Ginni (excerpt) Digital Photography and Art
The plane was getting ready to land on Lake Noluk—really, no joke.
“Noluk will be your only source of water,” the pilot who had introduced himself as E.E. hollered over the roar of the motor. “The cabin is a short walk into the woods … a few hundred meters or so, shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes. Hold on. We’re going to land this puppy” He looked back at Ginni who was still green to the gills and chuckled. “Don’t worry. The lake’s real calm today. It’ll be as smooth as ice skates on Jell-O.”
E.E. was true to his word. The plane landed with barely a bump. He celebrated giving Ginni a big satisfied grin. He had the smile of a movie star, toothy and warm. They taxied up to a collection of rotting planks masquerading as a dock. Minutes later, Ginni was on solid ground. Her stomach finally settled.
Ginni woke on the third ring. She rolled over and put her head under the pillow. The machine could get it.
Click and a deep male voice began a metallic drone. “Miss Willow, My name is Benjamin Christy. I represent your father’s estate. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but he has passed away. He’s left you a small bequest. I can be contacted at the firm of Woodrow and Christy at 604 555 9437. There are some details that need to be ironed out. I am sorry for your loss.”
A second click ended the call.
When Ginni was seven, her father left his family and their small, very downtown two-bedroom apartment. He hadn’t been abusive or a gambler; he hadn’t been a drinker; he hadn’t left them for another woman. Philip Willow was an attractive man and could have had his pick of women with questionable virtue. He’d stayed true. His sin had been solitary in nature. Simply, he wasn’t a good provider. For a man in the 1950s, the inability to take care of one’s family was the greatest sin of all.
He’d worked on and off, mostly off. He always had the best intentions, certain the next job would be better, his key to the big time. Strangely, he was never fired. He always quit. It was the people. He couldn’t handle the people—lap dogs and performing monkeys. It galled him to take orders from those so obviously beneath him. He couldn’t stand the people, as it turned out, not even his own family.
One snowy morning, two weeks before Christmas, he quit for the last time and then ran away, leaving only a Greta Garbo inspired letter, not signed or addressed to anyone.
I’m leaving. A man should be able to take care of his family. Things are so hard for me at work. I can’t do it. Please don’t look for me. I just want to be alone.
Subsequent letters said he’d headed north and was living somewhere in the mountains. He never said where. He kept promising he’d visit or Ginni might visit him, but he never materialized, and no plane tickets ever arrived. Eventually, there were no more letters. Ginni learned to stop looking for his familiar scrawl in the mail. Then she learned not to miss him and eventually she learned to forget. The emotional scar remained hidden below her skin, invisible but felt. Her current wounds were seeping. His death just tore a little at the corners. When she finally dragged herself out of bed long enough to mix some whiskey into her water, it was the promise of the bequest that made her return the call.
“Let’s get this puppy unloaded.”
Ginni smiled at E.E.’s reference to his plane as a puppy for a second time. She’d only met him this morning, but he was growing on her fast. He was undeniably attractive in a way one would expect a man like E.E. to be attractive—tall, athletically built with broad shoulders and long legs—and rugged. A lot of city guys thought all they needed to look manly was to forgo a razor for a couple of days, and then they were Rock Hudson or something. Usually they just ended up looking like a teenager who’d messily eaten chocolate cake, or worse a vagrant dressed in a stolen suit. Sometimes they combined the two-day-old scruff with pastel suits and no socks. Someone should explain to these would-be-Sonny Crockets that the looked barely worked for Don Johnson, and he had money and fame. So Joe-no-name just looked like he was playing dress-up.
But stubble suited E.E. He was close to masculine perfection, except for a crooked nose. Bar fight? With his dark wavy hair and long-lashed eyes, his face might have been too soft without the scruff and broken beak. With them, he was very, very sexy. He was a world away from what she was used to—the smoothed, the polished, and the practiced—he seemed genuine.
“All ready for transport,” he announced.
E.E. grinned and motioned to a collection of boxes waiting by the plane. Something in that grin reminded her of someone else. Ginni stiffened. Damn it. She’d come to the mountains to escape. She grabbed her share of the load and stomped off down the trail.
Words and Images are my own.
Ginni is published in Strays. Strays is available in paperback or digital through amazon and your local libraries and bookstores.
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