Recluse and Ghost
Copyright© 2012 by Dual Writer
Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Mike Grayson's intent was to get away from it all, to become a recluse. Mike wanted to get away from responsibilities, away from the Army, away from people. He runs into and becomes involved with many obstacles to his peace and quiet. The spooks come out and it isn't even Halloween.
Getting old is hell. I'm not even that old, but so many times lately, I can hardly move when I get out of bed. The good news is, I can limber up and be able to move around reasonably within half an hour or so.
For this tale to be interesting, you need to know who I am and how I came to be out in the sticks. Call them hills, mountains, or backwoods, they're still sticks. I am here by choice, so it isn't a forced thing. It's something I wanted and needed to find in order to get some mental peace. I kept thinking I wanted to be a recluse.
You see, I was only thirty-eight years old; not really part of that wonderful group of people known as Baby Boomers. I am a product of that era, but wished I was a part of my grandparents' Greatest Generation. Their values kept the country together against devastating odds. My generation? The jury's still out: a little cloudy, but full of good people.
Because there was no way for me or my family to afford college, I joined the Army the day after I graduated from high school. At that time, academic scholarships only went to kids who lived in a large metropolitan area; there were none for farm or small town kids. I wasn't all that disappointed, since I really wanted the excitement of the military.
I would have joined the Marines, or maybe even considered the Navy, except the Army recruiter came to the school several times and was able to paint a great picture of men, real men and women, learning to be more than anyone could expect them to be. All that, and a seventeen year old kid is easily influenced by a good looking babe in a uniform with a bunch of stripes, ribbons, medals, and an 82nd Airborne patch. I always wished she would tell us about each of those little ribbons she wore. She had one of those parachute insignias, so she wasn't a pushover. She did say she wasn't allowed to fight in the infantry, but could be, and was trained to be, an infantry medic. She had served in Desert Storm and was now recruiting young men and women into the most advanced and proficient army in the world.
This babe, and I do mean a babe, was not that much older than I was, probably about twenty-five, and she had a bunch of stripes and medals to attest to her service. I wanted that. I wanted the excitement this lady described.
Because I was only seventeen, my dad had to sign for me and constantly cautioned me to follow orders and learn as much as I could. My dad was proud that I wanted to join the Army, as he was a Viet Nam vet.
Before my induction, I took an exam that seemed as if it should be given to eighth graders. The Specialist proctoring the test told me that I had scored the highest he had ever seen and I would be eligible for any job I wanted. My dad told me the truth though, as he said, "Depends what they need at the moment you're sworn in. They put all of the available schools and positions into a big jar and reach in for yours." He did tell me that I could attend another school for something else after my initial training.
My twenty years were interesting. I requested about every school there was, and I was sent to another infantry or airborne unit after each one, until it was time to spend many tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The one incident that would influence the rest of my life was when I got blown off course during a training jump. I was with a dozen other men who ended up being blown against a cliff, and dropped a hundred feet to a rocky river below. I broke my left leg in two places, my hip, right arm, and my clavicle. It took me almost six months to heal, but heal I did. One guy died, and another six were medically retired. I knew a couple who could have continued to serve, but they thought the accident was a golden opportunity. I felt as if it was just one more way to keep me from the excitement the Army promised.
I spent a lot of time in the Middle East, and after the first tour I was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey to learn Farsi. I seemed to have a talent for it, and as soon as a commanding officer knew I could do it, I would have to sit in on every briefing with an Arabic translator. They were always afraid they were being bull-shitted. They were right a number of times.
So what did this mean? It meant that I didn't go out on patrol often. I was shown to a chair outside a CO's office, or given a small desk in the corner of a dayroom. They found out I could type and I typed a ton of forms. That's one thing the military has a bunch of, forms. Most are now on a computer, but they still have loads of them that have to be typed. They didn't let me use a computer until the last rotation, but it didn't matter. They were all the same forms. I did do a lot of exit interviews with soldiers. You know, closing out their DD-214s, figuring their unused leave time, etc. I tried to talk every one of them into re-enlisting, but wasn't that successful. A lot of guys were tired of the sand and its extreme heat or cold. Having to live within a compound, with no real outside contact, isn't much fun either. At the time I retired, it looked like Afghanistan would last another twenty years.
I kept telling the officers that I was not a clerk, I was airborne infantry. I would do this pointing at my infantry and airborne badges for emphasis. The old salty master sergeants and sergeant majors kept telling me to keep quiet, but I didn't like what I was doing. It did have some benefit, as my efficiency reports were always top notch, and every time I went back stateside, I had first pick for the good schools. I was promoted to E-7, Sergeant First Class, the first time before the promotion board, partly due to the college degree I managed to get in evening classes. The next time I rotated back to the states I went through DI school. Being a Drill Instructor was one of the best ways to get promotion points. As much as I had hated the DI's in airborne training, I was now one of the sadistic bastards.
Now when I went back to the combat zone, I was too valuable a resource to send on risky patrols. I was a member of the command staff and spent my time in the headquarters doing paperwork and monitoring translators. I made Master Sergeant on the first try with seventeen years of service and three years left on this enlistment. I was getting so tired of the politics prevalent in the headquarters areas, that when the reenlistment officer put the pen in my hand, I balked. I didn't necessarily want to get out, but I was so bored and tired of all the bull that I really needed to do something else. My combat experience was limited, even though my class A's had hash marks up and down both sleeves. There had been some street fighting in Iraq, but it was really tame stuff compared to what I had seen others go through, those who were always in the field.
During my twenty years in the Army, my father had passed away and Mom sold the farm. She was now in a small over fifty-five park, where she had a lot of friends to visit and play cards with. She was always happy for me to stay with her for a while on the few short leaves I took, but I think she was happy when I left.
I have a brother and sister who live near Mom, but they are both married with kids. Me? I never seemed to hook up with women. My sister always told me that I was good looking, and a couple of Army type women said I was handsome, but no one ever tripped me or set off that hunger you're supposed to have.
One of the things I had accomplished while in the Army was finishing a degree from the University of Maryland. I even took leave and paid for my mom to come to my graduation. I was proud of that as I was this lowly farm kid who was now a college graduate. I think I was a Staff Sergeant E-6 at the time and made pretty good money. If you listened, my peers thought I was weird. I didn't drink much, but did drink a beer when it was available. I liked some other booze too, but was too cheap to pay for it.
When I was back in the States, I looked at the guys who went with the local bar girls for a twenty around payday, or ten just before payday, with a jaundiced eye. Most of the B-girls were scary, as all I could think of was all the men they serviced every day. Whew, what a mental picture.
Hey, there were some round-heeled USO cuties that probably wanted to hook up with a Sergeant to possibly get separate rations, the benefits, and access to the wonderful (not) PX. I enjoyed them the same as most smart troops, but when the opportunity arose, you can be sure I suited up. I let the clean ones teach me, and ran from those that smelled bad.
Anyway, Mom wanted me to get married and settle down like my siblings did, but I still had a sense of wanderlust.
To summarize, I was a thirty-eight year old retired Master Sergeant. In addition to my retirement, I was evaluated as being thirty percent disabled. Like a dummy, I disagreed and fought with the doctors who thought they were doing me a favor. They didn't want to change their decision, so it became a losing battle. Shut up or you could find yourself reduced in rank. Not me, no way, I had not even received an Article 15. I was the fair-haired boy everywhere I served. I did what my dad said; I obeyed and responded when directed or ordered.
Oh yeah, my name is Mike Grayson, and if Mom is hollering at me for doing something stupid, it's Michael Allen Grayson.
So what was I to do? Mom suggested that I find a nice apartment in the nearby city, but I couldn't see myself as a cliff dweller among thousands of people. I didn't have any appreciable or employable skills, unless it was as a sharpshooter or damaged airplane jumper. I could type, but I didn't know anything about computers except how to use them. I had no marketable skills at all.
I really didn't need a job, since I was receiving, or going to receive, a nice chunk of change every month. I kept thinking that what I needed was some place away from people, but not that far away. Someplace that I could become a recluse, but still able to go into the city every once in a while to get my fix of people. I would have to hunt for this place.
I knew it wasn't going to be around Cincinnati or the small community north of Cincinnati where Mom lived. Kentucky was just across the river, and the secluded place where I wanted to spend my life might be there. I had rented a car for a week and the turn-in day was in three days. I needed to find myself some form of transportation.
With my laptop, I shopped for cars, SUVs really, but none were what I wanted. I was thinking about something a little more rugged, something like a Humvee or Jeep. I was scanning through various four wheel drive vehicles for sale, when a picture of an older Dodge four wheel drive pickup showed up. The price was really cheap, and that made me wonder what could be the matter with it. Then I decided there was no sense in wondering, why not find out?
I called the number in the ad, and an older sounding lady answered. When I told her I was calling about the Dodge pickup, she said, "Oh please, I need to sell that thing. My brother passed away, and it has been sitting here for nearly six months. It's kind of ugly, but he loved it. I don't think it has a lot of miles on it, so please come to look at it."
Right up my alley. Something I could use that someone else wanted to get rid of. It only took half an hour to get to the older Cincinnati neighborhood. The little house was what you pictured when you said you wanted a house with a porch and white picket fence. There wasn't much lawn in front, but it had a driveway leading to a detached garage behind the house.
It only took seconds for the door to open after I knocked. A beautiful old lady (aren't they all beautiful) smiled at me. "Are you the person who called about Manny's truck?"
"Yes Ma'am, I'm the guy."
She came out of the house and waved, "Follow me."
We went to the back of the house where a big Dodge pickup was sitting. The thing was a rather ugly yellow-orange, so it didn't have a lot of curb appeal. I really didn't care what it looked like, but I did want to know how it ran.
The lady handed me the keys, "Start it up. I start it and let it run a couple of times a month. Every time someone calls about the truck, they ask what color it is or what kind of engine it has. I can tell them the color, but not the engine and transmission and the callers lose interest real fast."
I started the truck, and listened to the big Cummins 6 cylinder diesel make the usual noises. I checked the glove box for a book and found the original. The truck was a 2000 Ram 2500 with a turbo-diesel engine and a six speed transmission. The odometer said there were only 33,412 miles. The interior and body looked it. I noticed the tires had just been changed, so the mileage should be correct. After the truck warmed up, I easily slipped it into gear and let it rock forward. The clutch felt good. I did the same in reverse and was convinced the truck was probably in good shape.
The little gray-haired lady was standing in the doorway. "What do you think? I know this truck has always been noisy, but Manny said it was because it was a diesel. I imagine the truck isn't worth as much if you can't use gasoline in it."
I shut the truck off and told the lady, "This truck should be worth more than a lot of gasoline trucks, as it probably gets better mileage. I'm not sure, but I think that is probably correct. Regardless, what do you want for the truck?"
"I want to get rid of it. What will you give me?"
This was a dilemma, since I wanted to buy it cheap, but I couldn't justify cheating an old lady out of money. I had looked the truck up on the net to see what it would be worth, but all of the ones listed had over a hundred thousand miles, and this was a diesel. I showed the list of trucks to the lady and she pointed at one that was a 2000 that had 190,000 miles on it. She said, "Give me half of what they want for that one and we have a deal."
I looked at her funny, and she said, "I'm serious. I'll take fifty percent of what another 2000 is and be happy. I need to sell this thing, as I'm in the process of selling the house. Want to buy that too?"
I had to laugh at the spunk the lady was showing. I told her, "No, I want this truck to find a place out in the country somewhere. I want the seclusion of being away from people for a while. I just came out of the military and need the peace and quiet."
The lady patted me on the arm and said, "Then that's all the more reason for you to get a good deal. Actually fifty percent of that truck in the ad is more than I thought I would get. Now, do you want it?"
"Of course, Ma'am, I can write you a check, give you cash, or go get a cashier's check, any one of those."
She said, "Let me get my purse and we'll go to your bank for the money. They can witness the title and put their seal on it. I'll be right back."
Thirty minutes later, I was parking in the driveway. I opened the door for the lady and helped her down from the high profile truck. As I put her down, she was looking at the garage and exclaimed in a very uncharacteristic manner, "Oh damn, I forgot about that thing. Come take a look and see if you can help me."
The lady opened up the big two-car garage door and pointed. There was a pickup camper up on jacks. It looked as if it was set so you could back the truck up to it and let it down in place. The lady asked, "Do you think you could haul this thing to the dump for me? If you think you could use it, all the better, but I have to get rid of it."
With a smile, I told my benefactor, "I'll put it on the truck. If it's no good, I'll take it the dump. If it's good, I'll use it to hunt for my dream place."
She watched as I maneuvered the truck around and gently backed under the camper. I had not noticed before, but the bed was fitted with all of the clamps for the slide in RV body. When I had that done, the lady waved her hand at the back of the garage, as she asked, "Need any tools for cutting trees or making a garden? Manny had power tools for everything. He thought he was a big woodsman and loved to cut trees down. Take what you can haul, all of it, if you can get it in the truck. Take that big tool box, too. I won't be able to get that out of here by myself."
"Ma'am, let me give you something for this camper and the tools. These are exactly what I will eventually need, but I can't take these for free. Not after you gave me such a good deal on the truck."
She looked at me real hard. "How much you got in your pocket? Want to give it to me for the whole kit and caboodle?"
"But I only have about fifty dollars on me."
"Perfect, young man, give it to me," the sweet lady said. "I'll buy some curtains for my new place when I get there."
It took a while to load up all of the various tools. There was a little to keep up a city yard that included a rake, some clippers, and a push mower. I left all of those. My haul included a medium-sized and large chainsaw. There was a gas operated post-hole digger, a huge weed whacker, and a Craftsman double chest full of tools. I had to empty it out to get the boxes into the back of the camper, then loaded the tools again. Included in the haul were two sizes of receivers for the hitch on the back of the truck. I would hunt for a trailer.
When I was done, I gave the lady all of my pocket money and received a warm hug. I laughed when she told me where she was moving. "My mother lives there. I've been staying with her, but will only be there another night or two."
"Then I'm even happier to have helped a young man just out of the military. You be careful out there and enjoy yourself."
The truck was so loaded down that I had to slowly drive over speed bumps to keep the springs from bottoming, all the way to a trailer sales place. It took me an hour to buy a trailer and get the light connections to match. From there I went to a storage place near Mom's home and rented a space for the trailer. It took me the rest of the day to unload the camper of all of the tools, including the jack stands for the camper. The little enclosed trailer wasn't full, but it wouldn't hold a whole lot more.
At home, I had to beg Mom to go with me to get the rental car. She took one look at the light orange, almost yellow, truck and stuck her finger in her mouth, acting as if to gag herself. She rolled her eyes. "You could have at least bought something more pleasing to the eyes. What do you want a truck and camper for? Are you going to go traveling? If you are going to do that, go buy a motor home."
She was that way all the way to the quiet neighborhood where the truck came from. As soon as I parked the truck, the little old lady came out of her house and introduced herself to Mom, telling her what a wonderful son she had. Mom was grinning, then, when the lady said she was moving into the same over 55 park that Mom lived in, they were instantly old friends.
I didn't think they would ever get done yakking. I kept hoping the little old lady wouldn't invite us to supper. She didn't, and I finally got Mom home. First, she complained about three cars in her tiny driveway, and then started in about the yellow-orange behemoth next to the house. It wasn't too late, so I told Mom to have something to eat and I would get something at the car rental place. They advertise they will pick you up and take you back, so I knew I would have a ride. At least I didn't have to listen to Mom for a while.
I was the first person at the title registration office the next morning. I asked if I could buy a temporary tag as I thought I might move to Kentucky. No deal. I was stuck buying an Ohio license for the truck and trailer.
At home, Mom asked me when I thought I might be leaving on my quest to find solitude, so I asked, "Are you expecting company?"
Mom actually blushed before telling me, "I just might be. It's none of your business. Someone in this family needs to pick up the dating if you won't."
That tickled me, and I was laughing so hard that Mom chased me out of the house. I spent the rest of the morning cleaning the camper up. The truck was perfect, but the camper was full of dust. I rinsed out the water holding tank and filled it. There were all of the pots and pans I would need. There were a couple of plates and eating utensils, along with some plastic and aluminum cups and glasses, everything I would need. The camper was an over the cab model, with a queen-size bed up there. There were windows all around, but the side facing the front was curved for less wind resistance, so I wouldn't be sleeping close to that side. As it was, I would have to remember not to sit up straight or I would begin the day with a headache.
One side of the cabin area had a table with wraparound seating. The other side was kitchen, and there was some storage on the cab end of both sides. The kitchen consisted of a switchable 12/120 volt refrigerator, a small range top with one big and two little gas burners, and there was a convection oven that looked like one that the guys had to make pizzas in back in the sand. Above the window over the range was a decent microwave, also voltage switchable. Next to the microwave was a 13 inch flat screen TV that probably was not voltage switchable. I would see how it worked later.
Then, I made the discovery. I lifted up one of the cushions of the table seating area and was looking at a wealth of firearms. I just stood there staring.
When I recovered, I lifted the table from the stand and removed the stand to get into the long seat on the back side of the table area. I pulled that open and there were rifles and shotguns. These were hunting pieces. A Remington 1100 12 gauge auto-loading shotgun, a 12 gauge Stevens side by side double barrel, a fancy Browning over and under, and a fiberglass stock Mossberg 500 12 gauge pump. Wow, this was a fortune in shotguns. The rifles were a Remington .22 automatic, a nice Browning .308 and .223, both with scopes, and an authentic looking Winchester lever action 30-30. Everything was perfectly clean and in homemade racks to hold them. Underneath were multiple gun cleaning supplies.
The handguns were from small to large: two different types of twenty-two automatics, a thirty-eight special in a heavy frame, a Ruger .357 magnum in a similar frame, a Sig Sauer 9 millimeter, and an Colt M1911 45 caliber. There was a presentation case that I opened and found a replica of an old Colt 45, something to look at, brag about, but probably never fire.
With some greedy hope that there was more, I lifted the last seat out and found a lot of ammunition for all of the guns. There was also a small metal lock box that I didn't have a key for. I would look for the key. What more could there be?
My next duty was shopping. There was an Army/Navy surplus store nearby, so I went there to see if they had any decent cammies. I was used to wearing them and only had the ones that had all of my insignia. I had kept six sets, but wanted to keep them pristine in case I decided to join the Reserves.
They had desert cammies, as well as jungle and mountain colors. I bought some jungle and mountain outfits, along with another pair of boots. This guy was a thief for the money he was getting, but he had a corner on the market. I bought a couple of blankets, a couple of canteens, a web harness with a belt, and an issue holster, since I knew their quality.
My next stop was a clothing store for underwear, socks, jeans, shirts, some work boots, and tennis shoes. I had workout shorts and a variety of T-shirts. This was Sears, so I bought some towels and wash cloths too. Next was the grocery store for various soaps, a bunch of strike anywhere matches, and a variety of dehydrated camping meals. I would buy food for the refrigerator when I was on the road.
That did remind me to have the big dual gas bottles topped off. I thought I was ready, at least until I pulled the panel off that aforementioned generator. There was a decent Honda generator that slid out on a shelf and an empty composite gas can behind it. There was no gas in the can, and the generator tank was dry. That led to a quick trip to the gas station where I filled the generator tank and the five gallon gas can. While at the gas station, I pushed the button and the generator started, with the gauges showing me that it was producing enough power to recharge the batteries and supply power to the cabin.
On the way home, I saw a laundromat and pulled in. There was an attendant that made extra money for washing and folding your clothes and bed clothes. She told me to come back at six for the clothes and how much she would charge.
Now I was ready.
At Mom's I asked, "Are you going out with your friend tonight, or is it tomorrow?"
Mom looked ashamed. "Tomorrow, Honey. I'm sorry I put you in the corner on that. You really don't have to scram. My gentleman friend probably won't want to stay over anyway."
"In that case, how about I take you out for a special supper? I'm going to take off in the morning and head south into Kentucky. I need to celebrate with my mom, how about it?"
We went to supper, but I stopped along the way to put my cleaned clothes into the camper. Mom had wanted to take her car, but I had to get all of the clothes.
Mom loves the Olive Garden, so that is where we ate. From there, Mom wanted to drive out past our old farmhouse, so we did that. She was weeping a little as we slowly passed our old place. As Mom wiped her eyes, she said, "You know that I really do miss your father. We were only married thirty-five years when he died. We had a good life and he was a good man who left me taken care of."
Mom actually giggled. "Did he ever tell you how we got married?" I shook my head no. "I was only fifteen and he was seventeen. He was like you and finished high school early. He was already working and wanted to get married. Your grandfather wouldn't hear of it and watched me like a hawk. They couldn't keep us apart, and I happily informed them a couple of months later that I was pregnant with your brother. I thought my Dad was going to kill your Dad, but he relented and was happy he didn't have to get the shotgun out." After Mom had a smiling contest with herself in the sun visor mirror, she continued, "Your sister did the same thing, but at least she was seventeen. She finally finished her GED and it didn't keep her from having a good job. She's a good worker."
Mom was talkative. "Your brother actually waited until he was almost twenty and his girl was nineteen. They talked about getting married for six months, then they both wrote notes to her parents and us, and eloped. When they came back, both her parents and your dad and I were surprised, as we thought we were going to have to put them up. Not your brother, he already had a decent apartment for them to move into. He was always sneaky efficient that way. You know I'm proud of all of you kids. All of you have been good children."
When I helped Mom from the truck, she hugged me and said, "Now, just because you're going to go out in the country to find your special place, don't forget me and your siblings. We all love you, Honey, and will want to see you. Promise you'll come to visit for the holidays?"
"Of course, Mom; I'll need to see civilization sometimes. Besides, I love to see all of my nieces and nephews grow up."
I didn't sleep all that well, as I was eager to get going.
Primary Editing by Peperé -Sagacious - Rotorhead - Thorsten - Deenara2000 - Editor after posting, Denny