Judging by the sound of the stream, she really, really had to go.
I actually heard her before I saw her. Over the last two years, I had developed the habit of walking quietly. I had also started carrying a camera, taking pictures of things that appealed to me. I found if I walked quietly, I was more likely to get a good nature shot, catching the odd deer, squirrel, or turtle. Once I came up on a bear, boy were we both surprised. He took off one way, I took off the other.
I came around the curve of the path, and there she was.
Really pretty backside. That's all I could see as she was squatting, urine splattering the ground. I didn't know what to do, so I said "Hi. Beautiful morning, don't you agree?"
She screamed and almost did a back flip, then started thrashing around, desperately trying to pull her yellow bikini panties and shorts up.
The scream got louder when I scooped her up in my arms and ran towards the lake. She was using words I had only heard rarely and beating my chest. I waded in about waist deep, damn that water was cold! Her shriek turned into a gurgle as I tossed her even farther out.
"Stay there!" I yelled as I reached shore, holding her shorts and panties in my hand.
I ran home, grabbed a handful of towels and a terrycloth robe. I also had a pair of swim trunks.
She was screaming and cussing to beat the band, it was echoing all over the lake. Too bad there was no one there to hear it. My head was starting to hurt.
"SHUT UP, YOU STUPID BITCH. THAT WAS POISON OAK YOU WERE WALLOWING AROUND IN! THE COLD WATER OF THE LAKE WILL KEEP YOUR PORES CLOSED. THAT WILL KEEP A LOT OF THE JUICE FROM SEEPING IN."
I stopped yelling and started using a conversational tone.
"Here" I said, tossing her a bar of soap.
"This soap has ingredients that will stop the spread and help with the itching, Was your bottom good, and make sure to clean the tender parts. As it is, you're still going to be uncomfortable for a week or two."
She calmed down, and I put the towels and the robe on a big rock.
"When you get done, use the towels, swim trunks, and robe. I'll leave your clothes here, but wrap them in a towel to carry home. The trunks will stay up if you pull the drawstring tight."
She had finally stopped cussing and stood in the water shivering. I told her to wait until I'm gone if it made her uncomfortable, then come to shore. She apologized and asked if I would bring her a towel out so she could wrap herself.
Hell, I was already wet, so I waded out and handed her a towel. Instead of taking the offered towel, she snatched the camera I had around my neck, breaking the strap, and hurling it as far as she could into the lake.
"That was a nine hundred dollar camera and a four hundred dollar lens! Are you as crazy as you act, or has the cold water numbed your brain?"
She had a triumphant smirk on her face.
"Neither, you pervert. Now you can't post the picture you've already taken, or the ones you were going to take while you hid in the bushes as I came out of the lake."
I was six feet tall and weighed one eighty, and worked out religiously. She was about five foot one and weighed one hundred and one pounds, in this case soaking wet. I literally snatched her out of the water, held her over my head, and tossed her as far as I could into deeper water.
There was a glimpse of bare bottom as she sailed out, apparently she went for the smooth look.
"YOU BAS..." was all she got out before she hit the water.
"See if you can find my camera while you're out there, bitch!" I tossed over my shoulder as I waded back to shore. I was shaking with rage as I gathered my things. Fuck her, I thought as I started to walk away. The only thing that stopped me was the snuffling and wailing going on behind me.
"Please leave me the robe and a towel. Please, I'm begging you."
Well I didn't want her to get a cold, or hypothermia. The temperature of that mountain water in mid May was about fifty eight degrees on average. I dumped the armful into the path and kept walking, fuming as I went.
This little lake wasn't really developed. Three fourths of the shoreline was owned by the power company. Five families had originally owned the rest of the property. I had managed to buy two of them out, giving me the lions share of the private property. The other three families had vacation homes, and from Memorial Day until Labor Day, I had neighbors.
There had been a developer sniffing around, trying to buy up the property. I had flat out refused her, and she hinted around about imminent domain, and I circumvented him by having part of my property and a bit of my neighbors' placed on the historic register. There were three family graveyards and a small log church on my land. I gave free access to the descendants, and even kept the church in repair. It was often used for weddings. I let people use it for a donation to the local historical society. The power company property was in the process of being sold to the state to extend a park, so that part of the lake was safe.
About eight months of the year I was pretty much alone, sometimes even snowed in. I didn't care. If I really had to get out, I had a four wheel drive tractor with a scrape blade. I would clear my three quarter mile driveway, then get out my 1958 M38A, a one ton, six wheel drive Dodge that I had fully restored. You could drive up cliffs with that thing. Most times I stayed home.
My house was solar powered, with backup generators. I hadn't had a power bill in five years.
Was I a hermit? Not exactly. I enjoyed people and often traveled for my work. I'd had a bad experience six years before that made me extremely suspicious of people, and gave me a mountain of trust issues.
I was a writer. In my youth I had dreamed of writing the Great American Novel. Majored in English and minored in journalism. Worked for a few years with newspapers, getting better jobs with bigger papers as my skill grew.
I got my big break when I discovered corruption between local officials and state lawmakers concerning the proposed route of a four lane bypass. Bribery, kickbacks, strong arm intimidation, even an attempted murder. I got a nomination for a Pulitzer and three weeks in a hospital out of it. The attempted murder was mine.
Of course I wrote a book about the whole thing that became a best seller in nonfiction. I got a three book deal, specifying one had to be a novel.
The publisher agreed, knowing if it stank it would never grace a page. My second book was a biography of Billy Dixon, a larger than life Western hero that never got his due. I had been researching it for years before I got a book deal, so I put it together in eighteen months. It surprised everyone by being even better than the first. One reviewer said he could smell the gunpowder and sweat as he read it.
Both books were made into movies, and the Western got really good reviews.
My novel surprised even me, staying on the bestseller lists for three months. It became a movie also.
I got a seven figure advance on my next contract, a three book deal, on any subject I wanted.
I was putting the finishing touches on a book about what amounted to a small war between union
organizers, the local sheriff department, and the national guard. It was in 1929, in a small North Carolina town. Many of the union organizers were also Communists. People on both sides were killed, including the sheriff.
This was fairly recent history, I was able to interview many of the children of the participants, as well as researching the local papers, oral histories, etc. I got lucky and one of the descendents handed me the diary of his grandfather, documenting the whole thing, naming names, talking about under the table deals the organizers and the sheriff tried to put together but couldn't agree on, as well as a love triangle that figured prominently in the whole affair. Sex and money, politics, murder, tragedy, it had a little something for everyone, including candid photos that had never been seen. My editor and publisher were drooling. It was due out in August, and we were giving excerpts on the publishing website.
If I'm so successful, why was I alone?
I was married at the time I uncovered the road deal corruption, to a local girl. We had courted for nine months, and had been married for twenty two months. Newlyweds. We were still finding things out about each other.
I was at the newspaper, a fairly large one for the area. Like I said, she was a local girl, working for her uncle in the local county tax office. Her dad was county manager. I always had a good source of quotes about county business if I needed one. I got along well with her family.
Harvey Gant was the chairman of the Republican party, a local power broker, and owned a large scale beef farm operation. Her uncle was head of the Democratic party. To say these two didn't like each other was an understatement.
Slurs and accusations flew on a regular basis. I was covering politics, and I never lacked for a story. My wife Angie once told me her dog was run over and killed when she was eight, and her uncle told her a Republican did it. She's hated Republicans ever since.
Traffic through the county had been getting steadily more congested for years, and the state finally decided to build a four lane bypass. Making use of aerial maps, they had four different routes that would work.
.... There is more of this story ...