Chapter 1: Trespasser
I looked again at the school ID cards the two youngsters had proffered. The elder, their cards revealed, was 13-year-old Marcy Silvers, and the younger was her little sister, 9-year-old Melissa, students in the King County school system. Both were honey-blond, cute, and athletic for their respective ages. Both still had some charming baby fat, as befitted someone of their tender years. Both were also quite nude, the better to blend in with the others enjoying this first Sunday of Spring Break week at Barracuda Beach Naturist Resort.
Three things had set them apart. First, the tan lines. The other kids here were regulars at resorts which preferred you to wander around dressed in nature's swimsuits, and so had none, whereas both of the Silvers had what we refer to as a "cottontail", where a swimsuit had prevented the tanning rays of the sun to linger. Second, they were friends with none of the kids their own age who were present this Sunday at Barracuda Beach Naturist Resort, and had no responsible adult anywhere we could identify. And third, young Miss Marcy Silvers had a serious case of body consciousness that a naturist kid her age would have lacked. It took maybe five minutes for both to be metaphorically unmasked.
Both had tried to avoid being the centre of attention, especially Marcy. Both were now standing smack dab at the centre of the Resort club room, surrounded by equally nude adults who were paying them all too much attention, especially Marcy.
"And so you decided to sneak in under the fence on the north side?" I quizzed, staring Marcy right in her terrified eyes.
She nodded, her heart clearly residing in her throat.
"And at that time you did damage to the privacy fence..."
She blushed and looked at the floor, clearly hoping that it would swallow her up. No such luck.
"And in what drug-induced hallucination did this even vaguely appear to be a good idea?"
She stood there quietly while her younger sibling sniffled beside her.
I ignored the younger girl. "Marcy," I reminded the elder, my voice steely, "I asked a question. I expect an answer."
Head still tilted downward, her eyes regarded me apprehensively. She was still too terrified to respond.
"Were you just curious to see if we really had barracuda on our beach?" I suggested, stalactites of sarcasm dripping from every syllable. Marcy kept searching frantically for someplace to rest her eyes in the vast room. Every time those eyes lit upon genitalia, either male or female, they jerked away.
"Well, enough of this nonsense. Who do we call about our two little trespassers?" I asked rhetorically.
"You could call the sheriff," Sheriff Fernandez mischievously suggested from his perch at a nearby table. "I'm sure he could get someone out here right quick." Neither Marcy nor Melissa recognized him, sitting there next to his equally out-of-uniform daughter, Deputy Alicia Fernandez.
"You're not helping," I advised him loudly as I struggled to suppress a smile. "How about your mother? What would she say?"
"O God," Marcy pleaded, clearly panicking, "don't call her, she'll KILL me!!"
"It speaks," I noted dryly of my comely captive, our audience cracking up at my bon mot. I turned back to the cute little fly caught in a web of prying eyes. "Having her kill you would be a good lesson for any future trespassing vandals. Tempting thought. Very tempting."
"But you can't call my mother, you don't have her phone number!" Marcy realized triumphantly.
"It's 555-4935," a small voice piped up.
Marcy stood there, mouth agape, once again looking at me in dismay.
"Why thank you, Miss Melissa," I complemented the younger sibling approvingly. "Very polite of you."
"Yes, thanks, Mel," added Marcy through gritted teeth. "Very polite of you."
I gestured to my head waitress, Shelly. "Take Miss Melissa to the take-out stand, get her some ice cream."
Marcy tried to build up some outrage. "Bribery?"
I shrugged. "Honesty should be rewarded. Now, about what exactly possessed you to come here?"
Marcy glanced with worry at the departing forms of Melissa and Shelly, then turned to me. Pouting, she declared, "Because I know you're a bunch of perverts."
"Yes, that makes sense," I agreed. "I'm going to bring my innocent little sister with me to a den of iniquity. That would keep her safe and sound. Do you take her with you when you visit biker bars, too?" I rubbed my forehead.
"I didn't ask her to tag along," Marcy responded defensively. "I just wanted to get the evidence I needed to shut you down and then get out of there. I'm supposed to be looking after her."
"And you're doing a fine job of babysitting," I reassured her. "OK ... Oh boy." I picked up my cell phone and started dialling.
"You're calling in reinforcements to do not-nice things to my nubile young body!" Marcy deduced, horrified – and not a little excited.
"Yes, specifically your mother. Should I tell her what a pervert her daughter is? 'Not-nice things' indeed." I sniffed in disgust, mostly to hide my amusement. The youngster had obviously been reading the kind of literature that school libraries tend to avoid.
"I'd rather you called the sheriff." Marcy bit her lip anxiously.
"Sheriff," I said conversationally.
"Right here," Sheriff Fernandez responded, equally calmly. "You want me to send a deputy?"
Marcy, eyes like dinner plates, shot a glance at the naked Sheriff.
"You may have to. I have a trespasser."
He gestured to his identically clad daughter. "Deputy Fernandez, this call is all yours."
Marcy started doing a superb imitation of a gaffed fish, struggling to find words. Alicia waved in a friendly manner at the young miscreant.
"Ah, Mrs. Silvers? This is Paul Jackman, proprietor of Barracuda Beach Naturist Resort. Yes, that resort. I have here a Miss Marcy Silvers and a Miss Melissa Silvers. Yes, now that you mention it, they both are."
Marcy returned her terrified gaze upon me.
"Yes, if you would be so kind. Oh, and there's the little matter of repairs to the fence they broke through to illicitly gain access to our grounds. It will, I'm certain, prove more costly than day fees."
She paled noticeably.
"I would be amenable to discussing that. Oh, yes, you should do that."
"She should do what?" Marcy asked worriedly.
"Bring a change of clothes," I informed the terrified teen. "You'd be allowed to go anywhere in Manatee Bay dressed like that, but from the way you're trying to hide your body, I'd think you'd prefer not to be nude within the city limits."
I resumed my conversation with Mother Silvers. "In about fifteen minutes? All right. I'll leave word with the front desk. Because this IS a business meeting, there will be no grounds fees for you."
I swiftly dialled another number. "Yes, it's Paul. Expect a Mrs. Mary Silvers to show up within the half-hour. She'll probably be quite outraged, so handle her with kid gloves. I'm sending someone to escort her."
When Deputy Alicia Rodriguez brought Mrs. Mary Silvers to my office on the second floor of the club house, the occupants were the Sheriff, my wife Rose, our legal beagle Linda Carruthers, myself and the two unconvicted felons. Mrs. Silvers was the only one clad, and remained so throughout the meeting.
I rose and reached out my hand. "Mrs. Silvers, so glad of you to come. I'm sure we'll be able to sort out this little difficulty fairly quickly."
Mrs. Silvers held my hand weakly. "Yes, well, thank you for not pressing charges. And it's Mary."
I made the introductions and, as my office was a little tiny for this sort of thing, led the crowd next door to the boardroom.
"We're visiting my sister and brother-in-law over the Easter Week vacation, and as they have no children of their own, I guess my two got a little bored. I can't tell you how embarrassed I am by this."
"Children do crave adventure, don't they? I seem to recall going on the occasional adventure myself, when I was their age."
"Still, they were trespassing, and I understand there was some damage incurred to the fence as well," Mary conceded.
"They really should have marched in the front door, with an adult accompanying them, and paid the day fees. We charge $30 for up to two parents or guardians and up to six offspring up to age seventeen. Much cheaper than the estimated $100 repair to that section of fence."
"So they owe some $130?" Mrs. Silvers looked relieved to be getting away with such a minor sum.
"Yes. Fortunately they've started their life of crime on a shoestring."
"Fortunately. Ever since their father died five years back, we've been living life on a shoestring." She turned to her offspring. "Now, girls, why did you do that?"
"I was curious," confessed Marcy, staring at the table before her as her face turned a deep maroon. "I've never seen a naked boy before."
"Ah, the truth comes out," I remarked gently. "Well, I've found the best cure for curiosity is to sate that with all the information and experience you can get." I turned to Linda. "What about this? We have Miss Silvers the Elder pay off the $130 by spending the rest of her Easter vacation working here? She should be the one who pays, rather than her younger sister, as being the elder she should be the more responsible one."
"That would certainly work to repay you for their act of 'actus reus'," Linda agreed thoughtfully. She turned to Mary. "However, we will also have to consider the situation of the mother. Mary, do you have any objection to her working off her debt by working here?"
"She's supposed to be looking after her little sister," Mary growled. She glared at Marcy, who realized that she had managed to thoroughly blow that assignment. "I assume she'll be in the nude?"
Everyone around the table nodded.
"It will help her learn her lesson," Mary mused. "Plus, as you say, it may help her with her burning curiosity. What will she be doing?"
I thought quickly – I hadn't actually made any plans as yet. "Help with the morning testing of the pools' pH balances, assist in cleaning up the efficiency units, bus tables at lunch, maybe help out in the daycare. If she shows any aptitude, I'll get her making cappuccinos at the snack bar."
"Can I trust you not to have anything, ah, untoward happen?" Mary demanded.
"She'll be as safe as in her mother's arms. For Marcy's assignments, she'll be working with one of my staff who will be under strict instructions to see that she stays safe. Oh, and we offer a perk to our staff who have children: free day care. She can leave Miss Melissa there, and they'll see to it that the younger one enjoys a safe and fun-filled experience."
"Oh, I bet it'll be an experience – for both of them." Mary smiled encouragingly at her younger daughter. She then turned and glowered at her elder daughter. "You will behave, young lady." It was not a question. Attila the Hun would have behaved if faced with such a visage as Marcy's mother displayed.
Marcy gulped. Yes, I realized, she'd behave.
After the Clan Silvers had finished filling out the paperwork registering Marcy as an employee at the "den of iniquity" and departed, I got on the phone to Harry, who runs the local home improvement store.
"I've got some damage to that privacy fence again," I informed him.
"Same place? How bad?" he wanted to know.
"A couple of boards, broken by a sledgehammer or something. Someone tried to sneak in under the fence."
"Ah, I thought it was another couple of drunken teens driving the old man's Chevy like a maniac again," Harry chuckled.
"A teen again, but the damage was rather deliberately caused this time. And, she's far too young to have a driver's licence."
"'She'?" Harry exclaimed. "You caught the miscreant, did you?"
"Yes. I'll get her to stain the repaired area for us," I assured him. "She owes me for the cost of the repairs and, as her mother is kind of underpaid, she's going to be working the debt off."
He snickered. "How did you manage that? Didn't her mother object?"
"Apparently she takes parenting lessons from the Spartans. If you recall, they would take their sickly ones and throw them off a cliff to see if they could fly."
"So she's throwing her kid at your resort, and seeing if she's got the guts to fly?" Henry guessed. "OK, I'll have one of my lads out there repairing the thing first thing in the morning. He'll drop off a can of stain at that registration building, right by the parking lot. You need a brush with that?"
"Preferably, yes," I requested.
"OK, done. Thank you for your patronage."