I Won the LotterybyTxRad©
Normally, I write it, read it, fix the obvious screw ups, and then post it. This time was a little different. Ok, a lot different. I had an offer to edit my story and I'd like to thank a great lady for taking the time to do that for me. She is a writer here at Lit and her name is Alexis Haines. She did her best to correct my punctuation and grammar, which is a full time job. I took most of her advice, so any screw-ups should still be attributed to me. She also took interest enough to ask questions about why my characters did things and to point out confused sections and goofs. I hope I fixed them all or she'll come and haunt me. So please read something of hers as a payback from me.
Two weeks ago, I won the lottery. Now what the fuck do I do? I didn't hit it real big but then again, I didn't ever want to be rich, just comfortable. Eight million dollars sounded like rich to me, until I found out that I got it in twenty-five yearly installments. I thought I had checked "lump sum" but I guess I didn't. It was probably for the best, as the taxes would have eaten me alive. Even so, after taxes that works out to around two hundred and twenty thousand a year. To my poor dumb ass that's both rich and comfortable.
Now back to the original question, what now? Don't worry; I've had plenty of suggestions, propositions, and proposals. Some of them were even of the business type. Then the list of long lost and not so lost relatives started to grow by leaps and bounds. The cards, the letters, the phone calls from total strangers at all hours of the day or night, they're enough to drive you to drink; but don't go to the bar, or you'll be expected to buy all night long. If that sounds cynical, then I'm sorry but it doesn't take long to get that way.
Enough was enough. Using a lawyer as a go between, I started the search for a piece of property to hide on. I'm not the mansion or townhouse type. I prefer the country so I decided to buy a large tract of land. In my mind's eye, I knew what I wanted but it took a lot of looking to find it. I wanted trees (preferably oaks), water (a lake, pond, river, or large creek), and isolation (but not too far from civilization). Getting the idea across to a lawyer is next to impossible. Most of the lawyers I talked to seemed to think the world ended at the city limit signs and the country was the golf course.
After a long and frustrating search, I finally decided on a piece of land. It was larger than I thought I needed or really wanted but it was beautiful. Large oaks and pecans were everywhere, there were seven large, deep ponds dotted around the place, and it was well off the main highways but only forty miles from a large town. At one time, it had belonged to a large corporation and they had used it as their executive and family retreat. It hadn't been used for nearly five years but was in surprisingly good shape. There was a large conference building with a dining area situated in the center of the compound. Around it were a dozen small, furnished duplex cabins and a large recreation building. Off to the left was a large two bedroom rustic house with a porch running all the way around the outside and a carport. Huge oak trees shaded the whole area with large grass expanses separating the buildings. Pathways wandered everywhere, almost at random. Overall, it was quite a fancy place, way out in the woods with all the major comforts.
I signed all the paperwork on Thursday and left the lawyer's office with my copies and a large key ring with at least twenty-five keys on it. I couldn't quit smiling as I drove home. Never in my life had I ever thought I'd own a place like this. I had dreamed of it, yes; but I couldn't believe it, even now. I felt on top of the world, but a little overwhelmed and lost at the same time. My life was changing fast, almost too fast in some ways.
Since the new place was furnished with better stuff than anything I owned, I had sold or given away all of the furniture in my apartment. Everything I owned was packed into my old truck, which wasn't much. The trash man was going to have a field day on Monday. I had gone through the apartment one room at a time and trashed anything I didn't like, need, or that was worn out. Most of what was in the truck were mementos of the last forty something years of my life. I had started to trash them too but couldn't quite do it. A fresh start was one thing but I needed to keep some roots and a reminder of who I was and why.
I figured I had enough of the essentials to get settled into my new place, so I could spend a quiet, peaceful weekend alone. Next week would be soon enough to start shopping for what I needed. This weekend would allow me to figure out what I did need. I had put a fair sized down payment on the property, and had arranged for the bank to handle the payments and insurance. It's funny how helpful banks can be when you have a guaranteed six-figure income. If I ran short of cash, I could even draw against next year's check. All in all, it was quite a good feeling not to have to worry about money. A feeling that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
Friday morning, I drove south until I came to the small two-lane asphalt road leading into my new home. Once on the side road, I turned off the truck's air conditioner and rolled down the windows. I drove along slowly, enjoying the cool morning air and the clean smell of the woods; also, I was kind of keeping an eye on whom, if anyone was following me. Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you.
Six miles later, I turned left into a gravel county road and followed it another two miles until I reached my gate. There were six different padlocks on the gate, daisy chained together. Opening any one of the locks let that key holder in. I didn't have a key for two of the locks. I removed four locks and replaced them with a new one of my own. That should, in theory, limit the number of people able to unlock this gate and give me some privacy. The white rock and sand road winds off through the woods for another mile before it reached the compound. I parked in the carport of the house and got out.
I had been here twice before to look the place over. The first time I had inspected all the buildings and made quite a few notes as to things that needed fixing and general repairs. The second time I had spent half a day driving around the property on a network of sand and gravel roads that covers most of the twenty five hundred acres. Now I was here to live.
I paused a moment and leaned against the truck looking around. One part of my brain was wondering what the hell had I done, and another part was happy and content. This was a big place and it hit me that it would be a full time job taking care of it. It's too late for doubt, I told myself; I was here now, and that was that. I'd have to take it one day at a time and see how it all worked out. Things had changed fast and... I let the thought trail off as I turned and walked toward the house. I'd worry about everything later; now was a time to rest and relax.
I unlocked the house and went around opening all the doors and windows. The house isn't as large as it looks from the outside; the porches make it look that way. The central portion of the house contains the living room, dining area, and the kitchen. The kitchen is separated from the rest by a wide counter and breakfast bar. To the right is a doorway leading to a twenty by twenty-foot bedroom with the bath in the left rear corner, separated by a five-foot wall. I had noticed a fireplace in the living room and realized it went through the wall to this bedroom. Two six by six-foot walk-in closets are on the right wall, with a large picture window between them in an alcove. To the left of the living room is another bedroom and bath. It's identical to the first except for the fireplace. The house, like the duplexes, came completely furnished, right down to pots and pans, dishes, and glassware. The only things I really needed were pillows, linens, food, and drink.
For the next hour or so, I unloaded the truck and moved into the house. I chose the right-hand bedroom because of the fireplace. It took another couple of hours before I was satisfied with the arrangement of everything, for the moment anyway. I had made a list of things I needed and wanted as I thought of them. Since none of them except food was really important, I decided to wait until Monday to make a trip to town. There was a small country store back out on the highway, and I could get the groceries I needed there.
I wandered around the place for several hours just getting a feel for it and looking into places I'd not noticed the first time here. The most interesting place was the combination barn, storeroom, and tool shed that stood at the back edge of the compound. In the barn was a tractor, every implement known to man to fit it, and a large flatbed hay trailer. There were dozens and dozens of hay bales stacked here and there around the thirty by forty-foot room. The storeroom in the top of the barn was full of furniture and furnishings of all styles and types. It seemed as though whoever decorated this place never threw anything away, they just stored it. It was a treasure chest of items. The tool shed attached to the side of the barn was full of tools and workbenches. There seemed to be everything from hand tools to table saws in there. It was a handyman's dream.
Around midday, I got in the truck and headed for the store. I stocked up on the groceries that were on my list and several other things that caught my fancy. Not being on a budget was weird after all these years of pinching pennies. I even bought a couple of cases of beer and several bottles of wine. Splurging was fun.
The young lady that checked me out asked, "Where's the party being held?"
"Sorry, there's no party, I'm moving into my new place and need to stock up for the weekend."
"Well, let me be the first to welcome you to the area. My name's Mary, my mom and I run this place and we're usually here from daylight until dark except for some Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. Where are you moving in?"
When I tried to explain where it was, she laughed. "Oh, you mean the old Wright place. My dad used to be the maintenance man there; my mom looks after the place now. The Wrights owned it forever and then sold it to a large company. They used it for a party and hunting camp and from what I've heard; it was mostly party time, all the time. That's an awfully big place for just one person isn't it?"
Now it was my turn to laugh as I answered, "I guess it is! By the way, my name's Larry, and its nice to meet you."
I paid for my stuff and loaded it into the truck. On the way back to the compound, I got to thinking about what she had said. Until now, I hadn't thought much about what I was going to do with the new place or myself. I didn't need to work, but if I didn't have something to do, I would get bored sooner or later. I filed that away in the back of my mind for future planning. All I wanted to do this weekend was rest, relax, and explore my new domain.
After I unloaded the groceries and put them away, I changed into a pair of shorts, a tee shirt, and tennis shoes. Early April is cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoons. With a beer in hand, I went to sit on the front porch swing. It was so peaceful and quiet that I started to doze. I jerked awake and stood up. If I napped now I wouldn't sleep tonight, and there wasn't any TV to watch until the wee hours, as I hadn't called to install a satellite system yet. I needed to put that on my list of things to do. I stretched and finished my beer, thinking what I needed was to take a walk. Looking down at the small roll around my waist, I grinned. Now was a good time to start working on getting rid of that. I had always liked to hike when I was younger but living in a city, in these days, it wasn't a safe thing to do. Now I had the place to do what I wanted, when I wanted.
I went to the kitchen for a bottle of water and to trash the beer can. Back outside I headed in the direction of the barn and took the small road into the woods behind it. From my drive around the place the other day, I knew this road led to one of the ponds, then curved around to the left to intersect another road. If I took a left there, I would end up back at the compound.
After about fifteen minutes of walking, I stopped to take a sip of water and to remove the tee shirt. I walked a little farther thinking how nice it was out here and how good the sun felt on my bare skin. I could get my exercise and a tan at the same time. This made me stop again; why not get an all over tan? There was no one around for miles except for me. I chuckled and slipped the shorts off over my tennis shoes. I hadn't worn any underwear as it was built into the shorts. I started walking again, feeling a little funny about wandering around naked but kind of enjoying the freedom. The sun was warm on my skin, the shade was cool, and the breeze caressed me softly.
Another twenty minutes of walking brought me to the open area on the near side of the pond. I walked slowly down toward a small pier that jutted out from the shore near the dam end of the pond. I had seen it the other day but hadn't stopped to check it out. There was a small screen of brush between it and me, so I was startled when I realized that there was a pickup truck parked on the backside of the dam. I had walked about half way to it before I remembered that I was naked.
A shout from the pier told me it was too late to get out of this situation gracefully.
"Who the hell are you, and what are you doing on this property?" It was a woman's voice, which made me feel even worse.
I turned to see her sitting on a blanket near the end of the pier, holding a towel up in front of herself as she tried to wrap it into place. It flashed through my brain that she was as naked as I was.
"I should be asking you the same questions, since I own this place," I said loudly, as I started walking in her direction. I figured I might as well bluff it out, as if I always ran around naked.
She looked at me hard. "No you don't. I know the man in charge of this place for the company and you're not him. Anyway he lives in the city and hasn't ever been here in the four years that this place has been for sale."
I reached the end of the pier and stopped. With a chuckle, I said, "I bought the place day before yesterday, so I am the new owner. Now who are you and why are you nude sunbathing on my pier?"
She blinked several times as she thought about what I had said. "I'm Karen and I'm the handyman, uh, woman around here, or at least I was for the old owners. As for the sunbathing, it's just a fringe benefit of the job. You sure seem to be dressed for success yourself and if you're not careful, you'll have sunburn in places that won't be funny."
Now it was my turn to blink until I realized she was referring to my tanned arms and legs, where my usual tee shirt and shorts didn't cover, and the now pink color of the rest of my body. I laughed before I slipped on my shorts and tee shirt.
"Let's start over shall we? Hi, I'm Larry White the new owner of this place and no I don't normally run around nude; but today's the first day of my new life, and it seemed like a good idea at the time."
Karen stood and wrapped the towel sarong fashion around her waist before she walked down the pier to shake my extended hand. She was as tall as I and slender. Her thick red hair was tied back in a long ponytail. Her face was heart shaped with high cheekbones and not a trace of makeup. The smallish breasts riding high on her chest fit the rest of her body. She was darkly tanned all over and in excellent shape. Impressive was the first thought to cross my mind, beautiful and sexy as hell, were the second and third.
She smiled as she shook my hand with a firm grip. "I'm glad to meet you. You'll need to rub some aloe vera on tonight after your shower; it'll help the sunburn and soothe the sting. I'll pack my stuff and be on my way."
I smiled still holding her hand. "There's no reason for you to leave; you can use this pier or any other place you like. I don't have any aloe, but I'll get some from the store on the highway."
I found it easy to look into her dark brown eyes. "I might be in the market for a handyman, uh, woman myself. There is a long list of minor things that need to be fixed and since you've been doing the job, you probably already know more about this place than I could hope to learn in a short space of time."
I heard myself rambling on but couldn't stop myself. She finally eased her hand out of mine and laughed.
"I'll call my daughter and have her deliver a bottle of aloe out here after she closes. I thank you for the offer of the use of the place and I except. As for the job offer, we'll have to talk it over and see what we can work out. When I said handyman earlier, I probably should have said house sitter and preventative maintenance person. My husband was the maintenance man here for ten years before he died. When the corporation decided to close it down, they hired me to watch over things but not to spend anymore money than absolutely necessary."
I nodded my head. "Ok, but I think I'll still offer you the job if you want it. Maybe we can discuss it over supper tonight; and I've already met your daughter earlier today. I went to get groceries at the store. Maybe she'd like to join us if she hasn't eaten already."
She cocked her head to the side and looked at me as though she was trying to decide something. "Can you cook or will I have to?" That was all she asked.
I had to laugh at the serious tone of her voice. "I will. I learned to cook out of self-defense. My wife could burn water and that was her best dish. If she hadn't had other talents, I probably wouldn't have stayed married to her for twenty years. She's been dead for almost five years now, but her cooking is not one of the things I miss."
"I'm sorry to hear about your wife, and I understand what you mean about missing things. I seem to run into that from time to time, myself. At least it's getting better with time. Let me call my daughter before I forget and I'll see you a little later, alright?"
I paused a moment as my mind wandered back over the time after my wife died. "Yes it does." I said, mostly to myself.
I cleared my throat. "Ok, I'll finish my walk and figure out the menu for tonight. Anything special you'd like?" I asked, as I stepped off the pier and allowed her to pass.
She said, as she walked toward the truck, "I'm not picky, fix whatever you can catch."
I watched her walk toward the truck with fascination. Her hips swayed, swiveled, and rolled in the sexiest and most sensuous walk I had ever witnessed. Even in a towel, it was remarkable. My mind wondered quickly what it would look like without the towel. I clamped down on that thought and said, "I'll see you later."
She reached in through the truck window, retrieved a small cellular telephone, and turned to tell me 'bye. I walked across the dam, glancing back from time to time. She finished her call and returned to the end of the pier to remove the towel and lay back down on the blanket. I stopped at the end of the dam just before the tree line and waved. She waved back.
The walk back to the house was time filled with thoughts of Karen. Some of the fantasies that played in my head would scorch paper, if I wrote them down and would have gotten my face slapped, if I had proposed any of them to Karen. Let's just say, I had a major hard on most of the time I was walking. I'm glad I hadn't been in this shape when I first met her. I had been embarrassed enough as it was.
When I reached the house, I took a long shower and relaxed. Drying off with the towel, I realized how much sun I had gotten. A look in the mirror showed most of my body to be hot pink. If I had made the whole walk without meeting Karen, I would have been a lobster by the time I had finished. I dressed in loose shorts and a tee shirt before heading for the kitchen. After rummaging around, I came up with the fixings for spaghetti, garlic bread, and a salad. I started the spaghetti sauce to simmering, sliced the loaf of French bread, and buttered it. I sprinkled the butter with garlic powder and placed the bread on a cookie sheet ready to toast.