Scene 14 The Bugs
In the afterglow of the sunset….
” Ouch! The only thing I don’t like about sunset,” Su says, scratching her arms.
” Hmm, what’s that?” he asks.
” The bugs.”
” I haven’t really been getting eaten that bad,” he says, staring around at the afterglow.
” Oh they’ve been tearing me up but I wanted to do this with you. I’m going back in before they carry me off.”
John chuckles at Su’s comment about being carried off. ” Yeah, an old story goes that the skeeters are so bad in these parts that farmers used to get them to sting the fence posts to treat them, to make them swell.”
” I don’t get it, but ok.”
” They’re big, with big stingers.”
” I still don’t get it.”
” You know how you get bit by a mosquito and your skin swells?” he asks.
” Yeah,” she says, itching at her arms.
” Sorta like that — instead of the farmers harvesting or buying large pieces of wood for fence posts, they’d get the skeeters to sting a smaller piece to swell it.”
” Alrighty then.”
” Yeah I know, kinda dumb, just an analogy.”
” You coming?” she asks.
” I kinda like it out here after the sun sets.”
” Walk me back up there and you can come back out, I’m getting tore up.”
” Sweet meat!”
” I just don’t want to be itching all night.”
” Yeah, I gotcha. I’m coming.”
Taking the leash from Su, John guides Lucky and follows Su through the dunes to the exterior cottage shower and they go through the ritual of washing the sand off their feet and legs and putting their shells on the table.
” Ouch!” John yells out.
” Yeah, buggers sure are packing a punch, too. Think I’ll stay in for a while.”
” Spray the door before we go in,” she tells him.
Reaching for the can of bug spray left by the door, he sprays all the way around the door then enters with Lucky and Su following him.
Su watches Lucky effortlessly make his way to the water bowl on the blanket near the window, take a drink and lay down facing the window looking outside.
” Did you see that?” Su asks in amazement.
” No, what happened?”
” Lucky walked over to his water bowl across the tile with no problems.”
” That’s good. Maybe walking in the sand helps,” he says happpily.
Su walks over to Lucky and lays down beside him scratching his neck and petting his ears. Lucky responds by panting. ” You did good buddy. You like Sanibel too, huh?” Lucky looks like he is smiling while he pants and gives Mom licks on her chin. The two play for a while playing a game of hide and seek where Su will hide her face between her hands and arms and Lucky tries to nudge her hands away from her face so he can get some licks in. The game comes to an end when Lucky licks himself. ” Game over, no whizzer licking.” John laughs as he watches her and Lucky playing.
” That’s so gross,” she says as she starts to get up and Lucky tries to lick her again. From experience and practice, Su is able to get up on her knees and dodge Lucky’s whizzer kiss in time. ” Hey babe, could you give me a hand?”
John claps his hands playfully. Su looks at him with a half smirk. John walks around the counter and helps Su to her feet.
” So, what’s the plan?” he asks.
” No plan.”
” You gonna play some of your games?”
” For a bit. Probably watch some TV for a while too.”
” Alright, you wanna get a shower first?”
” No you go ahead, I’m gonna jump online and brag to some friends about being here on Sanibel.”
John heads to the bedroom and into the bathroom to get cleaned up.
Su opens the laptop, sets up the WiFi connection and tries to connect to the internet. She wants to go to her gaming website to talk to her friends about how wonderful it is here and how much fun she is having, but can’t make a connection. Frustrated, she plays a few rounds of a game that she can play offline that she plays daily.
When John comes out of the shower and goes into the bedroom, Su smells the scents of soap and shampoo that come from the bathroom as he exits it. ” I love the smell of the bathroom after a man showers. Bingo! Ah hahaha ha!”
John hears her call bingo and smiles knowing she gets great pleasure playing her casual games and winning. John smiles while shuffling through his bags for the camera’s memory card. He wants to look through the pictures.
Picking up the stooper in the bag, he gently rubs them together creating the mesmerizing sound he loves, then puts them in his shorts pocket as he continues to look for the memory card.
Out in the living room Su glances out the window and sees the woman that looks like her mother talking to someone just beyond the dune. Su stares through the blinds trying to make out who the woman is talking to, but can’t see.
Su gets up from the bar stool to get a better look. As she approaches the window, the woman walks towards the beach and disappears into the darkness. Su stares into the darkness waiting to see if she comes back.
John puts his hand on her shoulder. Su screams. ” OUUUWuuuw ohhh!”
Lucky is startled and John yanks his hand back quickly. ” Whoa! Sorry, you ok?”
” Sorry baby,” she says still scared, but relieved at the same time.
” Something out there?” he asks, trying to see around her.
” No, yeah, not really.”
” What was it?”
” A woman.”
” A woman?” he asks.
” Remember me telling you about that woman I saw that disappeared.”
” Well, it was her. This time it looked like she was talking to someone and when I got up to see who, she walked out onto the beach and I couldn’t see either of them. That’s when you touched me on my shoulder.”
” Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
” I know you didn’t,” she says.
John starts laughing. Su looks at John with a pouty look, ” It’s not funny. You scared the holy crap out of me!”
” Sorry. Ok it’s not funny,” John says, trying to contain himself.
Su looks out the blind to see if the woman is there. After a few minutes she gives up.
” Want me to go out there and find them?” he asks.
” No, I don’t want them to think we are a couple of snooping lunatics. They’re on vacation too.”
” All right, are you sure? I’ll brave the desolate beaches and sandy dunes, fight the waves of bugs to go see what’s going on for you out there.”
” No, I’m ok. It’s just weird that’s all,” Su says with an awkward smile.
” All right, I’m gonna step out for a few to try out this ole Zippo you got me. The pipe lighter one, remember?
“ Which one is that?” she says, looking up.
” It’s just like the other windproof Zippos I have but has a large hole in the tower and a cap on it for lighting a pipe.”
” Ok, haven’t seen you use that one in a while. Cherry Cavendish?”
” Vanilla. Might help keep the bugs away. I’ll be right outside, might be out there for a while.”
” Ok, I love you.”
” I love you. You wanna come Lucky?” Lucky doesn’t move, but does wag his tail once.
John makes a cup of coffee, goes outside, sits on the bar stool leaning his elbows against the lean fence and stares out towards the beach looking for the woman Su saw while listening to the tunnel of wind that howls through the path.
His eyes search through the darkness but he doesn’t see anything, just highlights of the trees and the white of the sand on the dunes, not much of anything else. He looks for the moon and finds it over the cottage, covered by clouds. Looking down from the moon to the roof top, he sees a power transformer on a wooden pole that is slightly on a lean with a power line sloping down from it leading to one portion of the complex and another line leading straight to another side of the complex. Might have gotten that way from the hurricanes.
John looks through the cracks of the blinds from outside and sees Su at the computer typing away and clicking with the mouse (pointing device).
John packs the vanilla tobacco into the pipe. Lighting the trusty Zippo in the wind, it stays lit with some of the flint sparking, he watches it for a minute listening to it making its whooshing sound as the wind blows the flame around. Putting the flame to the bowl of his corncob pipe he lights it and the sweet smell of vanilla permeates the air.
Inside, Su is playing bingo on the computer and trying to talk to her friends online. Clicking the numbers when the balls roll across the screen on a rail and into a jar. Getting frustrated with not being able to talk to her friends, she begins talking to herself.
Mrs Bingo: Are you having a good time?
SanibelSu: It is wonderful.
Mrs Bingo: Have you done anything exciting?
SanibelSu: We went to The Bubble Room and watched the sunset together.
Mrs Bingo: I wish I could be there.
SanibelSu: Pack a bag and come on down, we’re here for another 8 whole days.
Mrs Bingo: I wish I could.
Sanibel Su: If you change your mind let me know.
Mrs Bingo: You have a good time, hubby is home gotta go GGP.
SanibelSu: Oh we are. GGP
God this is for the birds! What’s wrong with my connection?
Su continues playing Bingo for a while, then closes the computer, fixes herself another glass of ice and pours her soda over it taking a sip while staring out the cracks of the deck side blinds from behind the kitchen counter for John. She can see him a little bit but not as much as she would like.
Su makes a fresh pot of coffee for John and takes a cup out to him.
John turns around and sees Su come outside with her hands full. Stepping away from the bar stool he tries to take her drink to lessen her load.
” The coffee, take the coffee. I made it for you fresh.”
John reaches for the coffee that’s in a regular coffee cup and sits it down on the table pushing the shells out of the way with the cup. ” Hot! Hot, hot.”
” Just came off the heat,” Su says.
” Thank you baby.”
” You’re welcome. Whatcha doing out here all alone?”
” I was alone but I wasn’t lonely.”
“ Because you knew I was here with you?”
” You are with me everywhere I go, yes”
” I l ove you,” Su says.
” I love you.”
” That pipe smells good. Does it help with the bugs?”
” You like that huh? I’m not sure, but I haven’t been getting tore up. A few bites here and there though. I’m not sure.”
” What have you been doing out here?”
” Listening to the wind tunnel and looking at the dark.”
” Did you find anything?”
” It was all dark til you came out.”
” I love you,” she says.
” I love you too.”
John puts his arm around Su and they stand on the deck looking out into the night for quite a while enjoying their time here together.
” You hear that?” John asks.
” The wind tunnel.”
” What tunnel? I hear the wind.”
” If you pay real close attention you can hear it whooshing from over there, past us and then in that direction, like a wind tunnel. It howls and moans kinda , every once in a while. You can feel its energy.”
Su listens intently , then moves to John’s other side and continues to listen. ” I heard it howl like you said.”
” Let your soul be still and keep listening, paying attention to where it’s coming from and where it is going, then imagine it in your mind and you’ll see it. Well, not see it with your eyes, but you will be able to identify it.”
Su listens, closing her eyes. The wind swirls and is rushing by making a slight howling sound every once in a while, she recognizes where it is coming from and where it is going. She opens her eyes. ” I kinda see what you’re talking about. It might take me a few tries to get the full effect.”
” What else you got to do?” he asks, taking a puff from his pipe.
” Nothing, I just experience being here a little differently than you do.”
” How do you do it?” he asks kindly.
” It’s more a feeling I get, a comfortableness that I get inside from being here. A peace I have not experienced anywhere else. I feel safe here and at home. No worry, no stress, none of the craziness.”
” It’s hard for me to put into words,” she says.
” I think you just did.”
” Yeah, I want to say more, more good things, but I just can’t explain it. ” Serenity.”
” I know what you mean.”
They sit for a while in the patio chairs staring out into the darkness of the night and take in the serene feelings they get from being there, living in the moment.
Su starts scratching and moving around in her chair. She slaps her legs and arms. John starts scratching and slaps his calves and arms.
” Here they come,” Su says.
” Yeah, the wind has died down too. It’s starting to get real muggy.”
” I don’t know if I can take it for much longer, they are gonna, OUCH!. That’s it, I’m going inside.”
” Youch! Yeah me too,” John says.
” We still gotta take Lucky,” she reminds him.
John gets up and follows Su into the cottage. ” How’s he doin’?”
” Seems ok, considering. Better than at home,” she says, staring down at him.
” Well that’s good. Hopefully it’s not like a battery that gives one good burst before it runs out of juice.”
” He’s seems pretty perky. I feel bad for him.”
” He’s a good boy! Ain’t he. What’s up pup? Gotta pee, buddy?”
Lucky wags his tail, thumping it on the floor and slowly gets up walking to the door.
” Look he did it again,” John says with a little excitement.
” He walked across the floor without much of a problem, just his normal gimp. It might be helping him being here.”
” He’s such a good boy. Come on,” she says, grabbing his leash.
They take Lucky outside, slowly down the stairs out into a sandy patch near a palm tree on the edge of a large hedge of bushes. Lucky sniffs the tree and his nose begins getting wet and dripping. He hops a little to the left and sniffs, hops to the right turning around and sniffs.
“Looking for that perfect blade of grass,” Su says.
“ The Lucky Dance.’ John says.
Lucky sniffs around some more when suddenly the hair between his shoulder blades and down his back stands up. John sees it. ” Hey, watch out, he’s onto something.”
Su looks at Lucky, then to the direction that he is looking in and tries to pull him away from the area. ” Hey get over here!” she tries to tell him. Lucky doesn’t listen and he holds his ground. ” John!” Su calls out anxiously.
John walks over to Lucky, ” Put yer mane down.” Lucky snorts and lets out a little bark. ” Hey hey! Come on,” John says, grabbing him by his collar and hanging onto him as he tries to lurch forward. Lucky snorts again then goes into a full bark, barking at something in the bushes. Something in the bushes scurries off towards the dunes hitting other bushes on its way. By the sound and distance of where the sounds came from, John can tell it has run off and hid somewhere nearby but out of harm’s way.
” Hurry up Luck,” Su says, a little frightened.
” Better hurry up buddy. Go poop,” John tells Lucky.
” Go poops Lucky,” Su commands Lucky.
Lucky lets out a few snorts and sniffs the air , twitching his nose in the direction of the noise, then turns his attention to Su and walks over to her sniffing her and begins pacing back and forth for a few more minutes.
” Good Boy!” she says.
” That’s funny we got him to poop on command like that,” John says with a little chuckle. Su shakes her head, ” He’s a brat, scaring Mom like that. I’m so afraid something is going to come out and attack him, even at home.”
” He’s a pretty big dog. Even being old, not much is gonna want to tangle with something his size,” he tells her.
” I’m afraid a coon or something will bite him and he’ll get rabies or hurt him real bad.”
” Yep, that’s reasonable and it’s a possibility. This place is an island and I’m sure the powers that be can’t keep track of every single animal here. It was probably a coon or something. Those guys can be pretty mean critters. I saw one once stand up, stick its arms out like it wanted to beat its chest and hiss at me.”
” Yeah, I saw one do that across the canal at home,” Su says.
” Oh looky there, l’il Lucky nuggets. I’ll clean up,” John points.
“Good. Little? I think not, them are horse turds. I’m going back inside,” Su says, handing him a poop bag and walking Lucky back into the cottage.
John walks over, slowly bends down and watches to make sure nothing comes charging out of the bushes, cleaning up the mess and keeping one eye on the bushes and surrounding area.
Tossing the bag into the trash can he washes his hands in the shower, goes inside, then washes his hands with soap and water in the bathroom.
” I’m going to bed, my back is killing me, When you’re done could you hug up with me?” she asks through the door.
” Yeah, be right out.” John steps out of the bathroom, looks in the living room and doesn’t see Lucky. He steps into the bedroom and see’s Lucky on the other bed. ” He got up there by himself?”
” No I helped him up and so did the thunder,” she says.
” Yes, I think it’s going to rain tonite. It thundered when I was trying to get him up there and when he heard it, he hurried up and got on the bed and started shaking like he does at home.”
John sits on the bed beside Lucky who is shaking and comforts him until he stops. Lucky lets out a hard sigh and lays his head down. ” Wow. Sanibel does have some kind of healing power, huh buddy?” John says to Lucky.
” You give him his doggy drugs?” John asks.
” No, could you do that for me?”
” Where’s it at?”
” It’s right there in that bag on the dresser with the flower print all over it, it’s with my medicine.”
” We bring peanut butter?” he asks.
” Yes, that’s one thing that didn’t need to go into the cooler.”
John walks out to the front room, makes sure both doors are locked and the blinds are pulled with only the one low amp light turned on. He pulls a piece of the doggy drug from its blue pill bottle, covers it in peanut butter then goes to Lucky and sticks his fingers out for Lucky to lick. Lucky sniffs the peanut butter and licks it from John’s finger.
John goes into the front room, grabs Lucky’s water bowl and brings it into the room for Lucky to get a drink. Lucky sniffs the bowl and looks away. John sets the bowl by the closet in the room if he decides he wants to get down and get a drink. ” He probably won’t get down, but it’s there if here decides too. We can’t leave it on the bed,” John says.
” He got up there by himself,” she says.
John looks at the foot of the bed and sees that Su situated the cooler and blankets to make it easier for Lucky to get up on the bed and down from it by adding another small luggage bag by the cooler. ” Pretty good,” he says.
” I thought it would make it easier for both him and us.”
” Yeah, that looks like it’ll work.”
John goes into the bathroom washes his hands again and lays down in bed with Su. They lay in bed listening to the first wave of rain hit the roof, subside, then listen as each wave afterwards becomes a steady rain. They fall asleep, John holding Su from behind with their legs intertwined.
Copyright © 2012 by John Edward Petersen