Busted Axle Road
Chapter 61

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

John's advice to try the Westwood Apartments had been good, Heather realized. The apartment was nothing special, but it was cozy and clean and in good repair, and at the mention of his name the manager had brightened. She did indeed have an apartment looking out over the lake; it was on the upper level, but the manager said that since they weren't full, she could have it at lower level prices.

After her grubby apartment in L.A., looking out at a wall at twice the price, it was like Heather had stepped into a dream. It was going to be hard to leave. There was a beach, right across the road, and although the water looked cold, it was going to be refreshing to take a swim, once in a while.

But that was beside the point; there was work to be done, and the first thing to do would be to look up this Appleton girl, and see what could be seen about the snake.

Heather had Pam's home address, and as luck had it, she caught Pam coming home Sunday evening, after a long, tough, fruitless day of looking through the swamps.

Pam was a serious enough looking girl, Heather decided at the first look, although she seemed rather sunburned and bedraggled. "I understand you're the person that's been carrying on the Gibson's Water Snake investigation," she said by way of introduction.

"What there is of it," Pam said, a little surly and out of sorts. "It hasn't been going real well."

"Well, I wanted to talk to you about it," Heather replied, nonplussed. "I'm Heather Sanford, from the Defenders of Gaea. We funded your television surveillance program."

Pam brightened a little. "I'm sorry I'm such a mess," she said. "I was just on my way to change and go to the beach, and rinse a little of this swamp scum off of me before I clog up the shower."

"I've got a beach by my place," Heather said. "Why don't you come on down, and we can both go for a swim and open a cold one, while you tell me all about it."

"That may be the best invitation I've had all month," Pam replied, a lot of the tiredness going away. "Where are you at? I'll change, then drive down and meet you."

"I'll drive," Heather offered. "That way we can talk on the way."

Pam was back in a couple of minutes, wearing a T-shirt over a swimsuit, carrying a towel. Heather stopped along the way, bought a six-pack of Hamm's, and drove to her apartment. "I gotta change," she said. "Meet you on the beach."

The water was indeed cold, especially after what she remembered from Hawaii, but Pam didn't seem to mind. She'd already been in the lake for a while by the time Heather got out to the beach, and she was still in when Heather spread a towel out to let the warmth of the late-afternoon sun dry her out. When Pam did finally get out of the water, she spread out on her towel next to Heather, and accepted a cold beer.

"So," Heather said, getting down to business. "What's the story on the Gibson's Water Snake?"

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