever warned me.” 

All the good humor drained from his face.  “What was his name?” 

“Him was a her … two hers actually although they had a guy with them yesterday.  Her name is Darla Dutton and I suppose there is a rank in front of the name but I don’t know what it is.  Darla is Coast Guard.  I don’t know what the other two are.” 

Sounding like an interrogation he asked, “How did you meet them?” 

“Darla came over wanting to know if I would tell her what trees were what because they didn’t know what fruit was safe.”  I stopped, laughing in remembrance.  “Can you believe they didn’t know what a kumquat was?  They couldn’t tell the difference between a sour orange and a calamondin.  Darla was telling me how awful the oranges tasted and they thought they were poisonous or something.” 

I was giggling but stopped when I saw Cal was still looking serious.  I put my hands on my hips and said, “I didn’t go over there if that’s what you are thinking.  I do have some sense you know.  They brought me leaves and I labeled them … by the time they were finished it looked like a science project for middle school.” 

Still serious he asked, “That’s all they wanted?  Then why did they come back?” 

“They didn’t come back exactly.  I walked down to the dock to look towards the mouth of the river and they were out paddling in kayaks.  From the junk on the hulls it looked like they had just come from one of the water trails through the mangroves.  I waved, they paddled over.  They didn’t stay and only stopped for like two or three minutes max.” 

He finally relaxed and started to help move all my pots.  “I don’t like to leave you with so many strangers around.” 

“Well, you might as well get over that.  Now are you going to tell me if you still have your job or not?” 

He stopped for a minute and was just as serious as he had been about my visitors.  “Would it bother you if I didn’t?” 

Slowly I answered, “Only if it bothered you.  We’d have to sit down and work out a strategy of how we were going to make ends meet but I don’t want you worrying and taking some stupid, crazy job just to say you have a job.  I …” 

He bent over and shut me up with a kiss.  “I’ve still got a job but they’ve … hmm, how to put this.  They’ve temporarily repurposed our department.” 

“What do you mean repurposed?” I asked cautiously.

“We’re still law enforcement but rather than all of us running the streets the National Guard and DHS is going to do that.” 

Irritated I said, “They are so not making you guys the scapegoats for what has been going on.” 

“Yes and no.  They’ve put the county on ‘observation’ but they can’t really do it without us.  They know it.  They’re … er … selectively adjusting our job descriptions.” 

“What about … you know … what you guys did before.  Especially like the holding cells and prisons?” 

“Most of the prisons are being privatized …” 

I didn’t mean to yelp but it came out that way.  “What?  You mean like … like a corporation kind of thing?” 

He nodded.  “Pretty much.  The prisoners are going to have to contribute to the cost of their own maintenance by participating in whatever the industry is that gets set up in each prison.  It is going on around the state.  They’ll dump the ones they can … petty criminals, drug addicts, drunk drivers … and from what I understand they are bringing back hard labor.” 

I shook my head.  “Sounds like a recipe for disaster.  With the way things are dumping people that have already proven they’ll ignore the law onto the streets just means we’ve got more desperate people with no way to support themselves except through crime.  That will just get them sent right back in.” 

“Maybe, maybe not.  The streets are … are going to get pretty tough.  Looters are to be shot on sight.” 

I dropped a pot on my foot and started dancing around.  When it finally stopped hurting long enough for me to listen Cal said, “That’s why the National Guard is going to work the streets.  They aren’t messing around with this martial law anymore.” 

“But … but that’s … I don’t know … that happens in other countries, not here.” 

I shivered and Cal brushed some hair behind my ear.  “Things are changing Aria.” 

“Yeah, apparently.  I’m almost afraid to ask what you are supposed to do.” 

“Everyone has their own territory but mine is to watch the river between here and Commongood Park.” 

Surprised I said, “All the way up there?  And how do they expect you to do that?” 

He snorted, “All the way up there isn’t that far compared to what I used to drive.  And how?  In my boat.  In civies.  Keeping a low profile.” 

“Uh huh.  And where is Fish and Wildlife in all this?” 

“Good question.  Ask another ‘cause I don’t have the answer to that one.  I think they have their hands full in other areas.  There are a lot of people squatting on public lands because they don’t have any place else to go and they imagine camping is going to be safe.  We got a lot of people heading south to escape the cold of up north … assuming when they get here someone will just have to help them.  Well they get here and find out they assumed wrong.  There’s a lot of homelessness right now.” 

“What a mess,” I said dejectedly. 

“Yep, but there are perks to this new situation.  Since I have to keep a low profile I’ll be able to do more fishing.  My fuel will be delivered right to the house here … probably by Josh because he is a floater.” 

“You aren’t partners?”  That alarmed me because I knew that Josh would always have Cal’s back. 

“We’re working on it.  He’s … uh … look, got a question for you.” 

Hearing the tone in his voice I asked slowly, “What?” 

Cal sat the last pot in the Florida room and then shut the door before grabbing my hand and pulling me over to the bench near Feena’s swing.  He gently pushed me to sit down while he stood and pushed Feena, much to her delight.  “You … have you and Dorrie had a fight or anything?” 

“No!  Why on earth would you ask?” 

“Darryl told Josh you probably wouldn’t want to go shopping with Dorrie for a while.” 

I rolled my eyes.  “Geez, that man has no tact.” 

“So you and Dorrie have had a fight?” 

“I told you no.” 

“So, is there like anything else going on?” 

I sighed, “Cal, it’s nothing … not really.  Just …” 


“People are getting so weird and Dorrie’s mother is so clueless about it.”  When he just kept looking at me I told him, “Look at me Cal.  I’m half ‘cracker’ whatever that means but I don’t look it.  My complexion is even darker than Dad and Papa’s were and even they weren’t one hundred percent Hispanic.  I’m just, a … a throwback.” 

“You aren’t that dark,” he said. 

“I’m not exactly that light either if you catch my drift.  Add in my black hair and what do you think certain types of people are going to act like.” 

He snorted impatiently.  “But you’ve got green eyes.” 

“You know how many times I’ve been asked where I get my contacts from?” 

“They aren’t contacts … are they?” 

I snorted a laugh.  “No.  Geez … observant much Mr. Police Man?” 

“Watch it,” he said with a grin.  But then the grin faded.  “You didn’t tell me you’ve been bothered.  I thought it was just Darryl … being Darryl.” 

“I’ve discovered he’s more bark than bite these days.  Maybe he was before and I just caught him on a bad day although Dorrie said that he was like that all the time most of her life.  And maybe he’s changed now.  Don’t know, not sure I care, just know I can live with whatever he is now.” 

“Then I’m not getting it.  Something happen while you all were out?” 

I shrugged.  “Like I said, people are … different.  Stressed out.  They see something and fixate on it.  They see me and … and the old prejudices and fears come back.  Somehow I’m taking an unfair share or something.  I never did understand some of the damage people carry around with them.  We’re just to a point that I don’t need to deal with it right now so I’d rather not.” 

He gave Feena a big push that would keep her going and then sat down making the bench squeak in protest.  “You aren’t telling me something.” 

I sighed and leaned my head over onto his shoulder.  “People change Cal.  Something … something is going on with Dorrie.  Maybe it was always there and I just never saw it but I don’t think so.  She started changing when they got to her through her work, making her rat on people.  Her mother is clueless; she’s always been a bit ditzy but she seems to get worse the worse things get around here.  Dorrie … I just don’t know but I’d … I’d just rather not … she just let people … look, can’t I just say I’d rather not go shopping and that be enough?” 

“You sure you’re OK with things being that way?  Did she … did she say something to hurt your feelings?” 

“I’m not OK with it exactly but I’m not going to put myself into other people’s crosshairs just to try and force some kind of confession out of her one way or the other.  And she didn’t say anything precisely so I don’t even know if I’m imagining it.  But she … she didn’t stand up for me either.  I would have for her.  I thought that’s what friends did for each other.  And when she and her mother got going at the same time it just … it left a bad taste in my mouth.  I just … look … I didn’t say anything because I don’t want trouble between you and Josh.” 

“There won’t be trouble between Josh and I.  He and Dorrie … they never really settled things after he got out of the hospital.  He said she threw walls up that he just decided he wasn’t interested in trying to climb over after the first few tries.  He’s actually looking for an apartment but not having much luck because he is tired of the having people make assumptions and, like you, doesn’t want to cause problems by having to explain.  They’re her family after all.” 

I opened my mouth but he said, “No.  I like the guy – I’m closer to him than I am to my brothers – but no.” 

“You don’t even know what I was going to say.” 

“Yeah I did.  You were going to say he could have the spare room here.” 

“Ok, so you did know what I was going to say.  But are you sure?” 

“Yeah.  I’m sure.  Josh can … he can be … he’s a flirt and has a mouth on him.” 

I snorted, “Like that is supposed to be a surprise.  He tones it down around me.” 

“But if he lived here he wouldn’t.  He’d get … comfortable.  And I just don’t want that stuff around you or Feena.  Josh can also … he can drink.  He doesn’t do it on the job but on a long weekend you can bet he can put it away.” 

“He’s … he’s an alcoholic?” I asked in surprise. 

“No,” he said with absolute certainty.  “He just likes to drink.  Some guys are like that.  Josh is one of them.  He’s not a mad drunk or a sappy drunk … in fact you can’t really tell the difference Josh drunk and Josh sober but his reflexes suck and his mouth can get a bit much to handle when he gets loose.  Like I said, I like the guy but I might not if I had to put up with it 24/7.” 

“Ok,” I told him not really knowing what else to say. 

Rats!  Pen is running out.  Looks like I’ll be finishing this tomorrow night.  Should have put the good stuff first of why my feet aren’t going to be cold tonight, or any other night for that matter so long as Cal is home.

Part 64

Dear Diary, 

Got a text from Cal not to worry but that he wouldn’t be home until in the morning … maybe … or possibly tomorrow night.  Not sure what it means; texting is so limited.  He has said we aren’t to put anything vital or private out and I can understand that, yet at the same time knowing he isn’t going to be home but not knowing why … well, I just don’t like it.  He says not to worry and when Daniel said that I eventually learned that that was exactly when I should start to worry. 

Got a visit today.  I’m not sure what to make of it.  It was a woman, a little older than me I think or at least so she looked.  She told me she was in the Coast Guard and was wondering if I would be willing to tell her and some of the others what the different fruit trees were in their compound. 

I asked her with a smile, “You aren’t from around here are you?” 

She shook her head.  “Boston.” 

I laughed but not at her and she understood.  “I didn’t think so.  Tell you what, I can’t leave the house but if you bring me leaves off the trees I’ll be happy to tell what they are.  But can I ask you something?  What made you come ask me?  Surely someone over there knows what the plants and such are.” 

“Saw you and that man … your husband? … eating things straight off the trees while ah was woking the gahd dawgs.  Thought to ask before we eat anything.” 

I know I’m not getting her accent right but it was pretty fun to listen to.  She was friendly but not overly friendly.  She and another woman and a guy came over with a box full of stuff.  I wound up having to go back into the house and come out with scrap paper, tape, and a permanent marker to help them label the different types of plants.  

Most of what they had was citrus but they had some kumquats and loquats too.  And they brought a sea grape leaf and I told them, “Around April or May you’ll be able to eat those too.” 

The young man who sounded like Mississippi to my ears said, “Are you serious?” 

Smiling I told him, “Yeah, you can eat them when they go to a deep purple color.  Some people make jelly out of them … and wine too for that matter.  I never was able to gather enough to do much more than eat them fresh.” 

That’s all there was to it.  The first woman that came over did warn me not to go wandering over near the compound.  Made me want to ask why they had then come wandering over to mine but I didn’t.  I think they were actually trying to be nice and keep me from getting into trouble.  Personally only an idiot would go snooping where they obviously weren’t wanted.  What am I going to do?  Throw Feena in a sling and get dressed all in black and spy on them or something?  Yeah.  I want to get shot. 

Wonder what Cal is up to?

Part 63

Dear Diary, 

Wow … just … just wow.  I had a feeling things were bad but … 

First I should write down for posterity that price controls stink and basically do no good at all.  While the price of some goods might remain affordable, the availability of those goods is next to negligible.  No one is going to produce something and make a loss on it over and over and over again … not without a gun being put to their heads.  Of course rumor has it that a few of the large food producers and oil companies are having just that sort of thing happen to them. 

Dorrie told me that we need to become locavores.  I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about at first but basically a locavore is something that only eats locally available foods; or maybe it is more accurate to say that they eat only what can be grown, hunted, or foraged for from a specific area.  A locavore in south Florida would not be eating the same thing as a locavore from north Florida.  It can even get more specific to saying that a locavore might only eat what can be found within a few miles of their home.  Nice if you can pull it off but even ancient tribes were nomadic because they couldn’t get enough food from just one area. 

But I figure with things being what they are we certainly shouldn’t turn up our nose at using at least some of the concepts of locavorism … or whatever the heck you want to call it.  Certainly more and more people might be forced to go that route for most of their needs.  It will be pretty shocking for them though. 

I got a shock of my own.  The carneceria was gutted.  I’m not sure if it was looted or not … probably given some of the damage … but by whom I’m not sure.  And I don’t have any clue what happened to the family who ran it or any of the people that I saw there on a regular basis.  Dorrie and her mother were sorry to see it but were not exactly emotionally impacted.  Surprisingly enough it was Darryl that pulled me to the side when we reached the Barter Bizarre and told me, “You ain’t said much and them friends of yours being gone.” 

I shrugged.  “What’s to say?  Things pretty much are ugly all over.” 

He gave me a hard look.  “You ain’t stupid.  You know it was done most probably because they were … well … do I need to say it to make you get it?” 

I sighed.  “No Darryl.  Of course not.  It surprised me a little but only because I thought a family that had been around for over fifty years would be left alone to serve their part of the community.  But I’ve seen it before, just not to this extent.  There’s a reason why my family is hypersensitive to that crap you know.” 

He pursed his lips.  “Reckon there might be.  But I want you to stick close, you and the peanut there.  Maybe these folks are all churchy and stuff and maybe they ain’t.  Angry people don’t always make a bunch of sense.  I oughta know.” 

“Yeah, OK.” 

He gave me a look.  “I ain’t messing hear?  You stick close.  I ain’t dealing with that brick wall you done hooked up with if you get hurt ‘cause you ain’t got no sense.” 

Irritably I told him, “I said OK.  I’m not two years old.” 

“Just be sure you don’t act like ya are.  Got enough problems with that Pollyanna I gots for a sister.” 

And then we were off into the bizarre proper.  I did not care for the lecture but it was more how it was delivered than its content.  I would never tell Darryl, or anyone else for that matter, but looking at the shell of a building that I had so many fond memories of had jolted me.  The carneceria had been one of the few places where I could get good gossip, where I could enjoy that part of my heritage, and where I could speak Spanish without anyone getting cross eyed about it.  They had also known my Dad and Papa … and it was just one more tie to my past that was now gone. 

I’ve been mistaken for a lot of things in my life … no bad jokes please … and not all of them were Mexican.  I’ve had Armenians think I was Armenian.  I’ve had a couple of Greek missionaries swear I must have Greek ancestry in me some place.  People have thought I was several different flavors of Middle Eastern.  I’ve been mistaken for being Eastern European.  I’ve had people ask me if I was Native American.  It’s crazy.  In my experience it is that most people seem to want to see themselves in other people, it is only the extremes of any race or culture that seem to want to exclude everyone that isn’t like them. 

And as much as I fussed I do realize that up until today I’ve never really experienced true racial bias, at least not openly.  Oh sure, there’s been some nasty stuff said but the majority of people aren’t like that.  Today has made me wonder.  I had one man take one look at me and write “Whites Only” on his dry erase board.  The church organizers made him take it down but the damage had already been done and a crack had formed. 

Darryl took one look at me and said, “Let’s get out o’ here.”

“We don’t need to do that, I’ll tow the line; just don’t expect me not to make a face or laugh at people that are acting foolish.  If I run now they’ll think the way they are acting will get them what they want next time.  I’m done being an intimidated mouse.  I took that route with Daniel … don’t cause a fight, don’t set him off, give him space, all of it … and the situation didn’t do anything but get worse.  I’m not going to turn into Brunhilde the Viking Maiden but appeasement doesn’t work; never has, never will.” 

“Big words,” he said shaking his head.  “Just don’t go picking a fight.  People are strange these days.  Some that used to be nice are showin’ it was just skin deep.  Some people you wouldn’t have given the time of day to before have turned out to be good allies.”  We both smiled at each other briefly.  Darryl will likely never be my favorite person in the world – he likes to pick on me in a way I have a hard time handling – but he isn’t really the loser I pegged him for in the beginning.   

The primary reason I had said I would hang around actually wasn’t my pride but because I could tell Dorrie and her mother didn’t want to leave so I just kept my mouth shut and kept “shopping.”  Some people were nice and some people not so much.  What surprised me the most I suppose is some of the people that I’d gone to church with as a kid – and all of my family before me – treated me like I was an interloper or were just blatantly racist.  How crazy is that?  People that had known me most of my life were suddenly treating me like they’d never met me and didn’t want to have anything to do with me. 

I tried not to let it get to me.  It did, but at least I didn’t let it show that much.  My family had needs and I decided I could suck it up and deal with it if it meant doing my best to meet those needs.  I managed to pick up some tropical fruit; velvet apple, black sapote, tropical apricot, macadamia, avocado, canistel, ambarella, citrus, pineapple orange, pummelo, ruby red grapefruit, dancy tangerine, honeybell tangerine, calamondin, and lemon.  But unfortunately no seed which meant trying to convince Darryl to stop by the hardware store to see if they had anything that I could make use of. 

Luckily Dorrie and her mother wanted to go to the thrift store that was at the other end of the plaza so between the three of us we beat down Darryl’s resistance.  When I asked if anyone wanted to go in with me they shook their heads.  Dorrie’s mother, ever clueless said, “Don’t take this the wrong way Honey, but I think we’d likely get some better deals if there weren’t so many of us in the store.  Ever’ time we added you and Feena we lost out to someone else.” 

I glanced briefly at Dorrie and she couldn’t meet my eyes.  Of all the things that I have felt today, that right there hurt the most.  Maybe I misjudged things but I’m kinda thinking I didn’t.  She was embarrassed but she didn’t ask me to come with them anyway.  I’m trying not to say anything about it but I don’t think I’ll go on any more shopping trips with them.  If I give my real reasons why to Cal he might say something to Josh.  If … anyway, I just don’t want to get in the center of that potential drama, I’ve had enough drama of my own to last a lifetime.  And in a way not having them around allowed me to get some business taken care of at the hardware store. 

There was no one else in the store when I walked in and only two employees, both of them – according to their name tags – store managers.  I won’t go through the whole conversation but they were happy to sell me a bunch of different seed packets once they found out I had cash to spend.  They also were happy to share that their sister’s place – three doors down – was closing and she’d be happy to accept my ration points on her “Florida specialty foods” that she had made the mistake in stocking in her gift and craft store. 

I had decided to bring my big back pack – the sturdy one with the internal frame – to carry my purchases in so that I could keep my hands free.  I looked like a pack mule after I left both stores.  The pack was full of cans and packages.  The sling was full of Feena who had fallen asleep in boredom.  And in one hand I carried a canvas tote with my purchases from the hardware store. 

Darryl grumped at all three of us women, “Are you three done yet?  I got work to do even if you don’t.” 

We’d been putting things into the trunk of the car in a segregated fashion but they filled up the last of the space with what they’d gotten at the thrift store so I wound up squished up next to Feena’s car seat with some of my bags at my feet and the heavy back pack in my lap.  It was a miserable ride home in more ways than one.  In addition to everything else, I had to listen to Dorrie and her mom chortle about what good deals they got at the thrift store and that it was providential I hadn’t been with them or they might not have. 

Even Darryl was looking uncomfortable by the time we got home.  Cal and Josh had obviously had a good day.  They had scavenged up and down the shoreline and done a little fishing; seemed like they might have had a couple of beers while they were at it. 

Cal and I unloaded the stuff I had bought while Josh had to listen to Dorrie and her mother brag on their purchases.  I came back to get the car seat but Darryl was bringing it for me.  “They ain’t really like that,” he said irritably. 

I chuckled because the look of reluctant apology on his face.  “Relax Darryl.  I’ve faced a lot worse in this life.  I really don’t think your sister even gets what is going on.” 

He shook his head.  “Oh she knows, she just doesn’t want to believe it.  Got her head so deep in the sand her butt’s barely above ground.  Surprised me about Dorrie though.” 

“Well, don’t let it.  Things happen.  Maybe she’s changed, maybe she hasn’t.  She just needs to decide if that’s the way she feels to stop being embarrassed by it.  It would be more honest to just deal with her feelings than try and pretend she doesn’t have them.” 

“So your feelings are hurt.  Thought they might be.” 

“My feelings are my problem and business, not yours, not anyone else’s.”  Trying to bring it back down a couple of notches I told him, “Look, I really appreciate you taking the time to go with us.  If you hadn’t Cal would have made all kinds of noise and I would have wound up not going rather than worry him.  Just if it comes up again, try and discourage the idea.  None of us needs a mess on our hands to make life more difficult than it already is.” 

He nodded and I turned and took the car seat in side while everyone left.  When Cal followed me in I wound up berating him for not putting sunscreen in his hair.  “You know, if you’re going to insist on practically going around with a bald head you need to learn to either wear a hat or sunscreen or both.” 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Now show me what you got.  Dorrie and her mom seemed pretty excited over what they did.” 

I showed him after I put the fish he’d caught and cleaned to broil. 

“You didn’t get anything for yourself or Feena?” 

I snorted, “Everything here is for us.” 

“You know what I mean.” 

I shrugged.  “Still the same answer.  I got what I went after.  I’m focusing on needs, not wants.  I took care of our clothing needs back in the beginning when things started getting bad.  I’ve got plenty of material and patterns for Feena when she outgrows what she has and I’ve spent my whole life making over clothes for myself.  You have what you need because we stocked up on that stuff too. Buying what we don’t need – frivolous stuff – would make us stand out too much and just give us more to lose.” 

“That’s a cheerful thought,” he said right before belching. 

“Ewwww, what have you been into?” 

“Just a couple of beers is all.” 

“Gag … let’s open the door and air the kitchen out.” 

“It ain’t that bad,” he yelped. 

“Well you just didn’t get a face full of what you claim is beer breath either.” 

Night came on fast after that, with enough cool breeze that it kept the mosquitos away.  We sat on the lanai making out like a couple of goofy teenagers until Cal got a call on his phone that he is to report to work first thing in the morning.  No warning, no nothing. 

Play time was over after that.  Regretfully we both turned in but I wasn’t able to sleep despite hearing the snores from down the hall.  I’ve got a lot on my mind.  It isn’t just what I’ve seen today, what I’ve experienced today that worries me.  Christmas is coming as is the New Year and I’m not sure I feel like celebrating either one.  It hasn’t been cold enough to slaughter any of the pigs and we need to cull them before they clean us out of feed for the rest of the animals.  And Cal goes to work tomorrow but we don’t have a clue whether he’s really going to work or just what. 

I don’t suppose it is going to do anyone any good for me to sit around worrying but telling myself that and actually getting to sleep may be two different things no matter how tired I’m feeling both in body and soul.


Part 62

Dear Diary, 

Is it stupid to feel like doing the happy dance just because I get to go to the store?  Going with Dorrie and her mother.  It is just down to the Carneceria and to the Barter Bizarre.  Oh yeah … Uncle Darryl is going to be our “chaperone.”  Gag.  But one look at Cal’s face told me that it was the only way I would be going without him making a lot of noise about it. 

I can live with it … Darryl better not razz me too much though or he might not.