The International Writers Magazine
:Novel in Progress
Summer in Cadillac Part One begins here:

Summer On Cadillac (Part 7)   
Mike Blake

I did report to work later that day, and Kevin was all smiles, wanting to know how my night had gone. I filled him in on some of the details and he shook his head and laughed.

“So you’re hanging with Frankie Doyle and his crowd, huh?” he said.
“Yeah, well, there’s more to Frankie than I thought. And I’m definitely gonna visit the frat house again.”
“A house full of college girls,” Kevin said. “That sounds very interesting.”
“If we can ever swing a day off together, we’ll go over there.”
“Hell, we could go over after work some night. It doesn’t sound like they go to bed early.” He laughed.
“Not if last night was any indication.”
Frank Doyle came in the store later that afternoon.
“You’re one dedicated man,” he said, looking sleepy-eyed and pouring a cup of coffee.
“Just roll out of bed, Frank?” Kevin asked, smiling. He looked at a couple of regulars who sat at a table by the big front windows, and they grinned and shook their heads, expressions that said: oh, to be young and foolish again.
“No, hell …” Frank said, going along with it. “I just got finished with my daily five-mile run, and just stopped to see how my favorite Thriftway team was doing.”
“Five miles, huh Frank?” one of the rough looking regulars said. “That must have been some dream.”
The other coffee drinker laughed, as did Hemming.
  “Gonna buy some of that special protein drink you’re fond of, Frank?” Hemming asked, nodding at the beer cooler.
  “Sure,” Frank said. “I have to replace all the fluids I sweated out.”
“That’s right, Frank,” one of the regulars said. “Don’t let yourself get too dehydrated.”
“Yeah, that’s a mistake when you’ve been exercising like that,” the other agreed.
“Nothing a few twelve-ounce curls won’t fix, right Frank?” I threw in.
“Damn, nothing like feeling right at home at Thriftway,” Frank said, grinning. “That’s what I come and see my friends for.”
“We don’t mind, Frank, as long as you pay for the coffee,” Kevin said, looking at the regulars again. A couple of them had commented on the fact that Doyle sometimes slipped out of the store without paying.
Frank looked at me and opened his mouth to say something, but before he did, I told him it was seventy-five cents for the cup (which included one free refill). Frank muttered something to himself, but fished the change out of his pocket.
“I don’t want to cheat Thriftway of their seventy-five cents,” he said. “I only spend half my money in this place.”I told him, in a lowered voice, that I would explain later.
“Hey, if I’d known you were sleeping out in the woods, I would have let you stay in my room,” he said. “There’s plenty of room on the floor. It’s a mess, but hell, it’s indoors. There’s running water and a shower.”
I was a little disappointed that Doyle remembered what Hailey had said about my camp the night before, for I expected this offer from him; he was that kind of guy, and he meant well. Yet, I had grown attached to my campsite, and though I had enjoyed my one night at the frat house, I couldn’t say that I wanted to live there. I liked what little solitude I had these days, and most of that came in my wooded spot. Yet Doyle, a very social animal, wouldn’t understand that.
“I already offered him a place on my couch,” Kevin said. “But the Nature Boy there said no.”
“How in the hell did you ever find that place?” Frank asked.
I looked around to see if any of the coffee regulars were listening, but they had gone back to their talk.
“Just by chance,” I said. “To be honest with you, I never expected to find that good of a place that close to town. I thought I’d have to hike a couple miles further, at least.
“It is pretty convenient,” Hemming admitted. “I’d get myself a hammock if I was up there, though.”
“I thought about it,” I said. “I just don’t know where to get one around here.”
Doyle mentioned a sporting good store, but I shook my head no to that. Too expensive this time of year.
“You want to go to Barton for that,” Kevin said. “I’ll drive you over one of these mornings.”
“Yeah, plenty of it,” Kevin said, chuckling.
“You’d be close to Hailey,” Frank said, winking.
That point had me thinking, and Doyle saw it and laughed.
“That’s right,” he said. “I thought I saw a man in love last night.” He grinned at Kevin, who had a big smile on his face too.
“That must have been some swim,” Kevin said, and the two of them laughed. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.

It had been an enjoyable dip, and on any other night it might have lasted longer. It was her eyes that I thought about, and her sense of adventure. Hailey definitely seemed like someone you could have fun with. And that seemed to be the case with Donna and Leanne too.

I thought it might be interesting for a group of us to get in a car and get out of Jordan Harbor for a day, go find a place on the island to have a picnic, go hiking, swimming. Yes, one fun day like that would really make the summer for me. It was something to think about as I carried out the business transactions.
“Hailey’s hot,” I heard Doyle say, though I wasn’t really listening to what he and Hemming said to each other. Nor was I listening to the caffeine driven chatter of the coffee drinkers, as I sometimes did. I smiled and greeted the customers, but a part of me was away from the store altogether, thinking about some of my favorite places on the island, places where I had stood, rapt, at the sight of nature itself, with people and their activities temporarily out of the picture. Yes, there were stunning sights all over this rocky island that had attracted people here in the first place, and it had nothing to do with this commercial exchange I was part of here in town. The business of the town seemed cheap and new, clinging like a barnacle patch to the old and formidable rock of the island. There was nothing lasting in it; it wasn’t meant to, being seasonal in the first place, and business, for the most part, run by people who didn’t even live here year round. Only a certain hardy few invested all of their time and energy into this place, like some of the clam diggers, fishermen, and handymen who came in for their coffee, gruff and tough old birds who still did what their daddies had done before them, and weren’t finding it easy by any means. Even they were clinging in their own way to a way of life that was almost extinct these days, at least commercially.
Hot little Hailey, I thought, smiling to myself. It sounded like the name of a poem I would have to write before the summer was out.
“You gonna come over after work?” Frank asked.
I shrugged and grinned.
“I’ll see how I’m feeling,” I said.
He shrugged.
“I guess you’ll feel like having a few beers, won’t you?”
“Probably. But I don’t drink every night.”
Frank looked at me as if he doubted that.
“Not all of us are fulltime lushes like you, Frank,” Kevin said.
“Man, you guys are hard,” Frank said, though he really wasn’t stung by the statement. In fact, the image of “You have to cut him a little slack, Kevin,” I said. “It isn’t easy living in the party house.  A man has to keep Doyle knew we were kidding and probably would have flipped us the bird if there weren’t any customers in the store.
“He’s the head stud over there, huh?” Kevin said, in one of his better moods this day.
“Hell, you might as well call it a stable,” I said, my voice lowered. Kevin really laughed at that, and Frank scoffed at my words, though the grin never left his face.
“He can’t afford to,” Kevin said. “The summer’s half over.”

© Mike Blake Feb 2006

Summer in Cadillac
Mike Blake - a novella in progress
a summer on the island
Summer in Cadillac - Chapter Two

Shiftwork 11.05.05
Summer in Cadillac - Chapter Three
Taking a Break in a pig's sty

Summer in Cadillac - Chapter Four
Beer and Girls
Summer in Cadillac - Chapter Five
Getting Stoned

Summer in Cadillac - Chapter Six
The secret pool


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