Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
It wasn't completely dark in the room, but the curtains were closed and I only had one lamp on. I guess I could have been watching TV or drinking, but I just didn't feel like it. I showered and shaved before putting on my most comfortable clothes. It was going to be a long night and I wanted to be prepared. It was important for me to stay sober, even if I wanted to get dead drunk.
I had experienced quite a busy day and I was dead tired. As I sat there on the couch, I tried to figure out where I had gone wrong and then I decided that I hadn't. She had cheated and it was her fault, not mine. However, I was the one who would be paying for it. It didn't matter what happened it was a done deal.
Twelve years of marriage down the drain. Fortunately, there were no kids involved. Natalie had a bad miscarriage the first time that she gotten pregnant, three years ago, and that ended any chances for a family. We were both upset about the tragedy, but I never imagined that it would end up with her having an affair.
I kept checking the clock. Who would get here first? Would it be my cheating wife or someone from one of the many agencies responsible for peace and serenity in the DC area? It might be the FBI, the CIA, the local or state police, or even the Homeland Security. A cold beer would sure taste good right now.
The farmhouse in Warrenton was far enough away from the city that it allowed me to not be bothered with too much of the political crap. A year after the miscarriage, Natalie got a job as a publicity agent for a political lobbying firm and had to travel across the beltway everyday. She complained about it a little, but the excitement of the work seemed to offset any inconvenience.
Natalie was excited about her new job at first and enjoyed telling me about all of the interesting people she had been in contact with during her workdays. I always listened and paid attention. It was at a point during the second year that I noticed that there was a certain contact who she regularly had, who she never mentioned. It was an individual that we both knew and were actually friends with. The fact that she avoided any discussion about him was troubling.
Malcolm Eugene Heard was one of the Senators from our home state of Indiana. Natalie and I went to the University of Indiana with Malcolm and his wife Sonja. As Malcolm rose in the political arena, we sort of drifted apart, but we still exchanged Christmas cards. Natalie's company was responsible for providing publicity for Malcolm's campaign and for his contacts with his constituents back home. Over the last year, I had seen several photos of the Senator in the papers and magazines where Natalie could be seen in the background. There were a few short TV clips where he was meeting people and she would be standing close by while smiling. She would have been invisible to most people under these circumstances, but not to me. She had never once mentioned having seen Malcolm or having talked to him. I certainly felt that this was unusual.
I worked at home and rarely went into the DC area. I had a small, but successful business managing retirement accounts for companies with less than 100 employees. Most of my competitors wanted to concentrate on the larger clients, so I had an open field. I wasn't making a lot of money, but I was comfortable and I enjoyed my work, especially since I could conduct the entire operation at home with no office staff.
It was easy to make myself paranoid about the whole situation. It was harder to verify if something was actually was going on, or if it was my imagination. A private detective was out of the question. There was no way I could afford to hire someone to get the lowdown on a US Senator.
In desperation, I bought three, small, hand-held GPS units. They had a battery life of eleven hours and would record everywhere that Natalie drove to during her work day. Most of the driving was to the beltway and around it until she hit Alexandria. There was no way that I could use the devices to actually follower her, but I didn't want to do that in DC traffic anyhow. I figured that I could use one of them each day for three days and then use the weekend to follow the bread crumbs. If she was cheating, then maybe something would show up.
Of course, the GPS units worked far better than I had anticipated. The first three days that I used them, she stopped twice at the Executive Suite Apartments near Reston. I had no trouble at all verifying that Suite 214 was leased by US Senator Malcolm Heard. I didn't know how long she had stayed there, but that really didn't matter.
I guess I could have confronted her with my new-found information and allowed her the opportunity to give me an explanation, but I never did.
For the next few days, I left home after Natalie did and drove to Reston. I found a quiet, out of the way spot, and got comfortable. On the second day, Malcolm arrived in a large black Mercedes. Ten minutes later, Natalie showed up. It was over two hours until they came out and left separately. My marriage was over. It was time for planning.
Three different companies made offers to buy my small business. I quietly put the money into a long-term, off-shore account. The house mortgage was more than the current appraisal, so I decided that I could walk away from it. Nothing else seemed to matter.
They had met twice on Tuesday, so I used that as a planning point. I spent all day on Monday printing letters and address labels. There were over two hundred stamped envelopes ready to go out by four o'clock.
Everything went off as planned the next day, which also happened to be today. First, I attached a bright orange smoke flare to Malcolm's ignition and then I carefully cut each of Natalie's valve stems. Malcolm's car wouldn't be destroyed, but it would be unusable until it was cleaned. Before returning home, I mailed all of the envelopes. Phase one was completed.
Natalie arrived home before any of the Federal Agents that I was expecting. She took off her coat as she walked into the room. Her purse went on the side table with a resounding plop. I noticed a slight glance, but she said nothing.
Finally she sat directly across from me and sighed.
"I had to get one of the girls from work to give me a ride home."
I didn't say or do anything.
"That was a pretty drastic thing to do, Robert."
How did she know that it was me? It could have been a vandal, or someone with a political grudge. I didn't respond.
"You could have said something. Why did you have to do that?"
"Why didn't Malcolm give you a ride home?"
"You know damn well, why. We had to get both cars towed."
"Sorry if I caused you any inconvenience."
"There were police there, and reporters. Two TV crews showed up."
"I know. I called them."
"You son-of-a-bitch. That was horrible and inconsiderate.
Malcolm is up for re-election. If they find out what really happened, it will kill his chances."
"I hope so."
She seemed to be trying not to cry. It wasn't working.
"Natalie, what was I supposed to do? You were cheating on me with someone that I thought was still a friend. Does Sonja know what is going on?"
"No. Of course not. Hopefully, she still doesn't know. They have three children, Robert. Do you have any idea what this would do to their family?"
"Oh, that is nothing. Things are going to get far worse over the next few days."
"How can they get worse? Nothing could be worse than this."
"Well, for starters, the police will be here for me shortly."
"Why? Neither Malcolm nor myself ever mentioned your name."
"How did he explain it to the authorities?"
"He just said it was somebody who didn't agree with his political views."
Well, that sort of screwed up my plan before it got started. I was expecting to be dragged down to some sort of interrogation facility and worked over.
"Robert, do you want to talk about this? Do I get a chance to explain what happened?"
"No!" I got up and walked to the kitchen. If the police were not coming, then I was going to have a beer. "Natalie, I don't want to know what you did, why you did it, or when you did it. It doesn't matter. You can move out, or you can stay. I simply don't give a damn, but please, don't even try to justify it." I walked out to the front porch. It was chilly for this time of year. The beer tasted good, but coffee would have been better. I had no plan for reconciliation and no idea why she did what she did. I didn't want to know.
When I went back in, Natalie had gone to the bedroom and closed the door. I got another beer and sat back down on the sofa. It was going to be a long night.
About an hour later, my wife returned to the living room. It was evident that she had been crying. She gingerly sat on the chair closest to me and started to wring her hands.
"Robert. What did you mean when you said things were going to get worse?"
"I sent a letter to Sonja today. I also sent two hundred and twenty-one copies of the letter to every newspaper, radio, and TV station in the area. Every member of the US Senate got a copy as well as the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Homeland Security. Everybody in both of our families got one and every name on our Christmas card list. Each commentator on FOX TV got their own letter. Your boss and everyone you work with also got one."
"Oh, God no! What kind of letter? Who do you think is going to believe an accusation from a crazy man? Do you really have rock solid proof that anything was going on, or are you still guessing? You are going to look like a fool, Robert."
"Worse than that. They are going to call me demented and crazy. Do you think I care? I have no life and nothing to look forward to. I am going down, but I am not going down alone."
"I think you are over-estimating the power that your letter will have. Public figures get letters like that all the time. They have a special file for them."
"Then I guess I wasted my time. I guess that is good for you and Malcolm. If it's all right with you, I am going to sleep on the couch tonight."
I pulled the Afghan off the back of the sofa and started making a bed.
"Can I at least see the letter?"
I went to the desk, took a sheet of paper from the top drawer, and handed it to her. It was quite short and only took her a few seconds to read it. "Oh no! Robert, you didn't send this. Please say that you didn't."
She slumped in the chair and started to cry. The letter fell to the floor.
"Dear Sonja, If Malcolm sees or even contacts Natalie one more time, I will kill all three of your children. Your friend, Robert Sorensen."
It was not something that a sane man would write. Of course, I didn't mean a word of it, but I felt it was necessary for the shock effect. I was sure that I would be apprehended as soon as the letter got out and I would receive the harshest treatment. I didn't care. If I had ranted like a cuckolded husband, the letter would have been ignored. Threatening the life of a US Senator's children was sure to get some attention.
Natalie got up and staggered into the bedroom. The earliest that the mail would get delivered tomorrow, would be about nine o'clock. I figured that I could get one more night of sleep before everything turned to shit.
I was up bright and early the next morning. Luckily, I had a razor in the car which I used on the way to the closest diner. I had the breakfast special and picked up a pack of gum on the way out. I would have preferred a toothbrush, but the gum would have to do today. I tried to kill as much time as possible, but I knew that eventually I would have to return to the house.
There was a black sedan and a state trooper car in front of the house when I arrived home. I never made it to the door. Natalie was standing on the porch in her bathrobe as the FBI agents drove me away with a trooper escort.
For the next few days, I was either being interviewed or cooling my heels. I missed out on most of the hoop-la that went on, because of the letter. They never really charged me with anything, but the term 'terroristic threat' was used a lot. I felt a weird contentment during the whole process. People were constantly trying to intimidate me or scare me, and I found it humorous.
I had not heard from Natalie since I was picked up. There was never any mention of bail. I never even saw a lawyer.
I was never relocated to an actual jail or prison facility. They kept me in a secure area of the Federal building. I was sort of isolated, but never abused or mistreated in any way. After a while, I got the feeling that people were trying to work around me and avoiding any confrontation. Things were not going as I anticipated, because I thought that I would be charged with something. I guess I did a piss-poor job of planning. For the time being, all I could do was go with the flow. I never asked for a lawyer and one was never offered.
I had been expecting a visit at some time from my wife, but it never happened. Instead, I got a visit from Malcolm's wife, Sonja. They left us alone in a small room. I was not restrained in any manner and there were no guards. I am sure that there were some type of listening devices in the room, and there was the usual, large, one-way mirror on the wall.
"Hi, Robert." All I could bring myself to do was nod. I had done a terrible thing to this woman and had no idea how to make it up to her.
"Can I get an explanation or something similar?"
"I am sorry, Sonja. The best I can do is offer you an apology. What I did was stupid, but I was desperate. I never meant to hurt you or the kids, and I think you know that. It was the only way I could get any attention."
"That was important to you?"
"I couldn't compete with Malcolm and you know that. He is powerful, rich, and quite charismatic. I hated the fact that I had lost Natalie to him, and also that there was no way to pay him back for the pain he had caused me."
"Well, you seemed to have done a damn good job." All I could do was give her a quizzical look.
"Malcolm was called back to Indiana to sit with the State Democratic Committee and to discuss this recent incident. Robert, this was not the first time he screwed up, but it is the first time that his people have not been able to hush it up. People who back politicians have ways of keeping things looking clean, but you stymied them with your blitz."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
"Right now, I believe that Malcolm's political career is over."
"That's only fair as so is my marriage." Sonja gave me a weak smile.
"Robert, I need a favor."
"After what I did to you, you would consider asking me for help? What could I possibly do for you?"
"I am planning on divorcing Malcolm and wondered if you had some type of proof concerning his affair with Natalie?"
"Sorry, I can't help you. All I know was that Malcolm had a lease on a condo unit in Reston and the two of them used to go there to be alone. I don't have any videos, photos, or audio recordings. For all I know, they could have been playing Scrabble together."
"Malcolm hates Scrabble." We both had a small laugh together.
Things were silent for a few moments. I felt uncomfortable because I had not been able to shave or clean up for a few days. Sonja was perfect in every way. She looked better now than she had when we were in college. She had grown from a gawky adolescent into a beautiful woman. Malcolm had everything: power, position, a family, and a wonderful wife. Why did the son-of-a-bitch need to take mine?
Sonja got up from the chair, indicating that our little chat was over. "Can I visit you again, Robert?"
"Absolutely. I would enjoy that."
She left and I felt a little sad. I had threatened the lives of her children in front of the whole world and she never raised her voice to me, nor did she indicate that she was upset with me in any manner. It was as if she known what I was trying to do, and understood why I did it.
Two hours later, I was removed from the Federal building and taken home. They unceremoniously dumped me in front of my house and took off. There was no explaination and nothing was said on the entire trip.
The house was empty. All of Natalie's things were gone. I didn't know where her car was. I disconnected the phone, and spent the next few days watching television. I got a perverse guilty pleasure from watching all of the havoc that I had caused. For some reason, the media seemed to be more interested in the affair, than in my threats. After two days with no outside contact, I finally called my parents to let them know that everything was Okay.
On my first trip out of the house, I bought two sixpacks of beer and ten frozen TV dinners. I waited until the last of the photographers had left. Hopefully, my fifteen minutes of fame was over.
I thought about calling Natalie's parents or sisters in an attempt to locate her, but couldn't come up with a reason. I decided to wait and make no waves. I still had the nice little bundle of money sitting in my overseas bank account. I had no idea what to do with it. I had enough money in the local bank to last me a few more months and then I would have to make some sort of lifestyle decision. What was I going to do to earn a living? The answer came from an unexpected source.
Malcolm Heard was no longer his party's choice for re-election. He did not take the news gracefully. The general news media played down his objections and tirades, but Fox played it up to the hilt. The more he screamed and hollered, the more Fox baited him. His big mistake was taking his anger out on his wife. Sonja put a stop to his bullshit by sticking an eight-inch kitchen knife into his chest. There was ample evidence to prove that she stabbed him in self-defense, including the nanny, who was an eyewitness. However, the complexity of the situation created a mess for Sonja, and a nightmare for her children.
Two days later, I was picked up at my house by a small non-descript car and taken to Bethesda. A secretary from the law offices of Barnes, Barnes, and Griffin, indicated that they needed to see me on an urgent matter as soon as possible. They offered no other information, but the invitation was so intriguing that I had accepted. I didn't even get to enter through the front door. We parked around the back and actually went in through a fire exit. I am sure that the room I was led into was not one of the ones reserved for the high-end clients. It felt like a pro-bono set up, but that didn't seem to make sense.
"Mister Sorensen. My name is Wilfred Malik. I have been selected to present a special offer to you." He was grossly overweight and sweating profusely, even though it was not that warm. I guessed that he was about fifty years old. His thinning hair was combed over and his face had a rosy glow to it.
"What do you mean, 'you was selected?'"
He gave me a funny look. I guess he was confused because I questioned his choice of words instead of inquiring about the offer he was about to propose.
"Why are we in this little room, Mister Malik? I feel as if you are trying to hide me or something."
"You are very astute, Mister Sorensen. We have been instructed to keep this visit low key. Shall we say, no one is really supposed to know that you are here."
"I take it that you are a specialist in 'low key' customers?"
I didn't get an answer. He had a folder in front of him and not much else.
"Do you know where Niihau is?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I have never been there, but from what I understand, very few people have."
"Sonja Heard owns, or shall I say leases, a small home on Niihau."
"That doesn't make sense. Niihau is a restricted island. I thought that nobody lived there other than a few natives and the owners."
"That is correct. Let's say that some exceptions have been made concerning Sonja Heard."
"Okay. You have my attention. What does Sonja Heard and the Island of Niihau have to do with me?"
"Things are not going well concerning the trial. It is messy and it is getting messier. Malcolm's family is spending every cent they have to see to it that Sonja is crucified. She is concerned about the impact that all of this is going to have on her children, and she wants to shelter them from it."
"And how does this concern me?"
"Sonja is sending her children to Niihau until this mess blows over. It is the only place that she feels that they will be free of it. She wants you to go with them."
"You have to be kidding! I am the one that threatened to kill them. I am the last person on earth that those children should be entrusted to."
"It doesn't seem to make sense to us either. We don't know why she choose you."
I was not expecting this. It didn't make sense. Of course, there was no way that I would ever do anything to hurt the kids, but I didn't even know them that well. I only saw them at occasional gatherings and never really bonded with them.
"What about Sonja's parents?"
"Her father has Alzheimzers and it is all her mother can do to take care of him. Besides that, the children would still be exposed to the media, if they stayed with them."
"Why Niihau? There is no electricity, no running water, and they don't even have a school or a grocery store."
"I am sorry Mister Malik, but I have absolutely no experience in taking care of children. You definitely have the wrong guy."
"You won't actually be taking care of the children as such. Their nanny will be going with you to see to things."
"She will do all the cooking, cleaning, and housekeeping."
"Okay. What will I be doing?"
Mister Malik seemed a little bewildered at the question.
"I don't have a good answer for that. Sonja said that she wanted you there, and refused to elaborate much more than that. I am not sure, but I believe she will want you to home-school them so that they do not have to go to a school on one of the other islands. I also think that she feels it is important that they have a male influence. She seems to think highly of you, for some reason."
"What does that mean?"
"You said that 'she seems to think highly of me, for some reason.' What did you mean by that?"
"We were a little baffled by her choice in this matter. All we know about you Mister Sorensen, is what we read in the paper and a little research into your background. We, by that I mean the company, never really understood why she selected you. I wasn't trying to offend you in any way. Please don't misconstrue my words."
"Can I have some coffee?"
Wilfred got up and left the room. It gave me a little time to think. Sonja must have been out of her head, or else she was extremely clever. She had always been a calm and collected person. I had to believe that she knew exactly what she was doing when she selected me. I didn't know why, but it didn't really matter: yet.
The coffee smelled better than it tasted.
"What is in this for me? Why would I ever agree to such a preposterous thing?"
"She was hoping that you would feel guilty about what you did, and openly stated that she wanted to take advantage of that."
"She really said that?"
"Yep. She also offered two thousand dollars a week, to be automatically deposited into your Cayman account."
"You know about my Cayman account?"
"We know everything? Actually, there is not very much to know about you. You are a very ordinary man, Mister Sorensen."
"If I agree, when would I have to leave?"
"A private plane will be leaving tomorrow at noon from Dulles. Our people will help you get ready and take care of your home and personal affairs while you are gone."
I didn't know much about airplanes. All I knew for sure was that it was a jet and it was not a 747. I assumed that it was big enough to cross the Pacific to Hawaii, or else they would not have used it. My escort loaded my bags for me as I stood around trying to look as if I knew what I was doing, which of course was totally wrong.
I had tried to pack what I thought I would be needing. It would have been nice to have had some sort of guide. The biggest concern was the fact that there was no electricity on the island. I am not sure how current the information was that I picked off the computer, but it didn't look encouraging. Just in case, I took my cell phone and charger. I also packed my laptop. I had no idea how to charge batteries or used electronic equipment without electricity. I was kicking myself for not learning more about solar energy. I was wondering about my satellite cell phone service. By the time I had myself completely confused, the limo arrived with the primary passengers.
There were two boys and a girl. The oldest boy, Bryan, looked to be about sixteen years old. The girl, Glenna, was at least a year older, and the last of all was Chaz, who couldn't have been more than twelve years old. I introduced myself and was surprised that they all seemed to be pleasant and well-mannered. As a rule, I don't typically like children.
Things were looking fine, until it came to the nanny. I couldn't be sure, but she appeared to be from some part of Central America. Maya was barely five foot tall. I guessed that she was not yet thirty, but looked older. I was an extremely poor judge of women. She passed by me, as if I had leprosy. The stare that she gave me, haunted me for the entire trip. It was easy to see that I would not have been her choice for this trip. I still could not figure out what ever possessed Sonja to think that I was her best option. Maya handled the children like a drill instructor. They listened to her and did what she said, not out of fear or obedience, but because they seemed to want to. I was impressed.
After the novelty of the takeoff, I took the time to create some rapport with each of the kids. It would make things easier if I knew what their likes and dislikes were. I quickly discovered that they knew everything about the threat that I had made, and why I had made it. Yet they did not seem to be afraid of me. There was no doubt that Maya knew, because she never took her eyes off of me.
Bryan was interested in computers and anything related to them. He was disappointed when he found out that Niihau did not have electricity. His eyes lit up a little when I told him that I had smuggled my laptop aboard, and he seemed responsive when I asked him if he knew anything about solar power or satellite communications. Bryan and I were going to get along fine.
Glenna was looking forward to swimming and learning to surf. Her biggest worry was that we would not be near a beach, or if there was one, it would be too rough to swim in. I promised to help her figure out a way to get to the water, but I couldn't help her surf. We had a little laugh about that. She was hoping to be able to go horseback riding also.
Chaz was upset because there were no snakes on the islands. He was looking forward to collecting all the critters that he could. After he said that, I told him that I was relieved that St. Patrick had chased away all of the snakes. He took great pleasure in straightening me out.
I knew that I would not get a chance to talk with Maya. She made it perfectly clear by her facial expressions and gestures that she wanted nothing to do with me. I could tell that she did not appreciate my associating with the children. I found myself staring at her as she slept. Her skin was a bronze color with a slight sheen. Her lips and nose were both a little flatter and broader than average. Her eyebrows were dark and heavy. I had no trouble at all remembering that her eyes were also dark and deep. She was sexy, exotic, and very intriguing.
We stopped in Seattle and had supper at the airport while the plane refueled. I was surprised to discover that Maya spoke perfect English, without a trace of an accent. She hadn't spoken to me, but I paid attention when she was with the children. She was becoming more interesting as the flight went on.
The children slept the entire way from Seattle to the islands. Maya was asleep for part of the time. When she wasn't sleeping, she was watching me. It was obvious that she knew about the letter, and was more worried about it than the children were.
The next leg of our journey was in a seaplane, which the kids thought was really cool. That was surpassed by a helicopter ride directly to Niihau. There was a small group of people ready to meet us, and I tried my best to stay in the background. It was evident that they were trying to keep everything completely low key.
Two hours later, a jitney-like jeep dropped us off at our new home. It was a typical island bungalow with a few upgrades. As the kids and Myra rushed into the new place, I walked around the whole building. It had a tin or metal roof, with large, enclosed gutters for collecting rain water. I had checked beforehand and all my information seemed to indicate that it was a relatively dry island. I was sure that nobody would have gone to all the trouble of installing a system like this unless it was cost-effective. The collected water was all channeled into three, quite large, fiberglass tanks mounted high, under the roof on the West side of the building.
The whole South side of the roof was covered with solar panels. There appeared to be three different types of panels, but all had the same tilt angle. I was curious to see exactly how the solar energy was being used.
Chaz was fascinated by the small flock of free-range chickens clustered around a small, raised coop in the backyard. There might not be any bacon, but it looked like we would be having a lot of eggs.
I was still trying to stay inconspicuous. The guy who dropped us off had just finished explaining things to Maya as I entered the house. He would be delivering the groceries and other supplies to us every Tuesday morning. He gave Maya some forms that she could use for ordering for the following week. I decided to keep my nose out of it. Maya was the professional, and I was just going along for the ride. I still had no idea why I was here. There was a propane tank out back that would be checked and filled monthly. In addition to the stove, there was an antique, propane-powered, refrigerator. I hadn't seen one of those since I was a kid. There appeared to be plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Bryan announced that he had claimed the small bedroom on the South side of the house. It had a door leading to the battery storage area for the solar collectors. I was initially concerned, until I noticed that the area was fully ventilated. In addition to the batteries, there was a hodge-podge of wiring and switches. It scared the bejesus out of me, but it fascinated Bryan. He could not wait to get his hands dirty.
I ended up having to share a room with Chaz. He thought that this was cool. Maya wasn't crazy about it, but there was no place else for me to sleep. She most certainly didn't offer to share and I didn't expect her to.
Maya prepared a small buffet of fresh fruit for supper. She did not appear to be in the mood to cook a meal and I understood why. Ten minutes after we finished eating, Chaz was fast asleep on the sofa, and the rest of us were ready for bed. About a half-hour later, I heard a small scream. Maya was the first to try out the unheated shower. I was relieved to find out that this was all it was about. It also made me snicker a little.
By the time I got up, Maya had put breakfast on the table. It was, of course, fruit and eggs, with fresh juice. Chaz was strutting around with a big grin on his face, because he was the one who had collected the eggs. Maya had no trouble assigning him this same task for every morning.
I discovered that I didn't enjoy shaving with cold water and I was not thrilled with the chilly shower either. The water wasn't actually freezing cold, but it just wasn't warm. I also realized that I would need new clothes if I was going to stay here for any length of time. When I got done with my morning grooming ritual, I found myself tobe alone in ther house.
I stood on the porch and looked out over the valley in front of me. The ocean was closer than I had originally believed it to be. At the bottom of the hill, I could make out Maya with Glenna and Chaz. Bryan was not with them. I watched as they left the road and walked across the rocks and sand to the water. Chaz was wandering all over the place. Glenna walked directly into the surf and just stood there while being quite still. They were almost a mile away, so I could not see much more than their basic movements. Maya sat down on one of the rock outcroppings and watched them. I turned my attention towards the house when I heard some noises from the back. I noticed that Bryan was sitting in the middle of the battery room, with a clipboard. He was concentrating so deeply, that I didn't believe that he never heard me enter the room. A quick glance indicated that he was making a schematic drawing of all of the wiring and equipment in the house. I felt a little relieved that he found something to occupy himself with so quickly.
"Mister Sorensen, what type of cellphone service do you have?" I guess I wasn't as quiet as I thought I had been.
"It's Verizon. I brought it along because I was hoping that we could get satellite reception."
"Is it internet capable?"
"Internet, e-mail, GPS, as well as texting. I don't use most of that stuff, but the phone does just about everything."
"Do you mind if I use it for a while?"
"I was only going to use it for emergencies because we don't have any way to recharge it."
Bryan gave me a big smile. "No problem. It looks like we will be able to recharge anything by the end of the day."
"Do you need the laptop also?"
"Not until tomorrow. I should be able to connect the laptop to the internet through the cellphone. I assume that you have an unlimited service plan?"
I went to get the laptop and cell phone. When I returned, Bryan had moved into his room where he had a desk set up along the wall that connected to the battery room. I didn't know where he got the desk from. He placed both of the items on the back of the desk and continued to work on his drawings.
"I have to order a bunch of stuff so that I can get us set up. I have my own Paypal account so don't worry about it. The mail won't be here till next Tuesday, but I have a lot to do until then."
I didn't have an answer for him or a comment. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing and there was nothing that I could contribute. As I turned to leave, I heard him say; "By the way, that third section of solar panels is not for power collection, it is a solar-based hot water system. It should be Okay as soon as I can get a DC pump with enough lift. Do you want to work on that?"
Crafty little bugger. He took control of the situation and was already delegating. I just smiled and nodded, as I left him to his work. I needed something to do and getting the hot water system working seemed interesting.
Maya, Glenna, and Chaz were still down by the water. It was only a ten minute walk, or maybe slightly longer. Chaz located a few tidal pools and was busy checking them for living creatures. Glenna had walked further down the beach, but was still within sight. I sat by Maya and was rewarded with a look that indicated that my presence was not appreciated. I was going to try and strike up some sort of conversation with her, but then decided against it. This was not something that could be forced. Maya seemed to hate me and had no trouble letting me know it. We sat quietly until Glenna wandered back and then we all left to return to the bungalow. Chaz would have stayed all day, but reacted immediately when Maya called him.
Chaz chatted all the way back to the house. Maya said nothing. Glenna only had one comment; "I have to find a surf board someplace."
Things seemed to normalize from then on. Chaz would be up early everyday and off to somewhere unknown. At first, he spent most of his time at the tidal pools. As he got more familiar with the surroundings he got a little more adventurous. He would lose himself in the jungle-like areas around the house. There were no poisonous snakes on the islands and no other dangerous animals. I wasn't worried about his well being at all. Amazingly, Maya didn't seem to be concerned either.
Maya was still not getting any friendlier, but at least she was now communicating. There were things that had to be done and in order for them to happen, she had to talk to me. I accepted the situation and didn't push it. Her skin seemed to glisten in the sunlight.
Bryan was living in a world of his own. I stayed out of his way as much as I could. I was not smart enough to offer him any suggestions. His desk looked like a rat's nest of wires and home-made boxes. The cell phone was no longer a portable device. It was permanently wired into the solar electrical system somehow and the laptop computer was hardwired to it. We had phone service to anywhere in the world. In addition, we had internet service through the phone.
Glenna was able to sweet talk Bryan into making a call for her, and by the next morning she had her own surf board. Her days were now spent at the beach trying to teach herself how to surf. In the evenings, Bryan showed her web videos that he found during the day. The downside here was for Maya. She refused to let Glenna go to the water alone. After three days, Maya finally felt the need to have a conversation with me that was other than functional.
"Mister Sorensen. It is difficult for me to say this, but I need your help." She had my attention, so I sat down waiting for the other shoe to fall. I swear that she was getting prettier, every day.
"I have washing, cleaning, cooking, and other housework that has to be done. I cannot continue to sit by the beach with Glenna all day, but I must not leave her alone."
"You want me to start doing the housework?"
That got me a frustrated smirk. "No. I need you to watch Glenna while I do what has to be done at the house. I am not happy about leaving you alone with any of them, but it cannot be helped."
"What is your problem with me? Can I explain anything that will make you feel better about the whole situation?"
"I read the letter Mister Sorensen. The last thing I want is to leave you with them. Mrs. Heard seems to believe that you are no threat. She told me to trust you. I don't know why she said that, but then I don't really know you. I have a job to do. I am forced to do this even though I don't want to."