This is fiction, story is based on true events surrounding the Cancer Cluster in the Acreage Florida and a sequel to Scared Gone . The Sunset below is actually from Loon Lake in Eldorado National Forest near Lake Tahoe, California.
Jedidiah McDaniel looks toward the bay, the wretched smell of low tide rips through his double wide, but his wife is happier now that they left Loxahatchee and the fear of cancer along with it.
DEP and DOH reports indicate that soil and water tests showed no environmental cause for the cancer cluster. He’s lost his house in Loxahatchee, his land. Now he has to walk his dog everyday on a leash and make sure she craps once a day, and now he’s got to pick it up and carry it with him. That’s all fine, carry a bag of dog sh-t, but he sneaks it into his pocket whenever he sees Miss Johnson walking her pug, he likes her rack but he doesn’t have the balls to walk by her with a bag of swinging sh-t in his hands. So he sticks it in his front pocket, weighs like a pair of wet socks, he can feel the warmth against his thigh on some days.
He unlocks his gun safe with the key he leaves on top of the safe, checks his guns, the salt air and moisture against the double wide wall have started to rust the barrels. He begins to wipe down his Browning 12 gauge, for hunting in the morning at Corbett in Loxahatchee, cracks open the barrel looks down inside, looks clean. Fortunately he has all 5 fingers on his shooting hand, the hardest part is loading shells with his left hand, there being 2 stumpy fingers and all.
Walking thru sloughs and cypress heads beats the sight of strip malls and shell stores that sell all kinds of shells, hermit shells, pink conch, triton tripet, even sea shell bras and aloha shirts. He never understood aloha shirts in Florida, no one ever wears them, just t-shits that say “Northern Born but Southern by Choice”, “Give me Liberty or give me Death”, “Rebel Born Rebel Bred” and his favorite, “I tried being normal- It sucked”.
He needs a good night rest knowing he’s heading out early in the morning, leaving the trailer by 3 am. will get him to Corbett right before day break. The International Scout is waiting for him and Ed out front of the ranger’s post.
Ed can track a one legged bullfrog but he can’t hit a target worth a crap. Last time he came up on a 150 lb. boar hog from about 40 feet away, hit his back leg, bled him pretty good, followed the blood for about an hour and a half but never found the boar.
About six weeks later Ed was fishing up by Tomato Grade and saw that poor old boar hog running along the maiden cane dragging his back leg.
Jedidiah walks into the Easy Go and gets himself a cup of coffee. “Out of a god damn over-sized thermos,” he thinks to himself, “hell, I could make coffee at home and put it in a thermos,” pumps it black and heads on the 95 south down to Corbett.
He’s ripping thru radio stations for something to listen to, wishes the Love Doctors were on as he got closer to Loxahatchee, he can’t hear them up north. Just as well they are probably talking about those pickles again or that caller Kay is probably singing some sweaty disco garbage from the 70′s.
He exits the 95 at Northlake and heads west towards Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. He rolls down his windows and feels the wet air from grassy waters flow through his truck. Knows humidity is heaviest in the morning. Light from the east is starting to gray-out the night as the heavy cloud cover is so low he could shoot buck shot through it if he had any.
He makes his way towards Corbett enjoying the bumpy road that he hated so much when he lived there, coffee bouncing up and then onto the carpet and throwing droplets onto the radio. He just let it be, coffee stained memories ride with you forever.
Jedidiah pulls up to the ranger station, throws his gun and cooler into the scout and waits for Ed. He leans back in the chair, takes in the sunrise and wonders about Loxahatchee and the Cancer Cluster.
He thinks that one of the women that started the entire investigation is no longer around, moved to Tennessee or Northern Florida. If Loxahatchee had environmental problems, the DEP, DOH, CDC, EPA, and every other god damn acronym that is out here running tests and tests, sure as sh-t hasn’t found any. Ed pulls up and Jedidiah says, “Hey!” followed by, ” There is no cancer cluster here, man, I lost my house, my friends, my job, and they didn’t find anything, they never will. At least my wife is happy that we moved and I get a nudge every once in a while for that, but she misses her friends, too.”
The sun is piercing the heavy cloud cover, making for good hog hunting as the sun won’t be up on the hogs too early. Ed said, ” We can skin the hogs over at Anna’s house, her sister Cissy is visiting from Beaux Bridge so she could use some extra groceries even though you can’t buy feral hog at Publix. She’ll love it.” Jedidiah shouts back as the scout starts, ” I don’t mind they can have it all, I just like being back in Loxahatchee, but I’m keeping the back strap.”