Beyond Cuckoo

River Agosto–Your wake-up call.

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River flipped through the restaurant menu guide at the Hampton Suites. She had intended to eat earlier at the bar, but her appetite had faded with the anxiety that lingered inside her. Why? She didn’t know, but now she was famished. She ordered from the first pizza delivery service listed, hung up and re-dialed.  Rochelle answered her cell. “Hello?”
“Hi, this is River, I just got in.”
“Have you been to the site yet?”
“No, I told you, I just got in.”
A long silence followed—probably a few minutes, but to River, it felt like an hour. Rochelle used long pauses to control conversations. River used to jump in, but as soon as she’d start to speak, Rochelle would cut her off. She had learned to wait her boss out and the test had turned into a game between them. Who would go first? River had nowhere to go and she leaned back on the bed pillow.
“Are you there?” Rochelle’s voice finally came through.
“Yeah, I’m waiting for a pizza delivery. Is there something you need?”
“I’m sending Dusty to meet up with you in a few days. I want all the sampling done before she gets there . . . understood?”
“Sure, no problem. Anything else?”
“No that’s it. Have a good night.”
The abrupt ending of the call sent panic through her veins, she didn’t know why. Routine activities usually helped. A few hours later River had scarfed the delivered pizza, drank a few beers from the honor bar, watched a shopping channel on TV, took a long hot bath and got into bed. Just before she dozed off, she looked at the clock which said 2:00.
The dream was different. Not the usual race through the darkness she had come to expect.
The moonlit landscape flowed high and low through mountains and valleys. Animals—large and small cats, birds, lizards and snakes–huddled around an oasis of wetland. When she approached, they became motionless statues, when she backed off and they would resume drinking. A hand grabbed at her shoulder; River turned and gazed into the eyes of a red-haired woman.
“Are you a robber?” River asked.
“Oh no, I am on your side. I’m here to protect you. If anyone bothers you, you call me.”
River wanted to believe, but thought it best to move away. Two older women with hoes were digging trenches through which the waters of the oasis drained. The animal statues crumbled to sand. River ran her fingers through the particles and cried.
The phone call jarred River awake. “Good Morning Ms. Agosto,  this is your wake-up call.”

My work in progress, a novel with the working title of “River” ,is an environmental/political thriller focused on water and wildlife issues of the American Desert Southwest. I welcome any and all comments or information to help me drive the story. (Including the infamous WALL, immigration issues, and current government administrations.) This is a tidbit of story.  elaine@mediadesign-mds.com

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About the Author:

Elaine Webster writes fiction, creative non-fiction, essays and poetry from her studio in Windsor, California—the heart of Sonoma County Wine County. “It’s easy to be creative surrounded by the beauty of Northern California. We have the best of everything—good wine, food, art, culture and sense of community.”
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