Wes Boyd's
Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online

Cattail
Wes Boyd
2010, 2011



Chapter 7

When Catalina and Bonnie got back from grocery shopping, it was getting along in the afternoon, and the sun was close to going down. At this time of year, that meant it was still a little early to think about dinner, and Roger commented about it.

"Not a problem," Bonnie told him. "We can go out and soak in the hot tub for a while, come in and have dinner, and then soak some more afterwards."

"Sounds like a plan," Catalina agreed.

"Let me go see if it's warmed up enough," Roger suggested, and headed for the door. Actually, he was sure it was since he'd checked while the women were gone, but he went outside to work up his courage a little as well as peel back the cover and take the temperature. The moment he had been dreading ever since it had worked out that Bonnie was going to join them was at hand.

As far as Roger knew the two women hadn't brought swimsuits with them, which meant they were going to be heading for the hot tub bare-assed. That was not a surprise, since he knew Catalina had been a part-time nudist, and he seemed to recall her mentioning her mother had been, too. That much Roger was sure he could handle -- being in a hot tub with two good-looking nude women, even if one of them was notably older than he was. But he was also dead sure he was going to catch hell if he wasn't in the tub bare-assed with them. If it was just he and Catalina, there was no obvious problem -- they were used to being nude with each other and frequently were. The two of them nude in the hot tub would be agreeably romantic and almost certainly would lead to steamy sex, which was roughly what Roger had in mind when he suggested it to Catalina on the way north in the first place. But adding Bonnie to the mix most likely took away the prospect for the hot, steamy sex and replaced it with an awkward embarrassment.

Oh, suck it up Roger, he thought. We're all adults and they're used to it. What happens happens. Deal with it.

"One-oh-one," he announced as soon as he was inside the door. That announcement was all it took to have both Catalina and Bonnie stripping off their clothes like they were filled with ants. In only seconds they were bare, except for towels raided from the bathroom -- and they were carrying those. Roger noted Bonnie had a pretty good body for a woman her age, not a lot of sagging for having a pretty nice chest. She had dark areola and big nipples like her daughter, and, like her daughter, her pubic hair had been shaved clean.

"Come on, Roger," Catalina urged. "Don't let yourself be left with what the last little piggy got."

"Hell," he snorted as he unbuckled his belt. "I didn't realize you were in that big a hurry."

Sure enough, the women were out the door before he got even halfway undressed, and by the time he made it out to the tub they were already neck deep with the bubbler going.

Actually, being nude in the hot tub wasn't all that new to Roger. He and Colleen had bought the tub maybe ten years before, with the idea in mind of heading out there nude and maybe doing a little fooling around when in it, or at least warming them up for some fooling around. That was why there were screens on either side of the porch to block the view from the neighbors on each side -- the view out the back was a brushy hillside, so Roger had figured he really didn't need a visual barrier there. He and Colleen had used the tub frequently in the first couple years -- always nude, of course -- and fading off to a few times a year after that. For the first three years after Colleen died, Roger had filled the tub each year and had only used it a handful of times, mostly when something at the plant caused his back to ache. Soaking for a while in the tub and letting the bubbler massage his back did him a world of good.

When he drained it the third year after Colleen's death, he realized he'd only used it twice that year, which wasn't enough use to justify keeping the water warm, so the last couple years he just hadn't bothered to fill it when the hard freeze season was over. It only took sitting his butt up on the deck, swinging around to get his legs in the water, and slipping into it to remind him just how good it felt.

"That wasn't as bad as you thought it would be, was it?" Bonnie laughed. "Catalina tells me that your skills lie in areas where nudity is useful," she smirked. "Maybe I can find out some time, if Catalina will let us. I think she's being rather selfish, don't you?"

"Catalina," Roger said, eyes narrowing. "You tell your mother everything, don't you?"

"Pretty much," the younger woman laughed. "But then, she pretty much tells me everything, too, and her stories are almost always better than mine."

"I'm not sure I want to find out how true that is," Roger replied in pure exasperation. He sank down in the tub, if for no more reason than to gather his wits. Once he'd steeled himself to get in the hot tub nude with the two it wasn't so bad, but he knew the teasing could get out of hand in a hurry. He was beginning to realize Catalina had been more than right in describing her mother.

"Oh, it's true," Catalina giggled, and turned to her mother. "So, we haven't had enough time to catch up, what with all this Delmer shit. Did you go to ComicCon in Chicago last month?"

"Oh, yes," Bonnie replied placidly. "I wouldn't miss it. It's always a lot of fun."

"Did you do Lum again?"

"Oh, my no," Bonnie shook her head. "It took me weeks to get that green dye out of my hair the last time I did it. I'll never do that again. Last Christmas I could have worn red earrings and done cosplay as a Christmas tree."

"All right," Roger sighed, "You've lost me already."

"You get a lot of weird people running around a ComicCon," Catalina explained. "Most of them costumed as a favorite character, that's called cosplay."

"Yeah, I've heard a little about that kind of thing," Roger said. "I always figured you had to be under the legal drinking age, though."

"Oh, my, no," Bonnie grinned. "It's fun for all ages. I had a ball."

"I'll bet you had a ball, in more ways than one," Catalina snorted. "Roger, you have to imagine Mom running around a bunch of comic freaks wearing nothing but green hair, a tiger-stripe thong bikini and tiger-stripe spike-heeled go-go boots."

"And the yellow horns, don't forget those," Bonnie prompted.

"Oh, yes, we won't forget the yellow horns," Catalina shook her head.

Roger stole a look at Bonnie, who had a huge grin on her face. She was a good-looking woman for whatever her age had to be, which had to be at a minimum within striking distance of sixty, and likely on the far side. Still, he'd now seen her in the nude enough to know she didn't exactly have the body of an eighteen-year-old, either. Even at her age, she wouldn't look out of place on a beach somewhere in a bikini -- but at an inside convention in Chicago in November? That had to be pushing it a little . . . well, more than just a little . . .

Realizing both Catalina and Bonnie were trolling for a rise out of him, he decided the best thing to do was to play as dumb about this as he really was. "I never heard of a comic character named Lum. I seem to recall there was a radio show by the name of Lum and Abner back in the thirties, but I don't know anything about it."

"Oh, no," Bonnie smiled. "Lum is a popular anime character. Boys just go wild over her."

"Anime? What's that?"

"Japanese cartoons," Catalina explained. "I saw a lot of them on TV when I was in Japan. I picked up a little Japanese, not really enough to be fluent with it, but I learned a lot from watching anime. I didn't really figure out what was happening in some of them until I saw them later dubbed into English, or subtitled."

"They're a lot better than Bugs Bunny or Road Runner," Bonnie explained. Among other things, more sex."

"Much more sex," Catalina laughed. "Especially the ones you see in Japan. The ones that get over here are a little more, well, reserved. Still, there's a subculture that really gets off on them."

"News to me," Roger shook his head. "I think the last Japanese film I watched was Godzilla some night when I couldn't get to sleep, and that was years ago."

"So, Mom," Catalina smiled, still obviously sticking the needle in Roger, "If you didn't do Lum at the ComicCon this year, what did you do?"

"When I did Lum last year it was a little drafty in the hall, and I caught a cold." Bonnie smiled. "So this year I figured I'd be a little more conservative. I just did your basic anime Japanese schoolgirl."

"That's right, a little more conservative," Catalina replied sarcastically. "Roger, I haven't seen a photo of this costume, but I can imagine it. Get the image in your mind of, oh, a twelve- or thirteen-year-old Japanese girl, just starting to get boobs but doesn't really know yet what they're good for. She's wearing a schoolgirl uniform that's made up of a starched white pinafore, a pleated navy blue skirt short enough to almost but not quite reveal the crack of her ass if she stands up very straight, and long, woolen stockings loose enough that they're all puddled around her Mary Janes. Now imagine Mom in that outfit."

"I didn't wear wool," Bonnie protested. "It's itchy. Mine were a synthetic blend."

"But I hit the description pretty well, didn't I? Even at your age, I'll bet you had the pedophiles crawling out of the woodwork, tongues hanging out."

"Well, of course I had a little interest," Bonnie smirked. "Everybody around Amherst is so dull, I have to do something sometimes to get my blood pumping a little."

"And everybody else's," Catalina snorted.

"Well, hey, it's fun to do costumes once in a while. Halloween only comes once a year, and it isn't often enough."

"The last time Halloween fell on a football Friday," Catalina explained, "She went to the game in a cheerleader's outfit, right out of the sixties."

"It was not," Bonnie said. "They were much too conservative. It was more like the seventies. They were much more sprightly."

"Right. And the skirt length was about right there with that Japanese schoolgirl outfit, wasn't it? Don't kid me, I was there. It was the last time I went to an Amherst football game. At least I was bright enough to wear jeans and a jacket. Roger, it was blowing snow out there that night, and there was Mom, in a sleeveless cheerleader's outfit and bare legs."

"I did not go bare-legged," Bonnie protested. "I wore pantyhose. I knew it was going to be cold out there. I may like my fun but I'm not stupid, either."

"Oh, big difference," Catalina snorted. "I about froze my tush out there that night. I used to think it got cold in Korea, but that was nothing like the stands at Amherst when the team was getting its butt shot off. It may be cold here, but we've got a nice warm hot tub."

"Yeah, it makes the cold almost bearable," Roger agreed, sinking down into the tub to warm up his upper body a little. It gave him the chance to think about what Catalina had said, that her mother was crazier than she was. Hell, Catalina was pretty sane and conservative by comparison, and Roger doubted he'd seen every little nook and cranny. While Bonnie may have been a good-looking woman, going to a convention in a tiger-stripe bikini, go-go boots, and green hair at her age was just a little too far out to comprehend.

While he zoned out a little, the women went on talking about Japanese anime and something called "manga." There were words like "Kenshin," "Trigun," and "Evanglion" being thrown around, but they meant nothing to him. Eventually from the context he figured out they had to be some sort of Japanese comic book, and Bonnie was much more familiar with them than Catalina was. That was promising in a weird sort of way he couldn't quite define. Since he didn't understand what they were talking about, he let his attention drift away, something he thought could never have happened when he was in the hot tub with two nude women.

"Roger?" he heard Bonnie say. "Roger, are you in there?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah," he replied, coming to his senses.

"Would you be interested in a little of my front garden produce?"

"Bonnie," he shook his head. "Are you talking about sex or zucchini?"

"No, just some of the herb I grow in front of the house."

"I'm afraid I'm not into fancy cooking much," he said as he wondered just what in the hell she was talking about.

"Mom's quite a gardener," Catalina grinned. "You should see the planting in front of her house in the summer sometime. You wouldn't believe it."

"Don't be so sure," Roger smiled, realizing whatever this was, it had to be on the odd side -- after all, it was Bonnie who was involved. "What's this planting all about, anyway."

"Oh, it's very pretty," Bonnie laughed. "It's quite colorful when it's in bloom. It's a collection of castor beans, cleome, and Japanese Maple. It's very striking."

"Very striking," Catalina smiled. "Especially since all those plants look more or less like marijuana."

"Don't tell me," Roger sighed. "You plant some of the real thing in there, too, right."

"Well, not at first," Bonnie grinned. "The first year or two I didn't. I'll bet the cops stopped by half a dozen times before they finally quit bothering. Now I can slip the odd plant or two in there and nobody pays any attention."

"The odd plant or dozen," Catalina corrected her.

"Well, it was actually eight last summer," Bonnie protested. "I can't let them get to full maturity or they would be too conspicuous, but it is nice to have a toke or two of the herb once in a while."

"Mom, you never got over being a hippie, did you?"

"I never was a hippie. I was just trying to be progressive and keep up with the times."

"Bull, you were a hippie and you're still one. You just cover it up and make excuses. How many Grateful Dead concerts have you been to?"

"Oh, two or three," Bonnie shrugged.

"How about two or three dozen?" Catalina prompted. "Roger, among other things, Mom was a Dead Head. The day Jerry Garcia died was probably the worst day of her life."

"I was devastated," Bonnie admitted. "Such talent, gone. Things will never be the same again. I smoke a joint every year in memory of his passing. But would you be interested in sharing a little of my weed sometime? I'm afraid I didn't think ahead enough to bring any with me."

"Might be," Roger smiled. "I have to admit, it's been the seventies since I've done any of that. Colleen was, well, sort of straight about that sort of thing, and I got pretty straight, too, after they started random drug testing at work." He couldn't help but think it took some kind of guts to grow your own weed right next to the front sidewalk, and get away with it. But then, it was clear to him that Bonnie had gotten away with a lot.

His contemplation of that thought was barely started when he heard a strange voice: "Oh, shit," Larry, the next door neighbor said excitedly. "I never dreamed you had the hot tub on. I saw all this steam and thought it was smoke."

Roger looked up and saw Larry and his daughter Amber, standing beside the screened-in porch, with a look of relief on their faces. "I saw it and thought the place must be on fire or something," Amber added.

"Well, the ladies wanted to use it, so I filled it," Roger said, trying to be neighborly. Larry and Liz and Amber had been a big help in the days after Colleen died, and in one sense of the word had been about as close friends as he'd had in the last few years. "I'd forgotten how good it feels. Anyway," he continued, raising his arm out of the water, "This is my girlfriend, Catalina Smith, and her mother . . ."

"Bonnie!" Larry exclaimed. "You're about the last person I thought I'd see here!"

"Larry Herter!" Bonnie smiled broadly. "And Amber, you've grown up a lot since I saw you the last time. It must be a couple years."

"At least," Amber smiled. "Do you still go to Sunny Hill? I remember having a lot of fun with you the last time I saw you there, but it's got to be two or three years!"

"I still go to Sunny Hill," Bonnie told them. "But I've only been there two or three times in the last couple years. We must have just plain missed each other. How's Liz?"

"Just fine, she had to work late and hasn't gotten home yet. So how did you get to know Roger?"

"It just happened," Bonnie explained. "He's sort of shacking up with my daughter."

"Well, RVing it up, anyway," Catalina laughed. "We've been living together in his RV down on the Gulf Coast, working on hurricane recovery."

Larry shook his head. "That one you bought last fall, and didn't tell me what you were doing with it. That's what you were doing?"

"I wasn't sure it was going to happen at the time, so I didn't say anything," Roger explained. "So how do you guys know Bonnie? Same nudist camp?"

"Well, yeah," Larry admitted sheepishly. "Liz got me into it before we got married."

"I never knew that," Roger smiled.

"It's not the sort of thing you breeze around town," Amber chimed in. "I'd catch pure hell at school if it got out that my family is all nudist. I'd never hear the end of the smart remarks, the teasing, and not to mention the wandering hands and small minds."

"I can imagine," Roger said, realizing that if he'd been one of those boys in high school he'd have been giving her hell in those circumstances, too. "Don't worry, I won't say anything."

Amber smiled, and cast a longing look at the three of them in the tub. "I think it's neat that you got your hot tub going again. I always wondered why you didn't use it. I wish we had one."

"Well, Amber," Bonnie smiled, "I really don't think Roger would mind if you and your father were to join us. There's plenty of room in here."

Before Larry could say anything Amber squealed, "Oh, Mr. Bishop, can we?"

"Fine with me," Roger shrugged with the realization that in life there are times you're just along for the ride, and this was one of them. "So long as it's all right with your father."

"Fine with me," Larry said, coming onto the porch, his daughter at his heels, clothes already coming off both of them. "You know, since you haven't been using it the last couple years, a couple times I've given thought to asking if you wanted to sell it. It's something I've always wanted, but you can't have everything at once, you know."

Just at that moment Roger was having an experience he'd never dreamed he could have. He'd remembered Amber since she was a baby -- the Herters had been living there that long -- and in the last couple years he had taken note of the fact she wasn't a little girl any longer, especially when she sunbathed in her string bikini in the back yard. In that couple years the thought had crossed his mind that she must be awfully cute naked, but he'd never expected he would actually see that day come. Well, surprise: her boobs looked even firmer and rounder in the flesh than they ever had in a teeny-bopper camisole top, she was developing hips, although her legs were still awfully spindly. Still, she was well on the way to developing into an absolutely gorgeous woman, and it made Roger wish like hell that he was fifteen again. And now she was slipping into the hot tub, and sitting hip to hip with him. It was almost too much to bear!

He got over it pretty quickly, though, mostly because there was a pretty good conversation flowing around him. The thing that really impressed him was how well Amber got along with Bonnie. He'd already gotten the impression that while Bonnie was a nut, she wasn't dumb, by any means -- more like crazy like a fox. She was a free spirit who enjoyed different experiences, and the more outrageous, the better. At least when she was talking with Amber, Bonnie seemed like a teenager who happened to be in her sixties.

And really, was that so bad? She clearly enjoyed life, wringing everything out of it she could -- a far cry from the way he'd moped around aimlessly between his retirement and the decision to head south to help with the Katrina cleanup. Maybe he'd learned a lesson from that.


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To be continued . . .

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