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Driving on the other side ( PART 11)

March 9, 2011

It was late afternoon when Bender finally decided to take a break from fishing, get something to eat, and rest before the evening “hatch”. Due to the amount of “no- see-ums”, and sand flies, Bender sat inside his tent, behind the mosquito netting. He thought of the first people who inhabited the Island, the Maori’s, and wondered just how they dealt with the bug problem. Billy thought, well, they are an oceanic people , Polynesian, so perhaps they could live by the sea during the bug season, here it would be windy, and keep the bugs at bay, plus, the ocean is full of food, he thought it made sense for them to most likely to have lived near the coastline. The only reason they needed to go inland was to retrieve wood for building and burning, and, to collect fruit and plants. For New Zealand was a land void of mammals, no predators, the mammals were all introduced by man.
It was time for a food inventory, Bender had three days, and he wanted to see if, in fact, he’d brought enough food. There is two loaves of good multigrain bread, a huge quarter of white cheese with the wax still attached to help preserve it. Three cans of white albacore tuna, a large plastic bag containing a pound of mixed nuts, four packets of dried soups, minestrone seemed to be the flavor of choice.  Six Braeburn apples, a packet of shortbread cookies, a large Cadbury fruit and nut bar, and of course, mayo, mustard, and sea salt. There was also Beer, DB brown (Dominion Bitters), a case of 12 Quart bottles. Bender would also have a trout the second night, just to ensure he would have ample amount of food, in case something happened and he was not retrieved.  Bender had noticed some wild onion, and some meadow mushrooms both growing near the creek, he had already made plans to harvest a smallish brown trout of no more than two pounds, a perfect hot meal.
As Bender lay in his dark green Eureka four-man tent, he could only hear the sound of the wind, blowing through the willows and far off Beech and Oak trees. The strange sounds of birds he was not familiar, and the ever constant rush of  “Happy creek”, that flowed just below him. Billy could not sleep, all alone in a place that many would consider Eden, Bender thought about what he’d left back in Great Falls. For when Bender was told to “take some time off”, he was not sure if in fact, it was due to saving him from the current economic disaster, and returning him at a better time. Or, to let him go, become the scapegoat for the lack of security that needed to be updated within the entire DA Davidson Corporation. Billy knew that it was an economic decision to upgrade the security system; it would cost millions to have every single client’s portfolio information encrypted. The warnings from the Government were always delayed; experts in the field felt like the company would have years to change over the entire security system. But, being hacked by two thugs in Eastern Europe brought the attention of the US Government. It was clear, all “online” transactions, on all levels, from credit cards to Bank transfers, Stock and Bond trades, all online transactions, will have to be in compliance.
Bender wanted to be back at the job, to get his branch “up to speed”, but he knew he would have to wait. It was a time of unknowns, the stock market had fallen so fast, that experts were comparing this time with the great depression, most peoples portfolios have dropped 60-85%. Retirements gone, savings are gone, people’s hope, for a great number of them, gone.
Billy unzipped the door of the tent, he stepped out and took a long a deep breath. Looking around, he realized just how fortunate he was, to be on a trout stream in New Zealand, full of huge trout, nobody for miles, for he had the upper section of Happy Creek, all to himself. He grabbed his vest and Rod and started to walk upstream when he felt something bulging in the lower left-hand pocket of his vest, the place where Billy kept his fine selection of dry flies. He opened it to find a bag filled with beautiful green buds, with red hairs permeated throughout. There was a whitish color incorporated very faintly covering the entire flower.  There was also a small pipe, and a note, it read. “Rangitikei Red Bud, enjoy!” Bender had not had the time nor want to smoke pot for many years, but, being alone in Paradise, he thought, what a wonderful place to be “high” and forget about the problems of the world. He sat on a granite boulder, just above the creek, and inhaled the sweet smoke, allowing all the worlds’ problem to blow away with it.
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