Back to the routine, he looks at me...
I nod, gesture to the bowl...
The slips are few, only 1o lay waiting...
He unfolds one, grins....
I will kill him later...
Hard, red earth crackled below my feet. Beads of sweat dripped down my forehead, lingering only at my chin before splashing against my chest.
Why in God's name would anyone live here? Too damn hot!
My foot connected with a small rock on the ground and I watched it tumble beneath the prickles of a cactus plant. Splotches of red dirt covered my new white flats.
Six hours I had been walking around.
Six hours staring at shades of orange, red, and green.
Six hours - one big circle.
Of course the car breaks down in no-where-Arizona. Why on earth would I expect it to break down in sunny LA? Oh no! God's sense of humor is definitely at work today.
The lone bottle of water in my pack had been gone for four hours. The lilac and honey scented makeup remover cloths (not so tasty by the way) had dried out an hour ago and the concept that cacti are easy to extract water from had died fifty six seconds before being pricked.
I love that my GPS system - "Guaranteed to work anywhere - we have the strongest signal!" yeah right salesman - lost signal the minute I took that last turn. Serves me right, this trip was a stupid idea anyway.
My father wanted me to finish school at Brown. I wanted to see the world.
Well so far the world has made you bleed, sweat in places you failed to know you had sweat glands and jam a toe while kicking the tires on a lovely Land Rover. Outback vehicle! PSH! More like out of gas, out of service and out of its mind vehicle!
Thank goodness the sun was going down.
I had not realized that exploring the Arizona desert was going to be like leaving the country. There had been road maps, hiking trail guides - not that I would ever hike purposely - and Discover the Wild West! booklets at every convenience store. It would have been more convenient had they said: "Stay away - you will get lost city girl - the desert is really one giant dust bowl - go shopping instead."
For six hours I had walked around. Well for three hours I truly had walked a circle, then I realized that I needed to walk away from the car to find help. Yeah took three hours to nail down that I really needed help - go figure.
Father would laugh at this. He would tell me I was ridiculous and that in an hour he could have a helicopter scoop me up to bring me home. Only this time I wasn't going to call for help - as if the cell phone had not been dead already this morning.
I really thought I plugged it in last night.
I can only imagine my father's face when he gets the call that I missed my morning classes. The last time he had taken away the credit cards. Too bad I've known those numbers since I was nine. He was furious when he discovered that I had charged a month's stay in Paris - but never went. I hope that couple had a great time. They were so in love and such nice neighbors.
What were their names? Hmmm... oh well it doesn't matter.
This time I had cashed in some bonds and empty the account he kept for me. Now the money was hidden beneath the backseat of the car - just waiting for me to spend it all. He had always said that money was the answer to any problem in life. That it can write the book or erase the words.
Well, daddy too bad it could not erase six wives, two jealous step-brothers and the fact that your only biological daughter rebels at every rule you set. Money hasn't fixed that yet, has it?
Perhaps it would be different if I would not have realized that my own father values me less than his own income. Sending me to a boarding school because wife number five felt that living with a teenage girl would make her age faster!
My laughter echoed among the barren land in front of me; the only sound to accompany the jingle of my car keys against my leg. Oh she had not aged faster but she'd divorced quickly when she caught him with a woman half her own age!
The Gucci sunglasses hanging from my now stretched tank top slid to the ground. I bent down to pick them up and saw a beer bottle in the dirt. That's odd. It is the first piece of trash I have encountered. Straightening I began to survey the area I had been walking. The sun was setting and a light darkness had begun to descend on the dry ground.
Thoughts of my father had distracted me from my surroundings. The cacti, the sporatic long grass, the xeric flora was still around me but it appeared to also show signs of human activity.
Focusing I began to listen for signs of a highway. Instead I heard a coyote howl and what appeared to be music; faint and in the distance.
MUSIC! Yes! Okay where is it coming from?
Quickly I stepped to my left and followed the sounds. As the music grew louder so did laughter. At first I paused to make sure I was not laughing.
Desert sun really does make you crazy!
Stepping around the various cacti I started moving faster. The ground was hard in spots and slippery in others; the sandy earth was killing my calves with every step. The terrain shifted and I found myself climbing a crimson hill, dodging rock and weed with each foot closer to the sounds. Finally reaching the peak I froze.
Below me, only two hundred yards was a ranch style building. Lights surrounded a large pool, music drifted from a stone patio. I could see people mingling and hear their laughter. To the south of the building I saw more smaller buildings, each built in the same Mission style. I could not see a road but I did see an area designated for cars.
A few young woman carried trays amongst the group laden with glasses and what I assumed was food.
What on earth? Wait - is that margaritas? OH THANK YOU GOD!
Stumbling forward I began to head towards the crowd.
I passed underneath a light fixture and an alarm began to blare. The sound startled me and I tumbled forward the last few feet, landing beside a wall. My back slammed against the dirt and I hollered out.
"Over there! I just heard something!"
The music stopped playing and the alarm was turned off. I could hear footsteps as I began to get back to my feet.
Just as I straightened up a bright light was shone in my eyes.
"Hold still! Who are you?"
Raising my arms I closed my eyes to the bright light.
"Lucidia Grayson Calhoun - from Manhattan. My car broke down, like so far away from here and I have been trying to find someone. Please, dude, drop the light - its killing me."
The light maniac chuckled and lowered his flashlight. I assumed I must look harmless - but also like a tumbleweed.
"Welcome to Heaven' Agua Seca, Lucidia from Manhattan. I apologize for the alarm, we set them at night so that our guests feel safer. "
I caught the word heaven and again wondered whether or not the sun from today had gone to my head.
A warm hand grasped mine and I looked at deep brown eyes peeking beneath dark black hair. He was built like a swimmer and boy did I want to see him in a swimsuit.
"I am Cosa. Owner and manager of the spa. Welcome. Let's get you inside and we can help you contact someone for your car. 'K?"
Holy crap he's cute.
"Um, did you say spa?"
His grin grew and I watched as he assessed my dirt laden clothes. He paused at the Gucci sunglasses and the emerald ring on my right hand. He was no idiot.
"Yes, we are happy to offer you accommodations if you like?"
He led me to the front of the building, passing people all along the way. Everyone looked concerned until the music started again and the party continued. Two guys at the bar looked me up and down as I passed then grinned as they downed two shots.
"Sir, what are your rates?"
"Ma'am, for a standard room nine hundred per night. For a suite, two thousand - it does include all our services when you stay in a suite."
"Two suites, please, adjoining. I like my space. Oh and give me double the services - I've had a long day."
"Do you have a credit card you would like to use?"
The giggle bubbled out and I began to recite the numbers to my favorite American Express card.
Oh daddy! So sorry you could not come on this vacation either....
(Feel Free to visit past entries via the Original Works page at the top of the blog or the right sidebar menu - How WWW works: these are written on the spot with a time limit of 45 minutes - no word limit. Each word is drawn from a bowl where the 26 letters of the alphabet are represented by words selected by my husband. I have no idea what words are in the bowl nor which ones will be pulled out each week. I use this as a great 'interruption' from my current work in progress to keep my creative juices flowing & to not get bogged down with current major projects)
Have a Toe Tapping Thursday...