Morning Chill

This morning no longer qualifies as fresh but is cold with an unremitting grey sky. Not a uniform grey but patchy, like an old carpet that has borne the burden of boots, kids and dogs over many years. The still air causes no ripples on the almost deserted ponds. Just a cormorant acting as sentry on each log. But as I round a corner, a flurry of ducks and geese rush out from the reeds to open water.

Then, in a far corner, I spot three pairs of Buffleheads. The males white with black backs and wearing a large crest to show who’s boss, although the drab females probably know differently. A birder has stopped his big silver SUV in the middle of the road to watch with a pair of binoculars sticking out his window that looks like they've been recovered from the bridge of a WWII battle cruiser. Big car, big binoculars, I shrug and I walk on. In a quiet corner of the ponds I notice ice around the reeds. The water level must have dropped an inch or so as some of the small isolated clumps are wearing spiky tutus of ice above slender stems, whilst other larger clumps are garbed in more decorous skirts which fall down to touch the water and hide any sight of their stems from prying eyes.

Passing the ‘time-out’ corner of the car sales lot and I see that the unworthy van has been joined by a sister bearing her own ‘Rent Me’ sign. I am left to speculate if their rather overblown charms have failed to attract the attention of passing gentlemen. Will their fate be to end up on a run down lot amongst the industrial sites in town where their customers may abuse them at will?

Larry and the Bear cont’d.

Blue Falls, August 3

          Moira was on the couch with a box of tissues. The crying jags kept coming. The telephone was no longer her friend. At first she’d rushed to answer it expecting, longing for good news. Now, she couldn’t bear to answer it. The phone rang for the third time that morning and Bill picked it up. Quickly, he slammed the receiver down. The third crank call.
         “How can they make up such stuff,” he said, “I’d never, never hurt my son. These people used to be our friends.”
         “It’s not all our friends,” said Moira in between sobs, “It’s just one or two hurtful people,” and she reached for another tissue and blew her nose. 
         Bill knew better. He’d taken unpaid leave from his job after he had overheard some of the guys gossiping about him. His boss had sympathetic and told him to take the time that he needed. But Bill knew that would run out pretty soon; at some point they’d have to find someone else to do his job.
        The pressure on Moira was high too. The sympathy that she got when she went to a store always seemed tinged with suspicion. It was difficult for her to decide if she was just imagining it or not and she even found the suspicions creeping into her thoughts.
Bill stopped pacing and sat down beside his wife. He put his arm around her shoulders, squeezed gently and said
        “We have the second radio appeal filming this evening and I’ve been thinking that we’re going to have to some more impact.”
        “How can we do that? It’s only a small station and TV haven’t been round.”
        “I know, I know,” and Bill gave her another hug, “I’m going to set up a website and announce the address tonight. It won’t be fancy and we can use the facility that comes with our internet service. I’m going to call it ‘Larry’s Home Page’ and put up picture of him. People can contact us direct then.”
        “We’ll just get more cranks like the phone calls,” and Moira started to cry harder.
        “Maybe, but its easy to delete that sort of rubbish. More important we can reach further. The police don’t seem to be trying, they just seem to be waiting for somebody to walk through their door and hand over Larry.”
        “But what if he’s dead, what if he’s been abused, I….I don’t even want to think about it.”
        “He’s not dead,” Bill tried to sound confident, “we’d have heard by now. We have to keep the faith – we will get him back.”

        Bill went off to their computer to struggle with the ‘easy’ software, and after an hour and a half, he had the first part of ‘Larry’s Home Page’ done. At the end of the afternoon, the site was up and consisted of just two pages with lots of their cute family photos, a big appeal for help and their e-mail contact information. He kept the phone number off in case the number of crank calls escalated. He was ready now for his local radio station interview. Too bad the station range was only fifty miles. Green Ore was seventy-five miles to the south.

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