The green city pick up truck pulled up to the iron gates. An older man and a younger one exited. The older man held a large ring of keys. The ring was brass and resembled the kind found in old movies. You know like the ones the jailers carried in an Edward G Robinson movie. The gate that he opened, could in some warped way have been considered a cell door.
"Wow that's a fine lookin' lady in that convertible," the younger man commented.
"She has been here every morning for the last few months. I'm not rightly sure what she does. I mean, I see her jog around the park a few times, then she goes and sits on a stone bench over there and kind meditates I guess."
"You gots to be kiddin'?" The younger man suggested.
"You just watch. It's what she does every morning."
The convertible passed the pick up before the two men were settled. It passed them at a slow respectful pace. It was more likely respect for the speed bumps than for her surrounds the older man was sure.
The Memorial Park was old, to old to have parking spaces. The young blond woman had found her space months before. Just a flat spot of grass where she could position two of the convertible's wheels.
Of course her real name wasn't bug. She was born Sarah Miles Wilson. Her great, great grandfather had been in tobacco. No, not working in the fields, he had started a business to manufacture snuff. He later branched out to all the tobacco products. He was fortunate that his company had been swallowed up by one of the giants. It left him a nice fortune to pass on to his only child.
Being from an agricultural area, Sarah's great grandfather knew a little about farming. He knew enough to know he didn't want to do it. What he did do was to broker farm commodities. During one of the country's wars, he had opened a plant to can beans. By the war's end he had a large capacity and no market. He used his family money to begin advertising to create a market. The market turned out to be, 'all over hell'. His was the first product to create a national brand name product.
The shipping was a nightmare, so he hired good people. The company literally took off. Before he knew it, he was running five canneries. He died leaving an even larger fortune to his only son.
The only thing that Sarah's grandfather did right was to marry Sarah Miles. Sarah Miles had a father who was not very rich, but he was a business genius. Before anyone knew it the family fortune was right up there with the big guys. That was the good news. The bad news was that Sarah was a fertile little thing. She had seven kids and not a one of them could find his or her butt with map. They also could not agree on anything, so they sold the company at a quick sale price upon their father's death.
Sarah's father's share of the family fortune was large, but no longer up there in the top one thousand. Sarah's father wasn't a business man, nor was he a playboy, he was just dirt lazy. He hired an investment company who managed not to lose everything. The fortune was static, nothing more. Just like his father before him Michael Wilson had way too many children. When the division of his estate came, it would be split far too many ways. Still Sarah Miles Wilson would be 'comfortable.'
Sarah had always known that she was special. It was a good feeling. Better than being middle class she had to admit.
Bug passed the Krispy Kreme shop on her way to breakfast. She was tempted, but she didn't stop. Instead she drove until she could pull into the parking lot of Harold's place. Harold's was a nice family type place. It only opened for breakfast and lunch so it wasn't too awfully well known. At least not so well known by people under fifty. The crowd at Harold's considered Bug a child. At twenty seven it was a nice feeling.
"So how are you this morning Miss Bug?" The man who asked was Harold of course. He was the only one who handled the money, so he never left the cash register. Well, at least not as long as there were more than a handful of customers.
"I'm fine Harold. How is your family?" Bug always asked it to keep Harold on the right track.
"Everyone is fine," Harold didn't like to be reminded every single morning that he was a man with six kids. He especially didn't like being reminded by the young and very attractive Bug. She had those rich girl good looks that you see in magazines. You know good hair, good makeup, good teeth, and a great body. She should be holding a tennis racket, Harold thought.
Bug found a booth by a window, which had a view of the parking lot. Every window had a view of the parking lot.
"Hey bug, why you sittin' alone?" The question came from one of the regulars. He was one of two old men in the booth across from her.
"I'm not alone Edgar is with me this morning." She said it with a grin. She had mentioned that Edgar came by now and then to give her advice. Everyone thought she was a little 'tetched' so she played to it.
"Then you better get two coffees. Edgar was mean as hell, till he had his morning coffee."
"Good thought," Bug said it smiling. No one knew for sure if she was mad or playing with them. Sometimes she wondered herself.
"Usual Bug?" the waitress asked.
"Yeah, god I wish I had your figure," she remarked.
"You can have the body, if I can be your age again." It was pretty much the same thing the two women said every morning. "So how's Edgar today?" She smiled cause she was a woman, and knew Bug was putting it all on.
"Cold," Bug replied with a wink.
Bug paid her check at the restaurant, then had to make a decision. The meeting with the lawyer wasn't for another two hours. She could either go home, or try to find something else to occupy her for the hour. Since the condo she had recently purchased was close enough for a tobacco chewer to spit on, she decided to go home.
The condo wasn't new by any means, it was just new to her. It was the first dwelling of any kind that she had owned. Before buying the condo last month, she had lived in Greenburg. Greenburg was a town of about 500,000 and within a ten minute drive. Well the ten minute drive east would bring one to the city limits. It would take another thirty minutes to get into the heart of the town. It was a sprawling southern mini metropolis. A automobile driver's nightmare would be a better description for most of the sprawling out of control monsters.
She hadn't moved because she hated Greenburg. She moved because over her time with Edgar, she had come to love the bedroom community where she bought the townhouse. Wesley was about a tenth the size of Greenburg. There were enough services in the town to keep a family functioning. If you wanted to see a movie it was available, if you wanted to see the road company of cats perform, then you drove the thirty minutes to the Greenburg town center theater. Bug discovered she didn't really want to see a Cats performance that badly. It actually was good thing.
Life in the smaller town had taught her how to set priorities. She began to see the importance of things more clearly. The townhouse was two bedroom and two baths. Almost all the furniture had once belonged to Edgar. Yes the townhouse had been Edgar's. Bug bought it from the estate. If Edgar's Witch daughter had known, she probably would have burned it to the ground.
Bug had bought almost all of Edgar's possessions from his estate. For some reason Edgar had his lawyer dispose of everything. He obviously keep his will up to date, since he had stipulated that she be notified and given the opportunity to purchase anything before it went to market. He couldn't have known that she wanted anything of his, because she hadn't known.
Over the course of the last year, Bug had fallen in love with the quaint town of Wesley. She had fallen in love with the small condo complex where Edgar lived. It was the first time in her life that she knew who her neighbors were. She knew all the thirty other residents by name. She didn't speak to all of them, but she knew who they were.
The lawyer had been notified the day Edgar died. As a matter of fact it had been Bug who called. She called because Edgar had always insisted that the lawyer be called before the witch. If he died at night, bug was to send his remains to the hospital and lock the condo. She was to then drive a wooden match into the lock. Edgar was not a trusting man it seemed.
Bug found Edgar sitting in his recliner with the TV playing. There was a wine glass on the end table by his chair. He hadn't died working on a print, as he would have wished, but it was close. Edgar's body was taken to the hospital to be autopsied, since he died alone and didn't seem to have a family doctor.
Neither of his specialist would sign a death certificate, or so the lawyer said. The young woman which the lawyer's office sent over, seemed to be well informed about Edgar's situation, and his wishes. She was a very competent young women to be just a few years older than Bug. Since working with Edgar, Bug had come to appreciate the people around her. Some of them were very good at what they did, others only mediocre. By the time Edgar went to his reward, or punishment, she knew enough to judge the difference.
Bug had learned a lot more than photography from Edgar Taft. She had been a full partner in his life. He allowed her as far inside as she wanted to go. After a while she found herself involved in almost every part of his lifestyle.
No, she didn't live with edgar. The first night she ever spent in the condo was the night she signed the papers on it. She was at his door by 9 AM every morning and stayed as long as she wanted. She was an apprentice, but he treated her like a full partner.
The dinning room of the condo had double French doors leading to a concrete slab patio just outside. The rear yard was about 24 feet square with a privacy fence all around. She sat with a cup of strong black coffee while looking at a small bird eating from her feeder.
The bird feeder had been hers before the condo. She bought it so Edgar would have something to look at while he waited for her to drive in from Greenburg. She found him most mornings seated exactly where she was that morning. He would be doing exactly what she was doing at that very moment.
He had been gone over six months but she could still hear him gently say, "Get your butt out of my chair Bug." Edgar was a creature of habit in some ways. "It's time for you to get going."
"Yes Edgar, I know." She said that aloud as she looked around for her purse and the large hardboard camera case. She lugged both to the car. The camera went into the trunk and the purse into the passenger seat.
Bug drove off while waving at Mrs Ryan, who at that moment was walking her two mixed breed dogs. Bug was always amazed how well behaved the dogs were. It was a good thing to because Mrs Ryan was about ninety years old.
As Bug manoeuvered Edgar's yellow convertible into the parking lot of the Brag and Bullock building, she saw the witch and her husband. They were both standing outside the entrance smoking.
How redneck, Bug thought. She realized then that she probably should have driven her own car. They would begin the day at each other's throat no doubt. She hadn't even thought about driving the black sedan her dad had given her for her last birthday, but she should have.
If Bug had thought about it, she would still have driven the yellow convertible but she should have thought about it more. She had totally missed the hours of excitement which she could have enjoyed in anticipation of her meeting with the witch. Oh well next time, she thought.
"What are you doing driving my dad's car?" the witch screamed in a whisper. Bug had never seen or heard anyone scream without raising her voice. It had to do with pitch not level.
"To tell you the truth I bought it. Did you want it?" Bug knew that the witch had been offered the car and the condo first. It had been Edgars desire to spare everyone an argument. It hadn't worked and he surely knew that it wouldn't.
"No, I didn't want it then."
"Oh but you want it now that I have it. Sorry but it isn't for sale at any price." Bug loved saying it.
"What are you doing here anyway?" The witch asked.
"I have no idea. Bradley called to invite me." Bradley Brag was the youngest of the Brag boys. Two of the four had entered the firm. The other two were probably junkies somewhere.
"Oh Bradley is it. I might be forced to have someone look into the ethics of this firm."
"You do that, frankly I don't trust any lawyer, not even the one your dad picked."
All that was said as the three of them made their way into the reception area, then to the conference room. The sniping turned into dead quiet as they waited for whoever would be reading the will. Bug was shocked that the witch had calmed down so quickly. She was obviously in awe of the conference room. It did look a little like a mini library. The walls were covered with law books, and bound copies of court decisions. It was all trappings of course. The real research was done on the firm's computers. Bug knew that but the witch and her husband didn't. They must have felt as though they were in a real library. They spoke to each other in whispers, which was fine with Bug. She had no desire to join in their conversation.
She had asked Edgar, after one especially nasty confrontation with the witch, if he had ever considered a paternity test. His answer was no, witch or not she was his daughter.
"Good morning Cynthia, Martin, and Bug." Even in the eyes of Edgar's shyster lawyers she was Shutterbug, call me Bug please. It had been Edgar's joke. One that quickly caught on with everyone. Sarah hadn't minded at all. She had never had a real nickname before.
"As you know this firm was the executor of Edgar's estate. We are here to finalize the disposition of it. As per his instructions most of his personal property was sold. The total amount of those sales came to just over $95,000 after we removed the estate expenses it came to $82,000.
I have a check here made out to Cynthia in that amount." He handed the check over to the witch. She looked at it lovingly then put it aside.
"What about his paintings?" the witch asked.
"That is the portion of the estate still to be taken care of. Now I can read you the heretos and wherefores if you like. What it all means is that Edgar left the 'work cabinet' and all it's contents to Sarah Wilson Miles, with the following stipulation. That should she sell any of the contents within her lifetime, she must share the proceeds fifty fifty with his daughter Cynthia. As long as ownership remains with Sarah there is no requirement to share proceeds from the intellectual properties of Edgar Taft." Everyone in the room with the exception of the lawyer was stunned.
"You mean my dad left his painting to that woman?" The witch was livid.
"If by that women, you mean Sarah Wilson Miles, then yes. You will receive half the sales price if and when she sells them."
"I object," the witch almost shouted.
"We aren't in court Miss Franks. You can contest the will if you like, but I can assure it that it will be expensive and you will lose. We drew the will, and we had it reviewed outside the firm at Mr Taft's insistence. We have full documentation, so you don't really have any grounds."
"He was mentally incompetent to make that will."
"I always wondered why he insisted that we arrange to have him examined by an independent doctor as part of the estate planning. Now I know why." It was all that Brag had to say on the subject, but it was more than enough. The witch had just accused her father of being incompetent, but she had done nothing to help him for the previous four years. It wouldn't look good for her in a courtroom even Bug knew that.
"Excuse me Mr. Brag?"
"If I want to donate them to museums can I do that?"
"It would be better if you put them on loan to the museum and retrained ownership."
"Can you arrange that for me."
"Of course we can."
Bug looked over at the witch and saw her face flush. There was every chance that she would have a stroke and end Bug's problem with her forever.
Bug got home in plenty of time to grill the salmon and make the fancy salad. Grilling and making killer salads was just about her total cooking skills. Since she was constantly dieting, it was just about all she needed to know.
Bug set the table for two before she went to shower. She should have showered before going to the lawyers office, but somehow gritty seemed appropriate for the witch. It did not seem appropriate for her friend.
The shower was long enough to empty the hot water tank. She was amazed every time that happened. "Edgar, you must have taken thirty second showers."
"I never timed one. I stayed in just long enough to get the dirt and stink off. Why you women insist on staying until there is no hot water left is beyond me."
"Wanna see?" She asked wickedly. The voice and presence of Edgar Taft disappeared. Bug laughed, then immediately stepped from the tub. She dried herself before dressing in slightly more formal shorts and a knit top cut way to low for comfort. Bug would spend the day being careful not to bend forward from the waist.
"So Sarah, have you decided on your direction?" The voice belonged to her Tammy Smith. Tammy had been responsible for the apprenticeship and the eventual friendship between Sarah and Edgar. Tammy had been Edgar's helper until her estranged husband pitched a fit. Why Sarah had no idea, but she could guess.
"Actually I have. I bought all Edgar's old knock off cameras. I think I'm going to stay with his retro thing, but I hate still life. Too damn boring."
"Oh I still love still life but I also love my digital cameras. Edgar hated my Nikon wouldn't allow it in this house." Tammy looked around smiling. She took a breath then changed the subject. Women often do that, switch subjects then switch back. Only another woman could follow along comfortably.
"So, you are going to redecorate this place?" She noticed Sarah's blank stare. "Come on I absolutely will not allow you to make this a shrine."
"Hardly a shrine, but for now it suits me."
"I've been watching those house flipping shows. Give me a month and I'll have this place looking like new."
"I think I'll leave it alone for now. I have other things on my mind at the moment."
"I have decided to shoot portraits."
"Jeesus don't say that out loud in this house. The damn roof will fall in on you."
"Why Edgar shot portraits."
"No honey, now and then Edgar shot people. Trust me there is a difference."
"Well it doesn't matter. I'm going to shoot 1940 style portraits."
"You sure as hell won't get rich doing that."
"Tammy, I'm already rich."
"Yeah I know. Sucks don't it?"
"Sometimes it actually does." Sarah was lost in thought about herself and her childhood. Her accomplishments seemed so ordinary. This photography thing was how she hoped to leave her mark. That sounded pompous even to her."
"So should I go look for a studio for you, something dark dreary and just plan dreadful?"
"No thanks, during his last month Edgar and I went to civil war reenactment. He gave me the idea. He even worked it all out for me. I can rent at booth in those things. Make the shots free, post the pictures on a web site. and take orders. He was going to do battlefield scenes but I can do portraits just as well."
"Probably would sell better," Tammy agreed. "So when do you start this little adventure, and oh God what does your Dad think of it?"
"There is a small one this weekend actually. It's a two day thing so I'm going to have to stay in a motel over night. I hate motels, but I can manage. As for daddy he thinks it sounds like a nice hobby."
"Jeeze they never get it do they? On the other hand, Edgar was too far gone to think of it, or if he did he couldn't have done it." Tammy said it while looking off into the distance at something no one else could see.
"What are you talking about?" Sarah asked.
"What you need to do, if you really like this, is to go period." Tammy noticed Sarah's lack of understanding. "Become one of them honey. Don't you see it's perfect. You can set a tent as a reenactor, shoot like hell, then post the pictures for sale on a web site somewhere."
"You mean sleep on the ground?" Sarah was horrified at the idea.
"Give it some thought, Edgar would have loved the idea, even if he couldn't have done it."
"I'm not sure that I can do it either."
"Hello, I would like to make a reservation for Saturday night?"
"So you mean this coming Saturday night?" The voice on the other end of the phone seemed to be almost laughing without a sound. If that were possible. The impression was most likely just in her mind. Bug had heard clerks at three other hotels tell her that all the Motels were filled to capacity for a hundred miles. Something to do with a home coming event. It wasn't even a college just the town's founder's day celebration.
That was in addition to the civil war reenactment. Sherman had routed a few hundred old men and boys near the little town. The reenactment was part of the founder's day celebration. So the yokels were celebrating a defeat at the hands of the cruelest general the army of the Potomac could find.
Bug laughed, while wondering what the men who ran like women from the advancing Sherman would have thought. They might be incensed, or get a good laugh at how foolish modern people were. After two more failed attempts to book a room, Bug said aloud. "Damn it Edgar, what do I do now?"
"You pack my car little girl, and you drive down there and you work. You are either a pro or you are a talented amateur. The difference isn't so much in what you know, as in how far you will go." She heard the words just as Edgar had spoken them when they had been forced to drive all night to get to a show. She had complained then to.
"I know damn it," she replied to the empty room. Bug gave up looking for a room and began checking her/Edgar's cameras. The old camera's would either work or they wouldn't. She had already decided to replace them with brand new reproductions. What she planned to do was to replace them as they failed.
The two smaller of Edgar's camera's were the back ups for the backup. Edgar had explained that he had put the best lenses on the larger negative cameras. It was easy to figure out that the 3x4 camera's were the best ones he had. Edgars camera's were all about the glass. Edgar swore the best glass was wallensak, followed by baush & lomb. He ranked the Kodak glass, with only a few exceptions, far behind the others. Kodak made a few good lenses, but mighty few, he informed her on more than one occasion.
The encampment was to open to the public at 9 A.M. Bug knew that it would be more like 10 before things got moving, and more like noon before there was a crowd. Since it was her first shoot of any kind alone, she planned to just walk around shooting pictures and handing out cards. It was a very basic beginning of her business plans. There were several more elaborate ones but they all required that she be accepted by the re enactors. That meant spending some time with them, Sort of let them see what she had. Well show them what she had photographically speaking.
Bug was not above flirting to get her way, but she preferred to be accepted for her real talent, not her other talents. She cut film and loaded holders from shortly after lunch to almost dinner time. There weren't so many as they were giving her a bitch of a time. Some of the film got cut not quite square so it wouldn't load properly. Many times she had to re cut the film to make it fit. Cutting film in the dark wasn't her idea of fun, but it was necessary.
The town was a four hour drive. Her plan was to arrive at Ten A.M. so she awoke to the sound of her alarm at tree am. She wanted time to run before she left for the shoot. She hated running in the city, but she had no choice. The morning runs were essential to her well being. She didn't like running alone in the middle of the night, but she had no choice in that either.
She drove the convertible to the mall parking lot. One quick lap around the mall's perimeter was about two miles. It was also reasonably safe, since the mall had roaming security guards circling all night. The most inconvenient part was stopping to explain to them what she was doing. They never seemed to remember, but then she didn't run there all that often. Also there was a chance they just wanted to stop her to chat, since there's had to be a boring job. It didn't matter which, she didn't like it.
After her shower bug threw her small overnight bag. loaded with clean underwear and a different top, behind the driver's seat and off she went. She stopped in a truck stop for good coffee and one egg floating in grease. She almost sent it back but decided that Edgars food rule applied.
While on the road, eat what you can, when you can. Keep your mouth shut and bowls open followed the first bit of wisdom. Bug never quite understood what the last part meant. But she kept her mouth shut and ate the greasy egg and under cooked toast. Two more cups of strong black coffee went down before she paid the check and headed back into the night.
She arrived in the town a little after nine. She quickly got lost, then found again. Once she got on the right road the signs led her to the county fair grounds. It was the location of the encampment and the fake battle sight as well.
Bug sat in Edgar's car for a long time before she found the courage to begin. Edgar had always jumped right out and began, 'gettin' in there amongst them.' She was basically shy, but knew she had to do it. She had learned that from him before Edgar make the long dark voyage. Bug wished with all her heart that she had a drink. Hell more like twenty drinks before she went to face the music. She forced herself out of the car with dark thoughts but a cheerful smile on here face.
Bug opened the trunk of the convertible, then just stood there looking. It was already hot and she knew in her heart that it was going to be the coolest part of the day. She hadn't thought about how much all the crap was going to weigh, when she packed it. She began rethinking her plan of attack.
It seemed like a good idea to carry just one camera, and as many film holders as she could for it. When they were all exhausted, she most likely would be to. If not she could get more film holders or switch to the smaller camera. The smaller camera wasn't really smaller, but the film holders were.
Bug slung the 3x4 camera over one shoulder and the black leather bag filled with film holders over the other. Bug began by finding the area's tent city. Just like the last time, the tents were all open. Unlike the last time when she followed Edgar around as he made shots of camp life, Bug wanted portraits. She stopped and asked everyone she saw in costume to let her make a picture. After shooting them, she handed each a card. There were a lot of people and she tried to shoot as many as possible. She had made hardly a dent when she realize she was becoming dehydrated.
Since she had made the choice to load the bag with film holders, she didn't even have a bottle of warm water. Bug forgot about the portraits to go in search of water. She found her way to the vendor area of the encampment. She had wanted to see it, so it wasn't an entirely wasted trip.
There she paid $3 for a 75 cent bottle of Wal-Mart water. At that moment she would have parted with five bucks without blinking an eye. She sat down on a grassy spot under a tree. As she sat drinking her water, she noticed what was being sold and to whom. It looked to her as though she would be setting up a portable portrait studio the next time she went to one of the reenactment.
It has to be easier on my body as a whole, even if it will be harder on my ass. She thought that while looking down the row of tent shops. Tammy Smith's suggestion passed through her mind as well. When she got home, she would have to find someone to tell her how it was all organized,
"What are you thinking, the place is run over with people who know how this works. You can just walk up and ask someone."
"Damn it Edgar, that is how you do things, not me. I need to sit at my computer with a cup of the lousy coffee, that you taught me to make. Then I can do my damn research in a systematic way."
"Right and get the information they want you to have, not the real down and dirty of it all."
"Alright Edgar I'll do it, just shut up. People are going to think I escaped from a mental ward."
"Why because you talk to dead people. Hey there is at least a movie of the week in that, maybe a TV series. I can see it now, 'Tales from a dead photographer'"
"More likely my journey into madness," she replied aloud.
"Were you speaking to me?" the voice belonged to an attractive woman about twice bugs age.
"No, I talk to my dead friend a lot." It had taken a while for Bug to learn to admit that, but what the hell she would never see these people again. She was careful not to do it around her family and friends.
"Ah I see," the woman answered. She looked as though she really did understand. She noted Bugs curious look so she when on. "I talk to my ex husband a lot."
"Oh is he dead? I'm so sorry," Bug replied.
"Oh he's not dead in real life, just dead to me. We use the phone mostly." The woman gave bug a smile Her smile seemed to light up the area around her. She turned to leave, but Bug stopped her.
"Are you a participant here or a visitor?"
"I'm a camp follower." Bug looked curious and a little grin crossed her lips.
"Not a hooker dear, a lady who did the cooking and nursing of the wounded."
"Oh, I didn't mean to imply."
"You didn't imply anything, it just struck me that you were thinking it."
"I admit a stray though along those lines did enter my mind."
"In this modern world, I expect you would do better."
"Oh so I look like a whore," Bug was grinning from ear to ear.
"Well a little in that top you are wearing." The older lady was also grinning. "So why the interest?"
"I was thinking about maybe joining up as the photographer in residence."
"Well now that would be interesting. I'm not sure how much you would enjoy it, but we would certainly enjoy you." Bug looked curiously at her. "A young woman who talks to the dead should be very interesting to spend the night with on a battlefield full of ghosts."
"I don't talk to just any dead guy you know. That would make me a slut of sorts."
"It might at that." The older woman said. "You sit back down and drink some more of that water. You don't look so good. I'll send the promoter over. He knows more about how a vendor gets in. Then again, you could just come as a re enactor maybe. Hell I'll send Michael over you two can work it out." She took a dozen steps, then turned back. "I'll be looking forward to seeing you again in a more fitting outfit." The older woman actually giggled.
The man called Michael showed up at the same time Bug was ready to begin shooting pictures again.
"So you want to be a re enactor?" he asked.
"Actually, I just want to make pictures of the event. A friend suggested that if I really want to get a feel for it, I should live the part. My mentor told me there were photographers of the day who went out to shoot the troops. Mostly I think they were local who drove out for the day."
"That's right there would have been very few who were part of the encampment. As a matter of fact I never heard of one."
"I never have either."
"And of course there is the period equipment issue."
"I could most likely get hold of a replica of an 1850 camera." Bug assured him. "I could set up a display of glass plates and the chemical bottles that would have been used."
"I suppose that would be of interest to the visitors. But then you want to do a commercial venture as well. We can't allow you to be shooting pictures of visitors in the bivouac area. I don't know how you could work it all out, but if you come up with a plan send it along. You will have to send a similar plan to any reenactment you want to participate in, so make it a good plan."
They wished each other luck, said goodbye, and he was gone. If Bug hadn't been so tired and suffered from touch of heat exhaustion, she might have tried to flirt with him. He was old enough and just heavy enough to have succumb to her charms. Then again the show was almost over, there was nothing to be gained from it. She had about twenty five more shots to make, then it she would be finished.
Bug looked at her tiny little digital watch. Edgar forced her to stop wearing the nifty rolex her dad had given her when she turned 21. He said it made them a target for a mugging. She had agreed that Edgar was too old to be in a fight over a stupid watch. She could have gone back to wearing it, since she would hand the watch over in a flash. Then again, the watch might not be enough and she wouldn't hand anything else over without a fight.
Bug walked around shooting pictures for about another hour. When she finished, she carefully repacked the film holders as she sat cross legged on the ground. It had been an interesting experience. She had asked over a hundred people to allow her to shoot their picture. No one had refused, why should they? She was reasonably attractive, wearing a skimpy outfit, and carrying a huge period camera. She appealed to all kinds of senses.
Before she left Bug went looking for the lady who had been so kind to her. She found the lady sitting in a circle of women. Bug had saved only two shots for her. She planned to give the lady one, but then she quickly decided to shoot the circle as a group. She arranged them with the help of the older lady. The actual shot took just a couple of seconds.
The woman took Bug aside to talk privately. "I do hope you join our little band of gypsies. We could use some younger ladies. Well you don't really have to be a lady." The older woman smiled.
"Ah so you love a man in uniform?" Bug asked it with a grin. The woman seemed be amused.
"Oh hell them to," she grinned wicked at Bug, who immediately turned a deep shade of sunburn.
During her drive home Bug was almost glad she didn't get that motel room. The drive home was pleasant, even if she was half asleep most of the way. She pulled into her parking lot just before midnight. She was tempted to just leave everything in the car. She would have, if her time with Edgar hadn't made such a deep impression on her.
"A true professional takes care of his tools before he takes care of himself. You don't see many tools left on the site of a house being built."
"Yes Edgar," Bug said as she began lugging the heavy boxes into the house.
Once the cameras were locked into the linen closet, bug fell onto the bed. She was exhausted but too excited to sleep. Her mind skipped happily back and forth between her shots that day, and her plans for the future. She couldn't believe that she had enjoyed the primitive look of the place. She knew it would make interesting pictures, she just had no idea she would have enjoyed the feel of the place.
Bug fell asleep fully dressed, if you could call her skimpy outfit fully dressed in the first place.
8 AM Sunday morning found Bug waiting for the cemetery gates to open. When the pickup truck pulled up, the rattle woke her. Bug had slept well but not long enough. On that morning when she woke, up in spite of less than adequate sleep, she remembered Edgar's voice, "Damn it girl, how can you run with no one chasing you?"
"I told you, I pretend you are chasing me. Now go back to sleep and let me go run."
After her run she sat on the stone bench. She stretched and yawned then asked, "So Edgar what do you think about yesterday?"
"I think you are going to have some interesting pictures. Just remember to age them and they should sell."
"If anybody looks?"
"They will look don't you worry. Those people are vain or they wouldn't do what they do. They spend a ton of money to be looked at."
"Well, we will see," she admitted. She really didn't have the feel for it that Edgar seemed to have.
"Good morning Bug, you want the usual?"
"Sure Maggie, where is everybody?"
"Bug it's Sunday. We get a different crowd on Sunday, you know that."
"I didn't realize it was Sunday. So all the girls in the crumpled dress and guys in shorts will be in soon, I guess."
"Any minute now they will begin to wander in. I get the biggest kick out of how one or two couples look. Every Sunday it is a different couple, but there is always at least one. You know trying to be polite while at least one of them is dying to just run like hell."
"Yeah, you can see that deer in the gunsights look."
"So how's Edgar this morning?" she asked.
Since none of his friends were around, and since Bug was in a devilish mood she replied, "Still dead."
Maggie choked but held it together.
After returning from her run and the adequate, but nothing special, breakfast Bug when to her own kitchen. She first removed everything from the table, then she erected the changing tent. She hadn't approved of Edgar's card board box changing bag at all. She could and did fit the folded up tent onto the top shelf of the one cabinet where she kept her photo developing supplies.
She selected a film holder at random. After she loaded one of the 3x4 negatives into the tank, she removed the tank from the tent. Ten minutes later she had a well exposed negative. She was extremely happy with the results. She left everything were it was while she washed the negative. She had no desire to continue developing negatives until she one on the computer.
By noon bug was sitting at her computer with a cup of microwaved coffee and half a bagel. Lunch wasn't a big deal when she was busy. She adjusted and tinkered with the scanned image until she was satisfied with it. Instead of Edgars usual large prints she made a small eight by ten print. The image was razor sharp. She knew from experience it would soften up when enlarged but not a lot.
Bug decided the first print was a almost perfect. Perfect when she found the right shade of paper. She spent the afternoon working on the negatives. She swore to herself she would not print again until she found the right shade of paper, even if she had to dye her own.
Bug did her research and was ready when all the negatives were dry. She scanned them into the computer as they finished drying. It took her most of the week to finish with the hundred or so negatives from the re enactment. When she had everything done, she realized that she hadn't done her planning very well. The negatives were all processed, the scans were all made and the web site she had created for the project had pages of small proof sheets.
Everything was ready there was nothing left to do. That was the problem, there was nothing to occupy Bug's mind. For as long as she could remember Bug had just one real problem, she got bored easily. With everything completed by Friday afternoon, her mind screamed road trip.
Bug searched the internet for something to do over the weekend. There were no re enactments, nothing even vaguely similar. Bug was at loose ends when she decided to just pack the camera and go shoot pictures of anything at all. Bug needed to make pictures not work with negatives. She just didn't have a clue where to go.
She searched over the internet, checked the local newspaper, nothing came to mind. Then Bug made a decision that shocked even her. She decided to just put the camera and film in the car and go looking for something to shoot.
"Why shouldn't I?" She asked aloud.
"Why indeed," the voice replied. "Just put the camera in the car, drop the top and be off to adventure."
"You are serious?" she asked.
"It's exactly what I would do if I had the chance."
"Then by God, I'm going to do it." Bug went to the closet where all the photo equipment was stored. She unlocked the door as she continued trying to make at least some kind of plan. The best she could do was decide to fill the small car's gas tank before leaving town. When the tank had to be refilled again, she would head home.
She looked over Edgars cameras. She was torn between a roll film, because it was more convenient and a cut film, because Edgar had taught her to love the ritual involved with it. She chose a cut film model. It would mean having to load film holders, but hell she wasn't on a schedule.
"Exactly what the hell do you think you are doing?" Edgar asked it in a snippy voice.
"Getting ready to load some cut film holders."
"Some? You are not shooting a job for money are you?"
"No of course not," She replied.
"You are off to seek adventure, and to learn a little about yourself aren't you?"
"I guess so, I hadn't thought of it like that."
"Then think. Take one film holder and load it. That will give you two shots, more than enough."
"Edgar, I'm not you. I can make a dozen shots before I hit the city limits."
"Yes a dozen mediocre shots. So many mediocre ones that you don't even recognize the really valuable one. Oh you might shoot it, but by then you can't bring everything to it. No Bug leave the excess at home."
Reluctantly she removed all but one film holder from the bag. She cut down two 4x5 sheets, then loaded them into the holder. But gave up trying to decide where to go, she watched TV until she became tired enough to sleep.