Bonus Day!

What a bonus morning. Lots of blue sky with the sun shining through and the air barely moving the seed heads of the tall dried grass stems make me feel overdressed; no need for a waterproof, padded jacket on a morning like this. On the way to the coffee shop, I pass the still closed stores recuperating from yesterday’s onslaught guarded by litterbins, spilling over in silent testimony to the crowds that have passed.

A news item from the BBC caught my attention this morning. It focused on our fellow traveller, Cimex Lectularius, who is with us more often than we would wish. This is the common bedbug that has been hitching rides with us from metropolis to metropolis around the world during the last decade. We, like later-day James Bond characters, need to diligently check our hotel rooms and places of work for bugs and not be satisfied until our sweep comes up clean.

Apparently the UN building in New York is heavily ‘bugged’ and the suspicion was that the BBC Studio there was included in the ‘bugging’ although apparently no one had actually uncovered one. These days of hi-tech haven’t produced a foolproof detection system; the preferred method of detection is the dog’s nose. They will bark once if they sniff out a bug, and bark a lot if there are lots of bugs. (There is no truth in the rumor that the local dog-walking park had to be fumigated or that the walkers are barking mad.) Sometimes it is hard to sleep when there are such attention grabbing broadcasts to listen to.

Larry and the Bear cont’d.

Green Ore, August 23

         By mid-day, Kevin and Suzie had the buds of their cannabis plants trimmed of their leaves and ready for drying.
         “This looks like a good crop,” said Suzie holding up one of the budded stems, “more than half of the resin glands are a nice amber.”
        “Yeah, it was a good season. I’ll get these out to our customers so they can dry them and use them when they want. I’ll be back before 3. Can you get all these leaves and stems into the compost heap and stirred in, they’ll rot faster that way.”
          Suzie nodded, “No problem, I’ll get John to help. It’s best to keep him busy. He mentioned his mom again this morning.”
       “Yeah well we’ll try and get him back up there this afternoon. Look I’d better get going before it starts to rain.” Kevin grabbed one of the cardboard boxes holding Ziploc bags containing buds and labeled with the names of the customer while Suzie carried the another out to their car.

          He was back by 2:30. It had been raining for about an hour and there was no sign of it letting up.
        “Okay you two, let’s go for a drive.” Kevin was keen to get them moving. Suzie got ‘John” into his coat, and he grabbed Snuggie while Suzie grabbed his monkey-pack.

        Suzie got into the rear seat with ‘John’ and got him strapped in on top of a couple of cushions. The car was warm and moist. With the rain on the outside and the windows misting up, the visibility was poor and ‘John’ was off to sleep before they had gone ten miles, lulled by the warm air and the steady drone of the road noise.
       “What are we going to do when we get there?” Suzie was nervous now, things could go wrong if they hadn’t thought it through.
       “I’m not sure,” said Kevin. Nothing had come to him except that they needed to get ‘John’ off their hands. The uncertainty, combined with his struggle with the inadequate demister, was making him tense. “Perhaps we can…” and he tailed off. “Let’s see when we get there.”
        “Okay. Looks like he’ll sleep all the way. It’s about an hour from here isn’t it?”
       “Yeah won’t be long.”

        They approached the first set of lights in Blue Falls and stopped with a jolt as color changed to amber. ‘John’ woke as he lurched forward against the seat belt nearly losing Snuggie. Suzie lent across and wiped the condensation off his window. The rain had stopped and the windscreen was clear.
      “We’re in Blue Falls ‘John’,” said Suzie “tell us when you see where you live.”
Kevin drove slowly around, going up some of the side streets and round the blocks.
      “There,” shouted ‘John’, “that’s Mom’s car.” He was pointing across the road at a blue car parked in a driveway with the trunk open.
Kevin took a right and went round the block and stopped at the curb where he’d turned into ‘John’s’ street. The road was deserted. The front door of the house was open; it looked as though some one was in the process of emptying the trunk of the car in the driveway.
      “That your house ‘John’?” asked Kevin.
      “Yes” he replied.
Suzie undid his seatbelt, helped him get his monkey pack on and opened the door.
       “Go and see your Mom, we’ll wait here,” she said as he got out.
‘John’ ran across the road, and as he got to the driveway, Moira came out to collect the last bag of groceries from her car.
       “Mom, Mom,” he shouted,
       “Larry!” she shouted and rushed to pick him up. Hugging him to her, she rushed indoors. Kevin reversed the Toyota into the side street, turned and took off.
       “He’ll be alright know,” he said as he pulled up a few streets away to let Suzie get into the front seat for their journey home. “We needed to find a new plantation site closer to home anyway, so we won’t need to visit here for a while.”
       “Yeah, but won’t he tell them about where he’s been?” Suzie thought Kevin could be too laid back sometimes.
       “Ahh no! We never took him into town, and he was asleep for the trip back, he won’t remember.”

Blue Falls, August 24

        “Well,” said George turning to Bill and Moira, “it’s great that he’s back and unharmed, but we’re not getting anything we can work on from Larry here. I was hoping that he might have come up with something after he’d had a night at home, but nothing doing. All he remembers is a river and feeding the chickens. He seems to be very keen on chickens, perhaps you’ll have to get some.”

          “We’re just thankful that we got him back safe. We’ll let you know if he tells us anything new. Thanks for your help,” and Bill led his family out to the car and set off.

           “Where are we going Bill? This isn’t the way home.” Moira had expected a left turn at the last junction. 
          “Just got a collection to make,” said Bill and he grinned but wasn’t going to say anymore and drove on in silence. Moira sat quiet with her thoughts of relief at things working out well; now she could imagine a future.
Bill turned into a driveway and parked,
          “I’ll just be a minute,” and he was off up the drive.
Moira turned to Larry in his car seat and asked
           “You okay back there, not thirsty?”
Larry shook his head and carried on playing an acrobat game with Snuggie turning somersaults, while he held his paws.

Bill opened the far side passenger door with
           “Get on in girl” and a young black lab got up on the seat beside Larry and tried to lick his face. “A new friend for you and Snuggie bear, her name is… well I guess you can find a name, can’t you?”
Larry had no doubt as he wrapped his arms round her neck, “I’m going to call her ‘Suzie’.” And Suzie it was. She became his main playmate. Snuggie went into retirement on the shelf, just sitting and looking across at Larry’s bed.


Green Ore, December

            Kevin and Suzie settled back into their old routine. All the old books had gone back into their box. They both missed ‘John’ but not enough yet to think about a permanent solution of their own. They were happy to have had ‘John’ just visit for a while.
They wouldn’t be back to Blue Falls for a long time; there was no need now. A suitable site for a plantation had been scouted for next year. It was much closer to home and they had already done some brush clearing before it got to be cold enough to leave footprints in the frost or snow.


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