Sorry for the gap again in Tales of the Cabin and my writing in general.
I spent the week after Thanksgiving in the hospital, got out, then promptly got a cold which wiped me out for another week. Right as the cold started, I had a procedure done that has helped immensely and I should be starting physical therapy next week.
I’ve also found the only thing worse than long(ish) term writer’s block…is when it breaks. I’ve got several parts of Tales in my head….along with the continuation of my NaNoWriMo 2018 stumble-start, and a there’s a fantasy story with a character named Mythalifax bounding along with all the rest.
What does this mean for you, my readers (both of you)? There will be a lot more regular updates, weekly posts, and general mayhem appearing here .
PS: As some you know, in real life, I’m battling Multiple Sclerosis and degenerative disc disease in my low back that causes left leg paralysis and excruciating pain as I go into one of these attacks, followed by a short period of numbness/inability to walk, then another period of excruciating pain. — If you want to help me get through these attacks and the mountain of medical expenses that are sapping my day-to-day living expenses – I have a GoFundMe set up that helps me get through these financially stressful times at https://www.gofundme.com/63kqxg
Aaron, Andy, and Shawn had arrived and had talked to Steven. He had gotten a thumbs up from all three so I had extended an invitation to move in. I showed him the lots we currently had available for purchase and gave him the covenant that spelled out the rules, rights, and responsibilities of residents.
As winter was coming, I told Steven of my thoughts to put in a tunnel system to allow for easy access around the community without having to go outside. There would be an entry below ground and a remote buzzer/intercom system for each dwelling. Community areas would have a keyfob type system to allow easy access without having to carry keys.
Steven agreed it was a great idea and offered to help pay for the cost. I certainly wasn’t going to turn him down. I told him that I would waive the cost of his lot in exchange Once we had all the paperwork drafted and faxed over to our respective lawyers, Steven got dressed and headed back towards the Cities
I walked Steven back out to his car and as he drove off, I gave a small thanks to Nature for a beautiful warm sunny day in October. Days like these would soon be memories and/or daydreams once we were settled into winter.
The rest of the day was contacting contractors with requests for proposals on our underground tunnel system. One detail I added was a full underground shelter capable of holding all of our residents and assuming two guests per resident. It would be our severe weather shelter and if necessary, extra storage if there was a good chance of a blizzard coming.
I really didn’t want to think about the rapidly approaching winter, so I put on my hiking shoes and set out for a jog out to and around the lake. I was just starting to jog around the lake when I saw Shawn approaching. I lost my focus on watching the ground in front of me was I watched Shawn. Shawn was a secret fantasy of mine, he was completely straight and in spite of this, I’d fallen completely in love with him. Seeing him jogging along was enough to stop me in my tracks, well it should have. I was staring at him and wasn’t paying attention to where I was jogging. One tree root later, and I was falling face first into the cold wet ground.
As I picked myself up, Shawn came jogging over and stopped, jogging in place, to make sure I was okay.
“I’m fine Shawn.” I muttered as I got up on my knees and that’s when I realized I was at crotch level with him. I lost my train of thought again as I was mesmerized by this cock and balls bouncing from side to side in front of me. Without thinking about it, I leaned forward and was about to start blowing him when he backed up a couple of steps.
“Hey Vince, none of that. I know you are interested in me but you have the wrong parts for me. Nothing personal.” Shawn said dismissively.
“Shawn, I was just getting back on my feet.” I lied, not all that convincingly even to myself.
“Here, let me help you up.” Shawn stuck out his hand and pulled me up.
“Thanks Shawn.” I squeaked. Ugh, I just tried to put the moves on Shawn. No where near subtlely.
“No problem Vince.” Shawn smiled and jogged off. I couldn’t help but watch his pony tail and his lightly fur-dusted ass go jogging away.
I need to find a partner or at least a good fuck buddy and NOT Aaron or Andy.
I set off jogging again while my mind flogged itself for having lost control. I’d gotten around to the far side of the lake and my mind was finally satisfied that it had beaten itself up enough for now. I slowed to a brisk walk and made my way off the trail and back to where I knew there was a large bare log. It had fallen perfectly and was at slight upward tilt. Laying on it, it kept you facing south into the sun. I decided I needed a rest and laid down on the log. The sun still had some warmth and the surrounding trees kept the wind down. It was probably close to 70 laying there on that log. Before long, I was sound asleep.
I woke up well into evening and the sun was nearly down. As happens in fall and spring, the temperature had dropped off dramatically which is what had likely woken me up. I got up, stretched a bit and took off jogging back towards the community.
You know Vince, we should really name the community already.
I sent a quick text off to Andy and Aaron to have them come over to my place and meet Steven. I didn’t see any issues with him moving in and he wanted to lay low which was perfect for our community.
Aaron and I were speaking to each other again but it was still strained. Knowing Aaron and Andy well, I wanted them to have a chance to meet Steven and get their opinions on them. The only person I was vaguely worried about was Shawn.
Shawn as an anathema in my life. You never quite knew what he was thinking or what he really felt about something until you crossed a line. Then, he’d give you a passive, almost demurring, explanation. You knew how you had transgressed but were left wondering why it had taken so long for him to speak up. In spite of that and his being straight, I had fallen in love with him years ago and that hadn’t changed. As I thought about Shawn, I shot him a quick message too asking him to come over. Shawn had terrible luck with dating but I’d never known him to be wrong as a judge of character. He had that innate ability to give a yea/nay from even a brief meeting with someone.
I knew that Shawn wouldn’t know who Steven was and that worked my favor. Aaron texted me and said they’d be there in about 15 minutes.
I turned my attention back to Steven, “What was the worst thing about playing?”
Steven let out a laugh, “Well…it was coming out.” and with that, he was telling the story as Shawn came in.
Steven stepped back from the podium and cleared his throat. He took a drink of water and stepped back up to the podium, as out on the ice, he saw a sea of red lights and the twinkle of hundreds of camera flashes.
“Good morning. My name is Steven Schmidgall of the Duluth Ironmen. For seven seasons, I have played for the Ironmen and for the last four seasons, I have been this team’s captain. There have been many great things that have happened during those seven seasons. The team has built itself up from being a new team my first season and has rebuilt itself from the worst team in the league to making to the finals of the Hargrove Cup last season. Many players have started great careers here. I, myself, started my IHSL career here in the Twin Ports, and this is where I plan to finish my career.
Many things happen behind the scenes of any professional sporting team. There are players who get involved with drugs, gambling, prostitution, and players who do nothing for anyone else unless it furthers their stake in the team or getting a better deal. Myself, I’ve spent many hours volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital as well as Children’s Hospital. I’ve helped make sure that the Twin Ports Santa Anonymous meets its goal each year as the mystery donor who makes up that difference. Do I do it because it gets me in the spotlight? No. If I wanted to be in the spotlight, I’d not make an anonymous contribution. I’d be having a media event like this one to hand some oversized check to them. I do it because I live here in the Twin Ports and I can help others. It is what we all are supposed to do as members of a community. Community involvement is one of the strongest aspects of the Ironmen organization.
However, through my entire hockey career, I’ve been harboring a secret. A secret that I thought I could take to my grave with me and I hoped that I would take it to my grave. But it’s that spirit of helping others and reaching out to help those who need it that leads me to tell the world.” Steven paused for a moment, visibly moved, though it’s not clear if it’s the spirit of helping others or the fear of what he’s about to do. “I’ve been hiding the fact that I’m gay.” Steven said haltingly then paused as he turned visibly pale. As Steven gripped the podium to keep from passing out, a gasp went up from the media who started screaming questions.
I’ll answer questions shortly. Some of the coaching staff and players have been aware of my homosexuality for the last few seasons. I will still be playing for the Ironmen this season unless the front office or the coaching staff decides to release me or trade me. I will respect their decision.” Steven paused, “I’ve decided to come out because too many gay children don’t have role models. Without proper role models and the intense pressures from society that homosexuality is immoral and wrong, many gay and lesbian youth become depressed and many try to kill themselves. Almost forty percent of teen-age suicide attempts are gay and lesbian youth. Any one of those attempted suicides is one too many. I can no longer live in silence and live a lie. If I didn’t try to reach out to those children and be role model, I would be no better than all the pressures in society that are pushing these teenagers to suicide . Why do they do it? As I said, I think it’s a lack of positive role models and the lack of societal support that they get from the media. That is why I have decided to come out and risk my career, to give the gay and lesbian youth someone to have as a role model, to show that they can be the best that they can be and to have hope in this world.”
Steven and I sat in my living room talking about his ‘previous life’ as he recalled it.
As he turned into his driveway, he pressed the garage door opener, disrupting the tranquility as his garage door lifted. As the truck came to a stop, the driver’s side door opened and he stepped out of the truck. Steven Schmidgall, 31, was an imposing figure both off and on the ice at 6’6” and just shy of 245 pounds, he seemed to dwarf the truck.
He grabbed a large bag of hockey gear from the back of the truck and arranged the gear on a drying rack. Local hockey fans would recognize him as the star goaltender for the Duluth Ironmen of the International Hockey Super League, returning from an early morning workout and practice.
He just had time to clean up and head back downtown for an interview.
Traffic was snarled all over the city by the rain. Steven’s frustration was starting to get to him when he finally got to to the bottom of the hill on Central Entrance. Slowly, he made his way up Superior Avenue and he made it to Magliani’s about five-thirty. He walked in to find Bryan waiting for him, dressed in a well-tailored suit. Bryan walked up and shook his hand. Bryan turned and started walking towards a table in the back of the restaurant. As they sat down, Bryan looked at Steven and smiled.
“We shouldn’t be disturbed too much back here.” Bryan said as he pulled out a tape recorder. Bryan talked to the tape recorder for a few moments, dictating the details of the interview.
“How long have you been playing with the Ironmen?” Bryan asked.
“For the last seven years. I’ve played my entire Super League career with the Ironmen. I was drafted out of Seattle of the Pacific Hockey League when the Ironmen started.” Steven said with commanding voice that was an embodiment of his pride in the team.
“How long have you been the team’s captain? It’s uncommon to have a goalie acting as captain.” Bryan asked, trying to find out how it happened but also trying not to offend Steven.
“I was asked to be the captain four years ago just before the All-Star Break. The team was in a slump, players were fighting in the locker room, and morale was sinking fast. I was so fed up with it all that one night after a game, I went into the locker room and gave the entire team a piece of my mind. I wasn’t being negative about the team’s play, but about the in-fighting and the lack of chemistry. A few days later, Coach pulled me into his office and told me that several of the players had talked to him about making me the captain. The team voted and that was that. I’ve been the captain ever since.”
“Leadership is the main job for the captain isn’t it. It strikes me as odd that you are the only goaltender to have been named as the captain by the team itself. There have been previous times where a goaltender is named as a temporary captain or as an assistant captain. But as far as I could find, you are the only team captain who was put there by his fellow teammates and what is truly impressive is that you have been renamed to the job for the last three seasons.”
“I guess I’m doing my job well. If I wasn’t, the team wouldn’t keep putting me in that position.” Steven said somewhat modestly.
“Very true, Steven.” Bryan paused for a moment, “If I could change the subject, last season after the All-Star Break, you had a streak of several games where you really seemed to be off your mark. You let in several goals per game and you were pulled just into the second period of the first game. The official team response was that you had been traveling out of the country during the break and gotten a severe case of food poisoning. How did you convince Coach to let you keep playing when you were that ill?” Bryan asked more for his own personal knowledge than for background for the interview.
“I had gone to Germany for two weeks to visit my family and attend the funeral of my grandmother over the break since I wasn’t playing in the All-Star Game due to my ankle injury. Sometime during my trip, I contracted salmonella. It really didn’t hit me until I was on the plane back from Köln.” Steven said, giving the city’s name a distinct German accent which caught Bryan’s ear, “Once I got back to Duluth, the airline had an ambulance waiting for me. I went right from the airport to St. Mary’s Hospital where I spent almost a week before being discharged. I knew I wasn’t fit to play, but I couldn’t just sit back and watch the team. Was it the best decision I could have made? No. It wasn’t.”
“So, why did you play? If you were that ill, did you really help the team?”
“Now that’s the question I’ve been asking myself since those games. I was trying to reinforce the spirit of going out on the ice every game and giving it everything. My everything was about 40%. I never should have played. I actually could have been injured much more seriously had I taken a check or hit while playing.”
“Do you think your playing had the effect you wanted?”
Steve stopped and laughed, “You know Vince, I’ve not really opened up to outsider’s much about my hockey career. I spent so much time in the closet, then suddenly, I was out of the closet thanks to my ex-husband. That’s a story for another time.” And with that pronouncement, Steve took a long swig of beer and belched.
I had to laugh at myself when I realized just how long it had been since I’d actually worn clothes. It had been almost three months which is when I had gotten Shane’s moved up.
September had flown by and I wasn’t ready for winter yet. The one downside to a nudist colony this far north, the “clothed” season was far too long. The mornings were already getting a bit chilly and so putting on clothes wasn’t as bad. The biggest thing I had to think about this month was the meeting with Steve Schmidgall as a potential resident and what I was going to wear for Halloween.
My morning coffee was interrupted shortly after sunrise as my phone rang. I looked at my watch ‘5:25’ and I let out an involuntary groan. Who the hell is calling me this early?
I looked at the caller ID and saw ‘S Schmidgall’.
I summoned up as much “peppy” as I could muster and answered the phone. The smooth baritone voice that came down the line caught me off guard.
It was Steve already on the road. According to his directions, he’d be up there in about two and a half hours.
What time was he up, and on the road, to be here that quickly? From the metro to here was six hours with good weather.
Whatever time it was, I had two hours to clean the house and make sure the lodge was still as clean as it had been yesterday. I downed the rest of my coffee and got to work on the house. It was quick work but still I wanted it to look its best. It was the downside to being the owner and manager of the community, my home was the show home.
Sunrise saw me making my way over to the lodge. I’d poured coffee into a travel mug and was being lazy, taking one of the golf carts we had for deliveries and mail runs. I was just about to open up the lodge when Aaron walked out drenched in sweat and Andy was sheepishly following him, in the same condition but turning bright red.
“Morning boys, the lodge still cleaned up? We have a potential resident that’ll be here in about an hour.”
Aaron shot me a look but confirmed that the lodge was still clean. I believed him but I still made a mental note to double check the pool, hot tub, and sauna, just in case.
Aaron pushed by me and Andy followed with a puzzled look and a shrug. Either Andy was clueless or he didn’t understand why Aaron was still angry with me. An issue for another time, Steve will be here in about an hour.
I made quick work of the lodge as Aaron and Andy had done an excellent job of cleaning up and not leaving any evidence of their late-night escapade.
Satisfied that the key areas of the tour were ready, I thought about taking a morning jog along the trail that circled the houses and the smallest of the three lakes on the property. Once we incorporated, we’d need to re-name those lakes as well.
Just as I took off in a jog, my cellphone rang. I tapped my headset and it was Steve. He was at the gate but had apparently written down the access code I’d set up for him incorrectly. I remembered the number I’d assigned to him and repeated to him. As I gave him the last number, I heard the thump and then the gears opening the gates. I told him to follow the road to its end, where there was a parking lot and I’d meet him there.
I hadn’t been nervous up until this point. I’d always thought about having new residents move in and that word of mouth would get us to grow. Even if it was mostly warm season residents, they would still be income.
Well, since I can’t get my morning jog to the lake and back in this morning, might as well jog out to the parking lot. I was shocked when I got jogged out of the woods and into the clearing where the parking lot was and saw a large well-built man standing naked next to his car.
That same smooth baritone voice called out, “You must be Vince!” and he took off towards me at a trot. He made about two thirds of the distance to me before I realized that I had stopped and was staring at him. 6’6” and about 250lbs with strong Nordic face along with a shaved head and a braided goatee that made him into an imposing figure.
Steve trotted up and shook my hand with enough force to actually lift up my right side.
He seemed to sense my sudden profound dis-ease and asked “Do I need a costume or something? I thought it would be a bit too early for that. Halloween is still weeks away.”
I let out a small laugh, “Well, are you a good witch or a bad witch?” I asked meekly.
“Well, if you ask my ex-husband, he’d tell you that I’m a bad bitch.” he sighed.
He’s gay?! Okay, I can relax now.
“No worries about that. Let’s get going. With any luck, we’ll time this right for the Friday grill out lunch.”
“Sounds good to me.”
We took off down the path, Steve dwarfing me and yet, I lost my worries about him as we walked and talked.
He had been divorced for a couple of years and decided that now was a good time to retire and disappear for a while.
I asked him what he had done for work and you could have pushed me over with a feather when he told me that he was a former pro hockey player.
“You mean, like IHSL?” I asked not willing to believe there was a top level gay athlete standing beside me.