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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
JenEllen BS: Once a Mudcat, always a ? (Story thread) (151* d) RE: BS: Once a Mudcat, always a ? (Story thread) 16 Mar 07

Red woke to the kind of crisp dawn that only exists after a good rain, and knew that today was going to be a beautiful one. Following shortly behind was the realization that bunks should be listed under 'cruel and unusual punishment' in whatever passed for the Geneva Convention these days. She ached in every joint and muscle, and wished she'd done more drinking and singing last night. A hangover would be less painful.

She gingerly got out of bed, trying not to wake her snoring bunkmates, and went outside. The pretty, floaty woman with the fiddle had mentioned a hot springs to her the day before and it sounded like a brilliant idea now. The grass outside was still wet, so she did a few sun salutations on the porch to work out the kinkies and headed towards a trail on the edge of the camp. She gave a look towards the kitchen-slash-Paradise Valley Bar and Nature Club when she heard pots clanging, but knew he wasn't going anywhere while there was breakfast to be cooked. She had time to spare.

She found the hot springs simply by following a trail of discarded clothing. Something in her would never let her 'randomly strew' anything, so she carefully folded her kit and slid into the hot water. Instant rejuvenation. There was something otherworldly about sinking beneath the mineral water and hearing it hum in your ears. She came up, took a deep breath, and then sank to the bottom of the spring. Yesterday was too weird, and too close for comfort, and as she surfaced, she had a flash of pre-dream memory. Blake Madison had some kind of book, and he was reading it before he went lights-out. Damn it.

"Shit, Madison…" she exhaled as she broke the top of the water.

"What did you just say?"

Red splashed full-circle and saw a pale man on the edge of the tree line. She slid to protective cover at the edge of the spring, grabbing for her pile of clothing and barked: "Who the f*ck are you?"

After spending the night in a cave with the Dundee of his dreams, Curtis York could care less about the naked woman in the puddle. He had spent the night listening to the unbelievable tales that the lummox had told him, and had stumbled into the day in a sort of a trance. When he'd reached the clearing and heard the red-headed woman say "Madison", the words of the stranger he met came back to him in a flood.

"Be careful with Dundee. Don't do anything until you meet a particular redhead. She'll have a password."

"What password? What redhead?"

"You'll know her by the password."

"What password, eh?"

"The password is Madison. Blake Madison."

His reverie was broken by the hiss of the rock that just winged past his ear. The woman had managed to get her shirt on, and by doing so had given herself modesty and a greater reach of projectiles. "How dare you sneak up.." the woman's rant continued. Curtis York was oblivious. He turned back towards the cave and seemed not to notice the rocks bouncing off his legs and back.

Red scrambled from the spring and wrestled wet skin into the rest of her clothes. Her hands were shaking and her heart thumped in her ears. She hated being startled, and whether he knew it or not, that skinny-pale dude had just rocketed to the top of her shit-list. She ran back to the camp and straight to the kitchen. The cook was a certified giant of a man, made only more so by comparison to the dishwasher he had in his employ. The cook stood bent over the griddle, flipping enormous buckwheat pancakes and stirring a pot of blackberry syrup, while the tiny dishwasher stood on a chair enveloped in steam, happily scrubbing away at the pots and pans she gathered from the counter.

Red leaned against the doorjamb and purred: "Y'all need any help?" The giant spun around and gave Red a bear hug, happily reciting his part of the code in his heavily accented growl: "You can take out the trash!" The dishwasher chirped: "Is it hot in here, or is it just me?" and the three dissolved into giggles. It had been far too long since they had seen one another, but that was the way of the world sometimes.

Red sat on a dishtowel on the counter so that she could get a good view of the window and the door. She listened to the cook and noted the drawings that the tiny woman made on the side of the fogged up refrigerator. Whenever anyone would come too close to earshot, Red picked up the only instrument that could survive the heat and humidity of the camp kitchen—a plastic ukulele—and started singing "Sister Kate" at the top of her lungs. The other two would follow behind, and anyone passing would be treated to three-part harmony and nothing else.

I may be late, but I'll be up to date
When I can shimmy like my sister Kate

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