Plight of the Caribou©
(Part 4 – January 28, 2013)
The time Chase spent crouching in a bush waiting for a leopard to appear was nothing compared to the work he did at the walkathon headquarters. Every man muscle he had been put to use as he toted boxes, assembled and tables. Beatrice, the coordinator was all too happy to have a man in the group. Maxine spent most of her time shaking her head at him. Every now and again they would get to talk. He could tell she was a lot more relaxed than she was at the dealership. Chase calmly went home and informed Moira that he was spending the evening with Maxine and to his surprise she nodded politely and told him to have a good time. It was as if some demure person had taken over his sister’s body.
When he returned home he found a note saying she’d gone to the movies so Maxine suggested they go to her place and she’d fix them a late dinner. So, it was after midnight and he was standing in her kitchen eating a western omelet. She looked exhausted but happy. During one of his short breaks he managed to ask her what the walkathon was for and she replied that it was for lupus. Her brother Daniel had died from lupus years ago and this was her way of remembering her brother. He could tell she didn’t really want to say that but he was glad she did. The soothing rapport they had transitioned seamlessly from keystrokes to real-time without much effort or awkwardness.
“So what’s the subject of your next documentary?” she said as she nibbled on her omelet.
“I was thinking the plight of the caribou,” he smiled.
“I’m totally serious. After talking to you I did some research and turns out they do actually have a plight.”
“You know,” she smiled, “you are too much.”
“So are you.” Chase moved in and kissed her softly on the lips. When she didn’t object he continued with a more thorough attitude. Maxine put her arms around his waist and hung on for dear life. Chase felt like he’d been missing her kisses all his life. After what seemed like an eternity, Chase broke the kiss.
“Moira is gonna kill me,” he breathed into her hair.
“Past your curfew?” Max laughed.
“No. I came to California to see you.”
Maxine erupted in laughter. “You’re right. She is gonna kill you. If I were you I would keep a secret just between the two of us. I think she’s gonna kill me too.”
Chase wrapped his arms around her. “And why is that?”
“I think I’m in love with her brother.”
Six months later…
“These graceful creatures are looking to you to preserve their environment. Man has appreciated their beauty but unfortunately man has also given them limited options to roam naturally. As we continue to find a way to share this wonderful planet earth, we should be mindful that all life exists for a reason and should be given the room to be free. I’m Maxine Hawthorne and thank you for letting me share the plight of the caribou.”
“And cut! Perfect Max,” Chase yelled.
The small crew gathered and applauded her for a job well done. Max let out a big sigh and bowed as the applause came her way, grateful that they’d given her a chance. She turned to Chase, who waved to her and gave her a big smile.
Chase never imagined his visit to California would result in finding the spokesperson for his documentaries. She was a natural. She had a curious mind and a sparkling personality.
Moira had even come around. After accusing Max of stealing Chase, then Chase of stealing Max when she announced she was leaving with him to do the documentary, Moira had done more dramatic scenes with Shakespearian precision than a theater major in college.
“So how did I do boss?”
“Hmmm.” He said thoughtfully. “As your boss, I’d have to say hiring you was the best thing I ever did. But as you boyfriend,” he put his arm around her shoulders, “I would say you did a damn good job.”
“I’ll take both those compliments,” she smiled. “So what’s our next project?”
“Goodness woman! I just yelled cut three minutes ago.”
“There are other animals out there that need their story told too.”
“And we will get to them. But I’d like to spend two weeks with you. Anywhere you want to go.”
Maxine smiled. There was no place special she want to go to, she just wanted to be with Chase. Who would have thought a chat with Moira’s brother would lead to her true calling in life, being an advocate for animals and sharing her life with a man who loved adventure and loved her even more. There was serenity in finding herself, finally after drifting from jobs and places and people. She was home and she loved it.
Missed Parts 1, 2 & 3? Check it out here: https://rhondalaurel.com/short-stories/plight-of-the-caribou/