Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online
After it was over with, I sort of collapsed to one side of her, and she rolled to take me in her arms again. “Thank you, Jake,” she said. “That wasn’t bad for a first time.”
“Debby,” I whispered, “that was wonderful. Thank you.”
“No, thank you,” she whispered back. “I’ve had a lot worse.”
We just lay there cuddling for a while, holding each other tight. “Hey, lover,” she said, “would you like to do that again?”
“Christ yes,” I said. “I wouldn’t mind a few minutes to pull myself together, though.”
“That’s all right, I’ll be ready when you are. Did that make things seem better?”
“Yeah,” I admitted. “It helped a lot.”
“You don’t feel guilty because I’m not Brittany, do you?”
“Who’s Brittany?” I laughed a little, then got serious. “Do you mind that I’m not John?”
“Well, yeah, a little,” she said. “Not enough to feel guilty about it. I mean, if he’s going to be fucking that Karen bitch I don’t see any reason I ought to hold back if I feel like it. Look, Jake, we can do this again, maybe do it a lot, but it has to be just sex, nothing more, no falling in love with me or anything. If the chance comes for me to be back with John, that’s the end of it, all right?”
“Yeah, I guess. First things first, and all that. You have to do what you have to do.”
“Good, I’m glad we got that established. Now, can I say something that might sound just a little bit critical?”
“Of course, you’ve earned it.”
“Good,” she said. “Jake, like I said, that wasn’t bad for a first time, and I had a lot of fun with it, too. But you can do better. There’s a lot of stuff you can learn to make it even better. Lover, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fucked around a lot, not always just with John, and more since he blew me off. I’ve got a lot I can teach you if you’re willing to put up with my coaching you. I mean, it’s more than just putting Tab A into Slot B, even though I said that is all it is, but it’s not anything that practice can’t cure. I’m not always going to be in the mood for it every night, especially if it’s been a pisser of a day, but you can use that big tool of yours on me fairly often and I’m not going to complain about it.”
“Yeah,” I replied philosophically. “I guess I can see that there’s got to be some room for improvement, and I won’t mind improving.”
“Good deal, honey,” she said with a big smile. “I’m going to teach you to drive me right out of my tree, and most of it will be something you can use on another woman to drive her out of her tree, too. And, I can guarantee you that there are going to be other women to do it to.”
“I sure hope so,” I sighed.
“Oh, it’ll happen,” she laughed. “You want to know what the best part of it all could be?”
“Suppose that somehow in the future you wind up in bed with Brittany after all. If you do, you’re damn well going to be able to show her what she missed by blowing you off.”
“Sounds good.” I shook my head. “But it’s probably not going to happen, and I’m not sure I want it to happen, not after tonight. We’ve already done stuff I can’t imagine her wanting to do.”
“Hey, lover. Until a few days ago, could you imagine her stepping out on you?”
“I get your point,” I sighed.
“That’s right. Never say never. Now, you want to get down to business?”
“Sure,” I laughed. “I’m ready to be taught some of those tricks.”
“Fine with me,” she said. “Now I know it doesn’t work with every girl, but I really get off on getting my earlobe tongued . . . ”
Debby had been next to me when I fell asleep, but when I woke up in the early morning light she was gone. A glance at the clock revealed that she’d probably had to get up to go get breakfast started over in the snack bar.
I lay in bed for a few minutes, still glorying in the afterglow of the evening before. It had been a night like I never could have imagined, even at this time the day before. The pain of Brittany’s betrayal still lay on me, but it was back in some distant corner of my mind, not the overwhelming ogre it had been for the last few days. For the first time it felt like I was going to get over Brittany, her back-stabbing, and the way my family had treated me. Whether I could ever stand to be around any of them again was another story, but that wasn’t a question that needed to be answered any time soon.
Finally I realized I needed to get up and get moving. It was still pretty early, but there was a lot to do, and I realized I might as well be doing it. I threw back the covers and rolled to get out of bed, feeling aches and pains in places I wasn’t used to feeling them. I thought I was in shape, hell, I was in shape, but apparently I’d been using some muscle groups I wasn’t used to using. Using them heavily, for that matter; my first time with Debby the night before hadn’t been the only time.
Considering all the physical activity I’d enjoyed, I thought it best to grab another shower before I got dressed. In a few minutes I had on my jeans and sweat shirt from the night before, and was heading over to the snack bar. It was still pretty early, and apparently the place wasn’t open yet. I went in the back door to find Debby busily working in the kitchen, wearing an apron over a T-shirt and jeans, like the day before. Somehow, after the night before it seemed just a little strange to be around her; I was wondering what I should say. Finally, I managed, “So how are you this morning?”
“Pretty good, honey. Just a little bit sore, but it’s a good sore, if you know what I mean. It’s been a while since I’ve had a night like that, and you were pounding me pretty good. I guess I needed the practice, too.”
Well, that was direct, which was what I was starting to expect out of her anyway. “Well, good,” I said. “I’d hate to be the cause of any morning-after blues.”
“Oh, no, lover, not after a night like that,” she said with a smile, not looking up from whatever it was she was doing. “It just makes me look forward to the next time.”
“Boy, Debby,” I heard Barb’s voice come from the front room. I hadn’t been aware she was there. “You sure didn’t waste any time breaking in the new dock hand, did you?”
“Hell no,” Debby said through a big grin. “Got to get it while it’s hot. Who knows how long he’ll be available? I mean, hell, look at last summer. Almost the whole thing was a waste.”
Barb stepped into view; apparently she’d been getting things set up out front. “Jake, I guess I should have warned you. Debby apparently thinks it’s her duty to try to screw all the dock hands who come through here.”
“I do not,” Debby said after a laugh. “I didn’t even think about taking on Howard last summer.”
“Well, that’s understandable,” Barb smiled at her and then explained, “Howard was at least seventy-five, if not older.”
“I wouldn’t have turned him down on account of his age,” Debby said. “I figure the old guys would like to have it and it’s possible they might know an old-time trick or two. But he was such a dried-up old fart that I didn’t think he’d be able to get it up on the best day he had, so I didn’t even bother trying.”
“I can’t believe you actually managed it with Perry,” Barb said with a shake of her head.
“Well, technically I didn’t, I suppose,” Debby sighed. “Jake, Perry was as queer as a three dollar bill, but I’ll admit that he gave me a whole new idea about taking it in the back door. I never dreamed it could be so good. Now, Billy, he was pretty good while he lasted, and I mean that in more ways than one. I mean, once and he was done for the night. You’ve already got him beat.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. I mean, I really didn’t know what to say! Apparently Debby had no secrets to her sex life, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. On the other hand, I thought, if that was the price I had to pay to have a sex life after all the jerking around I’d gotten from Brittany and my family over the years, I guessed it was worth it. While I was still trying to find something to say, Barb smiled at me and said, “Get used to it, Jake. You may even learn to like it. Now that you’re up, I suppose we’d better think about some breakfast.”
“Fine with me,” I said, relieved to have that much to say.
“I usually just let Debby throw something together. It makes for a little more variety.”
“Fine with me,” I told her. “I’m still used to Navy chow, which means eating whatever gets put in front of me.”
“I think pancakes and sausage this morning,” Debby said. “I mean, lover, you need something to build up your strength after a night like last night.”
“Anything I can do to help?”
“Yeah, honey, if you want to peel some spuds it would be a big help,” she replied. “Just half a dozen or so, there’ll be some people coming in that’ll want hashies.”
I’ll have to say that Debby knew her way around the kitchen; she was fast and efficient with her moves, and within seconds she had our breakfast going on the grill, and was dishing it up by the time I got the potatoes peeled. The three of us went out to the front room and sat eating and talking, which included several more teasing comments from Debby.
We were just finishing up our breakfast when we could see a big cruiser pull up to the dock – not in front of the pumps, but farther on down. “Looks like Nate has a little business today,” Debby said.
“Probably someone wanting to try a little early season salmon,” Barb replied. “I hope they have better luck than what we’ve been hearing about.”
I watched the boat pull up. A guy hopped off and secured a line from the bow to a cleat on the dock, then went to the stern and fastened that one, too. I could see two other guys get off the boat and they all came up the steps to the front of the snack bar. “Morning, Barb,” one of them said as he came in.
“Morning, Nate,” Barb replied. “Gonna give it a try today, huh?”
“Yeah, I think out to the north,” the guy said. He looked to be about the same age as Barb, around early forties, and about my size, and had the look about him that he spent some time outside. “I heard some talk that there was a little activity up that way yesterday, but we decided to stop off and have a little breakfast first.”
“Been slow, from what I’ve heard,” Barb said with a shrug.
“It’ll pick up,” Nate said, heading for a table with the other two guys. “They’ve got to be out there somewhere.”
“How’s Marge doing today?” Barb asked as she got up to get menus and an order pad.
“A little better, I think,” he replied as she took them over to the table. “She seemed pretty chipper this morning. So, who’s the new guy?”
“Oh, this is Jake,” she said, glancing in my direction for a moment. “He’s the new dock hand, since yesterday. He sort of showed up out of nowhere, but it looks like he’s going to fit in pretty well.”
“Good enough,” Nate said. “It’s getting to be the time of year when you need some help.”
“Yeah.” Barb handed out the menus. She raised her voice a little and said, “Jake, this is Nate Kunkle. He runs fishing charters out of his place up in the village, so you’re going to be seeing a lot of him.”
“Good to meet you,” I said.
“Same here,” he replied. “You know much of anything about fishing?”
“You use hooks, right? Not much of anything. It’s not something you learn much about in the Navy.”
“Navy man, huh?” he said. “My son Mike just went into the Navy a while back. He seems to like it so far.”
“If he can stay away from chipping irons he might continue to like it,” I told him. “I’ve only been out a few weeks, and there’s the chance I might go back in after a while.”
“Yeah, I had to go through that stuff when I was in, too, but I guess that’s one of those things that’s expected.” He turned back to Barb and asked, “Can I get Debby to throw us together some sandwiches or something for lunch?”
“I’m sure she can find something in the refrigerator,” Barb replied. “She had some tuna salad for lunch yesterday, I’m pretty sure there’s some left over.”
“Sounds good to me,” one of the guys agreed – he was obviously a customer of Nate’s. “At least we’ll get to eat some fish that way.”
“Right,” the other customer agreed. “It’d be nice to catch something, but whoever it was that said a bad day at fishing is better than the best day at work sure got it right. It’ll just be nice to be out on the water, and not be at the office.”
“You never know,” Nate said. “We’ll just have to find them, they’re bound to be out there somewhere.” He turned back to Barb and added, “You might as well get us a couple thermoses of coffee, too. It’s going to be cool out there today.”
“Well, you have a good time out there,” Barb said. “Are you ready to order?”
By this time I had finished my breakfast, so I hauled my dirty dishes out to the kitchen and stacked them by the sink. Barb proved to be right behind me, bringing the orders for Debby. “Unless you’ve got something else for me to do,” I said, “I’m going to get back to work on that room.”
“Good enough, it all has to be done,” Barb agreed. “We’ve got someone else coming in, but when things slow down I’ll come over and see how you’re coming.”
I went back over to the motel room I’d been working on the day before and got to work. It was still early, but I thought that if I got a good start I might be able to finish up the whole job in the next couple days. After a while, I happened to look out the front window and saw Nate’s boat going by; I stopped to get a better look at it. It looked like it was rigged for fishing, and I wondered what it would be like to be doing that. Maybe I’d get a chance to cadge a ride sometime. The boat was out of sight in a few seconds, and I got back to work.
It was getting close to midmorning when Barb showed up and asked me how it was going. “Pretty well,” I told her. “I’m almost done with this room except for the carpet shampooing. I figure I might as well let that go as I can shampoo several rooms at once.”
“Sounds reasonable. You’re coming along pretty well. I, uh, hope Debby didn’t put you out too much last night. She can be pretty hard to handle when she sets her mind to something.”
“No problem,” I told her. “I just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all. It did, well, help to get a few things in perspective.”
“Well, good,” she said and smiled. “I got the impression yesterday that you were having some problems with that, and it looks to me like Debby had the right medicine for you. Don’t worry about it. I know what she’s like, and so long as it doesn’t cause any problems, what you two do on your own time is fine with me. But you probably ought to know that if the guy she’s hung up on ever gets free she’ll drop you like a hot potato.”
“She mentioned that right up front,” I told her. “But I figure it’s her choice.” I was still a little uncomfortable with the whole topic, so changed the subject. “From what little I picked up it seemed like the snack bar was fairly busy this morning.”
“Yeah, a little more than usual,” she admitted. “It comes and it goes this time of year. There are about a dozen regulars who show up more often than not off season, and sometimes they’ll waste half the morning sitting around and shooting the bull. I’d guess Nate is the only one of them you’ve met.”
“Seems like a nice guy,” I commented.
“He is a nice guy,” she replied. “Nate and I have known each other, shit, forever. We go clear back to kindergarten, maybe even before that. In a town as small as this one, everyone knows everyone else, right down to the little-kid level. He does pretty well with his charter fishing service. He probably is as successful as anyone in the business, maybe a little more than most. He only got that boat, the Chinook III, a couple years ago, right before his wife came down with heart trouble.”
“I remember hearing you asking how she was,” I said by way of acknowledgement.
“Yeah, Marge and I are old friends and go back forever, too. I don’t fully understand what her heart problem is, but she has good days and she has bad ones. Before that happened, the two of them would be out on the boat a lot. It really takes two to handle it with a party on board, but those two guys are regulars so I guess Nate figured he could get away with it. He does that a lot off-season, but during the main season his daughter Rachel usually crews for him. She’s fifteen, but she’s one hell of a seaman. Even three or four years ago we’d look out the window of the snack bar and watch her run the boat out the channel, alone on the flying bridge, while Nate would be down in the cockpit getting things sorted out for fishing.”
“Sounds like quite a kid.”
“She really is. Very mature and responsible, at least around boats. In most ways she’s still a goofy young teenager, and I know what that’s all about since I had two go through that stuff myself. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind, but I sort of offered to Nate that if push came to shove that you might be able to help him out for a day or two if he needs an extra hand before Rachel gets out of school for the summer.”
“Sure, I don’t mind. I was thinking that I wouldn’t mind getting a ride on a boat like that some time. Though I spent four years in the Navy, I really don’t know much about small boats.”
“That’ll be all right. I told Nate that you would be pretty much a rookie at it, and he said he’d be glad to teach you. If something comes along where he needs someone who knows what they’re doing, I’ll probably help out. I’ve done it for years, even back before Marge got sick. The problem with that is you’ll have to help Debby in the snack bar as well as handle the fuel dock, so that means those days you won’t be able to do much on some of the other maintenance chores that need to be done. That’ll probably only be for a couple weeks until the girls get home from college, then there’ll be extra hands to help out.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard both you and Debby mention your girls. They’ll be home for the summer, right?”
“Yeah, they go to Grand Valley downstate. Susie is just finishing up her junior year and Annette will be ending her freshman year. They’ve been close over the years and it was a little hard while Susie was off at college and Annette was still living at home, but this year they’ve been in a dorm together, and from what I’ve heard they’ve had a lot of fun being together again. It’ll be nice to have them back home again. This winter has seemed awfully quiet without either of them around, and nothing to do but listen to Debby bitch about John seeing that girl Karen of his.”
“That could get old after a while,” I commented, having had a dose of it the night before.
“Yeah, no fooling.” She shook her head. “Oh, well, maybe with you here we won’t be hearing quite as much of it. Whatever happens, though, I doubt that it’s going to die out anytime soon.”
“Not knowing her very well, can’t say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right,” I agreed.
“Like I said, maybe with you around she’ll keep it down to a dull roar. Anyway, I see you’re coming along pretty good on these rooms, but I wonder if I could ask you to do something else this afternoon.”
“No reason why not. You’re the boss, after all. What do you have in mind?”
“Debby needs to get a couple things from town, and she mentioned that you need some deck shoes. She doesn’t have a car, which is probably good since she can’t drive for shit. If you can take her after the lunch rush dies out, maybe she can show you around a little so you’ll have some idea of where things are.”
“Probably not a bad idea, and I have no problem with it,” I agreed.
“One hint, get two or three pairs of deck shoes. They’re forever getting wet, and that’ll give you some dry ones to wear while the others are drying out.”
I finished up that room that morning and moved onto the next one. Eventually Barb called me in for lunch, which was the tuna salad she’d mentioned earlier – and it was very good. There were only a couple people just finishing up in the snack bar when Barb told Debby and I that we could take off, but it would be better if we didn’t take too long if we could manage it.
Debby and I went out and got into my old Pontiac – I say old, it was about eight years old but I’d only bought it since I’d gotten out of the Navy – and we got moving. Once we got out to the state highway, Debby showed me around Winchester. There wasn’t much to the town – Dot’s Bar, a service station/convenience store, a closed restaurant, and not much else. We turned south to go across the river on the low highway bridge, and she told me it kept bigger boats from going upstream – it didn’t matter much, since the river soon got crooked and shallow to the point where it was only good for canoes. She pointed out Nate’s house, and the big metal shed just downstream of the highway bridge that he used for working on boats in the winter, which she explained was how he kept busy in the cold months, doing major rebuild projects.
We headed on out south of town, past the golf course, which Debby explained was the one owned by John’s parents. I slowed down to get a better look at the big lodge and clubhouse and commented that it looked like a nice place. “Yeah, snazzy,” she replied. “They get a lot of snooty and classy business.”
A couple of miles down the road we turned toward Hughesville, about eight or nine miles inland. It was the big town in the area, big enough to have a small K-Mart, and Debby explained that it was where all the Winchester kids like her had gone to school.
We were able to get some cheap slip-on deck shoes there, and a few other odds and ends that Debby needed, then went across town to the supermarket, which was on the small side but probably had all anyone needed. While I pushed the cart, Debby filled it with some things that were needed at the snack bar, and soon we were heading back.
It didn’t take us long to get back – it couldn’t have been more than ten miles or so – but once again I was glad I had Debby with me because I would have missed the turn to go down to the Channel Stop for sure. How I’d found it in the first place I’m not sure. “Not a bad little place,” I said. “Seems kind of quiet.”
“Yeah lover, it is,” she replied. “If it wasn’t for the harbor, there wouldn’t be much here at all. But it’s mostly good people, and we all pretty much know each other, and that includes the good and the bad. There aren’t many secrets in a place like this.”
“I kind of got that impression this morning. I mean, you sure weren’t keeping what we did last night secret from Barb at all.”
“Oh, hell, that’s what she expects out of me, honey,” she said and grinned. “It keeps life interesting. Sometimes you have to work at that in a place as small as this is.”
That got me to thinking. “From what you say, I get the impression that it’s no secret around town that you’ve had a number of boyfriends.” I used that term since I didn’t want to say she slept around a lot, though that was what I meant. “I have to ask how that’s going to go over with John.”
“It’s no secret from him,” she said. “After all, it’s no secret that he’s screwing that bitch Karen silly every chance he gets. He just doesn’t realize yet that the two of them aren’t going to go the distance, and that I’m having my fun while he’s having his. All that shit ends when we get back together, and that’s just going to have to be that. Besides, when the time comes I plan on keeping him busy enough that he’s not going to have time to do it with anyone else, anyway.”
“No, I pretty well know it,” she said, taking a deep breath, which made her chest even more prominent. “Anyway, I thought it went pretty good last night. You going to be up for another round tonight?”