Story -Abandoned Retreat (rough draft)

story being developed…Working titles Retreat or Abandoned Abode or Maybe The Lost One or Abandoned Retreat


There are many places abandoned for various reasons.

“Ya gotta know when to retreat.”, Andrew Phillips reported via his local Internet radio show.

Some said Andrew was just plan crazy. Others claimed he was a great activist and could actually be instrumental in making the planet a better place to live. A loner, he moved up into the mountains and was rarely seen, if at all. Even if people did see him they wouldn’t recognize him. No one had the ability to see his face through the cable and satellite network he broadcasted through nonetheless, he was known and heard by many around the world as his voice traveled through cyberspace. Fans had unofficial t-shirts and bumper stickers made with some of Andy’s quotes, they didn’t asks for permission they just felt like they were helping promote him and his cause. Occasionally you’d see a shirt that read things such as,

“Come apart before you fall apart.”

“Separate Yourself”

“No man is an Island but it don’t hurt to be an Island Dweller.”

Often misunderstood Andrew wasn’t trying to change the world, just better his relationship with the planet and live a simpler life. At one point he thought that he had to live in the crowded city in order to survive. Through his broadcast Andrew simply shared his own thoughts about life. His programs were a reminder to others about their basic needs: food, water, shelter and love. He always kept it simple, not theological, philosophical or preachy just one man sharing an alternative lifestyle with those who tuned in to listen. Some wanted him to be the dooms day sayer he wasn’t. Although what he talked about was clear people would distort his words and some would add or take away from what he was saying, making things much more complicated than Andrew ever intended.

Some were annoyed with him, but then again they were the same ones who were agitated with any kind of wildlife that kept them from enjoying living a wild life. They sprayed to kill the honey bees as a sacrifice and wonder now why their flowers don’t bloom.

Andrew was not bitter or working to boycott modern progress. He did not try to fight a battle to keep up with the Jone’s or try to stop corporations, industries & factories from pumping the environment with toxins he just did his best to do his small part in keeping his carbon footprints as small as possible. He ended today’s broadcast with saying, “Nature is still evolving, people forget humans are part of nature and very often we are the worst offender toward mother nature, too easily throwing away what The Creator had given. While other animals follow instincts and the food chain, it is my observation that homosapians seem to try and dominant all that has been created.” Andy relayed to the general public what life was like living in nature, being part of it, surviving off the land while still preserving it, not perverting it. The crab claws he ate came from crabs who regenerated their claws. His supply was never exhausted because he’d take only the claw and throw the crab back. That is where the phrase, “Grab the claw not the crab.” came from. He didn’t take credit nor give credit to anyone. He depended on the provisions given naturally from the creator of all things.


One beautiful sunny day while in the small local town store Andrew was picking up a few items and over heard some tourist visiting the area. They were discussing what fire works to buy. Andrew’s only hope was that they’d buy the biodegradable ones if they were not willing to search, find and clean up all the debris left behind after the fun. The 4th of July brought with it many dangers. In an attempt to celebrate freedom in this great land, all too often people would leave behind empty bottles, cans, food wrappers, even clothing and other various items that would not only litter the shore lines and woods but cause harm to the wildlife. He had rescued more birds and aquatic creatures than he could count from plastic bags, straws and six pack holders. The tourist, he made note of today, were also buying ammunition for their guns and bows. Although many were responsible and enjoyed their recreational activities responsibly he could tell this group, or at least half of them, was not planning on being held accountable for their reckless activity. As some ignored no trespassing signs they would make it hard for those reclusive. While at the counter checking out he could hear one of them talking about how much they missed the internet. They expressed, “I hope that the camp grounds have a free wifi signal.” He wondered if they ever came across his internet radio broadcast. Just then one said, “I heard Andrew Phillips broadcast from up here somewhere!” Another said, “Maybe we’ll find out where he lives and give him a private firework show.” The clerk knew Andrew personally and was aware that he treasured his anonymity so she did not give hint to his very presence. He was glad to hear another one say, “I heard him talking about biodegradable items, let’s try to pick some of those things up.” He was blessed to hear that he had made some impact on their awareness. Andrew was picking up some fishing hooks he knew would dissolve in the waters if lost. He delayed his browsing in order to not got to the counter at the same time as the others. “JUST MAKE SURE I GOT ENOUGH BEER AND BULLETS!”, one man shouted. Andrew looked up and saw that they were not all together. It sounded as if they were all camping in tents but perhaps on different sites from each other. The loud one pushed his way past those waiting in line to pay and said, “leme’ in here to see what they got behind the counter, I’m not cuttin’ ya line I jus’ wanna see.” He was slurring his speech. The bells on the door jingled as Jethro, the local sheriff deputy, entered and the group was glad to be exiting. The pushy man decided he didn’t want anything so he made his way out too. As he passed the uniformed man he let out a snide remark just loud enough to be heard in an attempt to make his friends giggle, “It’s the law, oink, oink.” Jethro was use to all that and little did they know he had already written their license plate number down, run it and knew much more about them than they knew about him. Jethro greeted the clerk then Andy as he went over to the self serve coffee section. Andrew made his way to the cashier. While Andrew was paying Jethro approached with his full cup of fairly fresh brewed coffee asking, “What’d they buy Sue?” She replied, “Just a sec. I’ll print out ‘nother receipt Jeth.” Jethro made light conversation with Andrew as she ran his items through, “So Andy, ya give them a guided tour through the bio section of our store?” Andrew said, “No I think the huge sign above it is enough.” “Yeah, ha ha, it is rather large ‘init? Ya gonna mention them in our show?” Andrew didn’t want to answer but smirked as he said, “Maybe… in a around about way.” Sue interjected, “They was’fans! One knew Andy lived up in des’parts.” Jethro raised his eye brows commenting, “Ya don’t say?! Gonna have em’ ovr’ fo’ some tea Andy? Haa Haa.” Andrew gathered the paper bags with his new purchases as he gave a definite answer, “That would be a no.” “Okay Andy, take it easy and good fishin’ to ya.”, Jethro gave his farewell. “Thanks, enjoy your coffee and be careful out there Jethro. Thanks Sue, good on ya then.”, Andrew said as he exited the store, leaving Jethro and Sue to their jobs and general gossip. The bells above the door jingled again as it slammed close. Jethro addressed Sue, “Good thing ya got the automatic door off, don’t wanna deal with any critters comin’ in uninvited again.” Sue confirmed that, “Yeah, the moose are bad enough, but the coons! I really hate those adorable creatures. Talk about snatch and grab, they worse than the teenagers!” Jethro was distracted watching Andrew get on his bike and arranging the bags in the front and back baskets, “I don’t see how he does it.” Sue asked, “What? Ride a bike?” Jethro accepted the insult but clarified, “No, not jus’ that but the whole livin’ alone and off the land thing.” Sue said, “He normally jus’ buys seed n’ stuff, a few basic items that help him a lil’. Really nice guy. Always polite and…well, I think he’s kinda cute.”, she blushed a little as she ran a copy of the receipt from what the tourists bought for Jethro to check. The door opened again then quickly closed as a few teens came in. One saw Jethro and turned to exit again banging into the closed door. The bells on the top jingled louder than normal. Jethro pursued the teen, catching him just outside the door. Their conversation was muted behind the front window of the store. The other teens tried to act as if they weren’t trying to see and hear what happen as they stuck their heads in the cooler filled with wildly colored beverages. Sue kept her head on a swivel between the drama out front and the teens who would always try to pull a fast one on her. She asked them, “What he do?!” They acted as if they didn’t hear her. Jethro came back in as the other boys went down a far isle trying to avoid eye contact. Sue looked at their pockets to make sure the weren’t bulging with one of the drinks or a candy bar. They scurried out front and met back up with the one that was questioned a few moments ago. As the door closed behind them the bells jingled and one fell to the ground. Jethro picked it up. While the deputy was reaching up to reconnect it Sue asked, “What he do?” Jethro answer, “Awe, who knows. The way he spun ’round to avoid comin’ in I figure I’d give ’em a 3rd degree.” Sue held out the 2 separate proofs of purchases from earlier, “Wanna take these? I don’t think they were all together, either two or three groups but only two purchases made. I was ready to not sell any beer to the one, he was already lit beyond a buzz but I sold it to some. I think he was with em’.” Jethro thanked her as he looked over the items and explained, “This el’ hep’ me if they leave behind any trash. Proof is in the paper work.” Sue nodded. He thanked her and laid some change on the counter to pay for his coffee, “Call me if ya’ need me.” “Ya know I will!” Sue said as the door closed behind him and the same bell fell from it’s cluster.

Andrew was making his way up the trail with his few supplies, getting off his bike to walk it in the areas that were too steep to peddle. He heard campers raising a ruckus not far from the hidden path he was on. Their noise pollution cause a flock of birds to pass over head in frantic flight as a few wild turkeys ran on foot across the well worn dirt fairway Andrew used to get to his own cabin. He heard a loud, BANG, BANG! followed by laughter as he covered his head to avoid the buck shot that rained down on him. Andrew couldn’t wait to get to the safe haven of his cabin. He climbed the steps and brought his bike inside with him. To a spectator the place looked abandoned and keeping the bike inside gave the impression that no one lived there. The satellite dish was in the back, hidden from site, allowing Andrew to communicate with the world but not attract attention. Andrew was a perfect example of living in the world but not of it. He didn’t close himself off completely but made sure to offer a solution rather than pollution.

The rowdy party camping near by could be heard even once Andrew as inside his cabin. He fired up his computer and put on some tea. His mind went back to Jethro’s voice in his head as he heard, “Ya gonna invte em’ ovr’ fo’ some tea? Haa Haa” Andrew went to his front window and looked out to see if he could see anyone. He hoped that the mountainside and trees would keep them at a distance but knew their curiosity of what was around their site would cause them to wonder onto his property uninvited. He sat down to start his broadcast, “Hello again, this is Andrew Phillips with ‘Nature Talks’, your daily broadcast on all things nature and natural. I met three people today. Each one may very well represent the three kinds of personalities and traits we all posses. One was cold, arrogant and selfish, the second was warm, selfless and aware of others needs; while the third was caught in the middle. It would probably benefit all of us if we were either hot or cold, it is the lukewarm (caught in the middle) that scares me. The cold person is predictable. You know they are not going to play well with others. The warm person is actually comforting and their heat spreads to others making things nice and hot. The lukewarm person is like that stagnant water found near Cherokee creek. You can drink the nearby cold springs and you can drink from the warm springs but the creek has areas that don’t have any intake or output of fresh water, that stuff will make you sicker than a dog. Don’t be that person who is stuck in the middle and easily swayed by either side. Make up your mind who and how you want to be and be that person, not tossed between the two or stuck in the middle without a stance, stagnant. Today I hope to flow into you some helpful information about the nature all around us and how we can be its friend not it’s foe, right after this short music interlude.” He clicked the music icon on his desktop and let the Native American music play, giving him a chance to sip some tea.

Jethro was in his squad car looking over the two receipts. a few of the items caused him to raise some flags but it was mostly junk food, a few dvds and various beverages. Jethro loved his job as much as he hated it. As the sun came in through his side window it hit his weathered skin and slowly cooked it just a little more. He reached for his C.B. and called Randy, “Sheriff Randy, comin…” There was no reply. He mashed the button and tried again, “Sheriff Randy, ya gottcha ears on?” He waited a few seconds then heard the Sheriff squawk back, “Yeah, I’m here good buddy, whatcha got? Over.” “Fireworks purchased, not sure if tent of cabin dwellers but they in them woods either way.”, Jethro reported, knowing what his bosses reply would be. He could almost mouth the words as the Sheriff shouted, “DEPUTY, WHAT IN THE SAM HILLS? WHY WE SELLN’ THOSE IN THE DRY SEASON FOOOR!?” It was a rhetorical question. Jethro and Randy knew that was something they’d have to get onto the city council about. He calmed himself down then asked, “You seen Andrew?” That question was not rhetorical and required a quick sure answer. Jethro reported, “Yes sir. He just got some hooks, seed and…and uh…” Jethro was searching his memory to recall what he saw Andrew put on the counter. “AND WHAT?!”, His chief insisted. Jethro couldn’t recall so tried to make something up, “Oh, and some…soda.” “SODA? Really?! If you’re gonna make somethin’ up at least make id’ believable Deputy.” Jethro knew he had been caught, “Ah, I dunno’ I saw Fish hooks and Sue said seed and…not sure what else.” “FIND OUT, THAT WHAT WE PAY YA FOOOR!” came the command. “Yes, yes sir, I’ll find out.” The sheriff always kept tabs on people but didn’t trust Andrew especially. He thought for sure the whole mountain man, tree huggin’, naturalist was an act and if anyone ended up being shot it was going to be Andrew taking the law into his own hands wanting to teach them a lesson for being a liter bug. Jethro had been in Andrew’s house and spent enough personal time with him to know he wouldn’t harm a fly but rather make sure that fly had enough to keep its eco system in tacked. “Anythin’ else?”, Asked Randy. Jethro replied, “Not yet. Watchin’ the sun set on the west side a mount Inka, over.” “Do more than watch the sun, watch those speeders and tweakers, don’t let em’ burn our forest down! OVER AND OUT!” “Roger sir, over and out.” Jethro hung up his mouth piece. He knew he’d have to give an accurate report of the last item or two Andrew bought because the questions would come later and he had better have the answer. The trail to Andy’s place was not wide enough for a car so rather than hike up to ask Andrew personally he knew he had to go back to the trading post and ask Sue if she still had a receipt or could recall by memory. That was okay, he needed a refill on his coffee anyway.


The air filled with the fragrance of open camp fires and fireplaces. Various caretakers were counting their money from those renting cabins and camp sites while their assistance tried the cell phone numbers of those who had not shown up yet. Molly, one of the maids grumbled, “If they ain’t here by now they gonna have a hard time setting up in the dark. Half of em’ I can’t reach.” Mark, a part owner said, “No cell service in some parts.” “I know, UGH!” She replied in frustration. Mark’s wife, Sally, worked the boat docks mainly. She was tiny but fit. She informed him, “I locked all the canoes and kayaks together this time, that one longer cable made it much easier…did ya hear me?” Mark nodded and tried to respond, “Fifty two, fifty three…yeah, fitty’ four, fifty five…yeah okay honey, good. The group on lot 74 site ‘A’ paid separate from site ‘B’. I think the ones on the ‘B’ side are gonna be a handful, better give Jethro a heads up.” Sally said, “I bet he allllready knows but wouldn’t hurt to make sure. Molly, wanna give him a ring?” Molly replied, “The hand radio club reached him with a report of some stranger danger worries about the tourist but I’ll use the C.B. to tell him where we think problems could arise.” Sally thanked her, “You are a doll! Tacos for dinner all?” Mark was still counting and just responded nonverbally with an emphatic nod while Molly cheered, “Taco Friday!”

The campers on lot 74 site ‘A’ were already set up and settled in while site ‘B’ were still struggling to set up their tent with the last bit of day light disappearing quickly. Those from the ‘A’ side tried to help but were bullied away by their less friendly friends who grumbled about how much they hated nature. ‘The Oak Filled Fishing Camp’ was a great retreat for city folks to get out into nature and enjoy either roughing it in one of the 100 tent sites or rent one of the 5 small cabins. Closer to the lake were a few cottages that were the farthest from the front entrance and the furthest thing from roughing it. The cottages were very nice and cost a pretty penny to rent. This weekend Mark and his staff were not able to rent them out so they were empty. Those staying on the “B” side of lot 74 were already planning on breaking in there. One of them, Brock, kept saying, “If they are empty why should we not go stay in there?” One of his friends, Ken, from side “A” gave the answer, “Because we didn’t pay for that. We paid for the tent site.” He knew that fell on deaf ears and there was not much he could do to keep his friend from doing whatever he wanted. Brock argued, “It’s not fair, no one’s going to know. Why waste the space. We’re going in there tonight!” Ken clarified, “Not we. Maybe you but not me.” Brock just went on to persuade some of his more pliable friends to join him in his venture. Ken stood firm as he went into one of the tents on side “A” of lot 74. Andrew’s broadcast was coming over one of the cell phones. Ken was about to give his friends a heads up about Brocks plans when on said, “Wait…Phillips is coming back on.” They listened as Andrew said, “Annnd, I’m back. It is the 4th of July weekend up here in the mountains, for those in the U.S. listening to my broadcast, I am positively sure it is the 4th of July weekend where you are as well. As a matter of fact, it is the 4th of July weekend everywhere in world right now but in America we celebrate our independence on that particular day. Today is Friday July 2nd, regardless of where you are listening from. I know that is not significant for those outside the U.S.A., however, for many of us it means planning a celebration. Those in Mexico, Brazil, Canada…where ever you are imagine one of your holidays, a time to get together with friends, perhaps do something a little different and participate in various activities reserved for that time of the year. A very common part of our July 4th activities involves cooking outside and setting off fireworks. Both of these activities are fun but once again I want to remind everyone to be careful, use caution. Here are just 5 precautions I would recommend to keep you from ending up in an emergency ward with serious injuries: #1 Drink responsible. Everyone knows their limits and only you can stop when you’ve had so much that you are no longer able to function. Know your boundaries and stick to them. Set up some personal guard rails that will keep you from going off the side of a mountain. #2 Just as there is such a thing as too much alcohol there is also such a thing as too much liter fluid. While cooking out make sure you got your grill under control. #3 while on the subject of fire, keep in mind that some areas have not received much rain this summer and although a fire pit is great anytime of the year, make sure you’ve got a barrier like a hole, rocks and maybe even a screen on top to keep embers and flames from rising too high. Watch small children around those open fires too. They can easily stumble and end up in the fire. If you have adults that are unstable, you may want to keep an eye on them too. We can all help each other here. #4 Don’t feed the wild animals, ladies I don’t mean your boyfriends, I mean everything from the bares to the raccoons to the birds and various critters you will find outside. They find food just fine on their own, they don’t need your help and feeding them removes the natural barrier between domestic and undomesticated. They are not pets. As cute as they can be they are still not tame. and last but not least, #5 Fireworks. We all like a good bang but depending on your area there are even laws to help protect you from yourself. Just because you were sold fireworks that doesn’t mean it was a legal transaction. Regardless of where you bought them that doesn’t mean that it is legal to set them off in that area. Even if you don’t check the local laws check your own good common senses. If you know the are is dry and not safe for fire and fireworks then do not take the chance or risk in shooting them off. Also, rather than a lighter or matches if you are lighting them off remember a simple incent stick gives you the distance you need to light a wick in a much safer manner. Speaking of manners, those apply to all these 5 simple precautions and more. This has been Andrew Phillips with Nature Talks, I hope you are listening. Thank you once again. God bless America, as well as all other countries, and you, bless God.” He clicked on his closing music icon and that ended his broadcast.

Jethro made it back to the trading post just as Sue was locking up. Noticing him pull up she shook her head giving him the stink eye. She shouted at him, “NOPE, TOO LATE! YA KNOW I CLOSE AT SUNDOWN!” He spoke through his open squad car window, “I know, I know, jus’ wanna ask ya something.” She turned as he asked, “You recall what Andy bought?” She replied, “Hooks, Seed, and cherry bombs.” He laughed sarcastically, “HA HA! Come on Sue, Sheriff gonna hand me my badge then hang me if I don’t let em’ know real answer.” She assured him, “That is the real answer.” Jethro asked for clarity, “Ya mean Cherries?” “NO! Cherry Bombs. Biodegradable explosives wrapped in biodegradable cardboard.” “Your serious?!” “Yeah, probably uses them to scare away critters, pest, predators and…” Jethro finished her sentence, “…and people. Ok, thanks! See ya t’morrow Sue.” He raised his window and sped off, kicking up a little dirt with his tiers.


As Andrew was about to light some lanterns he heard a knock on his door. He didn’t get many visitors and if he didn’t have the music playing he would had heard them coming before they reached the front porch. He went to his console before going to the door and turned everything off then covered it with a tarp. They knocked again. He called, “I’M COMIN’!” He peeked through the front window making eye contact with a face peeking back. Bother jumped back. Before opening the door he said, “Can I help you?” a timid voice replied, “Is this where Andrew Phillips from Nature Talks lives?” He knew he could just say no but didn’t want to be dishonest. He had been down that road before. He simply replied, “I can’t greet a stranger as a long lost friend.” The 2nd voice pleaded, “We…we just wanna meet you and…and thank, thank you for your show.” He knew they probably just wanting to satisfy some curiosity and most likely meant know harm, however, he preferred to remain reclusive and no have anyone know where he lived and operated. He waited and thought through his actions. The dead air spoke loudly and the uninvited guest knew they were invading his proxemics. Andrew asked, “What…what do you want?” As the words came out he realized that they had already informed him but he was stalling for time. The less timid one answered, “We just…we are fans.” He looked down at his feet and put his hand on the inside front door knob. He was searching his brain for a question only a fan would know then replied, “I have A/C. I don’t need any fans.” He smirked at his own answer as they did too. He waited another moment then announced, “How about I ask you a question and if you answer correctly I let you in?” They agreed. He said, “Lemme think…uh…How often do you listen?” They answered in unison, “All the time!” He replied, “Ok…that will make it easier…uh…What is the best way to catch a fish?” The male voice said, “With a hook, A BIODIGRATABLE hook!” The female corrected him, “No, with Annette! Remember he said he went fishing with ‘a net’ and we thought he was saying the girl’s name Annette.” The Male confirmed, “Ooooh yeah, haha…YES, and patience.” The were pleased with their answers and so was Andrew. The door opened slowly.

Andrew welcomed them in, “I don’t have many visitors, I prefer to be left alone honestly.” They apologized. Andrew clarified, “No, no, I don’t mind if people visit for the right reason, but, like I said, I can’t greet a Stanger like a long awaited friend. I guess I don’t need to tell you this but, I am Andrew Phillips and you are…” “I am Ken and this is my girlfriend Kerri.” Kerri was a bit more shy than ken and she was a little star struck. Andrew could tell by her eyes that she was a little more excited than normal. HE thought to himself, if I didn’t do the broadcast would she be as excited to see me and my place. “Thank you for the introductions Ken. Kerri, ya know I am just a below average human who happens to share his feelings across the globe…that doesn’t make me worthy of awe.” She blushed a little and apologized for her obvious envy. She spoke softly as if she didn’t want to be obtrusive, “Thank you Mr. Phillips. Thank you for letting us in and for your broadcasts. We want to live like this, or at least a little more like this, one with nature and away from the rat race. Oh my gosh I can’t believe we are actually in your studio, your house. You do live here too right?” Ken put his arm around her as he spoke to Andrew, “I…we are sorry Mr. Phillips we are a little…a little nervous and excited to meet a celebrity like you. YOU are awesome.” Andrew asked them to have a seat as he said, “Celebrity? I am just Andrew, not Mister Phillips and although I maybe well known by some I wouldn’t consider myself to be a celebrity. Would you like some coffee of tea?” They nodded. Ken patted Kerri’s shoulder because he could tell she was about to rapid fire questions off at Andrew. As Andrew went to the kitchen she tapped Ken’s leg with excitement. She whispered their host wouldn’t hear, “Oooh…myyy… gossshh, are we really here? Is that really him? I have soooo many questions.” Ken patted her again and with his face and brow gave her the, “I know. Calm Down. BE cool and quite.” Andrew inquired, “Which do you prefer, coffee or tea?” Ken spoke up, “Oh, ahhhh…what ever you have.” “I have both.” “Oh…ah, okay ah, coffee, if it is no trouble.” “No trouble.” He turned on the percolator. As he measured out some beans, crushed them and was placing some homemade filters in the top he said, “You’re gonna love this. I drink more tea than coffee but boy when you get a sip of this you are going to love it.” Ken responded, “Oh yeah, I bet. fresh, natural huh?” He just to be courteous while he and Kerri’s eyes were taking mental pictures of the cabin their man of interest called home. Andrew answered, “As fresh as you can get, grow my own beans.” Once he poured the grounds in he let the old fashion machine do it’s job as he went back out to join them explaining, “I jus’ got a peculator, use to boil the beans then strain em’ out, this will be a little better for your taste perhaps. It will still be strong, hope that is okay. Can ya handle that?” Ken had not really heard what Andrew said but just agreed, “Oh, yeah, yeah. Right Kerri?” She didn’t hear Andrew or Ken but tried to reply, “Uh huh.” Andrew took a seat as well, “It will take a little while but that will give us time to talk. So, what brings you up this way?” Ken knew he better lead the conversation giving Kerri a chance to get her wits about her, “Well Mr. Phil…Andrew, we are camping down at ‘The Oak Fill Fishing Camp’…or ah ‘Filled Oak’, ya know what ever it is called…” Kerri corrected him, “Oak Filled” “Yeah. We are city folk trying to enjoy roughing it…ha, ha.” His laugh was nervous and slightly forced. Andrew replied, “Oh, that is nice. And ya knew I was in the area and decided to drop in?” Ken was apologetic again, “Yes, we are sorry. It is just that…like I said we admire your thoughts and we…” He couldn’t find the words and knew that this probably wasn’t a good idea. Andrew tried to calm them, “Listen, I get it, kinda. You like the concept and probably have a bunch of questions and…”, Kerri let out a small squeal of excitement as Andrew finished, “because your mind is captivated by what I talk about you wanted to see…see the source but honestly, I am just a simple guy, just a simple man who shares my thoughts openly and try to encourage people to treat nature a little nicer and think, be more considerate, toward the environment and in doing so they will truly be satisfied with the results.” Kerri’s eyes were sparkling. Andrew said, “Kerri, what do you do for a living?” She couldn’t believe he remembered her name and was asking her something. It took her mind a few seconds for get her lips to work, “I…me? well, I ah I am a receptionist and Ken builds stuff, a buildings, he is in construction.” Andrew said, “This is a bit weird huh? I know. Now, let’s say I called the office where you are a receptionist and was so thrilled by the way you answered my call I decided to find out where you live and paid a visit or I went to a building Ken helped build and then decided to find out where he lives to tell him how much I enjoyed his building. Right?” Andrew wasn’t annoyed and didn’t sound aggravated but he got his point across. Kerri said, “It must be weird, I know. The mystery that has been built up in our minds from hearing you and knowing so many people hear you, it jus’ got the best of us and we wanted to see for our self.” Andrew replied understandingly, “Oh, I know, I know. It is weird for you and weird for me, awkKKward.” They laughed. That broke more of the tension. Andrew added, “Now you know. Just a simple, fairly normal place, man and environment.” Ken nodded in agreement. Kerri said, “I think it is completely awesome. We don’t mean to intrude or be a pain we jus’, ugh, I am going to start repeating myself and embarrassing myself and making thingsmo re AWWWkward, haa haa.” Andrew offered words of comfort, “Actually, now that we’ve all met, I am glad you’re here and want you to feel welcome and just see that my place and I am really nothing special. This is good. You can share the truth about be and stamp out some of the misperceptions of me. When it comes right down to it I couldn’t care less about public opinion but it would be nice if everyone could see me for who and how I really am.” Ken pointed to the canvas covered equipment, “That must be your studio, your stuff where you do your show from.” The coffee started to perk. Andrew spoke as he got up, “Yeah, yeah. Yep! That’s the mother board. The dish is in the back. IT’S A BIG ONE! Has to be so I can reach further, go further. Excuse me a minute.” He called out to them from the kitchen, ” Ya take cream and sugar?” Ken said, “Sugar and cream for Kerri. I take mine black.” Andrew returned with the cups. Kerri was now able to look past all that was inside and was taking in the view of the outside. Andrew handed them their mugs as he asked, “Nice huh? Careful, it is very hot. Is it like you pictured in your minds?” Ken elbowed his girlfriend. He snapped her out of her dream world and she was able to speak more clearly, “It is amazing Mr. Phillips.” “Call me Andrew, please. Nice to get to know ya. Ya seem like a nice couple and sincerely genuine.” Andrew had hoped that he was right and not making a bad judgment of character. He knew there was a risk with showing anyone in, in fear that they could case the place to come back and steal what they confirm is in there. Their behavior didn’t raise any flags for Andrew. Ken kept the conversation going, “Part of me wondered if you really lived in the woods, in the mountains and if your stories were true or if you were in a studio surrounded by office cubicles and you were just taking us all on some imaginary journey to help us escape the crazy, busy city life and feel like there is hope beyond those walls.” Kerri was nodding as she took small sips of the hot coffee. She was glad her boyfriend was able to communicate so well. Andrew sipped his tea as he commented, “Yeah, I use to live in the city. You listen a lot so I am sure you know that. I’m not really sure what to say that you haven’t already heard but perhaps I can show you some things that are better seen than if I tried to give an audibly description. It is dark now but come back tomorrow morning if you can and I will point out a few things seen from my windows and from my backyard. I am not rushing you off but you have lights for when you hike back?” Kerri had not thought about the hike back. Ken pulled a heavy long flashlight from his oversized side leg pocket. Andrew asked, “Can I interview you?” Kerri was in shock. Just when she began to relax and the blaze of being around someone she considered a star was wearing off her level of daydreaming rose again with that question. Ken clarified, “Us? You interview us? Uh…sure I guess. Why?” Andrew said, “Interesting people find people interesting. You are really no different than me. We are all just people trying to find our way in this world. Listeners will find you two just as interesting as me. We all have traits, gifts, something to share with the world.” Kerri squealed again, “Eeekk, Oh YES.” Ken chuckled, “Calm down Kerri.” Andrew smiled and chuckled too. He went over and uncovered his console. “Now, you mean right now?!” Asked Ken in surprise. “Is that okay?” Kerri “Eeekked” again. “I take that as a yes?” Andrew laughed at her excitement. Ken said, “YEAH! But you broadcast during the daytime and once at night, you’ve already done your thing for today.” Andrew explained, “I’ll tape it and play it tomorrow. Besides, there are no rules. I’m not sponsored or paid or owned by anyone. I can do whatever I want with this show. I don’t call it THE ANDREW PHilliPS SHOW, as some have suggested I should. I call it Nature Talks because I feel like nature says so much we just don’t hear it. I’m just like a platform for her, a human mouth piece calling for peace.” The two visitors loved how Andrew thought and was able to express his feelings but not in a manner of conceit. Andrew grabbed a small pad and suggested, “Let’s map out a few questions and topics. If you don’t mind I’ll ask a few personal questions but not to revealing, just enough for people to know what you believe in and your perception and perspective of life. Ok?” They agreed and the script for the interview began to form. Simultaneously, some of Ken and Kerri’s friends back at Lot 74 Site “A” were about to form a search party for them while those on site “B” were forming a scheme to break into those exclusive luxury cottages down near the lake at “The Oak Filled Fishing Camp.”


Deputy Jethro was reporting back to the station. He was glad Sheriff Randy was not there. Just then the phone rang. Nancy, the clerk, answered, “Well hello Sheriff Randy!” Jethro tried to give her the cut throat signal signifying that he wasn’t there, although if not there the Sheriff would have just reached him by C.B. or cell phone anyway. “Yes Sheriff Jethro IS here.” He wished he could use his look to kill, or at least slap her. “Ok, ok. Roger that sir. Okay, I’ll tell him Sheriff, Bye.” She hung up. Jethro said, “What? HE didn’t want to ask me a million and one questions?” “No. He said for you to call him first thing in the morning.” “I’m surprised he didn’t want to know what everyone bought from the trading post, especially Andrew Phillips.” “Oh…yeah he did say to be sure and tell him that first thing in the morning when you call.” “Wow. How will he sleep tonight without knowing.” They both chuckled over how much their boss obsessed about using the trading post as a source of evidence, although many crimes in their area were solved with receipts, cameras and Intel from Sue and even those frequenting the store. “Holtz here yet?”, asked Jethro. Nancy s replied, “No, Dennis is giving him a ride. I hope they aren’t late. I am ready to get home!” Just then Eric Holtz, the deputy working the next 12 hour shift came in complaining, “Remind me not to ride with Dennis any more. I’m glad he answers the phones and runs dispatch better than he drives!” Dennis entered next. Dennis was a large heavy set man, middle aged and had one of the nicest beards anyone could ever adorn. “Heeeellow Dennis!”, greeted Nancy, holding onto the first part of the word. “Hellloooow.”, he returned the greeting, holding onto the last part of the word. Jethro was pulling out his small note book ready to give Eric a run down of his day and report anything to follow through with. Eric asked, “You get fresh coffee from Sue today?” “Of course!” Eric vented a little more, “Man, how come this small rinky dinky town don’t have a 24 place were I can get some coffee.” Dennis chimed in, “Waffle House coming soon!” Eric rolled his eyes, “Yeah, so is Christmas!” “Hey, that’s only 6 months away!” Nancy shouted just to egg him on. She was ready to give a report to Dennis. Jethro opened the side extra office he and Eric shared. They stepped in and closed the door. “Eric, Randy asked me what Phillips bought earlier and I didn’t know all the items but I found out through Sue. No big deal but the unusual item was small fire crackers, jus’ soya’ know. I don’t think they were big ones and no damage can be done with them.” Eric rolled his eyes again, “Psssh, he couldn’t hurt a fly!” “I know, I know, before ya go off on a gripe about Randy let me say, ‘I know and I agreed!’, but Randy swears the man is some how a fake and ya know he wants us to watch em’ extra close, ready to relay everything he does, says and what not and…yada yada yada…in other news, Site 74 but more so lot “B” I mean, ya know” Eric corrected the common mistake, “Lot 74 Site “B”, I knew whatcha meant.” “Yeah, local hand radio club, also Molly, Mark, Sally…oh good grief, a handful of people they all want us to know to keep an eye on them tourist…yaknow what this timma year creates.” Eric smiled, putting his hand on his friends weary shoulder, “You’ve had a long day, lemme take over now. I know locals worried anyone not like them must be a danger and all tourist are evil and the tourist think all locals are loco. Yeah, I know. Anything else burning to be known?” Jethro looked him in the eyes, “Hope nothing burns. Fireworks still being sold.” “ARRGH!”, Eric belched. “I know right?!” “Oh…no I was burpin’, but that was perfect timing if I do say so myself.” “Nice. Well, that is about it. Randy called but didn’t talk, jus’ tol’ me ta call in the morn’.” Eric said, “Saw his car at Griffen’s Grill, I think he’s on a date.” “Oooh, that explains it. Well, okay, I’ll leave you to it. Be safe.” Jethro waved good bye to Dennis and said, “Keep him good and busy Dennis, until that Waffle house comes!” Nancy was already gone. The light in their lot kept kicking on and off in long slow flickers. Jethro wondered how long it had been doing that or if it just started doing that tonight. He tried to make a mental note, “I gotta tell Randy I noticed it or…agh, man sometimes I feel like I can’t win.” He started his car and tried to stop his mind but it ran on over work related things, “If I don’t tell him he’ll say, you should have noticed it why didn’t ya. If I do tell him he’ll say, I want solutions not problems. When I do tell em’ he’ll say, I know why didn’t you do something about it before or your responsible for the grounds…agh…”, he mumbled over a few more thoughts and tried to throw it all off before he got home.

Andrew Phillips was working with Ken and Kerri on draft questions for the interview when Ken realized how late it was getting. “I better give our friends a call.” Andrew confirmed that, “Oh, yes time escapes me so often. Let them know you’re ok.” Ken reached Amanda and Mike, those friends he was sharing Lot 74 site “A” with and they gave him an ear full. “We thought you were M.I.A. Amanda was about to call and file a missing person’s report with the local Sheriff’s department, if they work this late. WHERE ARE YOU?” Ken explained that they found Andrew Phillips cabin and were going to do an interview. Mike relayed the info. to Amanda who was thrilled to know they were okay and that they would be on the show, however, she also wanted Mike to tell her about the problems they were having at the camp site. Mike said, “Ken, we are so glad for you but it’s Brock we are really worried about. We have a big problem here. WAIT…”, he stopped. Ken asked, “WHAT?” Mike sounded hurried, “I’ll call you back, the law is here.” He hung up before Ken could ask anymore questions. Ken interrupted the casual conversation Kerri and Andrew were having, “They were really worried about us but they are even more worried about Brock. I bet he is sneaking into those cottages!”

Brock was doing just that. Lot 74 site “B” was empty because Brock, Paul, Sandy and Silvia had all been pressured to go along with Brock’s plan. Deputy Eric was asking Mike and Amanda questions. They told Eric that Ken and Kerri were on a hike but they were stuck between telling him where Brock and their other friends were and just making something up. Eric’s questions helped pull out the truth as he said, “Ya’ll realize how dangerous it is to be out and about, hiking or exploring things around here after dark?” Mike confirmed that and gave Eric the tip to check down near the lake in hopes that he’d catch his trespassing friends before they were breaking and entering. Eric replied, “Ok, well, ya’ll stay here for the night. There will be plenty of hiking and boating to do in the mornin’.” Eric left, without driving down near the cottages and gave his horn a little toot and his siren a little chirp to let Mark and the other crew members there know he checked things out. Sally called to Mark who kept looking out the window at the cottages saying, “Com’on to bed now Mark. He is on it.” Just then their phone rang. It was Molly, their receptionist and main maid, “Mark, Deputy Eric just left.” “I know I heard his chirp.” “But, he didn’t drive by the cottages, he only went to lot 74, turned and exited. He didn’t even go down to lot 100 or check the cottages!” “Agh!” Mark expressed in disgust. Sally asked, “What? What?” Mark finished the call with Molly, “Okay, Okay, I’ll check em’ out.” He hung up and Sally asked again, “What?” Mark replied, “We gotta get a separate security guy for here, the Deputy didn’t check all the sites and make sure the cottages have no activity.” Sally threatened, “I’m going to call him on his C.B.!” Mark said, “Nah, ya don’t wanna get on his bad side and make any accusations that he’s not doing a good enough job. I think Sheriff Randy already does that.” Sally argued, “We do have to get a security guard, you can’t do it all Mark. What if they have guns?” Mark put his pants on and slipped on some shoes, “I won’t approach them. I’ll just take a look and if I see activity then we’ll call Eric and have him come back. He’ll be working all 12 hours and may welcome something to do.” They heard a few fireworks going off as Mark grabbed the keys to his bronco. “Be careful honey!” Shouted Sally. “Will do!” he shouted back as he went out their front door.

The call Ken made raised Andrew’s awareness of how late it was getting so he offered, “Maybe you two should stay the night and we record this live in the morning for the show.” Kerri responded, “Oh…no, no we couldn’t” Ken suggested, “Well, we could but I’d need to tell Mike and Amanda. They’d probably love to have the whole tent to themselves and I would rather stay on your couch than on the ground tonight.” Kerri said, “We got the blow up mattress, you wouldn’t be on the ground!” “I’m just saying”, Mike expressed his preference to a cabin vs. a tent. Kerri asked, “You’re okay with us staying Andrew?” He replied, “Sure, I offered. But ya gotta call back your friends.” Ken said, “I want to call them back anyway to see what was going on.” Andrew said, “Yeah, I bet Deputy Eric was asking a bunch of questions to make sure they weren’t visiting for the wrong reasons.” Ken placed the call.

Mark knew the road through The Oak Filled Fishing Camp well enough to black out his lights and creep alone the path. He hated to drive it, knowing it was a disruption to the solace the campers found here, but knew if he wanted to make any real progress his bronco was much better than his mountain bike. It also have his C.B. in it so he could reach the Deputy if there was any real trouble. He watched for the side reflectors to catch the lights from his parking lights alone in order to stay on the road. His own thoughts nagged him as if they were the voices of the guest camping there, “first the cop car now this?! We’ve come out hear to get away from cars, traffic, the law, the…oh man!” As he past by Lot 74 he saw a lot of activity on the “A” side but nothing on the “B” side. “Oh great!”, he said, “Where are they? Maybe Eric scared them and they shut everything off. Maybe they are passed out drunk. Maybe…” Mark didn’t want to entertain the last thought that they were already down at the cottages.

Ken finished his call with Mike and relayed the message to Andrew and Kerri, “Yep they are fine with us staying but they are really upset about Brock and those from Site “B”. They are sure he convinced them to all go to those nice cottages and break in.” Andrew tried to reassure them, “It happens all the time, well, often. They won’t find much in there but if they are caught Mark will have to press charges in order to teach them a lesson.” Ken said, “Maybe that is what Brock needs, a lesson taught. I just hope he doesn’t get us all in trouble!” Kerri looked for comfort and confirmation as she stated, “But, we are no where near there, we paid separate from them and if Mike and Amanda already spoke to the Cops then we should be seen as innocent, separate from any of the activities site “B” does.” Ken tried to put her mind at ease, “Let’s hope.” Andrew went to a side closet and pulled out some extra sheets, blankets and pillows, “I hope this will be okay for you. You’ll be fine regarding all that, especially if you paid separate. Ya can’t control what other people do, just stay accountable for your own actions. Then again…”, he handed Ken the bedding as he finished, “Then again, sometimes the innocent are lumped in with the guilty, guild by association, but…I’m sure you’ll be fine in the long run. Hope your comfortable here. LEt’s get some sleep and do the interview in the mornin’ after breakfast. Ya like oak meal?” Ken and Kerri thanked him for his hospitality and were grateful for everything he offered.

Mark picked up the C.B. in his truck, “Deputy Eric, Breaker 1-9, Deputy Eric, hate to bother you. What is your 10-20?” “Deputy Eric here. I am on Centry Road down near Cinder falls. Whatcha got Mark? Over.” “Cottages have people around the outsides, looks like no entry yet but concerned that’s the next step. Over.” “Agh, okay. Sorry ya gotta deal with that. I’ll com’ on back by there. Over.” “Roger that. Sorry you gotta deal with it too, over.” “Give me 15 to 20 minutes. Over and out.” Mark then hear Eric’s report to Dennis and Dennis’ call to more urgent matters, “The fire department is asking for you to help direct any traffic down at Dunner’s pass. Apparently they got a pretty big fire going on and they can’t keep people wanting to watch at a safe distance.” “Caused by Fireworks?”, asked Eric. “Not sure of cause but could be, and it is only the 2nd of July! Over.” “Okay on my way. Over and out. Mark ya hear that? Over.” Mark replied, “Roger that. I’ll keep my distance here and hope they don’t do any damage. Over.” “Okay, sorry, priorities. Over and out.” Mark used his cell phone to call his house but Sally had already heard on their home C.B. “Just be careful Mark. They can do property damage to the cottages and we can take them to court to fix that but I don’t wanna sit through a murder trial with them.” “I’ll be fine honey. Using my brains here. I love you with all my heart.” Sally took a breath, “Oh…kay. I love you too. Please don’t get too close Mark,” They said good bye as Sally tried to see the cottage from their cabin window and Mark watched from a safe distance. He could see beams from their flash lights shooting into the windows and hoped that everything was locked up tight and would be a deterrent. It wasn’t long until he noticed the light was coming from the inside of the cottage out. Mark thought about his wife’s words of caution but was also offended people would break into a property he was trusted to take care of as part owner of The Oak Filled Fishing Camp. He didn’t’ want to break his word to his wife but wasn’t about to let them do and damage. He turned the lights on and sped toward the cottage honking his horn. He hoped it was enough to cause them intruders to retreat. It didn’t work Brock ordered his friends to just lay low. Mark knew he needed to lay low too and wait for back-up. He tired to reach Eric on his C.B. but the deputy was out of his car at the time trying to keep spectators at a safe distance from the fire. Mark called his wife and explained to her that he would try to just stay in the truck with the lights shinning on the cottage in hopes that those inside would get out of there. Unfortunately Brock was so drunk he passed out while hiding away in the cottage and his 3 friends were tired and fell asleep while waiting for those lights outside to go dim.

The sunrise woke Mark, followed by his wife calling his cell phone. “Mark, I called Dennis last night and told him to call us if Deputy Eric finished up from traffic duty. I never heard back but I know Nancy will be coming on soon and so will Jethro. I know they are worried about the fire but I am worried about you, your safety and the welfare of the cottage. So, Dennis said he was going to have Nancy ask Randy to give permission to Jethro to come by before he does anything else.” Mark was trying to wake up and take everything in his wife was saying. “Honey, no big deal. I am sure they are just teenagers of the young adults from Lot 74 site “B”, not hardhearted criminal minds. I’m going to go by site “B” and wait there, they gotta go back there eventually to get all their stuff.” She smiled and said, “You’re bright honey!” He smiled too and said, “That’s why you married me!” She replied, “Well…another one of the reasons. Okay honey, be careful. See ya soon.” Mark did just that. Mike and Amanda heard him pull up and Mike went out to explain to him that last night they wanted the Deputy to check the cottage because they were pretty sure their friends on site “B” went down to the cottages and he was sure they were still there. Mark shared, “I was pretty sure it was either them or some teens. We don’t have much crime around here just mischievous behavior.”


Andrew was just about to start the interview with Ken and Kerri when there was a knock at the door. It was Sheriff Randy. “Oh, hello Sheriff. I’d don’t think you’ve ever come by here. How are you?” Sheriff Randy was still out of breath from his hike up to Andrew’s but got out the words, “Andrew Phillips, you’re under arrest.” Andrew smiled and was sure he was joking. Ken and Kerri came to the door just to hear the sheriff announce, “You two come with me too, for questioning. I don’t have more than one set of handcuffs but if you try to run while on our hike down you’ll regret it.” Ken said, “No problem. We’ve done nothing wrong we’ll be glad to come along with you to see what this is all about.” He was sure it had something to do with Brock and his few not so faithful friends. Jethro made it out to Lot 74 site “A and B”. Mark was still there waiting. When Brock, Paul, Sandy and Silvia showed up he took them to the Jail. He had to come back for Mike and Amanda because there wasn’t room in is squad car for them. Brock claimed they were never in the cottage as they were accused of but it was pretty obvious that’s where they had been all night.

While all 8 tourist and Andrew sat in a jail cell waiting for trial Mark sat that night with his wife in front of their large front window. Molly was coming over to watch the fire works shot off across the lake. Molly asked what the results were regarding the cottage break in. Mark admitted, “Well, they’ll have to go to court but it seems clear to me that those from site “B” were the only ones involved in the break in. Not sure what the sheriff has against Andrew Phillips and but he pulled him and those visiting him to jail too.” Sandy tried to reason, “I guess he just wants to see if there are others too blame too. Sad thing is when one person in your group messes up everyone is guilty by association. Maybe they were accomplice. I hope they get a fair trial.”

Andrew sat in the same cell with the 6 strangers and two new friends, Ken and Kerri. In the opposite corner of the large holding cell Brock was still trying to sleep off a hang over while Paul, Sandy and Silvia complained about letting Brock convince them to break into that cottage. They knew deep down they could have said no but, especially now, they were regretting giving into his sway over them. Ken introduced Andrew to Mike and Amanda. Kerri said, “We were about to do an interview with him for his internet radio broadcast.” Mike admitted, “I’ve never listened but Kerri and Ken told me about some of your topics. Sounds like you enjoy being away from everything and everyone but I guess in a round about way we got you into the thick of trouble anyway, sorry about all this.” Andrew said, “Well, you know you can retreat all ya want, away from the world, but you’re never really away from it. I enjoy my broadcast because it allows me to stay linked to society and let people know you can try to avoid some of the hardships in this world but no matter where you go, no matter how much you’re not of this world, you are still in it.” Amanda asked, “Yeah, got any helpful thoughts for us while stuck here in jail waiting to hear how things could possibly work out for us.” Andrew tried to offer some helpful words, “Well, we know we haven’t done anything wrong so things should work out okay, however, things are not always fair. We can be sure of one thing, no matter how much one tried to avoid trouble there will always be difficulties and challenges.” Kerri thought to herself, “Yeah, even friends can be foes and bring strife, fortunately there are also very good and helpful people like Andrew in this world.” She smiled and looked at Ken and then at Andrew. Andrew helped Ken, Kerri and a few others around the world listening learn that the few deadly creatures in this world should not cause us to think that all things created are to be feared or out to defeat us. The situation they were in was a perfect example of how the bad decisions of a few effected others. Another quote of Andrew’s that would later became well known was ” The worse threat in nature is mankind but the worse threat to mankind is also mankind.” Brock’s bad decisions and misbehavior along with his insisting on influence others became more toxic to those around him than any unstable environment itself.

Sheriff Randy was claiming that Mike and Amanda were not only being held for questioning but should be prosecuted for withholding info. from his Deputy when questioned the other night. He brought charges against Ken and Kerri for trespassing but when Andrew explained they were there at his invite the Sheriff then claimed that Andrew was harboring fugitives. All 8 of the visitors and Andrew were taken to court because of Brock’s behavior and influence.

After going through this whole ordeal Andrew did a special broadcast stating, “Retreat is needed but the only true retreat is to venture inward not out. No place is safer than deep within.”


My deepest thanks to my wife Rhonda for the love we share in every season of life. Also to all of my dear children: Kyri, Alexx, Olivia, Madi, Abbey, Christopher and Carol-Ann who remind me of the simple childlike faith God desires, as well as, my whole family and friends for all their support.

YouTube playlist of stories being read: My stories:

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This story or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise – without prior written permission of the publisher.

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or businesses in practice, are purely coincidental. The views expressed here are my own, as are whatever factual errors exist in the text.

Thanks for reading, Beetle

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