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.“You just told me yesterday that I was approved.”“I'm sorry.”“You gave me your word.”“I know, but I'm sorry, it's really not a risk we're prepared to take.” Rundell went on to say that he couldn't afford the possibility of a default, and that the bank didn't want to end up owning a ranch in these tough economic times.Colby did not take the news well.When the deputy arrived, Colby was force-feeding Rundell his own toupee.In the end, though, Rundell declined to press charges.Losing the ranch had put Phil Colby in a deep depression for many months.He lived for a while with Marlin, who was nearly as devastated by the loss.Now, as Marlin neared the end of his story, he hoped he had a small bit of news that could lift his friend's spirits a little.“You're all excited because Trey got himself shot?” Colby asked.“No, let me finish: So Sheriff Mackey wanted to shoot this buck.And I have to admit, it was acting pretty weird.But Swank called and didn't want it shot.So I tranquilized it.” Marlin paused and grinned.“What in the hell are you gettin’ at?”“It wasn't just any buck, Phil.It was Buck.I got him penned up in my yard.”A look of wonderment crossed Colby's face as his mouth fell open.Then he stepped forward and returned the hug Marlin had given him earlier.THE DOMINOES BEGAN to fall on the afternoon of Friday, October 29.Paul and Vicky Cromwell, co-owners of a small ad agency in Austin, were enjoying the sunshine along the shores of the Pedernales River west of Johnson City.He was lazily casting a fishing lure, hoping he wouldn't ruin the peaceful afternoon by actually catching a fish.She was lying in a lawn chair, engrossed in a romance novel.I'm no expert, Cromwell thought, but that doesn't look like county-approved paving material.He had spied a tuft of blue tarpaulin protruding from a makeshift low-water crossing that spanned the shallow, gravelly river.“Hey, Vick.What do you make of that?”“Hmmm?”“See that blue stuff sticking out of the dam?”Vicky didn't answer.Swell, thought Paul.She's to the part where the muscular young hero embraces the heroine with rugged passion, yet sensitivity.You could hit her with a crowbar and she wouldn't look up from the book.Paul laid down his fishing pole and began walking down the shoreline.Two years earlier, the Cromwells had purchased a small cabin on a ten-acre tract in a rural subdivision named Mucho Loco.The local real estate agent had assured them that most of the residents were weekenders only, as the Cromwells planned to be.“City folks like yourself, just looking for a little peace and quiet,” he lied.The Cromwells agreed with the agent—the countryside seemed quaint and serene, with small cabins barely visible behind cedar trees.They puttered along the dirt roads of the subdivision in the agent's Ford Explorer.Paul and Vicky spied an armadillo, a possum, and a family of raccoons in the late-afternoon light.By the time they reached the advertised property, they had spotted a dozen white-tailed deer bounding through the trees and were eager to spend their weekends in such a pastoral Shangri-la.As Paul signed the dotted line, the real estate agent smiled and thought: Nothing like a few Bambis to close the deal.The Cromwells soon discovered, however, that the populace of Mucho Loco consisted primarily of ex-bikers, white separatists, and trailer-park refugees.Weekends were anything but relaxing as frequent gunshots split the night.Stereos blared from neighboring cabins as teenagers threw wild parties.One spring afternoon, the Cromwells pulled on their swimsuits, slathered each other with Coppertone, and strolled down to the common area on the river.There they interrupted what appeared to be an orgy of Woodstock alumni.A dozen people lounged in the shallow water, all long-haired and nude.At least one couple was openly engaged in sex.Women with hairy armpits and free-swinging breasts cackled in merriment as Lynyrd Skynyrd played from a boombox.Empty cans of Lone Star littered the riverbank, and the smell of marijuana hung in the air like dirty gym socks.The Cromwells politely declined an invitation to join the festivities.All of this was more than enough to motivate Paul and Vicky to put their cabin back on the market.(For Sale by Owner this time; Paul couldn't stand the thought of giving the deceptive real estate agent another commission.) But bad luck follows the lower middle class like a loyal hunting dog, and the Cromwells were unfortunate enough to be caught in the middle.Early that summer, torrential rains had annihilated a portion of the low-water bridge on the only road into Mucho Loco.Unless you had a rowboat and Schwarzenegger-sized arms, you were effectively stranded in or out of the subdivision.Most of the full-time residents were grateful for the crisis, which was, in essence, a reprieve from work.As it happened, that summer continued to produce record rainfall, and the county postponed repairs to the bridge.The residents finally found some relief by way of a rancher who let them cut through his property on horses and four-wheelers.Nothing else could manage the rugged terrain.But for the Cromwells, the restricted access to Mucho Loco was a major setback.Nobody will want to buy the place now, Paul said, except maybe a swimmer with a death wish.Finally, after the rains, the county roads department sprang into action.That is, they patched the missing segment of the bridge with a questionable mixture of cement, rock, and clay [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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