I’ve been training for the China Lake Triathlon. More precisely, I’m training for the cycling part, 19 miles around China Lake, through China to East Vassalboro, east to South China, then north along the east side of the lake to China Village, and on to the finish at China Neck (and the post-race barbeque). Other family members are swimming and running. I just pedal and ponder.
I think that’s what happens when you send a writer out to ride a bike through the countryside. The miles roll by and your imagination rolls, too. And your power of observation. All of which gathers stuff that might end up between hard covers someday soon. Such as:
What beer is most popular among people who toss empties from the car? Bud Lite, hands down.
What happens to a road-kill raccoon after a couple of weeks? Fur peels off and the body bloats. Then the whole things starts to dry and shrink. A partridge is much drier. Call me Patricia Cornwell.
Why would a mobile home be empty, the road-side windows broken, the lawn overgrown? Not sure, but here’s a possibility: a guy lived there, thirties, divorced. Call him Bart. Lots of land back there, so when his buddies said, let’s grow some pot, he said, “Well, I don’t know.” Then they had a few beers, standing by their trucks, and by the end of the night, it was a plan. Planted inside that spring, transplanted in late June, had it all figured out, the money spent.
And then in September, a bird hunter gets a little lost, walks into the grow, sees the plants, six feet tall and thick, and calls the sheriff. The sheriff calls the DEA, and it being a slow day, they get a posse together, swoop in a dawn, ripping up the plants, kicking in the trailer door, waking Bart and his new girlfriend, Dawn. Which is fitting. She says she doesn’t know anything, barely knows Bart. Bart makes a split second decision not to rat out the other guys, at least not yet. Gets hauled off in a cruiser, sees the cops loading his nest egg onto a trailer, to be piled up and burned. He gets six months, not for the pot, but for the guns in the trailer, him being a felon for felony DWI. Pleads out, goes directly to jail, doing nine months. Dawn takes his truck, gives it to her little brother. Kids down the road, little bastards, get into the trailer, find a bottle of Allen’s coffee brandy (Dawn’s) and drink it down, get all crazy and break the windows out from the inside. Dawn goes with one of the other guys, Jessie,
Bart being gone for almost a year. Bart hears this from another guy in jail, a new guy, in for aggravated assault. Bart stops Max, the guard who isn’t a dink, after supper, says he, Bart wants to talk to the A.D.A. He says he knows some stuff the A.D.A. might want to hear about. That Jessie’s been buying meth in Lawrence, Mass., bringing it to Maine. And Dawn’s been holding it for him. Yeah, he can prove it.
What does Bart want?
Your turn. What do you think will happen next?