Hatma gave me directions and I followed them all the way to this huge mansion. A guy in pajamas answered the door.
“Hey,” I said, “this must be the new stripper house. I brought my shower bag.”
“Umhm,” he said and wandered back to bed.
“Tara!” Hatma came down the stairs and Sweetness came out of another room.
It’s this huge multimillion dollar hunting lodge that the uber-rich stay in during hunting season. Marble, steel, hot tubs, the works. When season ended, one stripper moved in. But you know how strippers are. They multiply, and soon the lodge was overrun.
Sweetness and I went for a run on the beach, first with the resident dog, and then with Bro, and I took pictures of the dead bloated saltwater-preserved salmon who never made it to their rivers. I miss my river.
Diamond and Lucy were leaving when we got back, and we had one of those beautiful dramatic superficial goodbyes. Off they went, into the world, leaving behind only tomatoes and memories of soup.
This lodge is so fancy it’s got a hose that runs hot and cold water, so I gave Bro a bath because he’s been stinky lately. The van’s been stinky too. It’s kind of circular.
Then Sweetness made shrimp and beef tacos with the most amazing sauces and salads and fried ice cream and other yumminess. It was like those people who live in my sister’s TV in the playboy mansion, except instead of this old wrinkly token man, they have a young accomodating muscley guy who washes the dishes.
I had come for the running water, after all, so I finally made it to the bath tub. It’d been a while since I’d bathed, so I decided to soak for a while. I got all absorbed in the Continuum Concept (one of my favoritest books – I got it for Hatma and then borrowed it back from her to read in her tub), and when I got out just now it was 11:15. I could go to work, but it doesn’t seem especially compelling. Especially since last, after driving all the way over here, I only made $21.
So here I am in this dark house, sitting at a fancy marble counter in an industrial luxury kitchen with a fully stocked fancy bar, wishing I was home on the river. I hope no bears have broken into my cabin. I hope the otters are still happy and the squirrells that live in the roof aren’t getting cancer from the insulation and the wood I chopped lasts a long time and more wood is easy to saw up and chop and the river keeps being beautiful every day. And I hope I make enough money to live on for the rest of the winter really soon and get home before the river starts freezing and I can’t get home.