Christopher screams with antagonized laughter, his bright blue eyes squinting under the dry bakey sun of the Okanogan. Granny chases out after him.

Granny- Christopher, you get back here, ya hear me, Christopher, boya!?

Of course he heard her. But she forbids him to play with the gun and then talk on the phone. She put them high out of his reach, for now. But those short skinny sixty-three year old legs couldn't keep up with those short brown five-year-old ground pounders. He squeals as he jumps on Papa's John Deer riding lawn mower and jams it into drive just before Granny can grab him. His Papa gave him the mower due to a movie he rented about an old guy who drove across three states to see his dying brother. He gives her an over the shoulder as she stops and rests her hands on her thin old hips. She smiles through her frown and lets out a well-earned blast of Co2 'cause he'll be safe. He only has to unhook the rope and two by four he tied to the back of the mower to copy Papa's swather, cross the a two lane hi-way and ride a mile and a half of shoulder until he gets to Gramma's and Grandpa's house. They can have him for a few hours.

When he gets well out of running reach, Christopher pops the mower into neutral, unhooks the rope and climbs back onto the mower to finish his trek.

Up at Grandma and Grandpa's, he steers clear of the small walnut tree. Someone told him there were biting land fish that hung by their sharp teeth in the tree that fall on people who walk below, biting them hard. He backs the mower into the garage and runs into the house and grabs the phone. He looks towards the bedroom because he can hear Grandma waking herself early from her afternoon nap. He dials as quickly as five-year-old fingers can.

Grandma-Christopher? Is that you?

He looks back down the hallway; he hears the bed squeak. The phone on the other end begins to ring.

Over in Seattle, Hadley jerks her head up off the dining table. The plastic table cloth design has left an imprint of a leaf on her cheek. The phone is ringing relentlessly as she hefts herself from the table, holding her very pregnant stomach as she picks up the phone.

Hadley- Yeah, what is it?

Christopher- Hi momma, it's Cwistopha.

Hadley- Christopher dammit, what the hell you doin' on the phone…where you at, Granny's or Grandma's?

Christopher- Gramma's.

Hadley pauses…

Christopher- You comin to my bufday?

Grandma marches into the room.

Grandma-Christopher, who you talking to?

Hadley hangs up the phone just as Grandma yanks it out of Christopher's hands.

Grandma- Hadley…Hadley?!!

Christopher stares blankly as Grandma hangs up the phone.

Christopher- Is my momma coming to my bufday?

Grandma- We'll see Christopher, we'll see.

He stands there staring blankly.

Christopher- There's a naked lady down theya.

Grandma- Naked lady? Where?

Christopher- Theya.

He points down the hill toward the orchard.

Christopher- Where's Grandpa?

Grandma- He went fishing.

Running outside, he jumps on his mower and takes off.

Back in Seattle, Hadley stares at the phone as it sits on the cradle. The phone rings again. She stares at it until the machine picks up. It's Bob Butley, the lawyer, the go-between for her and the Gebber's, a rich family who's going to buy her unborn baby.

Bob- I know you're there, pick up, it's good news.

She snatches up the phone like it were the last piece of meat on Donner pass.

Hadley- You got it?

Bob- Fifty grand. They're from San Francisco. He's a six figure Frenchman and she's part Eskimo or something. Anyway, after looking over your gene pool portfolio they got all aggressive. I'm guessing the picture of Christopher helped, that's one good-looking boy, he doesn't even look half-Indian. Anyway, it took all of a minute for them to realize fifty grand was worth not having to explain to everyone that their kid really isn't their kid.

Hadley- Where's the money?

Bob- It's here.

Hadley- I can get the express 206, I'll be there in a half-hour.

Bob- I think it's best if I come out to your place…Hadley. Hadley?

She hangs up, rips off her nasty shirt and throws on something equally appalling and waddles out the door.

It was a godsend she hung around the apartment last month while waiting for Trent. Trent was going to prison the next day, so she knew he'd be back with his mother to pick up the rest of his shit. Trent looked an awful lot like Christopher's dad. Hadley didn't have much, but she did have some strong genes. Not smart or creative, but strong. So did the fathers. She stands nearly 5-9 and when thin, is quite attractive. The fathers are the wild farmboy types. Christopher's dad is a butcher and drives the semi-pro stock car circuit for the PNW. Trent tested dirtbikes for Suzuki before getting caught stealing one of their prototypes right out of high school. That was fifteen years ago. He never shook that rap and now spends his life ping ponging in and out of jail.

As was said, it was a godsend Hadley hung out waiting for Trent and his bitch mother to come by and take all his stuff to her house, because if she had taken that drive up to Marysville to play pull tabs, she would have missed the wreck. The wreck where Bob Butley, an alcoholic attorney, mere minutes away from losing his license due to previous driving infractions, passed out while driving by Hadley's apartment and smashed head on into a car driven by two high school girls. The Seattle street was well lit, it was dry, and there were no dogs, no cats. The girls had just left there boyfriends and were on their way home when he just passed out. One of the girls broke her nose. Both were knocked unconscious while, as if being guided by the hand of Poncious Pilot himself, glided Bob's car gently right up to Hadley's garage door.

But unconsciousness can last very briefly. And when your Hadley, and you spend your life looking for an out…a financial out. You know, that someone driving a 99 Mercedes that caused a wreck, who is drunk out of his mind will pay. After all, when you smash two seventeen year old girls to the next day, and come to as your Mercedes is being pushed by a pregnant woman in her mid-thirties into an empty garage, you know you owe someone.

He's bleeding. It is a small head wound but even a small head wound will bleed, lots. She gives him a towel and walks him into her living room where he collapses on her couch.

Hadley- Stay here and shut up.

She quietly walks out the front door just in time to see neighbor's lights come. She walks over to the car with the cute little teen-agers. They were even attractive, even through the blood. Their blondness. Their nice clothes. Hadley hated them. Their youth and beauty would not be tarnished by the collision. She punches the driver. She didn't have a broken nose but now she has a black eye. People start to file out. She searches the faces for anyone who may have seen her hide the golden egg. But no one gave her a glance. Her actions were stealth-like. She checks the ground for an oil trail to her house or broken glass on her drive. Nothing.

Hadley- Anyone call 911.

A siren wails in the distance, so she quietly walks back into her house as the girls finally pull away from their sleepy concussions.

Hadley and the driver watch silently from behind Hadley's living room and on cue, up drives Trent and his mom. How was she going to explain the car in the garage and this man? This rich man. A Nordstrom's suit and shiny shoes. It would take Trent's mother all of two seconds to realize what was going on but half that time to waddle like a half butchered pig, screaming for the police.

But this was Hadley's lucky day. For just as Trent pulled up, so did the police. And the idiot was driving his car. And it took all of two minutes for the Seattle police to realize that this was a man was supposed to surrender to his parole officer three days ago, not tomorrow. His bitch mother could do nothing but watch as Hadley waved to them as they confiscated his car and her with it. She hated Trent's mother and Trent's mother hated her. So all it took was Hadley's cheerful smile and wave to send her into a spiral of vengeful thoughts. But revenge would have to wait…

Hadley- What's your name?

Bob- Bob.

Hadley- Bob what?

Bob- Bob Butley.

Hadley- What do you do to have a car like that?

Should he lie? Trash like this wouldn't ever know. Even though she hasn't asked for anything yet, he could smell it on her. And by the way she looked at him, money was definitely going to be leached.

Bob- I'm a car repo.

Hadley- Yeah, in an alternate universe Spock, you're a lawyer and on top of smashing the shit out of two innocent and previously pretty girls, you just lied to me Bob Butley, atty. at law.

She holds up his card and wallet as she flips through his credit cards.

Hadley- No high interest rater's with funny names here, only the real deals, low interest jobbies. Bet you don't have a spending limit on this one do ya?

Bob looks at her as he rubs his forehead and the growing bump. So she's not as stupid as she looks.

Hadley- You're a liar.

She smiles, inside and out. She knows this man. They speak the same sleazy language. She saved him from a shit-load of trouble. Her ship had finally come in.

Then came the loud and abrupt knock at the door. She looks out the window-Cops. In their brief exchange, they failed to notice the two cops walk down to her door. She looks at Bob and his blood soaked shirt then walks to the door quickly, ruffs up her hair and opens it.

Hadley- Can I help you?

Officer One- Excuse us ma'am, but there was a hit and run here about fifteen minutes ago, did you happen to see anything?

Hadley looks at the officers blankly and then grabs her forehead and wobbles forward onto one of the officers who catches her fall.

Officer Two- Are you all right ma'am.

Hadley- I'm sorry, I'm due next month, I stood up to quick I guess…can you excuse me for just a moment, I'm gonna get some water, just wait right here.

She shuts the door and runs quickly over to Bob.

Hadley- I want ten thousand tonight and your car and I want you to sell my baby to the highest bidder.

Bob- What?

Hadley- You heard me lawyer; I'm not joking.

Bob- Fine.

Hadley- Shake.

She sticks her hand in his face, he slowly takes it and she clamps down, and hard.

Hadley- We shook on it, if you reneg, I'll tell them you had a gun and maybe worse.

She gathers herself quickly and walks back to the door.

Hadley- I'm so sorry, you were saying?

Officer One- There was a car wreck out here and one of your neighbor's said she saw you out here after the fact…did you see the other car involved.

Hadley- I didn't see the car, but I saw some taillights. But they were way down there. I couldn't be sure if they were even the ones from the wreck.

Officer Two- Were they truck light or car lights?

Hadley- Oh, I think they were truck lights.

Officer One- That wouldn't be it then, we're looking for a car, with silver paint…Is there anything else? Did the girls say anything to you?

Hadley- Nothing, they were both out when I was there.

Officer One- All right, ma'am, that should do it. If anything pops into your mind, give a call to the 9th precinct. Thanks.

Hadley shuts the door on the police and opens the door to her future. She turns around.

Hadley- You need a bath. Get undressed. I'll run some water.

Most sexually abused children grow into sexually manipulative adults. Hadley was no exception. She demanded he strip. She didn't say take a shower. She said he needed a bath. A relaxing and warm bath would do the trick. The blood is leaving the brain and finding it's way to other areas- areas that dull the mind.

After all, he did need her to wash off his back, since he was in the bath. Soapy hands just naturally make there way other places. Places of no return. He was relieved it was apparent all she wanted to do was suck his dick. After all, she was pregnant. She was as good at doing this as she was getting nearly $100,000 out of him, if you count the car. God was she good. Good and quick. But as quickly as she helped him finish his business, she was even quicker at getting out of the bathroom and into her bedroom. It is there she keeps her panties, of course. It is also there where she spat the contents of her mouth and scraped what shot up on her cheek onto the crotch of her least favorite pair, the ones with the hole in the ass. For she wouldn't be able to wear them for a month, or until her cash cow came in. Insurance. Just in case he got stupid and she was forced to play the rape at gunpoint card. $100,000 is a lot of money.

That was a month ago. She has the car and the ten grand and now, she's about to get the fifty. As soon as she pops this little bastard, she'll be a rich bitch. The richest bitch she knows. Money is on her mind. Lots of money. So when she opened the door and there stood Trent's mom, the proverbial slap was that more intense.

Trent's mom- Where the hell are you going in such a hurry?

Hadley- Downtown.

Trent's mom- Why?

Hadley- That's none of your fucking business…Did Mr. "three strikes and your out" make it back to the big house all right last month?

Trent's mom knew that this was a sparring match she wasn't going to win. After all, she just wanted the riding lawnmower out of the garage and she'd be on her way.

Trent's mom- Look, all I want is the lawnmower and the stereo.

She didn't give a shit about the stereo. She just needed something to bargain with to get the riding lawnmower because her neighbor was offering her four hundred bucks for it.

Hadley- They're mine.

Trent's mom- They're Trent's and you know it.

Hadley- They're mine now.

Trent's mom- Look Hadley, you don't even have grass anymore, what the hell do you need the lawnmower for?

Hadley- I'll tell you what, I'll give you the stereo, and I'll keep the mower.

This was unexpected. The stereo. Why would a pregnant woman who's lawn is dirt and crabgrass give up the stereo instead of the mower?

Trent's mom- Why the hell do you want that mower?

Hadley- Look, I've got to go. You come back tomorrow and I'll give the fucking mower, all right.

Trent's mom- Tomorrow. Definitely?

Hadley's- Definitely.

Hadley walks past her, locks the door and walks to the street corner to catch the bus. She stares at Trent's mom until she gets into her truck and drives out of sight. The bus arrives and Hadley gets on. And as the bus drives down the street, Hadley was thinking about the fifty grand and all the things she could buy with fifty grand. Hell sixty grand. As soon as she gets the car fixed, pops out the fifty grand 'lil bastard, she can go anywhere. Of course, if Hadley wasn't neck deep in fantasy, she might have seen Trent's mom parked on a side street waiting for the bus to drive by. But she didn't.

Trent's mom was never one for patience. After all, Hadley said she could have it. Trent gave her a key to the garage. What's a day?

As she stood above the Mercedes with a million questions, Trent's mom got that feeling. She felt it in her pussy. When something was not on the level, she gets this twinge right above her twat. For her, money was MUCH better than sex. And this did not smell right.

Someone drives up. Two doors open and close. It's Hadley and Bob.

Bob- I just think it's better we don't advertise we are doing business together.

Hadley- If you're thinking of killing me, I hid a letter someplace where the cops will look telling all what's going on here.

Bob- Killing you? Listen missy, I'd need a lot more than fifty grand to kill someone.

Hadley- The car…

Bob- I hate that car. It's bad freakin' luck. Me getting rid of this thing is the best thing to happen to me for quite some time, just don't have it fixed for six more months. The police may still be looking for it. And I might as well let you know, I got a ten grand bonus from the couple for "convincing" you to sell you kid to them instead of the other couples.

Hadley- What other couples?

Bob- I had quite a bidding war between the Frenchman and this couple from out east.

He was a lawyer, money, money, money. He could be trusted. So he got his money back. What did she care? She got her ten, she still gets her fifty and the car.

Trent's Mom- So what the hell is going on here?

Bob- Who are you?

Trent's mom- Who are you?

Hadley- What the hell? What the fuck are you doing here? I, I…

Trent's mom- Spit it out.

Hadley- I can have you arrested for breaking and entering.

Trent's Mom- Sounds like a good idea, give 'em a call.

Bob Butley- Who are you?

Trent's Mom- Looks like to me, a very rich woman. So you're gonna sell my grandson? Is that right squaw? You're gonna sell my grandson? How much? How much is my grandson worth? I'm talking to you Injun.

Hadley just glares at Trent's mom. She had her. She had her good.

Trent's Mom- And you, you slimey no good, shit eating lawbag. Boy are you in trouble. Trouble trouble trouble. Selling an unborn baby. My only grandson, and you are going to deny me the right, the dream that every woman has, to be a grandma. She starts to cry then looks up.

Trent's Mom- I want half.

And as quickly as the crying started, it stopped. She walks in Hadley's house as if it belonged to her, and right now, it does.

Trent's Mom- Come on in, have a drink. Let's talk some beef.

She watched as Trent's mom laid down the law. Just like her mom did years ago. She paced back and forth, oblivious to whom she was talking. Her concentration was focused. Money was at stake.

Trent's mom- First off. The car is mine. You have a problem with that lawyer boy? I didn't think so. I know Hadley won't have a problem, because all I want is fifty percent of the take. That includes the ten grand you already gave her.

This is what I want, this is what you'll pay me. If I don't get what I want, this is what I'll do.

Shock. Hadley's dream of a six figure payoff pissing away. Being pissed upon by this cunt. It reminded her of her first time. The first time she got fucked. Although they didn't really have sex. He didn't know how too. He'd just smear shaving cream on her ass and rub his dick in her crack until that thing happened. That thing happened, that thing that happens to boys... It's then when it happened. She looked over at Bob.

Bob was in equal shock. His eyes were glazed by the building warmth of embarrassment and shock. There was no way out of this. The heat was suffocating him. Controlled by two of life's passed-byes. Both unable to swim in the sea of life until now. But they found him, Bob, and his green paper sea. And now he is treading water like a legless fatman trying to stay afloat. Trent's mom's aggression fueled by memories of passed defeats. He watches as Hadley slowly gets up.

Hadley- Anyone want water?

Trent's mom wasn't listening. She was making more inane demands and that's when she did it. Hadley just got up as if she were getting a drink of water, picked up the fire poker and jammed it through Trent's mom's ear.

Blood rushed out as Trent's mom tried feebly to pull it out. The poker must have damaged the part of the brain that controls the vocal cords because, even though rage erupted through wild contortions of her mouth eyes, not a sound, not even a rasp to indicate what delicious anguish must be coursing through Trent's mom's waning mind.

It was almost an hour since they stuffed Trent's mom's body in the trunk of Bob's car. Even before the poker had found its mark, Hadley had conceded the car. How else were they going to dispose of the body. Bob mumbled something about burning it out in the hill's. But that's no good. It was fire season.

Hadley knew as she rammed the plunger into Trent's mom's head how she was going to dispose of the car and body. The lakes above Okanogan are many and deep. Omak Lake falls nearly half a mile to the bottom.

A ford funeral. That's what the locals call it when a Colville falls passes out at the wheel and flies off the road into the deep lake water. The tribal cop will get a missing person report and go out to the many horseshoe bends and look for the tire tracks flying off the edge. The family will place a memorial wreath at the spot and go out and get drunk.

That's the way the county likes it too. What's the point of spending five thousand dollars to poke around in the cold pitch black depths, being bumped by fifteen foot sturgeon, just to bring up the bloated body of an Indian. And that's where Hadley would hide her torment.

She looks at Bob. Still in shock. He wants this day to end.

Hadley sees him look up.

Hadley- An accomplice to murder. Boy o boy, never thought you'd be here I bet?

Of course Bob says nothing and keeps staring straight ahead. She knows she's going to have to snap him out of the fog. When people are in the fog, they start to think. And if they think to hard, the brain screen freezes and the soul takes over. And when the soul takes over is when confessions start bubbling over like a clogged toilet. That big shit just spills out over the floor for everybody to see.

Hadley- HEY!

He jumps.

Hadley- She was a bitch. You think this'd be over if we payed her? Fuck no. She would have owned your ass. Every day, she'd be needed this or that. Money, stuff. You saw her. Relax, no-ones going to notice for at least a week. We even have a fucking alibi. We're here. No ones going to find her in the lake. There are about twenty some cars and a bus of kids down there. None of them made it up yet. Anyway, you better get some rest. After we get to the lake, which will be five hours, we got to wait 'til dark before pushing it down the cliff and then walk ten miles back into town.

About the author:

"Hadley" is one of twelve stories of a novella that DC Broughton is currently working on entitled "Whale Country". All the stories take place in the North Central part of Washington State where DC was raised. They deal with the only things pertinent to our existence- death, sex and the consequences of food.