A streak of eye-squinting sunlight reflects across Lake Tahoe. Georgia sits on the M.S. Dixie II, with her favorite beverage in hand. She lets the peaceful serenity of the water soothe her as the pine landscape of the shore slowly works its way by. The large river boat heads for Vikingsholm Island, awaiting somewhere in the distance. Tawny stands at the boat’s rail with a Barbie Camera in her hand.
“Be careful, sweetie!” Georgia says.
Memories of the Titanic Movie inspire the little girl to find the bow and play butterfly in the wind.
“I will mommy.”
“You drop your camera overboard, and it will be gone for good!”
The child’s face reflects a new fear; it is as if a mere suggestion from her mother brings to her attention an action she would not have consciously thought about. Tawny twists the camera’s tether about her wrist, as if the thing might leap off her body at any (given) moment. It is a very good day, the girl’s asthma does not weigh her down, and she enjoys a beautiful day on the lake—feeling her cherry blonde hair billow in the wind.
A new man sits at Georgia Alexandre’s side. He is an intellectual brute of stoic proportions. But he is also a man that appeals to her in new, exciting ways. Moreover, the man accepts Tawny, unconditionally. Living in the moment, Georgia grows happy with her present reality. She enjoys the intoxicated feeling of a man making her tingle with a simple smile. What comes between the couple is an old bible the woman locked away in a cold bank vault. The object tells her to give it some time, so she can discover if the new and intense emotions she feels for her new man are real.
At the railing, Tawny thinks to herself. Will he make a good daddy? Mommy deserves to have someone special. Immediately, the child finds introspection. “What about me?”
Right then a couple of loudspeakers kick on, indicating they are approaching Fannette Island with a Scandinavian Castle resting at the top. A tour guide explains how it took two hundred workers to complete the castle in 1929. Georgia becomes fascinated to find the island’s original name was Coquette, a name dreamed up by young vacationers, or a flirtatious—seductive woman.
Tawny smiles, while she gazes over the boat rail. She looks down at froth gathering as the boat hull splits the water. It seems an odd thought to Tawny, but the girl wishes KC was there to share the moment with her. My sweet KC!
Tawny glances up at the sky, and finds her eyes easily transfixed by interesting clouds; within their flowing majesty, she sees a dragon and a knight in all their imaginative glory, waiting for the other to make one wrong move.
At the last minute, before the scene dissipates, Tawny recognizes the parrying knight is her daddy.
Larry sits down and types out a first letter to Tina, from Aurora Colorado. He finds it weird to be completely honest with a complete stranger; yet the distance between them seems to make it easier to open his-self up and pour out the internal contents, without local rumors miss-interpreting his, oftentimes, gut-level responses. He thinks. Some women are a great deal more logical when they are in the hidden comfort of their home and beyond the strictly physical aspect of considering a new prospect through their eyes or templates created by calculated social situations.
Larry doesn't know that Tina has run a background check on him. She possesses a seven-page printout of his personal information dating back to 1985. She already knows he is divorced. That he has two children. And the document even provides his social security number. The woman had perused the information for days, looking for any glaring red flags.
She feels a little more secure about the whole thing with facts resting in her hands. A month before, Tina watched an episode of 48-Hours (on the subject of) Cyber Stalkers. She saw a segment about a man that took a claw hammer to his cyber-date’s head, and she was told the victim needed lifelong therapy.
6’2”, 207 lbs. Police officer since 1989. Two Children. And an ex-wife living in Montana. Tina thinks she can’t find a cleaner record, for the man’s age. Divorced and single usually meant one of three things: Larry was a player, gay, or immature. In her mind, she finds any middle ground captivating. In the past, it often kept her from getting too close to a man. It also left several commitment-minded men baffled, when they shattered her pigeon-holed images of why they were on the market.
Tina sits down at her computer, after work, and writes what moves her on the screen. If this ends up being lame or weak, I can always trash the letter and start the process over again. She fails to understand why she wishes to impress a (complete) stranger, or why such a clandestine interactive process seems so exciting, unpredictable, and sometimes even addictive. It causes her to remember a show named Catfish, which revealed infinite ways people liked to fool themselves into believing any web-inspired fairy tale.
A couple of female friends drag her into several bars. In the end, she often feels like a piece of meat for any man finding bravery in a bottle. A long list of pick-up lines she gathers soon come to annoy her. I would rather dance with human sized fish than with the vast majority of men I meet. Many of whom step on my feet, wish to cop a feel, or nudge me towards the exit door.
She pushes back her long locks of hair. I wonder what Larry looks like? But I hate to be so blunt, in the first couple letters. Tina had already gotten the looks thing out of the way. It isn’t hard, because men often tell her she reminds them of a Julia Roberts—with a more athletic body. Therefore, she knows she has nothing to lose in posting a soft picture of herself to a man. Deep down, Tina considers her track record. More men than she can count never got to know the person inside the pretty, dark skin, never stuck around long enough to find out what made her old-fashioned clock tick, and never offered her any semblance of fitting into her concept of family.
Larry’s tail man tracks Sammy to a tattoo parlor. He sits in his car with an eye on the well-tattooed front glass door. What will be the man’s tattoo of choice? It certainly fits the profile of a rock idol. He thinks about Tommy Lee, and the human canvas he called a body. He notices a muscle man stands outside the establishment and turns away all comers.
The muscle head looks his way, and throws to the air, “This is a private sitting. You need a tattoo…You should come back later.”
The tail man dawns a slight disguise, to keep the gorilla from going postal on him. He eyes a cup of coffee and an éclair sitting on his dashboard.
His cell phone rings, and he picks it up.
“Hello,” the man says.
A raspy voice on the other end of the call startles him.
“Yu find yur knifer in the woodpile, Pard?” Lucky says on the ghostly end of cell space.
“Who is this?
“I am surveillance on your surveillance,” Lucky answers.
“This is a secured line!”
“You ain’t gots a clue, Spotter. T’aint nutton of sorts, Constable.”
“Kiss off!” The cop says before pressing the off button on his phone.
Larry’s narc feels powerful. He knows Larry thinks he is in total control of the situation, and that a promotion is imminent. Officer Quintana questions his sanity, upon hearing the same cajoling voice flow through his car radio—later in the day.
Author’s Note: A late 1800′s common racial slur has been changed to [knifer]. Trendbuster does not wish to hand over his common sense—to his uncaring ancestors. Daniel Boone would not be proud of a member of his family tree repeating such an unkind and offensive word. Trendbuster hopes doing so—in no way—changes the old west flavor of this novel.