See Part 1 for Disclaimers.



No writer can write in a vacuum. We beginners are especially in need of feedback, advice, encouragement, cookies, etc.  I will do my best to respond to any messages sent to Dreams2Fly - even criticisms (though don't be surprised if it takes a while on those. I'd rather not respond when I'm upset.) This is my first attempt at a full length story and second posting overall, so bear with me. I believe I am far enough ahead that I should be able to post one part every week or so. I hope you enjoy it.


Part Three

"Hey, Laurie."

"Lee! I'm glad you called. Listen, it's going to be pretty chilly out here tomorrow. I know you don't expect those kids to stand around all day in just t-shirts. So, what do you want 'em wearing? Layers? Coats?"

"Whoa!" Lee glanced over his shoulder then changed lanes. "Slow down, kiddo." He reached out and reset the cruise control, then settled deeper into the driver's seat. "Okay, now what's the issue? The weather? I thought it was supposed to clear and warm tomorrow."

"Yeah, the weather. You had to pick the middle of nowhere to film this show, and the weather here sucks. Oh, sure. It's going to be clear and warm... for Eskimos!"

"Aw, c'mon! It's only the edge of nowhere. Trust me on this; I've been to the middle of nowhere. Y'gods, you'd think I had you out in Siberia."

Laurie laughed. "I know. But, it's cold and these are kids you're dealing with. So, what do you want me to put 'em in?"

"Umm." Lee drummed his fingers on the top of the steering wheel a moment. Giving a quick glance over his shoulder, he switched back to the outside lane. "Uh, do you think they'll be warm enough if you layer them to look like they're in a warmer climate and not out freezing in the arctic tundra? I'd rather the cameras be able to actually see the kids, not just bundles of coats." Lee grimaced. "The last thing I want is a bunch of Kennys running around mumbling into their hoods."

"I could try."

"How about if we have one of the big jet heaters going to keep the area warm, too? -Son of a-!" Lee swerved into the passing lane. "Sorry."

Laurie chuckled. "Lemme guess. You're on the road right now."

"Yeah," Lee growled. "The jackass didn't even look before hitting the highway, much less slow down to merge. He was damned near in my passenger seat and headed for the driver's side!"

"Pennsylvania drivers, gotta love 'em!"

Lee snorted, ignoring the fact that the hands-free mike was unlikely to pick up and transmit his response.

"Anyway," Laurie continued, "Luke's here with me today getting the props ready. Jackie will have the animals here by 9 tomorrow. Charlie and Christa will have their crews here around 8:30 and be ready to shoot by 10. The kids should start arriving around 9, but don't be too surprised if some don't get here until nearly 10. Some of these parents are far less punctual than their children."

Lee sorted through all the times Laurie gave him, fitting them into something of a mental day planner. "Uh, alright, tell Christa her crew will be doing the establishing shots starting at 10:15. I think Luke can have the kids ready by then, don't you?"

"Yeah, sure, provided they aren't scared out of their wits and completely useless by then!"

"Hey! Luke's a really nice guy."

"I know he is. He's just incredibly tall and overbearing - and that has a tendency to scare the hell out of some of the younger kids. They're much more used to being coddled."

Lee sighed. "I'm sure they'll get over it. I did." Laurie laughed.

"Why don't you take Charlie and his crew out and see what sort of footage you can get from Jackie and her animals," he continued. "I'll be on set by quarter to 10 in case there're any last minute details you need to run by me before we start."

"Got it." The speaker crackled. "Uh, are any of the kids going to be riding the horses? I'll need to have safety waivers on hand if so."

"Lemme think a minute." Lee flicked on his turn signal and began to slow down, the cabin of his vehicle quieting some at the lower speed. He nibbled on his bottom lip as he navigated the exit ramp and mentally reviewed his plans for this week's filming. As the truck came to a stop at the bottom of the ramp, he spoke up again. "No, I don't see any reason to have the kids up on the horses tomorrow. But, check around and see which of them have experience riding. We may bring them back for Friday's shoot. If we can't find any, we'll have to see what we can do back at the studio to simulate it."

"O-" A burst of static drowned out the rest of her response.

"Damnit!" Lee swore as he pulled out onto the more rural road, adding several more colorful phrases. "Laurie! Listen. If you can hear me, call the office in about twenty minutes." With an exasperated sigh, Lee disconnected the call.

He spent the next several miles muttering to himself about the inadequacies of the wireless carrier he was contracted with before finally relaxing and enjoying the ride. The remainder of his drive was through a series of farm fields and, as usual, he took part of his attention away from the road to observe the changes in the land around him.

For the most part, the snow was finally melted and gone. Though, in places it could still be seen huddled in the shadows. The land itself was too cold yet to turn for spring planting, and the fields resembled nothing so much as a five o'clock shadow with uneven stubble tracing the contours of the land. Likewise, the trees that bordered the fields in thin strips were still skeletal. Lee smiled as he slowed the truck to watch a squirrel scuttle across the two lane road, braving the chancy spring weather to retrieve a stashed meal.

Spring, he thought, is nearly sprung.




~Continued in Part Four~

©March 2005