A nice piece of glass
“Candy is not like the rest,” said Wilbur the Alpaca Farmer. “She’s not just another pussy.” He smiled, then knelt to take a closer look at the mess on the floor of the Red Barn. “She’s really something.”
“Yeah,” I said. “That’s for sure.”
Wilbur’s new girlfriend, Candy, was a Portland artist in her mid-40s, visiting Eastport for the first time. That morning, after discovering a huge stash of sea glass in the Fortress’ garage, she glued dozens of bits of multicolored glass to a painting she’d finished the night before. Wilbur insisted the painting featured his alpacas, but he was wrong. The critters’ necks were far too short to be camelids. To me, the creatures resembled poorly rendered horses drawn by a precocious kindergartner.
“Oh, you boys,” Candy said, smiling coquettishly as she walked into the Red Barn. “That’s not finished. The glue needs to dry.”
“Just admiring the work-in-progress.” Wilbur stood and hugged the woman. “I love it! It’s friggin’ beautiful.”
“Thank you, Wilbur,” she said, fluttering her eyelashes at my boss. “I hope you like it too, Crash,” she touched my forearm. “Do you?”
“It’s interesting,” I lied. “May I see it again when it’s finished?”
“Great.” Her tone went icy. That wasn’t the answer she wanted. “I’ll be sure to show it to you.” She gave me a fake smile. “Soon.”
One morning, a couple weeks later, I was in the garage of the Fortress with Barb, Wilbur’s sweet, but long-suffering, wife.
“Crash, have you seen my giant bag of sea glass?” she asked. “I can’t seem to find it.”
“Uh, nope,” I lied, again. “Not recently.”
“That’s strange.” She frowned and pointed to the corner of the garage. “I always kept the bag on that shelf. It was all the sea glass I collected in the last 10 years from our beach.” She shook her head. “Where could it have gone?”
“Listen,” Wilbur said an hour later. “I’m going to Portland. Thing is, Candy is coming up here to stay for a little bit.”
“What?” I shook my head. “I thought Barb and the kids were here for the week?”
“Just a couple days.” He nodded. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I told Barb that Candy was one of Sweetgrass’ friends from southern Maine.” He grinned. “Candy can bunk in the farmhouse until Barb leaves. Then I’ll come back. They’ll barely even see each other. By the way,” he glanced at his Rolex, then jumped into his Mercedes, “Candy should be here by noon.”
A little past four p.m., Candy parked her SUV under an apple tree and climbed out. Without even acknowledging my presence, she turned and started to examine her vehicle.
“OH MY GOODNESS!” she shrieked. “LOOK AT ALL THE SCRATCHES!”
Upon closer inspection, the damage was obvious. Her paint job was scraped in a million places.
“I was driving on Route 1 and saw a special sign for Dennysville. I thought it was the shortcut to Eastport Wilbur showed me.” She started to sob. “The road got really narrow. And I had to keep on going ’cuz there was no place to turn around.” Tears flowed down her cheeks. “Then there was a washout. So I had to go back. Six miles! IN REVERSE! The branches scraped my car on the way in and out.”
“That’s awful! What shortcut were you…”
“It wasn’t a shortcut!” She sniffled. “It was a snowmobile trail.”
“I found the sea glass in the Red Barn,” Barb said, piling spaghetti on my plate. She had invited everyone up for supper, but I had to make excuses for Sweetgrass and her pal Candy. “The bag was torn open and there was glass scattered all over the floor. I picked it all up.”
“Oh,” I said. “Did you ask Wilbur?”
“Says he doesn’t know anything about it. Is there any chance Sweetgrass…”
“Nope.” I shook my head. “She’s wicked busy with the garden. No time to play with sea glass.”
Even if I told her about Wilbur’s betrayal, nothing would happen. He’d deny all accusations. Besides, my job as alpaca herdsman didn’t require me to tell Barb the truth about her cheating spouse. Plus, I was fond of Barb and didn’t want to be the bearer of her bad news.
She was an intelligent woman and the brains behind the daily operations of the family’s empire. She had to be aware of Wilbur’s dalliances. Was she in denial? Too bad. She certainly had grounds for divorce. With the right lawyer, she could easily walk away with a nice chunk of the son-of-a-bitch’s millions.
Learn to trim marijuana with Crash Barry, in support of his new book Marijuana Valley, Maine: A True Story. Visit crashbarry.com on Sept. 14 for details.