Vacationland: Chapter 2

By Nat Goodale | Mar 22, 2011

Delano Cabot slid his bone china cup off to the side. He and Eliza sat at the heirloom dining table that had cost a fortune. The morning sunlight poured through the picture window and swept across the table, illuminating Eliza’s auburn hair, catching the highlights.  She stared at her organizer, pencil poised in mid air. The sun caught the thin scar beneath her ear and accentuated her taught cheek and impressive bone structure.

The wind was picking up and tossing white caps across the bay and bending trees towards the south. But there was no sound from outside. The refrigerator hummed, the grandfather clock in the foyer clicked. Delano refocused on what his wife was saying.  “It is so important to manage our house guests. Otherwise, they will consume the summer and make our life miserable.”

His plans for the summer were coming unglued.  He’d have to fight for time on the boat.

She looked up.  “And that brings me to our neighbor. Sweetheart, you just have to get him to clean up his property. And we need to cut down that ghastly tree.  And his mongrel is a threat to Alexandra.”

Alexandra eased off the dog bed and came for a treat. Her paws ticked on the polished mahogany floor and she walked with caution. Eliza handed down a bit of toast and went into her cutesy voice. Alexandra understood about the finer things in life and what was owed her. Delano’s nerves crunched like the crust in Alexandra’s mouth. She looked over and Delano thought she knew just how ridiculous she looked, all trimmed out in poodle fashion, that she knew the price for being the pet.

As they stared at each other he said, “Honey, don’t you think we should get Alex spayed?” Delano brought his cup back and took a sip of bitter cold coffee.

“No, dear. She is a champion and she will be bred when she reaches the right age.”  The tone ended all further discussion.

Delano tried the house guest subject. “If we keep the number of guests down, we can take the boat up the coast.  This is Vacationland for a reason.”

Eliza tapped the pencil on the calendar. “We are establishing ourselves in this community. Word will leak out about the people we know. At the bare minimum, we need to fill three of the four weekends each month. Of course, September is much more open. We can go boating then.”

Delano let out a muted sigh. Alexandra returned to her bed in the sun. He said, “I think Donny and I understand each other. No one likes pressure, so he’s trying to save face.  I’ll offer some kind of replacement hedge if he agrees to take the tree down.”

Delano slid his chair back and stood. “I need to get to Rockport Marine. You remember the launching is this weekend. Which reminds me, I have to check with the harbor master about our mooring.”  He brushed crumbs of toast off his brick colored trousers and Eliza frowned. He slipped his blazer off the back of his chair and took his plate, cup and saucer to the open kitchen. Alexandra lifted her head when the china ticked the black marble counter.

Eliza penciled in another group of visitors. Without looking up, she said, “You look splendid today, sweetheart. I like the yellow shirt. But how can you even stand to get within five feet of that nasty harbor master? Isn’t he threatening to put us out beyond the town moorings? Why do we have to be so low on the waiting list?”

Delano stared at his dishes. “With the amount of taxes we pay in this town, it will not be a problem.”

Eliza liked her momentum. “Have you thought any more about joining the harbor committee? Remember the last meeting of the Friends of the Maine Coast? I know it wasn’t said directly, but it was certainly implied. We need to save these people from themselves. They’re ruining the very finest things of Maine. Who’s going to come here when the docks smell like a fish sewer and you have to walk through slime and dodge dog droppings just to get to the boat. You can make a difference, and it will look good.”

“I’ll think about it,” he said and thought at the very least he could rent a mooring in close, even if it belonged to Donny Coombs.




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