A Father's Dream


My daughter smiles.

"Snuggle in under the blankets. The house can get a bit chilly before morning. If you can't sleep there is a bookcase in the hallway. The bathroom is next door to you here." I point to the wall. I stop about to get up. "It's a composting toilet ... you probably don't know how to use one."

"A what?" she asks "Composting toilet. It has a mixture of peat moss and sawdust in it. When you use the bathroom there is a bucket next to it with a metal scoop in it. It works like a regular toilet except there is nothing to flush Just toss in a scoop when you're done."

"That sounds ... gross," she says with a look of distaste.

I chuckle. "I lived with your mom for four years. I know she had a cat. Yes?"

** ** ** ** ** ** **


Looking down at the massive dog laying by my feet I suddenly wish I had, Bootsy, here. Any little bit of familiar.

"Yeah, she had one," I tell him.

"Well, it's not that much different than a cat's litter box, only the composting toilet doesn't smell." He gives my hip a pat as he stands up. I feel the sudden removal of his hand with a sense of loss. I realize I was enjoying it being on my hip.

"I'll leave the power on for the night," He tells me over his shoulder.

As he walks towards the door what he just said come to me.

"Leave the power on?" I ask. "You turn off the power at night?"

He gives a nod.

"Why?" I ask. I seem to be asking that question of him a lot.

"I don't like to run the batteries all the way down."

Oh well, that explains it.


He smiles one of those laughing grins that make his eyes merry. "Yes, batteries. The house is off the grid. I use solar panels, a small turbine in a creek over the hill and a little wind turbine to power the house and charge up a bank of storage batteries during the day. The turbines can't really handle the load by themselves so the batteries kick in when the sun goes down."

"The house isn't hooked to the power grid?" I ask unable to believe him for some reason. "What happens when the sun doesn't shine? Or the wind doesn't blow."

"Or the creek doesn't rise?" he asks with a smile. "I have a diesel generator I can kick in for about five hours that will charge up the batteries should such happen. Can't say it does that more than once or twice a year, though. Anyway, get some sleep. I'll show you around tomorrow."

He walks out and then sticks his head back in the door. "Good night.'

"Good night." I look at the dog lying at the foot of the bed. "Will she sleep there?"

He gives a nod.

"Unless you want me to make her leave?" he asks.

I look at the brown dog. She thumps her tail on the bed. For some reason, she's a comfort.


"Well if she gets to be a pest just shoo her off. She'll never forgive you for doing it but she will obey. Night, night." "Goodnight...Dad."

The last word is soft. I wonder for a second if he heard, then I see his smile.

** ** ** ** ** ** **


Sitting on the side of the bed, I unlace my boots with a sigh.

Pepper looks over at me from by my fireplace.

"Been a long day boy."

He thumps his tail in agreement.

I strip to my skin and then pull a pair of sweatpants from the drawer. They are still new enough to feel too soft inside.

As I curl up under the blanket, I close my eyes but it doesn't take long though for me to realize that sleep isn't going to be coming to me quickly tonight.

Far too much on my mind.

As I lay there I listen to the silence of the house. The solid construction and several feet of soil that bury it keep any sound from outside coming in so all I hear are the little noises. The thumping sound in the living room as Blackie chases a flee. The popping of my fire.

After a bit, I smile when I hear Chanel softly singing to herself. Probably listen to music to help her get to sleep.

My hand drifts down and I shift myself around in the two-soft sweat pants. Been a long time since I slept with anything on. I figure that when I, inevitably, have to get up to go pee in the middle of the night, I might just forget that she's here at first. I imagine the embarrassment of her looking out her bedroom door and seeing her naked father walk by, might just do us both in.

I shift myself again, then give up and take my cock in hand. I let my mind drift back to the last time I had sex. Silvia, a lady friend of mine. What do they call it now? A friend with benefits? Silly name. But then 'Horny people having a good time together without strings attached' it too long. Besides, FWB sounds better than HPHAGTTWSA.

I chuckle as I try to pronounce it out and can't.

Moaning a little at the wonderful feeling that starts to build, I remember the last time Silvia and I were together. She was soft and warms and so very wet. We had gotten drunk together on my blackberry wine and ended up tumbled into the bed.

As I picture her face it suddenly shifts and I'm imagining Chanel.

I stop and blink. No, it was Crystal's face! Just an old memory of the years when we were happy.

I think back to the first time I was with her. Then to the many times after that. As I stroke myself harder, I wonder if she's in heaven laughing her ass off that I still get turned on by these old memories of us together.

That she's gone hits me then. Hard enough that I stop.

My erection fading I turn over into the bed and hug a pillow to my chest. Distant memories of her just as soft against me come back to me then. As I slowly drift my way into sleep I realize just how much a part of me always had been carrying the idea that she would one day come back.

Come back to my dream.

Come back to me.

How soft her hip had been under my hand....

** ** ** ** ** ** **


The house is too quiet.

I finally have to get up and dig my MP3 player out the bag and stick in the ear buds.

The sounds of Gaga and Adele soon take me back to a more familiar place. I let little things like compost toilets and storage batteries vanish. I think of school, my friends. The idea that I will have to enroll in some hick county school out here Monday comes to me then. I'll probably be taking cow-tipping 101.

"Rolling in the deep...you had my heart in hand..."

I squeeze the tears from my eyes as I remember my Mom telling me that I looked like Adele to comfort me when my one, and only, boyfriend Todd broke up with me to go date a skinny tramp named Lesley.

"But you played it..."

I open my eyes and look down to see the dog thumping her tail with the music. I chuckle.

"So you're a fan as well girl?" I ask her smiling.

The big dog belly crawls up to next to me. I hesitantly let my hands come to rest on her soft fur. I've had cats my whole life. She much bigger than any cat and she still scares me a little. But, I very soon have my face buried in her fur. A farm dog she should stink I think but all she smells of is grass.

"... we could have had it all."

Crying, holding onto her, I fall asleep listening to the songs as they shuffle through my favorites.

** ** ** ** ** ** **


Standing in the doorway, I look in at the sleeping form of my daughter. The shadowed head of Smokey lifts to look at me but at my waved hand lays back down.

I take a deep breath and smell her in the air in the room. It's so unfamiliar a scent in the house I can pick it up without any trouble.

A woman is living here again. Living under my roof for more than one night ... or two. For four months at least. Then what? Will I have to watch her leave to go back to the West Coast?

What will she do there?

As I head into the bathroom, I worry about my child. I worry about what life will do to her. I know I've done all that I could do, under the constraints the law put on me, when she was little but now? Can I help her more? I have enough for her to go to the college of her choice saved away in her trust fund. Well, maybe not an Ivy League school but a nice college anyway. That check almost bankrupted me at times.

I switch on the light and look at myself in the mirror. Like most times my eyes go to the shining top of my head. The last few hairs up there are waving at me. I slick them back down and then run my hand over the stubble on my chin.

"Time for a shave," I tell myself. My bladder tells me it has priority. When I look at the raised lid, I smile. "Guess I need to go back to the old habits." I think as I pull my cock out of my sweats.

Lowering toilet lids. No towels on the floor. Pick up my socks. I chuckle as I think of all the dozens of other little changes a woman in your life can make.

I dump a cup of the absorbent into the tank. I lean down, after I put my cock away, and check the date I marked on a piece of duct tape.

"Time to change the tank. With two of us, it will need to be done more often." I say to myself. When I stand up I look in the mirror. "And stop talking to yourself, you old fool. She'll think you're a nutcase."

I chuckle as I get out my razor and shaving soap.

"Like she probably doesn't think that already"

I look at my face as I shave. Ruggedly handsome, that's what I've been called. I can't see it. To me, I just see a boy that got sunburned too many times making his skin look brown no matter the time of the year and then his hair all fell out. Rinsing my face, I put away my razor and nearly turn off the light when I see the stubble filled foam in the sink.

Smiling, I turn on the water and wash it clean.

"Lot of changes, old man," I say to my reflection. I can't tell if it agrees as I turn off the light before it can.

I head to the kitchen to get breakfast going.

** ** ** ** ** ** **


"I'm going to murder that rooster!" I say as I hear him crowing for the hundredth time.

"So we're going to have chicken for dinner, huh?"

I look at my dad standing the doorway one hand on the frame.

"Breakfast is ready," He tells me.

I pull back the sheet when he leaves and swing my legs off the bed.

"Fuck!" I say, and then pop my hand over my mouth.

"I heard that," He calls from down the hall. "The floors are really cold in the morning aren't they? Smokey, outside."

My bed warmer lifts her head, wags her tail and hops down. She looks back at me, gives a shake and leaves me. I find my shoes and walk to the door. I can smell the food he's made. The scent of it fills the hall.

Going to my bag, I dig out something warm. I strip down and start to dress I stop when I see that there is a full-length mirror on the back of the door.

"God, I hate your fat ass," I tell her, disgusted. I see her turn away from me as I dress as quickly as I can. I'm still a shivering mess of goosebumps before I get my clothes on.

I look back in the mirror for long enough to run my brush through my hair. Oily looking, I just put it back in a ponytail. It's the best I can do till I get a shower.

"God, I hope this place has a shower," I say as I open the door.

He's standing just the other side of it about to knock. He smiles at my words. "It does but you have to heat the water on the stove and carry it up to the roof in buckets."

"What?" I ask my jaw dropping.

He laughs.

"I'm kidding," he says still laughing. "There is a very hot tank of water. I have a Geothermal well to help with the heating when it gets really cold and to warm the water for the house and the barn. It also heats the barn but that put a lot of strain on the pump so I don't use it for that often."

I just look at this incomprehensible man speaking in tongues. He laughs at the look on my face.

"Food on stove. Plates in cabinet. Milk in pitcher. Eat." He says slowly.

I give his chest a pop.

I see his face fall for a second then his grin comes back. "Come on."

I realize as I follow him that I must have done something that mom used to do to him. It's a habit I picked up from her. Little admonishing pops to naughty people.

As I step into the hall I see that there is a side door, that it is open and that the Motherless son of an egg is still crowing! As I pass it I look out and see the three dogs go running across the fields.

I walk into the kitchen. Eying the large pan of biscuits, the plate full of bacon, and a skillet full of gravy I give a shake of my head. Damn, there is even a smaller pan with scrambled eggs!

"I'm going to gain twenty pounds a week living here," I say softly under my breath.

"Doubtful. Very doubtful." He goes to the stove and starts to put together a plate. When he goes to sit down I realize it was for himself.

Okay, I guess the waiter service of last night was a one-time thing.

I decide that two of the fluffy biscuits and a spoonful of gravy, with a few pieces of the bacon, will do. Eggs? Well, maybe just a little. A very little.

He eyes my plate with a slow growing smile. "You might want to eat a bit more. It's a long time till dinner and lunches are a simple affair. Some cheese and bread. Maybe call it a sandwich if you're feeling generous."

I nod but make no plans to go back and get more. Those plans start to change as soon as I take the first bite. "You're a good cook," I tell him. I reach for the glass of milk he poured for me.

"Well, thank you but I have good ingredients to start with."

The milk is like heavy cream.

"So how much of this came from here?" I ask between pleasure moans. I hold up a piece of bacon. "I'm assuming this at least did."

He nods. I see him look at the table as he chews. After a moment, with his head tilted, he swallows.

"Everything but the salt and pepper. At least in one way, shape, or form. I grew corn that I had milled into cornmeal. I then traded some if it for the flour I made the biscuits with. The milk and butter came from Brownie. The bacon is my pigs. Same for the eggs, my chickens."


"My Jersey cow," he says.

"I thought the cows weren't pets? Why name them then?'

"I don't name my Angus cows which are the ones I sell or have turned into meat. But, the Jersey cows are for milking not eating so they get names. I have two of them Brownie and Brownie two. Speaking of which, I have to go separate the calves from them soon."

He starts eating a bit faster.

Looking down, I see that I have nearly cleaned my plate. I look back over to the stove; I give in and go make me an egg and bacon biscuit.

He finishes his food and goes back for a second helping. He also gets a biscuit with just butter. I watch him pour honey on top of it after he eats everything else.

"Do you normally eat like this?" I have to ask. He nods. "And you look like that?" I ask enviously.

He looks down at himself and quirks an eyebrow.

"Like what?' he asks after swallowing the bite of honey biscuit with a sip of milk.

"Like you just walked out a gym."

He chuckles and put a hand on his flat stomach.

"My daily workout keeps me trim. Want to come help?" he asks as he gets up. "Not that you really have a lot of options. I'll need your help given that it will take a bit more work to let two people live here."

I nod and take my plate to the sink.

I notice then that there is no dishwasher. I'm guessing that will be my job. I watch him put up the leftovers. There's a lot less of them that I thought there would be given the amount of food I first saw. My stomach's telling me where far too much of it went.

** ** ** ** ** ** **


I figure to take it easy on her for the first hour, let her food settle a bit. I make the trip round to the rabbit's pen. I smile at her sounds of delight when all the rabbits come hopping over to get fed.

"Do we eat these?" she asks holding onto one of the squirmy things. I show her how to pick him up so he's not doing the 'Thumper' impression on her breast.

"I sell them. They are meant to be eaten but other that the odd one now or then... no. I don't really care for rabbit meat except in stew." I toss out handfuls of the last of my wrinkled carrots. The crop had a good yield, but the winter supply has about done it's time in cold storage. These were the ones I culled out yesterday. "Pour the feed in the trough there."

She nods and takes the gallon bucket from the back of the wheelbarrow. I smile at her giggles when they come pouring over her feet like a hopping horde. Taking the empty bucket from her, I place a rag on the bottom. "Think you can do something without me showing you how?"

"What?" she asks.

"Gather eggs." I point out to the chicken coup. "There is a door in the back that flips open. You will see the birds with eggs sitting. Some of them may have hidden their eggs under the straw though so take a stick and look through it. Gently, mind you."

She gives a nod. "I can do that."

"Good girl. Take any eggs back to the kitchen and wash them off, then place them in the basket in the refrigerator."

"Got it," she says.

I watch her walk off towards the field with the pigs and the mobile chicken coop. Smokey walks along with her then looks back at me to see if that okay. I give the dog a nod and she wags her tail and follows Chanel.

I look down to my two tongue lowing companions. "Come on boys' time to go wake up some cows."

The two dogs take off for the right pasture without another word needed. I follow them chuckling. They know the job better than I do sometimes. My eyes go back to her walking away from me.

"Nice ass."

I stop and give my head a shake at my words.

"Come on, Brian, no evil thoughts." I give her one last look.

Well, I might not be able to find much of me in her face but I sure found part of her mom.

I leave off such thoughts and go to argue with a quartet of stubborn calves.

** ** ** ** ** ** **


My enjoyment of the eggs at breakfast fades as I have to reach into the boxes and dig them out from under piles of chicken dropping covered hay. Being pecked twice doesn't help matters much either.

Then the big rooster, who life I'm guessing I was threatening this morning, comes strutting over at me all puffed up and angry looking. Smoky walks between me and him and gives a bark that sends birds scattering in every direction.

"Thank you," I tell her when she comes back to sit at my feet.

My shoes are starting to look sad by the time the frost begins to thaw and the contents of the fields start to become warm again. The collection of pig and bird droppings is a bit ripe under the growing morning sun.

I slip out my shoes at the door and walk to the sink. I wash the eggs, never knew how much effort it takes to get little feathers stuck in bird poop off an egg. I then fill the sink and get the breakfast dishes.

Seeing I don't need her help anymore, Smokey leaves me and I watch her running across the field to where her two sons are helping my dad do something with the smaller cows out in the field.

I watch my Dad. I notice that he moves as well, or better, than most of the guys I went to high school with. He carries a confidence in action about him that none of them had. I smile when I see his head shining in the morning light as he uses his hat to pop the side of a little cow. The little white-faced thing goes off like it's been stung.

When he walks behind the barn I step away from the window. I look around me then. I see how the place is laid out with lots of attention to detail. Except for the fact that there is grass just outside the window, I would never know I'm underground.

I see a picture of my mom then. The photo is yellowed and has a bad line across the face of it. The kind of things I would dress up in photoshop.

There is a photo of him and her next to it.

Picking up the picture I smile when I see the ridiculous head of hair that he had. Nearly hippie length with long bangs. I can't help but wonder what cause such thickness to fall away to the shiny top he has now.

Then I see the golden wedding bands on their hands. Maybe that had something to do with it? Suddenly feeling very much an intruder, I put down the picture and go out the door and walk towards where I saw him last.

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