Bug's awakening


TPF Noob!
Feb 1, 2006
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in the middle of north carolina
Can others edit my Photos
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The green city pick up truck pulled up to the iron gates. An older man and a younger one exited. The older man held a large ring of keys. The ring was brass and resembled the kind found in old movies. You know like the ones the jailers carried in an Edward G Robinson movie. The gate, he opened, could in some warped way have been considered a cell door.

"Wow that's a fine lookin' lady in that convertible," the younger man commented.

"She has been here every morning for the last few months. I'm not rightly sure what she does. I mean, I see her jog around the park a few times, then she goes and sits on a stone bench over there and kind meditates I guess."

"You Gots to be kiddin'?" The younger man suggested.

"You just watch. It's what she does every morning."

The convertible passed the pick up before the two men were settled. It passed them at a slow respectable speed. As much respect for the speed bumps as for her surrounds the older man was sure.

The Memorial Park was old, to old to have parking spaces. The young blond woman had found her space months before. Just a flat spot of grass where she could position two of the convertible's wheels.

She began her morning routine by removing herself from the convertible. It had been a daunting task for her older friend, but he didn't have that or any other problems now. She first walked ten yards, more or less, to the right then about twenty or so feet up the hill.

When she arrived at his spot, she stared down for a moment then said, "Good morning Edgar you old bastard."

She could almost hear him laugh and speak. "For me Bug it is an accident of birth... but you are a self made woman." It had been their morning joke for a full year. She had always known that edgar was going to leave. It had been the reason for their meeting. It had been his reason anyway.

After her good morning to her friend and mentor, Bug took a look around her Garden of Stone. It was the same exact view almost every morning. The old cemetery had no visitors at that time of day. In the summer she jogged at seven A.M. It was the time the park opened. In the winter it was 8 A.M. It had to do with not allowing park accessibility in the dark. It hadn't stopped the vandals but maybe it slowed them down.

When Bug decided to do her morning Jog she had to raise the distance to make it come out right. One circle of the park road was .72 miles. She made three circles each morning. It came out to be just a little over the two miles she normally ran at the gym. The park was tougher because half of it was uphill. Bug ran because she had once been chubby. She ran even when Edgar had teased her for it.

They had worked out a compromise. When Edgar was alive, she jogged while he sat on a different park bench and watched. His joke was, "How the hell can you run like that with no one chasing you?"

Her answer was always the same. "It's easy, I just pretend that you are chasing me to have sex." That always brought a smile to his face. Edgar was one of those old men who smiled with every part of himself.

She thought of Edgar as she ran, she always did. She even glanced over at the car as she passed it. No she wasn't delusional, Edgar came to visit her now and then. Mostly in dreams, but now and then in day dreams. Those day dreams seemed almost real. He had promised her, the night before he passed away, that he would not leave until she was ready. She wasn't ready, so he came to 'visit' her now and then to push her in the right direction. Push was the wrong word, maybe to guide her.

Bug finished her two miles just a few yards from the convertible. She moved up the hill again. See seated herself on a small stone bench, placed there in memory of Agnes Shiftson. She had no idea who Agnes had been in life, but she always said good morning to her as well. Unlike Edgar, Agnes never replied.

"Well Edgar," she said looking over at his grave site some fifteen yards away. "I have a meeting with your lawyer this morning. It's been six months now and I still can't get a handle on all this."
Of course her real name wasn't bug. She was born Sarah Miles Wilson. Her great, great grandfather had been in tobacco. No, not working in the fields, he had started a business to manufacture snuff. He later branched out to all the tobacco products. He was fortunate that his company had been swallowed up by one of the giants. It left him a nice fortune to pass on to his only child.

Being from an agricultural area, Sarah's great grandfather knew a little about farming. He knew enough to know he didn't want to do it. What he did do was to broker farm commodities. During one of the country's wars, he had opened a plant to can beans. By the war's end he had a large capacity and no market. He used his family money to begin advertising to create a market. The market turned out to be, 'all over hell'. It was the first product to create a national brand name product.

The shipping was a nightmare, so he hired good people. The company literally took off. Before he knew it he was running five canneries. He died leaving an even larger fortune to his son.

The only thing that Sarah's grandfather did right was to marry Sarah Miles. Sarah Miles had a father who was not very rich, but he was a business genius. Before anyone knew it the family fortune was right up there with the big guys. That was the good news. The bad news was that Sarah was a fertile little thing. She had seven kids and not a one of them could find his or her butt with map. They also could not agree on anything, so they sold the company at a quick sale price upon their father's death.

Sarah's father's share of the family fortune was large, but no longer up there in the top one thousand. Sarah's father wasn't a business man, nor was he a playboy, he was just dirt lazy. He hired an investment company who managed not to lose everything. The fortune was static, nothing more. Just like his father before him Michael Wilson had way too many children. When the division of his estate came, it would be split far too many ways. Still Sarah Miles Wilson would be 'comfortable.'

Sarah had always known that she was special. It was a good feeling. Better than being middle class she had to admit.

Bug passed the Krispy Kreme shop on her way to breakfast. She was tempted, but she didn't stop. Instead she drove until she could pull into the parking lot of Harold's place. Harold's was a nice family type place. It only opened for breakfast and lunch so it wasn't too awfully well known. At least not so well known by people under fifty. The crowd at Harold's considered Bug a child. At twenty seven it was a nice feeling.

"So how are you this morning Miss Bug?" The man who asked was Harold of course. He was the only one who handled the money, so he never left the cash register. Well, at least not as long as there were more than a handful of customers.

"I'm fine Harold. How is your family?" Bug always asked it to keep Harold on the right track.

"Everyone is fine," Harold didn't like to be reminded every single morning that he was a man with six kids. He especially didn't like being reminded by the young and very attractive Bug. She had those rich girl good looks that you see in magazines. You know good hair, good makeup, good teeth, and a great body. She should be holding a tennis racket, Harold thought.
Bug found a booth by a window, which had a few of the parking lot. Every window had a view of the parking lot.

"Hey bug, why you sittin' alone?" The question came from one of the regulars. He was one of two old men in the booth across from her.

"I'm not alone Edgar is with me this morning." She said it with a grin. She had mentioned that Edgar came by now and then to give her advice. Everyone thought she was a little 'tetched' so she played to it.

"Then you better get two coffees. Edgar was mean as hell, till he had his morning coffee."

"Good thought," Bug said it smiling. No one knew for sure if she was mad or playing with them. Sometimes she wondered herself.

"Usual Bug?" the waitress asked.

"Yeah, god I wish I had your figure," she remarked.

"You can have the body, if I can be your age again." It was pretty much the same thing the two women said every morning. "So how's Edgar today?" She smiled cause she was a woman, and knew Bug was putting it all on.

"Cold," Bug replied with a wink.
Bug paid her check at the restaurant, then had to make a decision. The meeting with the lawyer wasn't for another two hours. She could either go home, or try to find something else to occupy her for the hour. Since the condo she had recently purchased was close enough for a tobacco chewer to spit on, she decided to go home.

The condo wasn't new by any means, it was just new to her. It was the first dwelling of any kind that she had owned. Before buying the condo last month, she had lived in Greenburg. Greenburg was a town of about 500,000 and within a ten minute drive. Well the ten minute drive east would bring one to the city limits. It would take another thirty minutes to get into the heart of the town. It was a sprawling southern mini metropolis. A auto driver's nightmare would be a better description for most of the 'growing out of control' monsters.

She hadn't moved because she hated Greenburg. She moved because over her time with Edgar, she had come to love the bedroom community where she bought the townhouse. Wesley was about a tenth the size of Greenburg. There were enough services in the town to keep a family functioning. If you wanted to see a movie it was available, if you wanted to see the road company of cats perform, then you drove the thirty minutes to the Greenburg town center theater. Bug discovered she didn't really want to see a Cats performance that badly. It actually was good thing.

Life in the smaller town had taught her how to set priorities. She began to see the importance of things more clearly. The townhouse was two bedroom and two baths. Almost all the furniture had once belonged to Edgar. Yes the townhouse had been Edgar's. Bug bought it from the estate. If Edgar's Witch daughter had known, she probably would have burned it to the ground.

Bug had bought almost all of Edgar's possessions from his estate. For some reason Edgar had his lawyer dispose of everything. He obviously keep his will up to date, since he had stipulated that she be notified and given the opportunity to purchase anything before it went to market. He couldn't have known that she wanted anything of his, because she hadn't known.
Over the course of the last year, Bug had fallen in love with the quaint town of Wesley. She had fallen in love with the small condo complex where Edgar lived. It was the first time in her life that she knew who her neighbors were. She knew all the thirty other residents by name. She didn't speak to all of them, but she knew who they were.

The lawyer had been notified the day Edgar died. As a matter of fact it had been Bug who called. She called because Edgar had always insisted that the lawyer be called before the witch. If he died at night, bug was to send his remains to the hospital and lock the condo. She was to then drive a wooden match into the lock. Edgar was not a trusting man it seemed.

Bug found Edgar sitting in his recliner with the TV playing. There was a wine glass on the end table by his chair. He hadn't died working on a print, as he would have wished, but it was close. Edgar's body was taken to the hospital to be autopsied, since he died alone and didn't seem to have a family doctor.

Neither of his specialist would sign a death certificate, or so the lawyer said. The young woman the lawyer's office sent over, seemed to be well informed about Edgar's situation, and his wishes. She was a very competent young women to be just a few years older than Bug. Since working with Edgar, Bug had come to appreciate the people around her. Some of them were very good at what they did, others only mediocre. By the time Edgar went to his reward, or punishment, she knew enough to judge the difference.

Bug had learned a lot more than photography from Edgar Taft. She had been a full partner in his life. He allowed her as far inside as she wanted to go. After a while she found herself involved in almost every part of his lifestyle.

No, she didn't live with edgar. The first night she ever spent in the condo was the night she signed the papers on it. She was at his door by 9 AM every morning and stayed as long as she wanted. She was an apprentice, but he treated her like a full partner.

The dinning room of the condo had double French doors leading to a concrete slab patio just outside. The rear yard was about 24 feet square with a privacy fence all around. She sat with a cup of strong black coffee while looking at a small bird of some kind eating from her feeder.

The bird feeder had been hers before the condo. She bought it so Edgar would have something to look at while he waited for her to drive in from Greenburg. She found him most mornings seated exactly where she was that morning. He would be doing exactly what she was doing at that very moment.

He had been gone over six months but she could still hear him gently say, "Get your butt out of my chair Bug." Edgar was a creature of habit in some ways. "It's time for you to get going."

"Yes Edgar, I know." She said that aloud as she looked around for her purse and the large hardboard camera case. She lugged both to the car. The camera went into the trunk and the purse into the passenger seat.

Bug drove off while waving at Mrs Ryan, who at that moment was walking her two mixed breed dogs. Bug was always amazed how well behaved the dogs were. It was a good thing to because Mrs Ryan was about ninety years old.
As Bug manoeuvered Edgar's yellow convertible into the parking lot of the Brag, Brag and Bullock's parking lot, she saw the witch and her husband. They were both standing outside the entrance smoking.

How redneck, Bug thought. She realized then that she probably should have driven her own car. They would begin the day at each other's throat no doubt. She hadn't even thought about driving the black sedan her dad had given her for her last birthday, but she should have.

If Bug had thought about it, she would still have driven the yellow convertible but she should have thought about it more. She had totally missed the hours of excitement she could have had in the anticipation of her meeting with the witch. Oh well next time, she thought.

"What are you doing driving my dad's car?" the witch screamed in a whisper. Bug had never seen or heard anyone scream without raising her voice. It had to do with pitch not level.

"To tell you the truth I bought it. Did you want it?" Bug knew that the witch had been offered the car and the condo first. It had been Edgars desire to spare everyone an argument. It hadn't worked and he surely knew that it wouldn't.

"No, I didn't want it then."

"Oh but you want it now that I have it. Sorry but it isn't for sale at any price." Bug loved saying it.

"What are you doing here anyway?" The witch asked.

"I have no idea. Bradley called to invite me." Bradley Brag was the youngest of the Brag boys. Two of the four had entered the firm. The other two were probably junkies somewhere.

"Oh Bradley is it. I might have to have someone look into the ethics of this firm."

"You do that, frankly I don't trust any lawyer, not even one your dad picked."

All that was said as the three of them made their way into the reception area, then to the conference room. The snapping turned into dead quiet as they waited for whoever would be reading the will. Bug was shocked that the witch had calmed down so quickly. She was obviously in awe of the conference room. It did look a little like a mini library. The walls were covered with law books, and bound copies of court decisions. It was all trappings of course. The real research was done on the firm's computers. Bug knew that but the witch and her husband didn't. They must have felt as though they were in a real library. They spoke to each other in whispers, which was fine with Bug. She had no desire to join in their conversation.

She had asked Edgar, after one especially nasty confrontation with the witch, if he had ever considered a paternity test. His answer was no of course. Witch or not she was his daughter.

"Good morning Cynthia, Martin, and Bug." Even in the eyes of Edgar's shyster lawyers she was Shutterbug, call me Bug please. It had been Edgar's joke. One that quickly caught on with everyone. Sarah hadn't minded at all. She had never had a real nickname before.

"As you know this firm was the executor of Edgar's estate. We are here to finalize the disposition of it. As per his instructions most of his personal property was sold. The total amount of those sales came to just over $95,000 after we removed the estate expenses it came to $82,000.
I have a check here made out to Cynthia in that amount." He handed the check over to the witch. She looked at it lovingly then put it aside.
"What about his paintings?" the witch asked.

"That is the portion of the estate still to be taken care of. Now I can read you the heretos and wherefores if you like. What it all means is that Edgar left the 'work cabinet' and all it's contents to Sarah Wilson Miles, with the following stipulation. That should she sell any of the contents within her lifetime, she must share the proceeds fifty fifty with his daughter Cynthia. As long as ownership remains with Sarah there is no requirement to share proceeds from the intellectual properties of Edgar Taft." Everyone in the room with the exception of the lawyer was stunned.

"You mean my dad left his painting to that woman?" The witch was livid.
"If by that women, you mean Sarah Wilson Miles, then yes. You will receive half the sales price if and when she sells them."

"I object," the witch almost shouted.

"We aren't in court Miss Franks. You can contest the will if you like, but I can assure it that it will be expensive and you will lose. We drew the will, and we had it reviewed outside the firm at Mr Taft's insistence. We have full documentation, so you don't really have any grounds."

"He was mentally incompetent to make that will."

"I always wondered why he insisted that we arrange to have him examined by an independent doctor as part of the estate planning. Now I know why." It was all that Brag had to say on the subject, but it was more than enough. The witch had just accused her father of being incompetent, but she had done nothing to help him for the previous four years. It wouldn't look good for her in a courtroom even Bug knew that.

"Excuse me Mr. Brag?"

"Yes Bug."

"If I want to donate them to museums can I do that?"

"It would be better if you put them on loan to the museum and retrained ownership."

"Can you arrange that for me."

"Of course we can."

Bug looked over at the witch and saw her face flush. There was every chance that she would have a stroke and end Bug's problem with her forever.
Bug got home in plenty of time to grill the salmon and make the fancy salad. Grilling and making killer salads was just about her total cooking skills. Since she was constantly dieting, it was just about all she needed to know.

Bug set the table for two before she went to shower. She should have showered before going to the lawyers office, but somehow gritty seemed appropriate for the witch. It did not seem appropriate for her friend.

The shower was long enough to empty the hot water tank. She was amazed every time that happened. "Edgar, you must have taken thirty second showers."

"I never timed one. I stayed in just long enough to get the dirt and stink off. Why you women insist on staying until there is no hot water left is beyond me."

"Wanna see?" She asked wickedly. The voice and presence of Edgar Taft disappeared. Bug laughed, then immediately stepped from the tub. She dried herself before dressing in slightly more formal shorts and a knit top cut way to low for comfort. Bug would spend the day being careful not to bend forward from the waist.

"So Sarah, have you decided on your direction?" The voice belonged to her Tammy Smith. Tammy had been responsible for the apprenticeship and the eventual friendship between Sarah and Edgar. Tammy had been Edgar's helper until her husband pitched a fit. Why Sarah had no idea, but she could guess.

"Actually I have. I bought all Edgar's old knock off cameras. I think I'm going to stay with his retro thing, but I hate still life. Too damn boring."

"Oh I still love still life but I also love my digital cameras. Edgar hated my Nikon wouldn't allow it in this house." Tammy looked around smiling. She took a breath then changed the subject. Women often do that, switch subjects then switch back. Only another woman could follow along comfortably.

"So, you are going to redecorate this place?" She noticed Sarah's blank stare. "Come on I absolutely will not allow you to make this a shrine."

"Hardly a shrine, but for now it suits me."

"I've been watching those house flipping shows. Give me a month and I'll have this place looking like new."

"I think I'll leave it alone for now. I have other things on my mind at the moment."

"Like what?"

"I have decided to shoot portraits."

"Jeesus don't say that out loud in this house. The damn roof will fall in on you."

"Why Edgar shot portraits."

"No honey, now and then Edgar shot people. Trust me there is a difference."

"Well it doesn't matter. I'm going to shoot 1940 style portraits."

"You sure as hell won't get rich doing that."

"Tammy, I'm already rich."

"Yeah I know. Sucks don't it?"

"Sometimes it actually does." Sarah was lost in thought about herself and her childhood. Her accomplishments seemed so ordinary. This photography thing was how she hoped to leave her mark. That sounded pompous even to her."

"So should I go look for a studio for you, something dark dreary and just plan dreadful?"

"No thanks, during his last month Edgar and I went to civil war reenactment. He gave me the idea. He even worked it all out for me. I can rent at booth in those things. Make the shots free, post the pictures on a web site, and take orders. He was going to do battlefield scenes but I can do portraits just as well."

"Probably would sell better," Tammy agreed. "So when do you start this little adventure, and oh God what does your Dad think of it?"

"There is a small one this weekend actually. It's a two day thing so I'm going to have to stay in a motel over night. I hate motels, but I can manage. As for daddy he thinks it sounds like a nice hobby."

"Jeeze they never get it do they? On the other, Edgar was too far gone to think of it, or if he did he couldn't have done it." Tammy said it while looking off into the distance at something no one else could see.

"What are you talking about?" Sarah asked.

"What you need to do, if you really like this, is to go period." Tammy noticed Sarah's lack of understanding. "Become one of them honey. Don't you see it's perfect. You can set a tent as a reenactor, shoot like hell, then post the pictures for sale on a web site somewhere."

"You mean sleep on the ground?" Sarah was horrified at the idea.

"Give it some thought, Edgar would have loved the idea, even if he couldn't have done it."

"I'm not sure that I can do it either."

"Hello, I would like to make a reservation for Saturday night?"

"So you mean this coming Saturday night?" The voice on the other end of the phone seemed to be almost laughing without a sound. If that were possible. The impression was most likely just in her mind. Bug had heard clerks at three other hotels tell her that all the Motels were filled to capacity for a hundred miles. Something to do with a home coming event. It wasn't even a college just the town's founder's day celebration.

That was in addition to the civil war reenactment. Sherman had routed a few hundred old men and boys near the little town. The reenactment was part of the founder's day celebration. So the yokels were celebrating a defeat at the hands of the cruelest general the army of the Potomac could find.

Bug laughed, while wondering what the men who ran like women from the advancing Sherman would have thought. They might be incensed, or get a good laugh at how foolish modern people were. After two more failed attempts to book a room, Bug said aloud. "Damn it Edgar, what do I do now?"

"You pack my car little girl, and you drive down there and you work. You are either a pro or you are a talented amateur. The difference isn't so much in what you know, as how far you will go." She heard the words just as Edgar had spoken them when they had been forced to drive all night to get to a show. She had complained then to.

"I know damn it," she replied to the empty room. Bug gave up looking for a room and began checking her/Edgar's cameras. The old camera's would either work or they wouldn't. She had already decided to replace them with brand new reproductions. What she planned to do was to replace them as they failed.

The two smaller of Edgar's camera's were the back up for the backup. Edgar had explained that he had put the best lenses on the larger negative cameras. It was easy to figure out that the 3x4 camera's were the best ones he had. Edgars camera's were all about the glass. Edgar swore the best glass was wallensak, followed by baush & lomb. He ranked the Kodak glass, with only a few exceptions, far behind the others. Kodak made a few good lenses, but mighty few, he informed her on more than one occasion.

The encampment was to open to the public at 9 A.M. Bug knew that it would be more like 10 before things got moving, and more like noon before there was a crowd. Since it was her first shoot of any kind alone, she planned to just walk around shooting pictures and handing out cards. It was a very basic beginning of her business plans. There were several more elaborate ones but they all required that she be accepted by the re enactors. That meant spend some time with them and show them what she had. Well show them what she had photographically.

Bug was not above flirting to get her way, but she preferred to be accepted for her talent, not her talents. She cut film and loaded holders from shortly after lunch to almost dinner time. There weren't so many as they were giving her a ***** of a time. Some of the film got cut not quite square so it wouldn't load properly. Many times she had to re cut the film to make it fit. Cutting film in the dark wasn't her idea of fun, but it was necessary.

The town was a four hour drive. Her plan was to arrive at Ten A.M. so she awoke to the sound of her alarm at tree am. She wanted time to run before she left for the shoot. She hated running in the city, but she had no choice. The morning runs were essential to her well being. She didn't like running alone in the middle of the night, but she had no choice in that either.

She drove the convertible to the mall parking lot. One quick lap around the mall's perimeter was about two miles. It was also reasonably safe, since the mall had roaming security guards circling all night. The most inconvenient part was stopping to explain to them what she was doing. They never seemed to remember but then she didn't run that often. Also there was a chance they just wanted to stop her to chat, since there's had to be a boring job. It didn't matter which, she didn't like it.

After her shower bug threw her small overnight bag. loaded with clean underwear and a different top, behind the driver's seat and off she went.

She stopped in a truck stop for good coffee and one egg floating in grease. She almost sent it back, but decided that Edgars food rule applied.

While on the road, eat what you can, when you can. Keep your mouth shut and bowls open always followed the first bit of wisdom. Bug never quite understood what the last part meant. But she kept her mouth shut and ate the greasy egg and under cooked toast. Two more cups of strong black coffee went down before she paid the check and headed back into the night.

She arrived in the town a little after nine. She quickly got lost, then found again. Once she got on the right road the signs led her to the county fair grounds. It was the location of the encampment and the fake battle sight as well.

Bug sat in Edgar's car for a long time before she found the courage to begin. Edgar had always jumped right out and began, 'gettin' in there amongst them.' She was basically shy, but knew she had to do it. She had learned that from him before Edgar make the long dark voyage. Bug wished with all her heart that she had a drink. Hell more like twenty drinks before she went to face the music. She forced herself out of the car with dark thoughts but a cheerful smile on here face.


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