Busted Axle Road
Chapter 85

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

"I can't believe you're still here," John said.

"I find it a little difficult to believe, myself," Heather said, reaching for her wineglass. "There's not been much of anything happening."

Their dinner was in the dining room of the Spearfish Lake Inn. Heather wore her swimsuit under her clothes; after dinner, John had arranged for them to use the hot tub. It would be something different to do.

For more than two months, Heather had been having dinner with John, on the average of once a week. He had difficulty getting away more often than that, for in addition to overseeing the preparations for the haunted house with the SADD kids, he coached girl's basketball, a fall sport in Spearfish Lake. It had gotten so dull for Heather that she had even gone to some of the home games, although she wasn't any kind of a sports fan.

"How was the trip to Minneapolis?" John asked.

"A little more productive than the last time," Heather reported. "Right at the moment, it doesn't look like it's going to go to court. All they'd tell me is that they're 'making progress' in negotiations with the EPA, but they won't tell me what's going on. Me, I think somebody's stalling."

"Probably," John said. "As far as I know, the EPA hasn't modified their deadline to the city any, so that still stands. I talked to Ryan Clark the other day, and the city is still hanging. They're going to have to jump soon, but they don't have any idea of what way to jump."

"If only we knew there were more snakes," Heather said, "This would be easy."

"Well, you're not going to find them now," John replied. "They're holed up for the winter."

"I keep looking in the sewers," Heather replied. "The one last spring was active outside the normal season, so maybe there's a chance they'll be there. Beyond that, I don't know what to do." She shook her head. "I really appreciate your asking me out to dinner, John," she said. "It gives me something to look forward to."

"Thanks," he said. "I appreciate that." He hadn't given up hope of action with Heather, but there was something about her that didn't make it an imperative, either. There was something of a kindred spirit he sensed about her, but he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was. If it eventually came down to a one-night stand, it came down to that. If it didn't, it didn't, and he found himself amazed at being so philosophical about it. "I look forward to these dinners, too," he added. "Have you had any nibbles on your whale project?"

Over the course of the weeks, he had slowly drawn a lot of history out of Heather. She had told him about the demonstrations at Old Brook, and although she didn't mention the exact nature of her pivotal role, he'd had the impression that she'd been right up to her ears in organizing the protest. She'd told him other things that she'd been involved in over the years, and had told him of her idea to put pressure on the Japanese over their whaling fleet.

"Not really," she said. "A number of people have said that it's a good idea, but it's going to take a big organization with a lot of clout to put together a boycott that's effective enough to make the Japanese hurt a little. It's not something that can be started from scratch."

"Well, I hope it works out for you," John said. "Although, I'll be sorry to see you go."

"I won't be sorry to leave," Heather said. "Except for these dinner with you. I suppose I'm being morbid, but it bothers me to see the trees bare, with the leaves all gone. It means winter is on the way, and I'm not really a winter person. I guess that's why I've put up with living in Los Angeles all these years."

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