Story Ava

Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
thank you for the new chapter.
How do you make tea concentrate? Do you can it? Hot water bath, or Pressure canner?
It depends on how long I want to keep it around. Sometimes I just store it in the frig like the recipe below. And sometimes I preserve it by canning, similar to how I would do fruit juice concentrates.



 

AlaskaSue

North to the Future
You've got me rooting for the 'gators now...only you could have accomplished that Kathy! Not my favorite critters to see when I was out for a walk down Tampa way - and they sure were in just about every damp spot around. I've been saving up chapters to read here...ah but it was way, way too windy and too cold today to go outdoors...so I've been indoors hovering over my seedlings and catching up with Ava.

Thank you for making the day brighter, Kathy! Take care :)
 

Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Chapter 46

I was just about in the mood to punch Tib myself. “Will you sit still?! You wiggle worse than Fabrice. This is only a cold pack for pity sake. Leave it where I put it so it will do some good. So, let me get this straight. It was Jackie and her two sisters that did this. And you couldn’t hit back ‘cause they’re girls. Fine … stupid, but fine. Why were you with her again?”

He blushed. I swear he did. All he would mutter is, “Doesn’t matter anymore.”

Having all the male friends I did and do I translated that one easy enough. “Oh. It was her ‘charms.’”

“Er …”

“So are you really shed of her? And are you going to be really dumb and be brokenhearted about it?”

“Yeah. Er … no? I mean I wanted to break up with her for a while but … she’s nice when she isn’t crazy. The only reason I escaped with my life is because Vadie chased ‘em off with a broom handle.”

“Who is Vadie?” I asked, having a feeling I didn’t really want to know.

“You’ve met her a few times. She’s the one that usually runs the big scale at the Produce Station next to the ‘Cane field. We’re going out on our next day off.”

I sat down and started laughing again. I did know who he was talking about, just had never heard her name. The girl was more downhome strange than I was. I don’t know what Em thought because he was looking at me funny then shook his head and turned to Tib. “Boy, you take the cake.”

“Dad said that too for some reason.” Tib really didn’t get it based on the confused look on his face which only made me want to laugh harder, problem was I didn’t have time for it.

I shook my head and then stood back up. “I’m sorry you got beat on but thanks for bringing the rest of my pay. There’s more of it than I expected. I didn’t mean to put you out.”

“Didn’t,” he denied. “I had to pick up my own over time and then come by here to pick Granpere and Momma L up. I’ll throw Franc and Fontaine in the back and get them out of your hair too. Speaking of, there’s a letter at home that they have detention for the next three weeks so don’t worry about feeding them.”

“Do I want to know why?” I growled hoping it wasn’t something that would upset Auntie.

“Mom wouldn’t say when I asked. But it is bad enough that I heard her telling Serafine by phone that if they screw up in detention, that it will be juvie hall next.” He shrugged again like he didn’t care one way or the other and I figure he might not. Those two were burning bridges faster than people could try and build them. Plus, Tib was looking as tired as I felt and that doesn’t leave you a lot of give a damn.

I looked over to Momma L and asked her, “You want to take something home so you don’t have to cook?”

“Naw Honey I don’t, got leftovers I plan on feeding those sitting at my table. ‘Sides you’re going to have to double what’s already making on the stove top as it is.”

“I’ll make onion rings and dipping sauce as a starter and that should hold them until I can get things doubled. How’s Auntie? I’m sorry … for this morning.”

“Don’t worry it to death. Wasn’t your fault. And don’t go feeling bad about those mens either. God moves in mysterious ways and it was His will those two bafoons got et or they wouldn’t have been. He would have sealed the snouts of them gators like he did the lions for Daniel. But He didn’t and that’s that,” she said as she sailed out of the room to gather up her things and to check on Auntie one more time who’d been sent to bed early with a tea, a pill, and a poultice.

I was trying to figure out how to stretch the meal when Tib said, “Wow, she’s wound up. Usually she waits until Sunday to throw Bible stories at us.”

I threw a wet rag at him and said, “Don’t be sacrilegious. Where did you say you left my pay?”

“It’s on a dolly out on the porch. You want it here or in your room?”

“Just roll it in here. I’ll go through it as I get a chance.”

“Oh, I forgot.”

Given his tone no one could blame me for asking carefully, “Forgot what?”

“There’s a box I shoulda already brought inside. Dad sent you a 50 lbs case of shrimp to pay for that case of liniment you made for him. He almost forgot to keep a bottle for himself it sold so well, and wants to know when you’ll have some more.”

“He want the same kind or mix and match?”

“Mix and match so long as you label it good like you did these ‘uns.”

“When is he going back out on the boat?”

“Not for awhile. He is running a partnership with a couple of other men. He’s letting them use his licenses and they pay him in seafood. He’s hoping by staying home he’ll keep Serafine’s feet to the fire and Dante out of her life.”

I glanced at Em but let him decide whether to say anything or not. Besides I have fifty pounds of shrimp to deal with.

##### ##### #####

Fabrice was licking his plate. Literally. “That was good Ava!”

“Glad you liked it. Now I want you to go wash up – don’t forget your nose where it is wearing that ketchup – and get some rest. Since school is canceled the rest of the week, you’ll be doing your work here. And if you get all your work and chores finished before lights out, you can pick a movie … one movie … from that pile of them I took in trade to watch on the portable DVD player I found.”

“For real?!”

“For real. Now git.”

He got. Even remembered to take his dishes to the side of the sink to be loaded in the commercial dish washer. The family had to eat after the guests this time and I had already cleaned the three different dining areas. All I really had left to do was load the dishes and wash some of the serving pieces by hand.

“I’ll help,” I heard a gruff voice say from the table where he sat eating a second helping that hadn’t been hard to persuade him to take.

“I’ve got it Em. You’ve got to get to the school in the morning.”

“I can still help. You need to sleep at some point too.”

“Sleep? What’s that?” I ask with a laugh that somehow has too much of a catch to it.

I quickly switch to loading dishes and then had my hands grabbed gently and pushed toward the serving pieces. “I helped Auntie with this before you came along. It isn’t going to break me. Just finish those metal pieces and we’ll lock up here and go back to our rooms.”

“Thanks. Hopefully the machine will finish before they turn the electric off.”

“All the more reason for me to help.”

Em and I were nearly finished when Kramer stuck his head in and asked, “Em you got a sec? Something isn’t working with that solar gennie Colonel Morgan brought back from DC. Can you take a look?”

While Em went off to do what was requested I finally stopped long enough to go over my pay and make sure that what I had brought in from the community garden was put away. Then I thought about the garden chores tomorrow and that led me to thinking about not having garden gator guards and why. I refused to give in to more tears, but it wasn’t easy. Poor Green. Poor Greener as well as I hope I hadn’t made it too difficult for him to go back to being a completely wild thing fending for himself.

Bless the Major. I’d been prepared to start sleeping in a tree near the garden when she told me that from here on out there would be patrols covering the Compound and they’d just make a habit of walking by the garden a few times each shift. This was also going to happen at the Bayou Cabins as they’d had people coming around at night as well, probably those that normally hang out at the Food-n-Fun. When I mentioned it to Em he muttered, “’Bought damn time.” When I told Auntie she wept a little bit in relief then went back to sleep mumbling about reports and I’m not sure what all. She’s getting bad again. I hope she isn’t going to have another bad turn like she did back in February. Em and the rest are noticing it. Last time the lawyers called I covered for her, explaining that Auntie was going over inventories. They seem to be fine and don’t care so long as the work gets done and money isn’t wasted. They make a solid income from the guests here so they shouldn’t complain.

It was a weird assortment of things in my pay and I guess they were trying to get rid of things they consider “junk” and “loss leaders” while at the same time thinking of me as a girl. And while I’m a girl and know it I’d just as soon have had a can of beans as a package of make up from the junk box. What the heck am I going to do with mascara and lipstick? Honest to pete. I don’t even trade with people looking for that stuff anymore. Au natural is the fashion of the day and has been my fashion since the beginning. I don’t need razors either though those are good trade goods so at least I can use them that way. I gave Em one of the straight razors when he caught me using one on my pits when I slipped a little and knicked myself.

“Just use a damn razor,” he growled as I tried not to show it tickled when he was putting a bandaid on it for me.

“You know you’re one to talk. Look it you growing that crazy thing you call a beard because you’re trying to save money. Summer is coming and I don’t want the road rash pit hair will cause me.”

He opened his mouth a couple of times and then leaned against the door jam of my room and asked, “I am going to hate myself for asking but how do you know this?”

“I’ve worked enough summer camps out west and in Florida to know exactly how my body is going to react in that kind of heat doing this kind of work. Let me ask you, how is your face gonna feel with that beard when it is 95 degrees and 100% humidity?”

A couple of days later we’re at the storage locker and he asks what I’ll take in trade for one of the extra straight razors I found in Uncle Henley’s stuff. I tell him, “Nothing if it means you’ll get rid of that curly caterpillar trying to crawl off your top lip. I’ve never seen anyone with a curly mustache before. It looks like you’ve given it a perm.”

“Well if you’re serious you won’t be seeing this one for much longer. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a reason why I keep my head hair short.” I laughed and so did he. I didn’t want to admit to looking but his chest hair is curly too. I know girls that would give their eye teeth for that kind of hair … just not on their chests.

In addition to some of the junk I got some prime trade goods and I’m wondering how they got away with it since they are things that normally require a ration coupon. A four-pack of TP, a four-pound bag of processed sugar (I normally get the raw local stuff), a 4-lbs box of canning & pickling salt, a 2-lbs bag of citric acid, a jar of bulk pectin, a 2-lbs bag of pink curing salt. Then there was the just plain odd stuff like a package of cheese cloth. A couple of boxes of this stuff called Gulf Wax paraffin that looks like it is older than I am if the condition of the box and the pictures on it are any indication. A can of black olives. A tube of vanilla bean paste that I almost mistook for toothpaste. Sundried tomatoes in oil. A jar of pickled peaches. Two cans of bean sprouts and a small can of bamboo shoots. Some weird cream called ghee and some brown spread that might be creamed chestnuts? I’m pretty sure that’s what it says but I’m almost too embarrassed to ask Momma L what it is used for. She laughs at me enough as it is.

The rest of it looked like someone had knocked over a Mexican grocery store. Guacamole salsa, a couple of cans of hominy, a bag of dehydrated refried beans, a can of Nido which is basically whole milk so they probably didn’t know what they were giving me as that is valuable stuff when you can get it. Then I got some really useful things like borax, bleach tablets, a container of powdered scrub like the old Comet used to come in, and what blew my mind was some lye. Momma L was just telling stories of how her grandmother used to make soap but that it took lye. We aren’t as hard up as that around here, but there are plenty of places that are getting that way.

I had just finished scalding the cleaning rag and hanging it to dry – something Momma LeBlanc insisted I do – when Em limped back into the kitchen. “You ready?” he asked.

“As soon as I lock down the house and check on Fabrice.”

He grabbed a box, put in on the dolly, looked like he wanted to put me on the dolly, while saying, “Already done. The boy is asleep on a cot set up in Auntie’s room – and when did you let him do that? Now let’s get before they find something else for us to do. The lights will be going out in about 30 minutes and I’d like to get a shower first.”

I let him herd me like a sheep dog just ‘cause he seemed to need to exert the authority, but I took the dolly from him. “Ease up Em. I’m not disagreeing about it being time.”

He snorted but was less grumpy as we walked to the Old House, both of us checking things along the way. Only when we got to the Old House there was a line for the shower and it seemed to take all the starch out of Em. I whispered to him to grab his shower gear and I was going to show him something. He gave me a funny look but was agreeable. I found out later he thought we were going to use the pool water. Fat chance that I was going to get that undressed around all these guys.

After I stuck the dolly of boxes in my room I just acted like we were returning the dolly to the work shed. When we got there I told him, “Be my guest.”

He looked where I was pointing and it only took him about ten seconds to puzzle out what it was. “When you do this?” he asked as he pulled the curtain closed for privacy.

Rather than answer him I said, “Be careful, the hot side is kinda …” Only I didn’t get to finish.

“Whoawhoawhoa … damn that’s hot!”

I stepped outside the work shed and swept down the cobwebs and wasp nests that needed it. I’d already sprayed both so it isn’t like they had any occupants.

Ten minutes later he sticks his head out and says, “Your turn. I think I left you some hot water.”

“You didn’t have to. I usually take a cold shower when it is this warm.”

I was in and out as fast as he had been. We were walking back to the Old House when I saw he was really limping. “Want some help?”

“Huh?”

“With the liniment. You’re hurting.”

“No. But I wouldn’t mind a cup of that yellow tea you made me last time. I mean … er … if you have any.”

“You mean Golden Milk and of course I don’t mind. I wish I could get Auntie to drink a cup but until Momma LeBlanc agrees that it works she is turning her nose up at it. I keep trying to tell them it isn’t a placebo but getting them to accept something new is like telling the Mississippi to flow the other direction.”

He snorted at my tall tale then said, “I slept good after I drank it last time.”

“Is it your leg or back that hurts?”

“Both. Got stupid and lifted something wrong instead of using that jack we fixed up to do that kind of thing. Next time I won’t let myself think it is too much trouble.”

Not willing to ride him when he already knew it had been stupid I told him about my newest batch of liniment. “It’s an oil really. It won’t make you smell funny like the last stuff. Wanna try it out? Can’t hurt and it might help.”

He agreed after I told him what was in it, and I did that while I made the Golden Milk. I suppose it is better called an infused oil than a true liniment. It is cayenne, mustard, and ginger in olive oil. It works on joint pain. The mustard pulls blood towards the skin, ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory. And cayenne adds some heat. Into each jar I put one tablespoon of cayenne pepper, two tablespoons of crushed mustard seeds, and two teaspoons of grated ginger. Over that I pour one cup of olive oil and mix it well. I then put the lid on and let that infuse for a week. At the end of the week I sieve out and strain the infusion and toss the herbs on compost pile. I pour the infusion back into a clean jar, put the lid on it, label it, and put a sticker with instructions on it. Labels are hand written with a pointy sharpie pen so I suppose it is a good thing I have decent handwriting.

To use the stuff you dob some on the place that is hurting, massage it well, and leave it on to dry completely. You’ll feel the heat the first time you use it but to get the full effect you are supposed to use it regularly. I asked Em, “What do you think?”

“It’ll warm you up,” he said with a wry grin. “But at least I don’t smell like a funeral parlor this time.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” I said with a grin that told him I wasn’t all that sorry about it.

I hand him the Golden Milk and then start trying to figure what to leave in my room and what to move to the storage locker. And then almost snapped out a curse when the lights flickered and went out.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Thank you. Another chapter that brings back a few memories.
And what is Ava going to do with all that stuff she's accumulating? Sure isn't going on the road again with all that... I'm starting to wonder about the house she may have inherited.
 

ydderf

to fear "I'm from the government I'm here to help"
I suppose Em and Ava buy a property together that can be protected by trained gators? That would give both of them somewhere to store their stuff. Just the threat of semi-trained gators would keep me away. Thanks Kathy!
 

Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Chapter 47

“Hang on and I’ll get the Gravity Light started,” I told Em.

“No. Don’t.”

“I’ve got to …”

He stopped me like he would stop a kid that hadn’t put their seatbelt on from slamming into the dashboard. “There’s nothing you’ve gotta do right now but get some rest. And don’t tell me you aren’t tired. It’s all over your face.”

“I thought I showered that off,” I told him trying to be funny.

“Ava … you can’t keep this up. You’re gonna crack one of these days soon. And those two dumbasses don’t see a thing.”

He had completely lost me. “Huh?”

“You’re eighteen freaking years old and taking care of all of us like you are the Granmere and us the petits enfants.”

“Em that’s taking it too far. I’m just doing my job.”

Ignoring that he said, “I’m sorry they don’t see you.”

“Uh …”

“Kennedy. And now Thibaut. They both need a kick in the head. And doing it on a day like today deserves two kicks."

"Er ..."

"One of ‘em will eventually come around. Or some other guy will take notice and see your worth.”

I finally started cluing into what he was trying to say. “Oooo kay. I guess I’m going to have to clear this up before there’s hard feelings. Em … I got over whatever crush I had on Zeb even before I left Florida. He’s a friend. Only a friend. And a good one. Him having girlfriends or whatever doesn’t bother me. I … guess I just wish he would stand up to his aunt more. I know he isn’t a kid anymore than I am, but he still seems … too young I guess … for what he seems to want. And I don’t want him getting hooked up with some crazy girl that is as bad as his aunt is just because he wants out from under her, like going from the frying pan into the fire. And speaking of crazy, Tib needs counseling ‘cause it sounds like his Mom might have messed him up every bit as much as she messed up Serafine. What guy in his right mind wants to be in an abusive relationship just cause, and I quote, ‘she’s nice when she isn’t crazy’? I’m hoping for his sake that Vadie isn’t just a different version of Jackie.”

He was silent for a while, then when he started to say something his phone started buzzing. I saw who it was from. “Did you forget to call Mona today?”

“Merde,” he growled. “I gotta take this. Just tell me you’ll hit the hay. It’s been a rough day all around. And we’re gonna talk about this crap between you and Wylene.”

“There is no crap between me and Wylene Boudreaux. She’s just … overzealous. I guess anyway. You wanna talk about it fine, but not tonight. Scram before Mona gives you a hard time.”

He gave me a sideways look like he knew what I meant but didn’t want to admit it.

I threw the bolt on my door after Em left and knew he’d probably look in the hall to see if I went to bed like a good little girl but there was a reason that I hadn’t promised him. I stuffed a towel at the base of the door and then dropped the roll down blackout curtain I had made for my door to keep all traces of light from escaping. I had stuff yet to do or I wouldn’t be able to sleep with it weighing on my mind. I cried my way through most of it; not big boo-hoo’s but I shed a few more tears for poor Green and the loss of Greener. For myself because I wasn’t sorrier about the dead garden pirates. I also ate the last of the onion rings I had made with the guacamole salsa. And yes, I know it sounds gross but beggars can’t be choosers and I was hungry and nothing else fit the bill. I’d probably suffer a couple of zits for it on top of everything else ‘cause of they leftovers were greasy, but I’m pretty sure I don’t care.

I had to strip down to just about nothing to keep from dying of heat stroke. It was so dang hot with the windows closed, and it was just turning May. Felt like home … or it felt like Bradenton anyway. I’m questioning whether that’s home anymore or not. I used my mister bottle and had the rechargeable fan going to try and stay below the temperature of lava as I picked through things and decided what stayed in the room and what I needed to haul to the storage locker on Sunday. I’d left about half at the Big House to replace the canning supplies that I had “borrowed” during my lessons with Momma L who seems for whatever reason to be determined to treat me to her extra special home ec lessons. Fine with me. This is the kind of stuff I’ll probably need on down the road.

Tomorrow morning is dedicated to the on-site garden and the landscaping. It is Wednesday so Mr. Julius will also be mowing. Given Auntie’s condition it also looks like I need to get the morning feed on for the guests. Per usual I’ll have pastries and coffee first for those up the earliest. I’ve got a trade going with a friend of Momma LeBlanc’s. I work their part of the community garden and do a little heavy lifting when they need it and in exchange, they make a couple dozen pastries for me a couple times a week. That should give me time to fix up a big batch of sweet potato waffle mix and get it going on the waffle iron. If the Colonel or other senior officers prefer, I’ll make ‘em an omelet but thank goodness they aren’t picky and usually eat what the others eat. To go with the waffles, or to cut the sweet, I’ll make a batch of coush-coush or grits, and slice up some boudin or whatever sausages are in the ice box the size and shape of quarters and fry them up as well. I coulda kicked myself for not thinking of making a sack lunch for Em to take tomorrow but I’ll try and get it done fast so he doesn’t have to pay for take out. A couple of his recent jobs are having to pay him on the installment plan and sneaking a peak over his shoulder I saw those installments are coming in pretty small, when they come in at all.

After breakfast comes the yard work. The Strawberry Bushes are blooming so at least there will be more than weeds to look at. I gotta start laying out the homemade mulch tomorrow to keep things from drying up now that they are only letting the irrigation be on twice a week. That’s gonna mean me carrying buckets of water from the retention pond, which means I hope I don’t run into Mr. Big or Mr. Bad on one of their cranky days. My tomato plants are frelling gorgeous. Okay, not my tomato plants but close enough. Tomorrow I have to remove suckers from the plants and make sure the next ones ready are on stakes or trellises and vines are not on the ground. While I am out in the rows of tomatoes I need to check for bugs and worms. Gotta tell you that hornworms are about the only thing that can make me squeamish. I can pull them off the vines just fine, it is squishing them that makes me gak out. What I’ve been doing is putting them in a bucket and then letting Fabrice run them across the street to this house that has chickens. Those chickens love that boy now and try and sweeten him up any time they seem him coming. The old folks that live there are creole and have the best time watching him talk to the chickens as he tries to convince them to wait their turn.

Momma LeBlanc is supposed to be bringing me starts for some herbs like basil, oregano, sage, Mexican tarragon, and rosemary. I’ll put them in hanging pots for now. Need to remind myself to check the drip lines before I cover them up with mulch. I’ll fertilize the annual and perennial flower beds and trim off any dead flowers to encourage new growth. Maybe not tomorrow, but when the trays of annuals come in from the lawyers I’ll get them planted; mostly things like angelonia, wax begonia, and ornamental pepper. I’ll be planting bulbs including early- to late-blooming varieties of daylilies as well. I’ll finish pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs after they bloom this week or next and I need to lightly prune the azaleas too. And a note from the lawyers told me to check all the gutters, shutters, and the roof to start preparing for hurricane season. Mr. Julius said as part of that it was time to check the trees for damaged or weak branches and prune ‘em if they need it. Martin Edgar is a botanist and said he’d come by to have a look at the big trees just for a professional opinion since the lawyers are more likely to listen to him than to me in case we need to hire a crew or something.

I see Martin nearly every time I go hunting, whether it is alone or with a group. When I’m alone he usually offers to take me to some place that hasn’t been hunted over in exchange for a bit of whatever I catch. He’s a quiet man with deep hurts. His wife keeping their kids away from him only makes this worse. But she isn’t keeping them away from him as much as she thinks. Martin’s daughter has run away twice and both times it was straight to her daddy. Why can’t people get along well enough they keep from dragging their kids through hell? I saw it a lot in foster care and in school. I may not have had my parents for long enough, but I know for dang sure they would never have done that to us.

Martin seems to be a good guy. Turning a little strange but that’s going around a lot these days. I don’t think him and his brother Daniel have a lot to say to each other for some reason. Martin has even warned me off being “taken in by Daniel’s charm.” Then again Det. Edgar warned me not to feel sorry for his brother or start listening to his stories.

“Martin never tells me stories,” I told Det. Edgar one time he cornered me at The Fruit Stand.

Obviously surprised he said, “He doesn’t? Then what all do you talk about?”

“Trees. Plants. Gators. That’s when we talk at all. When you are hunting you don’t exactly carry on a conversation if you plan on actually getting anything.”

“He doesn’t talk to you about Henley?”

“My uncle? No.” I could have asked why but I wanted to see where he would lead things. Unfortunately I never got a clue because he’d been called away … by Trooper Wylene.

And that’s another case I wouldn’t think anything of if people wouldn’t bring it up. Trooper Boudreaux and I have next to nothing in common other than our gender. She’s a nice-looking woman though getting a little stout in the middle, likely due to all that soda pop and sweet tea she drinks. I never see her with a can, bottle, or cup nearby. And the only reason I noticed that is because Det. Edgar mentions it … a lot. I think she may be doing it just because he mentions it. She sure can give him an ugly look when she doesn’t think anyone is looking.

But why Em thinks she may have a problem with me personally? No. Clue. Not sure I care to be honest. I don’t know why I’ve never liked her. Her business is none of my business to be honest. But from day one she hasn’t been my favorite person and this stunt with the handcuffs just made that truer.

The State finally put the money from the sale of Uncle Henley’s house in the Trust. If the world keeps spinning with me on it until I’m twenty-one I might just be able to afford being a real girl. And don’t that sound just about as stupid as can be. I should live life like there is not Trust. Probably be a lot happier that way. Life is so screwy. Not that it matters. Now that Mr. Dub has retired and moved to be with his mother in North Georgia – and I’m not the only one that wonders how old the lady is given Mr. Dub’s advanced age – no one but me knows about the amount. Well Martin might. He said something strange when Mr. Dub moved away. He told me not to talk about Uncle Henley’s business with anyone, for any reason. That people got into your business too much anyway, but especially when money is involved. I don’t disagree but it was just strange.
 

Sandcastle76

Contributing Member
Thank you...you have no idea how much I look forward to each installment of this story. Between total chaos at work, college kid home and not able to work around his new on line classes, and a husband who’s job has disappeared...your talent is usually one of the few bright spots of my day. Keep it up please !! I’m loving this tale.
 

moldy

Veteran Member
Tried some golden milk tonight. Hoping it helps me sleep....that's been a problem again. Thinking I could make a powder with nido, granulated honey and spices for convenience
 

Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Tried some golden milk tonight. Hoping it helps me sleep....that's been a problem again. Thinking I could make a powder with nido, granulated honey and spices for convenience
Warm Butterscotch Milk is another goodie. Even if the warm milk doesn't work the carb crash sure will put you to sleep. (grin)
 

Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Chapter 48

Geez Louise. June has not been cool … figuratively or literally.

“Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.”

I hate phone calls in the middle of the night. Wouldn’t have answered this time if I hadn’t glanced at the screen and saw who it was. “Zeb? What’s …”

“Ava, listen,” he said urgently. “There’s a situation. We can’t reach anyone at the Isabella. No one. We need a point of contact. Tag, you’re it. Do you see any lights on around you?”

“You’re kidding right? It’s lights-out time.” At that moment I notice a weird smell. “Gotta go Zeb. We got a fire here at the Old House.”

I didn’t think, only reacted to how hot the doorknob was when I grabbed it. Thanks to some fancy plumbing Em and I had been doing when we had breaks from our other jobs I had a fire control valve in my room and I turned it on as I was going out the window over my sink. I wasn’t nekked but I wasn’t fully dressed either. I nearly ran into them. I did run into one. Things had started to go crazy as soon as June started, a long list of crazy crap, and I guess that had cranked up my situational awareness thereby saving my butt.

I noticed immediately that the soldier was not only out of place, he wasn’t even wearing the right kind of uniform. Didn’t come close to looking like anyone I’d seen around town. We ran into each other as I had been running around to Em’s window on the opposite end of the house. We hit so hard we bounced off each other. I was faster to get over my surprise than he was. Em had been on me ever since the garden pirate incident to be as brutal as I had to be and to ask God forgiveness later. Good advice these days. The brick out of the flower bed border made fast work of his face and head. I grabbed the rifle he dropped and made my way to where I had been going.

Em was already out his window and was down and fighting with two someones. I didn’t like the odds. Em had bruised his knee the week before and was still hobbling. I picked up another brick and brought it down on the back of another weirdly dressed soldier’s neck and then jumped on him. I heard some kind of crack and looked over to see Em grimacing over a limp form he’d just dropped. I smelled an unpleasant odor and realized both soldiers’ bowels had let go. I swallowed back vomit and tried not to show how freaked I was feeling as I tried to figure out what to do next.

Em knew already. In a voice I could barely hear he said, “Shimmy up the rain gutter and wake Kramer.”

“Like hell she will,” Kramer whispered. Looking at the two on the ground he said, “There’s two more at the front.”

I said, “And another near my window.”

The two men gave me hard looks but let it go. I did shimmy up the rain gutter but it was to see how many enlisted I could wake up and move down the stairs. Most of them were already awake having been sprayed with the sprinklers. They’d been about to go out their windows when they’d seen the action taking place on the ground. I stopped in my room long enough to grab a shirt and pair of pants to cover my assets and keep the bugs from drinking me dry and didn’t have time to put my boots on. I did grab my machete and my pistol grip crossbow and bag of bolts that I used when hunting.

By the time I got my girl parts concealed the fight was already on for retaking the Big House. Or trying to. They were using the General staying there as collateral even though we were taking out the group of guerrilla soldiers that had somehow managed to make it through the coastal forces. We later found out they bribed some drug runners to do a tag along. The only reason the drug runners weren’t in custody was because they had turned around and two-timed the guerrillas and informed on them before escaping into the swamp to get away.

I don’t consider what I did that night becoming a soldier. There was no strategy to it. No one above me giving me orders. No working with others. All I had was the understanding that these men were the enemy. They were trying to take the only home I had. They were hurting people that I cared about. They had come into the place I consider my territory and were doing terrible things. And none of that could be allowed to continue. Sounds silly in retrospect but that’s how I felt and what I was thinking.

Fabrice. That boy deserves a medal. I fixed him one from one of Green’s teeth that I had kept. People thought it was weird but if the old folks could keep locks of hair from their loved ones that passed on, I could keep a cranky lizard’s teeth. It isn’t much but the boy wears it all the time. And I let him because he did exactly what Em and I had designed as a plan. If the building wasn’t on fire and things weren’t flooding, he was to take Auntie and get into a secure crawl space we had put together under the house and not come out until he was sure the all-clear signal was from someone he could trust. It was an imperfect plan, but it was about as simple as we could figure for a 7-year-old boy to follow. And it did what it was supposed to, it kept him and Auntie safe until we could get to them.

The guerrillas were there to screw around with our supply and communication lines. The general had been icing on the cake and ripe for kidnapping and ransom. Since the man had only arrive two days before and was supposed to leave the next day, it meant that there was a weasel in the hen house somewhere. I don’t know if they have found them yet. That kind of information doesn’t trickle down, or at least not to someone like me.

The guerrilla soldiers also hit the Bayou Cabins getting in some petty hard licks. However as one local reporter put it, “Don’t piss off a Cajun.” I’m petty sure they’ll never know about all the bodies. I know for a fact there is a couple they’ll never find, not unless they plan on performing necropsies on some local wildlife. But Em and Kramer needed guns because the ones they were holding were out of ammo. They gave up trying to stick me some place safe after that. Not that they could have as we got separated shortly thereafter.

I nearly messed myself when my phone when off in my shirt pocket ninety minutes into things. “Zeb, not a great time to carry on a conversation,” I told him sounding a whole lot calmer than I was.

“We need a situation report on our end so we know what kind of power to send in. Our eyes in the sky over that area were just hacked and have gone off line. The enemy is sending out conflicting reports to confuse any support teams coming in. We need boots on the ground.”

“Well don’t freaking nuke us from space,” I hissed. “Give us a chance to whittle them down a bit and you can send in the cavalry.”

“Just give us an overview.”

“Overview? Well there are jerks in uniforms that don’t look like ours running all over the place. There’s still a lot of them but not as many as there used to be and you can figure that out on your own. I ain’t ratting on anyone.”

“Ava, focus. Just tell me what you see. Like what kind of weapons?”

“All I see are guns, nothing bigger like bazookas or whatever, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some hid around here some place. But if they have them they aren’t using them at the moment. Lots of automatic gunfire, more than a few shotgun blasts. Shotguns are probably locals. No explosions but that might change if they piss Mr. Morant off. He’s been talking about a homemade cannon he built for just in case. When I can hear anything else it is mostly people shouting at each other. The cajuns are keeping their cussing on the down low but it won’t stay that way when they’re finished hunting. The soldiers that aren’t ours are mostly speaking some kind of Spanish dialect but there are a few that speak something that sounds Asian but I’m not sure. With the amount of noise it all sounds like gobbledy-gook. The ones that might be Asian seem more important than the other dudes, or maybe like they are giving orders. I’m not positive. It’s like someone poured boiling water on an ant pile out here. Sgt. Kramer and Em and I got separated when they rushed where we had stopped to catch a breath. I’d bet on them being part of the reason the other dudes can’t seem to get organized for very long. They are here somewhere as are most of the enlisted from the Old House that are hooking up with some military and national guard personnel from the Bayou Cabins. What else you want to know?”

“Do you see any vehicles that they’ve taken over or brought in?”

“I haven’t seen anything but there’s gotta be something other wise how did all these people just show up out of the blue. And no I don’t expect you to answer. I figure you don’t know either. Look, I’ve gotta change my sitting spot. A group of them are coming this way.”

“Ava …”

I was desperate by that point to try and get inside the Big House and check on Auntie and Fabrice. I went into the crawl space and made my way over to the space Em and I had built and covered inside and out in some bullet resistant fiberglass panels … leftover pieces of panels anyway … that we snuck out of the trash pile the DOD contractors made when they were putting up this building over near the interstate. Em had been hired to run the wiring to the civilian side and since he didn’t charge them a leg and an arm to do it they looked the other way when he “recycled” some of the construction debris out of the dumpsters.

I gave the knock-signal we’d taught Fabrice and breathed a sigh of relief when he slid open a small hatch that was only big enough for him to look through. “I looked through the peep hole first Ava!”

“Shhhh. Godo job Buddy. It ain’t time to come out yet but I wanted to check on you. How’s Auntie?”

“She took a pill. She wanted me to take one too but I only pretended. She’s sleeping real hard now. It’s easier … with her sleeping.” There was a whole lot I thought at that remark but I kept it simple for the boy’s sake.

“Well you stay put. You have water?”

“Some. Auntie drank a lot of it. But I’m okay. It’s just hot.”

“I’d tell you to take a nap but you aren’t a baby. Just … just try and stay quiet and still. I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

“Ava? Is this happening all over?”

“All over the world or the country? No. All over town? I’m not sure. Now I gotta go. Just stay put okay?”

He slid the hatch closed and I felt bad about not being able to stay and act as guard and comfort him but I wanted them people out of the Big House in a bad way. I was afraid they were going to get mean and start a fire like they tried at the Old House.

I wiggled up into the house proper using the electrical hatch. It wasn’t easy. Certain of my assets has increased since the months I spent on the road. I didn’t mind but they sure did get in the way, this being one such occasion.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Kathy,

Got to read three chapters. Thanks.

The fight has come to Cajun land and it isn't what the enemy expected.

Now when will the canon come into play?

Texican.
 
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