Travel Thursday: Midwest County Fair Redhead, Part 4

Away from the fair

The next morning found us hiking, and after checking the map to see where I’d wanted to go, she drove us there and then made a final check of provisions, including some she’d been anxious to bring along but didn’t want me to know about yet. She was the outdoorsy type, who obviously knew how to dress the part. Right now she was outfitted in hiking shorts and wool socks scrunched down to the tops of her boots, showing off her white thighs, perfect calves, and tons of freckles. Her red hair was back in a ponytail, framing her cameo face, charming in its suggestion of girlishness, and her pointed breasts were plainly visible through her white t-shirt, making me glad she hadn’t gotten all cliché and gone with the lumberjack top. They jutted forward between the pack straps, pointing the way into the wilderness like two jiggling compasses.
I took a pause to write that one down.
At my suggestion she led the way uphill, leaving me with an eye-level view of her firm ass working smoothly under the khaki shorts. She teased me as we walked, though she didn’t know one of my cameras was working overtime.
Having quickly reached the halfway turnaround point, we stopped to rest–or not–choosing a place far away from the trail. A small spring bubbled out from a rock to form a pool, where she quickly stripped and washed the walk’s sweat away. I lay on a blanket, watching her bathe in the brook with my camera working just the way it liked to. The sight of her hard nipples in the sunlight–and telephoto lens–caused me to swell; seeing this, she climbed out and squeezed me in her soft hand, not at all worried about getting my clothes as wet as she felt, inside or outside.
“It was so bad of me to tease you as we came up,” she whispered. “I think the least you can do is punish me.” Before I had a chance to wonder what she meant, she started taking things out of her backpack. “Tie me up so I can’t move, then spank me.”
{If you thought I was going to included THAT scene in here. . .}
“I’m not really into that hair-pulling spanking stuff,” she blushed impishly an hour later, as we readied ourselves to get back on the trail. “Just wanted to try it, and the setting seemed appropriate.”
I kissed her. “Thank you for trusting me.”
She laughed richly and launched herself at me again, tumbling me back down and landing on top of me and putting me out of commission for at least 5 minutes. Still, she was suitably apologetic. . .
A little later we managed to start the return, and much more important, leg of the trip. Having memorized the route, though having the map in my pocket just in case, I knew this trail would lead to a lake, but I didn’t expect it to look so beautiful as we crested and looked down at the valley.
Stopping for a photo, I noticed the trail led down to the middle of the lake and then disappeared. I didn’t stop to consider what had caused such a flood to make a permanent-looking lake, only saw how long the detour was around it, because the territory I’d come to scout was on the far end of the lake.
About halfway down the lake we spotted a figure on a boat not too far from shore. I waved to the man, but apparently it was a rule that Josi had to stop and talk to everyone.
And it turned out that Josi didn’t know the guy, since he didn’t greet her like an old friend. That might be typical of an old curmudgeon–are there any young ones? Don’t answer that–but then he asked who we were with that suspicious narrowing of the eyes.
And “just visiting” wasn’t going to cut it.
The man in the boat–for reals, not a euphemism, this time–glared suspiciously until Josi introduced herself as the famous explorer Jacqueline Cousteau, and explained that she was working on a documentary about the famous Cargill Swamp Stinging Serpent.
Yes, the man nodded sagely, he’d heard of that. Then he asked for her autograph, and the redhead earnestly replied–in a marvelous French accent that made me wonder why she had such a brogue in normal life–that for such a handsome and caring man, a mere autograph would never do.
By the look on his face, and the speed at which he came to shore, I figured the man was expecting a full-pucker three-coated lipstick mark somewhere on his anatomy, but he didn’t seem all that disappointed when she promised to name a new species of mollusk in his honor.
“I live near Hollywood,” I sighed as we continued on. “Anytime you’re in town for a screen test. . .”
“Sweetest offer I’ve had all day,” she sighed, all kissy-kissy.
“You shoulda at least asked him if he’d seen any stinging serpents around.”
“This doesn’t really qualify as a swamp,” she giggled, then gasped as another man came out of the woods. I had heard the steps, despite the attempt at silent woods walking, but the dogs had helped to give it away too. I didn’t say so, though.
“Didn’t mean to startle ya, missy,” the man boomed with a hearty laugh that instantly made her feel better. By this time I was already patting the dogs, and by the way their tails were metronoming, both the man and the redhead could tell I knew what I was doing with the four-legged beasties.
“Too bad about the leg,” I suddenly said. “I might not have heard ya otherwise.”
“Kind of you to say,” came the stentorian reply. Josi gasped again as she suddenly noticed one of the man’s legs was wooden. How did I know that without hardly looking at the man? she wondered.
There was much more to this secret agent stuff than she’d thought, and that was only reinforced as she listened to me subtly question the man while still playing with the dogs. The man had a way of not staying on the subject that made Josi zone out a few times: the history of the area, how he’d lost his leg in the war–didn’t say which one–and a few minutes later we left the old man and his dogs to their fun and walked on.
“I musta missed something,” the redhead said in her usual perky matter. “Did what that old geezer say mean anything?”
“Didn’t you study history in high school, French or not?”
“Musta been hung over that day,” she smirked.
“Well, suffice it to say he lost a leg defending your right to be so dumb.”
That sobered her up in a hurry, and she covered her face in mock shame. . . which allowed me to looked at her hands and realize she even had freckles on her fingers! So hot!
{Cutting out some boring business stuff. . . see ya back at the fair}
I spotted her bright red curly hair, no longer straight, from what seemed like the other end of the fair. Her backside looked similar too, so I figured it had to be her and followed at a leisurely pace, enjoying the spectacle of her interactions with visitors and tent keepers alike.
The first time I’d attempted to count her freckles–I’d teased her about it, and she’d dared me, and since we were naked in bed already–I had thought I’d come up in the vicinity of three-hundred and sixty-five, just to say she had one for each day of the year. I’d counted that many on the back of her left shoulder. . .
Now I was working on stars in the local galaxy. . .
She hadn’t appreciated when I’d used a marker to show where I’d left off, nor my mention that I doubted she’d be bathing soon. . .
She greeted me a lot more sedately this time, making me wonder what I’d done this time, but she got back into her usual mood when I asked her, “You’re not in the cow chip contest? With that buttering and violin arm?”
“Get enough of that from you,” she replied sweetly, not sure of what she meant, but confident I wouldn’t get it either.
So I didn’t even try, particularly since I was dodging between a gang of very white kids. . . white as in covered with flour. Luckily neither they nor anyone else was throwing the white powder around anymore.
“Have you guys been seeing ghosts?” Josi asked with nose firmly wrinkled.
“I think they are the ghosts. And playing hooky from their jobs at the Haunted House.”
She smiled at the thought, but only a moment later her attention was diverted again. Next thing I knew she was hollering, “You pick up that trash you just dropped, Byron! Or I’ll tell your mom about–”
The kid didn’t wait for his sins to be catalogued.
“If only you moved that fast on the basketball court!” she yelled after him. “Now learn to dribble with your left!”
“You would never need to practice to be a mommy. That was perfect.”
“Don’t get all domestic on me,” she warned, wanting to show she wasn’t stung by that last remark.
I gave her a big hug that made her yelp in surprise, then bury her pert nose in my perspiring pit; it was even hotter and muggier today. Despite all her protests, she seemed to be at the moment a very pleased redhead.
“I’m not sure I’d be doing the world a favor by bringing more redheads into the world.”
“Just a chance they’ll have to take.”
“Suppose so.”
“The world has to continually strive to overcome such–” I paused to find a word a word that wouldn’t offend her and all other redheads. “–beautiful obstacles. It’s the world’s mojo.”
“Mojo? What’s that?”
“In this circumstance, Karma.”
I tried not to show amusement that she would know a term from Eastern philosophy, but not one from further south in her own country. I didn’t want her to ever be in anything but her usual upbeat mood.
That was helped by what she found around the corner. “Oooo, it’s Jessica! Let’s watch her do her thing!”
A moment ago it hadn’t seem possible to find someone more upbeat, bright, and energetic than the redhead. On the other hand, you could say Jessica had found her perfect calling, and calling was just the right word.
Jessie had guessed her mark’s age, weight, birthdate, what kind of beer he drank, type of underwear he used–if any–music preferences, and what kind of car he drove–you didn’t need to be a local to guess he was a truck-drivin’ fool–and now said, “You’re a good sport, buddy, so I’ll let you have a teddy bear for free, okay?”
His girlfriend squealed and pointed to the pepto-colored one, of course.
The redhead caught my eye and winked; at two dollars a question, that “free” teddy bear had cost the guy fourteen bucks.
“Guess your weight, guess your age, guess how many hot dogs you’ve eaten today?”
At that Josi burst into laughter and just handed her old high school buddy a twenty. I wondered why, but didn’t ask, and I certainly wasn’t volunteering his weight.
Or age.
I remembered a time I had escorted two actresses to a volleyball game at UCLA, and my soccer playing friend had tried to guess everyone’s age. . . and missed everyone by exactly six years younger. “Kissass,” I’d accused, but she’d looked so innocent. . .
This one didn’t, not if that evil smirk was of any consequence.
“Cop,” she decided, and I quickly took out my camera before Josi could lie.
The redhead didn’t seem to mind my route-making, following along docilely as she handed out her fliers and played with her new teddy bear. And shopped, of course, this being the time when all merch must go at incredibly low prices.
I saw her looking at a red Chinese fan, which I figured was harmless enough, so I bought it for her. She immediately did her best Carmen.
Knowing I’d probably regret it, I told her, “There’s an old saying about a sword being a man’s weapon–”
“That IS old.”
“And a fan is a woman’s, and it can do much more damage than a sword.”
She flipped her eyelids with impressive speed, not about to argue.
But before she could twist me around her finger some more, she saw something in the distance that made her twitter her new fan nervously. “There’s a real OK Corral brewin’,” she muttered, stroking her red locks as she was want to do when she was uneasy.
“The gunfight at the OK Corral wasn’t half as big a deal as most people think. Besides, it took place in an open lot across the street from the corral, and nobody that important got killed.”
She looked like she was going to cry, obviously far more affected by the shattering of the romantic legend than anything going on now. “Now why’d ya havta say something like that? Don’t ya know–”
I shushed her, as she’d done to me earlier, then looked at her in surprise. “You actually did what I told you! I guess you can change! When a redhead’s right, she’s right with a vengeance.”
She was caught somewhere between preening and begging for more info. . .

(that night. . .}
The waitress went to fetch dessert as he finished the last of his blue plate. As she cleared space and placed the cornbread and milk before him, she asked what he’d been thinking about. The place was nigh empty now, and it sure beat all how waitress gals liked to talk when things were slow.
But it was late, and he was sleepy. “Know a cheap place to spend the night?” he asked her, noticing she looked much too glamorous to be working such a job.
She smoothed back her hair. “None cheaper than my place.” Grin.
“And how much would that cost me?”
“Just a few kind words.”
“Oh, I’m full of those.”
“I’m sure you’re full of something,” she retorted, but grinned wider. He could only wish they were all so easy. . .
{and later still. . .}
“That was a lot more fun than on the hike!” she giggled when it was all over, looking over at her borrowed waitress uniform. “Wouldn’t mind doing it again!”
“I would,” I retorted, checking to see if her scratches had drawn blood. “What happened to ‘I’m a nice, caring redhead?’ Forgot about that, huh?”
She instantly showed me she could still do that, too, but it also made me wonder which one was the act.
I figured I just might have enough time to find out before I had to leave. . .



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