Getting Away From It All (Mostly)

A Tale of a Captain and His Best Gal, Part Two

Shady Acres. The name itself made George Cahill, Captain (Retired), shudder. He had vague memories of Mayor Roswell’s visiting him George’s underground bunker. Unpleasant memories–something wasn’t right about that man and that neighborhood, George recalled. However, when George was driven up to the bluffs above StrangerVille, he changed his mind. The Roswells were long gone, and the neighborhood was now sparsely populated after the near-cataclysmic event’s firestorm nearly destroyed everything.

George’s new home was exactly as he wanted it. Still not comfortable sleeping above ground, George had told the architect he wanted an underground bedroom. “Nothing fancy, just comfortable.” The architect nodded. (She was a junior partner at the well known SimtaFe Architects Firm and was hoping to make her mark with this lot in the new redevelopment of Shady Acres.) She’d met George’s expectations, he thought as he looked around. Traditional Selvadoradian rug, bookshelf; George tested the bed, comfortable enough.

He even had a case to display the medals he’d earned during his military career–and the commendation by the United SimNation Council for Preservation. “Good ol’ Erwin,” George chuckled at the housewarming poster. George arranged his medals and went to bed; the first night in his new home.

Time passed pleasantly. George found himself enjoying gardening more than he’d expected, and he was glad the architect had made a greenhouse the center of his new home. He spent hours building items in the clear desert air. His garden was growing very nicely, and the biggest problem George worried about was being attacked by a pair of impatient cardinals when he filled the bird feeder.

Living off the grid wasn’t always easy, though. It took George awhile to get used to tepid showers. The occasional hiker gave him a surprised look when they saw this nature-loving man in his birthday suit.

“Hey, this is my property. You don’t like what you see, take a different trail!” George would yell. After a few months, neither George nor the hikers noticed one another any more.

George spent most of his waking hours outside. He cooked the fish he caught in the nearby stream over a campfire and enjoyed the harvest from his garden. His Chillville Cooler from Future Sims Labs provided an endless supply of yogurt, granola, milk, and orange juice and was perfect for quick meals. George didn’t let himself wonder too much about the technology that provided such convenience.

As part of his resettlement package featuring the latest in off-grid and green technology, George received his own AI Gardener Patchy. Patchy tended the plants and gave George gardening tips. Life was going well for George, but he began to feel something was missing in his life. His set up was everything he had ever dreamed, and he even had his secret hidden well below everyone’s sight, but George felt a hole in his life never before noticed.

“Maybe my gal can give me some insight,” George mumbled to himself one autumn morning. He ate his yogurt thoughtfully and sighed. Visiting Penelope always brought mixed emotions. He loved that she was safe, but he hated how she was entombed.

She didn’t seem to mind, though. George sat in the cockpit, rereading one of his favorite childhood stories. Mary Ann hadn’t minded, either. George and Mike Mulligan had a lot in common, he mused. Looking up from his book, he turned his head. “Nothin’,” George muttered, “just me being silly. Nobody knows we’re down here, Penny old gal.” He patted her worn side fondly and went back to reading. A moment later, his head jerked up. He had heard something.

“Mew, mew.” A tiny black cat nuzzled against him. Warm feelings rose inside George. He picked up the little furball. “Hello, little guy,” George scratched behind the kittens ears.

“Penelope, you are my best gal. You knew what was missing, didn’t you. I never know Jack.” George laughed, startling the kitty. “Well, nice to meet you–now I do know Jack. That’s what we’re calling you, right Penny?” George sighed. Life was good.

George’s new home is on the gallery, Dream Weaver’s Way Away.

A tour of his home is on my You Tube channel here.


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