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Look for similar items by category: Books Mystery and Suspense Suspense. Select Parent Grandparent Teacher Kid at heart. Age of the child I gave this to:. Hours of Play:. Tell Us Where You Are:. Susan had walked into his office at their house, her face streaked with tears, lips quivering, and pain filled her face. I picked up our voice mails and there was a message from Denise and Mollie. They said that they were my friends and they wanted to be the ones to tell me. They said that they might be able to reconsider once all this stuff was over.

Randy had held her close and between sobs she asked, What did I do? Randy had offered comfort as best he could. Now, he looked at her across the bar. I remember how those nasty bitches hurt you. Today, I was heckled, booed, and told to get off the hill. Same steamroller tactics. They refused to consider changing meeting dates. My name was not on the access list again. Sure as hell did. Last month Reynolds got a contract for over two hundred fifty thousand to install two culverts. S usan stood inside the hanger in the pre-dawn of Monday morning.

The rotors turned and the dark blue helicopter lifted to a hover. The strobe light on its belly flashed a brilliant, intermittent red. The chopper glided toward the north-south runway with it skids two feet above the tarmac. She watched her husband turn right and align himself with taxiway one-eight.

She listened on her handheld radio as Randy broke radio silence on frequency Randy tilted the cyclic slightly forward and the helicopter accelerated. Translation lift boosted speed at about twenty-five knots and the helicopter rose smoothly while turning on course two seven zero. He followed the terrain and watched the edge of the escarpment that marked the upwelling of the coastal foothills come into view.

To the east lay the rural scenery that made up Austin Hills. The first streaks of sunlight slid over the top of Idyllwild Mountain and light streamed across the foothills that framed Franklin County, California. Randy enjoyed a moment of incredible beauty and he was richer for it. The scene always swamped him with a feeling of humility and smallness.

He climbed to two thousand feet and turned to the west to put the sun behind him. Below him lay the ten thousand acres of land that comprised Austin Hills. The source of so much initial hope had become a source of heartbreak and growing despair. He set the friction on the collective a bit tighter, and used the trim button on the cyclic to keep the helicopter stable.


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He rolled the chopper slightly left and took pictures as he traveled high above the roads and streets. He photographed his house, and the houses of those he knew. At home, he would download the pictures onto his computer and store them by date. Austin Hills was still a rural community but it was no longer remote. Inbound and outbound passing lanes converged at the crest of a rise: Four lanes of traffic collapsed into two lanes.

He photographed the area and took a close up of the skid marks from the most recent accident; this year alone that location had been the site of four mishaps. It was impossible to tell from the air where Austin Hills began or where it ended. There were neither fences nor walls to enclose it and its boundaries merged seamlessly into the surrounding forests.

Ribbons of paved streets and roads crisscrossed the area where once there were only dirt roads. Power poles and yellow fire hydrants now appeared at regular intervals. Development had come to Austin Hills, and stubborn resistance, in the form of Lincoln Bosworth met it head on. Susan watched Randy approach the airport from the west and monitored the air traffic. Randy hovered at the north end of the airport and then moved sideways to his hanger.

He went through the cool down checklist and slowly the rotors stopped turning. Randy was physically undistinguished except for the fact that he was just plainly … plain. He was less than average height, had a weak build, and a small paunch. He was bald and had a mouth that turned down slightly. He never inspired to greatness, and was a stumbling speaker who got tied up by his emotions and a punishing sense of insecurity. He grew up in abject poverty, and by thirteen his smile had disappeared and a serious countenance filled his face.

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Raised in indifference and disinterest, he learned to rely only on himself. Randy had another quality that seemed to set him apart from all other men. He could piss people off and alienate others without saying a word. Before he spoke, people seemed poised to make him wrong, no matter what he might say. Randy had set up his defenses. He built his life around principles—things he observed and concepts he understood. He could calculate how far a baseball would travel when struck by a bat, but he could not calculate people.

He retired from the Navy and taught himself computer programming. Together he and Susan, his best friend, shared the agony and toil of building a small company. They were able to sell it during the dotcom boom and net enough money to retire. Randy stepped onto the left skid and unplugged his headset from the rear panel of the cockpit. With his headset loosely about his neck, he walked slowly toward the hanger. I took lots of pictures today. Saw some fresh skid marks on Broward; looks like there was another accident. He put the helicopter up on its wheels. Sweat dripping into his eyes reminded him of his advancing years.

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It took every bit of his strength and a couple of lunges to roll the ground wheels down into place. The helicopter balanced nicely and Susan pushed the tail assembly around to guide it as Randy put his shoulder to the task of pushing thirteen hundred pounds of flying machinery into the hanger and then he handled the post flight paperwork. While he was posting his hours in his flight log, Susan came up behind him and put her arms around his waist. She gave him a big hug and put her head against his back.

She and Randy had met in high school, gone to the same university, gotten married and raised four boys. They were best friends long before they were lovers. Theirs was an ongoing love affair that had never lost its luster. Wherever Randy went, Susan was by his side. She knew how the stress of the recent years had taken their toll on her husband and she hated what was happening to him. Randy turned around, put his arms around Susan, and held her tight. He saw tears in her eyes and. Susan clung to him and put her head on his chest unwilling to let go. They stood in an embrace for several moments.

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Pessimism had replaced optimism and disappointment with people had robbed him of the ability to trust. He was deeply hurt and constantly on his guard. Randy treasured truth more than any other virtue throughout his life. Randy was, some said, a realist; others said he was an idealist, and all said he was a perfectionist. Now his eyes looked tired and the sparkle was fading. He walked with a greater forward tilt every day. The picadors of Austin Hills had kept a steady flow of darts at Randy and like a bull trapped in an arena; his head was taking a lower set.

He put the keys to the helicopter in his pocket. Rita, a bubbly redheaded waitress with a face full of freckles, seated them. Susan slid in first and instantly asked Rita about her son, who was in college. Susan and Rita carried on for several minutes. After Rita left with their order, Susan asked, So, why were we up at the crack of dawn this morning? I much prefer the more civilized nine-thirty. The board meeting last night was more than I could take.

I needed to get in the air and do some thinking. Sylvia makes contracts in secret and the management company sanitizes the board minutes to cover the corruption. Hell, if you read the association documents, it looks like they do everything right. On the surface, they looked okay. There was a time when most homeowners believed everything Bosworth said. Then you started asking questions and little by little, he started to look like the fraud he is. He hates you for that and the bunch that surrounds him spreads the hate like a virus.

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Randy paused for thought, That sounds too simple. There has to be more to it than that. Anyway, the die is cast now. They finished breakfast and over a second cup of coffee Randy asked, Okay, what do you think we should do? So, because of one egomaniac we just up and sell our place, take a financial bath, and downscale our lives?

Do we let him drive us out? Appeals to them are useless. But, tell you what: Let me try one more approach. I read one of his articles. Then, I read his bio on the Web and found out he loves to fly. He owns an older Cessna. When he writes a story, he really digs deep—I was impressed. I sent him an email and asked if he had ever had a flight in a helicopter. Tom says we need something dramatic that will grab his readers.

F ourth of July morning, Randy rummaged through his closet and located a pair of cowboy boots. He put on some Levis, a Western shirt, and found a dusty cowboy. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

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Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List. Summary Corrupt California homeowner associations are the stuff of which lawsuits and websites are made. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. You condescending snob. The seat that Lucille Ashley would occupy next to Randy was empty. She was always late. As she took her seat, Lincoln said, Thank you, Sylvia, a wonderful job as usual. Is there a second for Mr. Randy looked out toward the audience of twenty people.

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He looked around the silent room and thought he could feel the darts and daggers thrown at him. Randy put his face in his hands and stared at the table in silence. I second the motion, came from Wayne Wheeling. Lucille Ashley added, I call the question. Randy put his hands on the table and stood at his seat. Those opposed, said Lincoln. Randy raised his hand. Lincoln responded like a judge in a courtroom as he pounded his gavel on the table.

Did they give away more money this month? Susan asked. You look really discouraged. Want a drink? TWO S usan stood inside the hanger in the pre-dawn of Monday morning. How was the flight? Ready for breakfast? You already know what I think. Okay, forget it. Susan took his hand.