Our Secret Lives
All of us have things in our lives we never discuss. Despite the age of the selfie, we might go somewhere, or do something, we don’t want to be judged for. When it comes to dreams, the sky’s the limit.
We never really remember our dreams. Bits and pieces, of course, but that’s a side of life we never understand fully. What if some of our nocturnal activities were real? What if we just didn’t remember after we awoke? Studies of sleep walkers and others show this is possible too.
Then there is the case of Lauren. Thirty-one years old, left wing liberal, vegetarian. She’s been married to her wife Tina for the last five years, lives in a quiet little house with solar panels on the roof. Tina is an international flight attendant, complete with insurance and benefits. Lauren owns an old nursery. Together they make a comfortable living.
Lauren parked her Prius under the carport and headed inside. She pulled her rubber boots off at the door. “Smells wonderful. Do you have time to eat before you go?”
Tina poked her head around the doorframe. “Not tonight. Thought you’d be home sooner. I’m off to Denver, Seattle, and Tokyo.”
“I got another offer from that developer, Steve Roper. I tossed it in the car to read when I got here, but couldn’t help myself. By the time I read it, traffic got ahead of me.” She walked into the kitchen.
Tina tucked one of the blonde dreadlocks behind Lauren’s ear and handed her a glass of wine. “There’s roasted eggplant and some parsnips in the oven. What’s he proposing this time?”
“It’s a lot of money, but I can’t sell Dad’s old nursery, I just can’t. Besides, luxury condos isn’t what this city needs. We need a place for the homeless. We need affordable housing. Even one of those tiny housing communities would help.”
“I know, right? Look, you’ll have to text me the rest. My Uber is here, and I really have to go.” Tina extended the handle on her bag and wheeled it toward the door. “I’ll be back in four days, and we can talk about it then. For now, I can text. Bye.”
Lauren carried her supper out to the back patio, along with the bottle of wine. It was a small yard, but lush with plant-life from the nursery. Birds trilled as the sun started down. She picked at the food, but abandoned it in favor of the wine.
“I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with that woman,” Steve Roper said to the men at his country club. “I’m offering her more than the property’s worth, and I threw in a position as our landscaper; with benefits. I verbally offered her a small flower shop on the main floor too.”
“I don’t see how she can hold out much longer,” Everett Hosmer said. “As downtown grows, there are less customers for a small nursery. People won’t drive by perfectly good nurseries in the suburbs to visit her.”
“I know, but she seems to miss that point. I need her corner for the entrance to the whole project. We have our timing too, Everett. If Crandleburg breaks ground first, we’re going to be playing catch-up. I don’t want to deal with all those early-bird discounts and free upgrades. Donnie builds a good project, and I don’t want him beating us to the punch again.”
“Maybe you ought to have something to eat. She may come around by Monday. You’ve been drinking, and things might look better in the morning.”
“I intend to do a lot more drinking first, and I’m not hungry.” He walked behind the bar and grabbed a bottle of Talisker. “Put it on my tab. I’m going to walk the grounds and take in the night air. Tell Cici to take the car home, and I’ll find a ride later.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I really hate that nursery woman, and need to flush her out of my mind.” He headed out onto the golf course.
The call of an owl came from Driscoll Park. The country club bordered a huge state park with tall pines, camp sites, and volleyball courts. The far side of the park bordered a reservoir that drew people on the weekends. Steve occasionally saw deer on the back nine, and ambled that direction.
Lauren was sound asleep on her lounge chair when the moon crept over the trees. The light in its full configuration landed on her like a spotlight. The transformation started as hair, beautiful silvery tipped fur covered her from head to toe. Her feet extended, and claws grew from her toes.
Her sinuses expanded and lengthened. Her ears migrated and took on canine shape. The smell of the birds that sung her to sleep filled her nostrils. She rolled off the lounge, spread her toes, and stretched with her butt in the air. Fangs glistened in the moonlight as she yawned.
She scratched behind her ear and took in the local scents. Once fully oriented, she trotted around the house and peered around the Prius. She ducked down, as she was nearly as tall as the car now. It was late, and the residential streets were empty.
She trotted off toward Driscoll Park. The lakeshore was empty now, but a few embers glowed where water-skiers had abandoned campfires. She went through the campgrounds, sniffing at tents. The hunger hadn’t landed yet, and she had other goals before hunting.
She loped off into the forest, and headed for the large stone outcrop. A lone howl reverberated through the trees. She wagged her tail and headed toward the sound.
He waited beside a gigantic ponderosa log that fell fifty years ago. He remained in the shadows, but the tips of his black fur stuck up in the moonlight. Nobody would have noticed him, but there was no fooling Lauren’s nose. He trotted down the hill toward her.
She wagged her tail, and rubbed her shoulder in a patch of wild sunflowers. Eventually turning onto her back and rolling in them. He sniffed her and wagged his tail. She licked his face. He smelled of whisky, but the alcohol had no effect on this form. He jumped playfully over the top of her, crouched and leaped again. She met him mid-jump, and they frolicked in the moonlight.
Once their meeting was over, they got down to business. There were homeless people below the dam, an up-scale event near the band shell in the city park. One of these would provide a nice meal, then they could lick each other clean and cuddle the night away. If those familiar hunting grounds failed them, the tenters weren’t going anywhere, even if they were too close to home. The lunar cycle would provide them with three nights of bliss, hunting, gorging, and mating.