Busted Axle Road
CopyrightÂ© 1993, 2001, 2010
The days were noticeably getting shorter now; it was already dark as Josh and the others drove back toward Spearfish Lake from Albany River.
It had been another late-starting date. Football conditioning had started the first of the week, in the mornings, and then Josh had had to make a Kremmling turn, while Danny had done the way freight to Camden. Bud Ellsberg, the president of the Camden and Spearfish Lake, had been a football player once, and a pretty good one for the Marlins at that, so he knew the drill. He tried to cut Josh and Danny as much slack as he could with the scheduling, and had had a couple of words with Coach Hekkinan, an old teammate, about the times that the boys couldn't make it to practice.
"I don't know what I need conditioning for, anyway," Danny complained from the back seat. "It's not like I've been sitting on my dead ass all summer. All that up and down off the engine, and all the volleyball I've been playing with Marsha, I'm already in game shape."
"It's a pain in the butt," Josh agreed. "He's got me scheduled for a night run tomorrow night, and I'll get back just about in time for morning practice. After I've been up all night, I'm really going to be in great shape. Maybe I can con Bruce into running about an hour late."
"Fat chance of that," Danny said. "Bud wouldn't mind, but Diane would be all over him if he ran late for the hell of it."
"Yeah, you're right," Josh agreed. "But, I'm going to have to try and sleep during the day as much as I can, tomorrow. Then, before I go to work, I promised Mark I'd go out and work the dogs with him. I tell you, that's going to add up to one long potlicker of a night."
"How's it going with the dogs?" Marsha asked.
"Oh, pretty good," Josh told her. "Mark let me take them out around the field trails by myself yesterday, and I can say that I walked away from it."
"All four dogs?" Danny asked.
"No, just Cumulus and Red and Midnight," Josh said. "Mark and Mike have given up on trying to get Red to run in double lead with Cumulus. They're talking about getting another dog or two."
"That'll speed things up a little," Danny commented.
"Yeah," Josh said. "I read that book that Mark gave me about the Iditarod race, and in there, it talks about a guy taking off out of Anchorage with a twenty dog team. I can't imagine trying to hold that many dogs down when they're hyper and wanting to run."
"Quite a ride, I bet."
"Yeah, it'd be an experience," Josh agreed. "Look, I kind of hate to bring this up, but it's too early to go home, and too late to start much of anything. Anybody got any ideas?"
"Well, I suppose we could cruise around town a little," Danny suggested.
"Big deal," Marsha said from her position, cuddled up under Danny's arm. "How about if we sneak out and go skinnydipping again? We haven't done that in a couple of weeks."
"Yeah," Amy said. "That worked pretty well the last time. We go in the back way, and down to that beach at that little bay. Nobody's likely to see us there."
"I'm willing if everybody else is," Josh agreed. "The only thing is, that means that everybody's going to have to ride back to town, if you're going to ride back with Danny."
"Big deal," Danny said. "We can just leave the girls off, and I'll ride back with you. I told the folks I might stay in town tonight, what with early practice."
"All right with me," Josh said.
There wasn't a lot of talking for the next few miles. Once or twice, in the lights of an oncoming car, Josh could see that there was a reason for it: in the back seat, Marsha and Danny had found something else to do with their mouths, and it looked like they were enjoying it. Amy was aware of what was going on, too; she lay her head on his shoulder, and he pulled her tight. The world seemed very fine, just then.