Coyote Ugly

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jwhouk
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Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:01 pm

(A short-ish story that may or may not be based on real life...)

I was now officially frustrated as we turned back onto Lost Dutchman Boulevard. Sarah and I had spent the morning doing nothing but drive around the Apache Junction area, in search of motor home parks with units for sale.

There were some good ones, some not-so-good ones – the one we saw over on Idaho Road looked like it had been abandoned years ago – and some ones where we weren't even allowed to go in to look.

Truth is, I thought we had called the business office for this one park, but the rent-a-cop at the front security booth didn't have any record of it. Sarah then pointed at the sign for me – 55 and over, no pets.

That did it. I hooked a U-turn out of their driveway and headed back toward the Superstition Freeway. I asked Sarah if she'd want to get some lunch at that In 'N Out Burger stand that I told her about. She complained a bit, saying she'd rather just go back to my dad's place.

"But wouldn't you like some of Tina's coffee with your burger?" I said with a smile. She gave me a confused look. I reminded her of the story I told her about the first time I went through the portals.

"Oh. OH! You don't want to go there for the burgers!" she replied.

"Well, yes and no. After a morning like this, I could use a burger. But I think we both wouldn't mind a coffee from Mucho Mocha, either."

That was an hour ago. A very frustrating hour. I had gone in to the men's room, mentally telling myself that I wanted to go to Tina's. Unfortunately, when I opened the door, I ended up running into a portly gentleman with an ASU Sun Devils t-shirt who was coming out of the bathroom.

I'd waited a bit, to see if maybe it was just an accident. We ended up getting lunch there, and then – after the lunchtime crowd had diminished slightly – I tried going through the portal door again.

Nothing.

I quietly kicked myself as I explained to Sarah that I no longer had Phix or Monica's phone number, since they'd gone by the wayside when we got the new iPhones. We decided that we'd go up to this park we had seen a listing for, located off of Lost Dutchman Drive on the north side of Apache Junction, and then head back to my dad's. Perhaps I could flag down Monica, or Phix, or even Katherine via e-mail.

The problem became apparent when first turned on to Lost Dutchman. It is essentially the northern edge of Apache Junction – though there is a smattering of homes closer to Pinal County's border with the Tonto National Forest (and Maricopa County). Most of the north side of the street is just one long stretch of wilderness – typical scrub desert, where there's nothing blocking your view of the Superstition Mountains except the smattering of homes you see in the distance on the foothills.

The address was for Lost Dutchman Boulevard – but with the lack of homes or other places on the road, there was no way to see where that address might be. After a routing issue I had long ago with a GPS, I'd learned to dislike them.

But now, as we crept along the north side of Lost Dutchman, attempting to find an address number, I was starting to reconsider.

"Hold on, lemme see if I can locate it using Maps," I told Sarah. "Right now I don't care about the data charges."

I entered the street number of the park's address in the app, and clicked "Go." A few seconds later, it came up saying that we were about half a mile west of where the entrance was located.

"Once more," I said as I signaled to hook a U-turn and head back toward the Superstitions. "It says it's back on the left about half a mile."

I slowed the car down when we got to where the park entrance should be – only to discover a pair of wooden posts and a dirt road that led into the desert scrub.

I pulled into the driveway – and Sarah looked down at the address written on the piece of paper in her hand.

"That's it," she said. "There's a little number thingy on that one post. It matches the one we have for this place."

She looked ahead, as did I. The dirt road went up ahead a bit, then over a rise and out of sight.

"Well… it looks passable," I said, deciding to move forward down the drive. "Nothing worse than some of the streets we've seen in Merrill."

"Just be careful," she pleaded with me.

We went down a small incline, then up – and over what appeared to be a cattle grate and a small wash that disappeared into the brush. I guided my car over the grating, and then up the rise.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:03 pm

"Got one incoming," a voice announced into her earpiece.

"A car?" was her response.

"Yep. Red Chevy. Wisconsin plates. Looks like he's a bit uncertain about where he's going."

"Hm." She paused for a moment from her task of gardening. "Run the plate. It's probably just someone looking for a trailer. Keep him on the trail to the park. If it's marked M-1, gently nudge him back to the entrance. If not… well, let me know."

"Will do. Thanks, ma'am."

"You don't have to call me that, you know," she said in reply. "I'm not that much older than you."

"Sorry, ma'am… I mean, Miranda."

She harrumphed and went back to digging.

---

The drive led down into what appeared to be a wash – a dried-up riverbed that was only wet during the rainy season. A sign on the other side of the wash pointed to the east – with the park's name, "COYOTE DEN MOBILE HOME ESTATES," painted above.

"Looks like we're going the right way," Sarah commented – then turned her head and looked at the wash. "Uh, we have to drive on this old riverbed to get there?"

"Sign says right, we go right," was my reply. I guided my HHR onto the wash, and after a moment our forward progress was impeded.

"I think we're driving on sand," I commented as I tried putting the car into Low Gear. The LOW TRACTION warning was flashing and chiming on my dashboard. "Somehow, I don't think the people at this park care much for outsiders…"

I looked down for a moment, trying to make sure that I wasn't slipping out of gear from the lack of traction, then quickly looked ahead.

What I saw shocked me. A roadbed had appeared, as if the sand had blown away, and was winding up and ahead to the left – over another rise.

"Where'd that come from?" was Sarah's response before I could even speak.

"Well. Maybe I was wrong?" I looked down again – the LOW TRACTION light had gone out, but the high revving sound of my engine reminded me I was in Low Gear. I put the car back in Drive, and pulled forward.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:04 pm

"Miranda, you're not going to believe this," the voice came back in her ear. "The car checks out PA-1."

"PA one?" was Miranda's incredulous response. She immediately put her tools down and stood up. "How the hell can a car from Wisconsin be considered PA-1?"

"I don't know, ma'am," the voice continued. "I just know that the cammo mechanism shut itself down when the info came back. He's just about over the rise now."

Miranda walked out to the front of her trailer, looking down the main street of the park, toward the entrance. In the distance, she could see the red Chevy kicking up dust as it crested over the other side of the wash.

"I'll be damned. Tell everyone to stay on M-1 status. Let's see what these people want. Monitor them – if they're just looking at the three units we have for sale, that's fine. Let them, then wait and see if they leave. I'll be over at the office."

With that, Miranda removed the smock she had to keep her from getting overly dirty, tossed it onto the bench on her porch, then ambled over to the office in the center of the park.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by Warrl » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:12 am

The problem became apparent when first turned on to Lost Dutchman. It is essentially the northern edge of Apache Junction – though there is a smattering of homes closer to Pinal County's border with the Tonto National Forest (and Maricopa County). Most of the north side of the street is just one long stretch of wilderness – typical scrub desert, where there's nothing blocking your view of the Superstition Mountains except the smattering of homes you see in the distance on the foothills.
I haven't been on that particular road, but there are several that pretty much fit the description around Quartzsite.

If you continue to have bad luck finding an RV or trailer you like in that area, swing west to Quartzsite sometime in December or January. In a town that has a permanent population of about 3500 and more than 50 RV parks inside the built-up area (plus several on the outskirts of town, including nearly 18 square miles of Bureau of Land Management long-term visitor areas), you have a good chance of finding something.

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:22 am

...just say no to the West Valley. Sorry. (Family is in AJ.)

Continuing on:

---

"Well, there we are," I said as the fenced perimeter of Coyote Den Mobile Home Estates finally appeared. "Doesn't look too bad. No security guard hut, though."

"Huh, that's odd," Sarah said as she pointed to a sign on the right. The sign was a diamond-shaped warning sign, with the silhouette of a seated, baying coyote. Underneath was a "COYOTE CROSSING" warning sign.

I thought nothing of it as I pulled into the park. Stopping just inside the entrance, I looked both ways. The park appeared to be in an diamond-like shape, with streets that went north-south and east-west. Unlike most other parks, though, the entrance was on the corner of the park.

I asked Sarah where the three units were located. She gave me the numbers, and I looked for a sign that indicated where particular lots would be located. The layout was such that the odd number homes were located on the north-south streets, and the even numbers were on the east-west streets. The main road in and out of the park was at a diagonal, and the homes were all located around the central complex of the park, with a street separating the trailers from the center area.

We found the first trailer, about halfway down what was labeled "Second Street North." Unit number 25 – two bed, two bath. Not too bad looking from the outside – but it was located right across from the Clubhouse.

"I bet this can get a bit noisy at times," I posited. I pointed up at the side of the trailer. "Looks like they have an info sheet available; wanna go grab one?"

Sarah nodded and got out of the car – to a slight blast of hot air. Sure, it was December, but it was over 50 degrees warmer than where we came from last week. She quickly ran over to the box holding the info sheets.

I took a moment to look around. There didn't seem to be anyone around in the Clubhouse. It seemed a bit odd – usually, even in the middle of the day, there'd be someone in the clubhouse. True, it was the heat of the day in the Arizona sun, but still.

Sarah quickly got back into the car, commenting about the heat. I took a turn down 3rd Street East, more to see if the numbering pattern I'd noticed was true in the back of the park.

At the end of each of the north-south streets (except for the ones immediately around the center of the park), there was a rounded-out area from the half-height adobe-styled wall. Presumably it was to allow for drainage and, possibly, for maneuverability to allow trucks and such to turn around.

That was another thing I'd noticed as we drove around the park – no vehicles. Even on a weekday like this, you'd see cars or trucks or something parked in the carports next to the trailers. Here, though – I think I only saw one golf cart, and a pickup that was parked in front of one of the units on 4th Street East.

We pulled up to the end of the street, where the maintenance building was situated across from the end trailer on the row. The end trailers on this corner of the park were facing parallel to the two streets, instead of perpendicular like every other trailer. The maintenance shed had some sort of office sitting next to it – and, just outside the door of the office, was seated a dog.

I stopped the car for a moment as I saw the dog sitting there. I immediately realized two things – it looked like some sort of wolf or husky hybrid, for one. The other – it was looking directly at me.

It gave me a bit of pause, but I shrugged and looked to turn back toward the center clubhouse "square" of the park.

Sarah pointed out at the one trailer that was facing the maintenance shed. "Looks like someone is doing some gardening," she commented. "I bet those have to be hardy plants around here."

"They're located on the northwest exposure," I noted to her. "Probably doesn't get as much sun, so they could plant anything." I looked back ahead and saw the office. The door had a full-length glass window, and seated on its haunches on the inside of the office was another dog. This one, though, was a bit thinner, with grayer colored fur – but it was also looking right at me.

We saw where the second unit was located – again, about halfway down the street, but this time across from the end trailer on 2nd Street. Unit 37 – two bedroom, one-and-a-half bath; a bit smaller but it looked like it'd been on the market for a while.

When Sarah came back with the info sheet, there were two things she noticed: first, the info box was hard to open, and secondly she was leaving footprints in the dust on the driveway of the unit.

I didn't immediately notice her handing me the info sheet, because I had noticed another dog was now sitting by where the mailboxes were located – and was also staring at us.

"Did you happen to see all those dogs back there?" I asked. Sarah stopped, and turned around to look back.

"What dogs?" she asked. "I haven't seen any since we got here."

"Well, I haven't seen anything other than a few dogs since we got here," I replied back. Trying not to let it bother me, I pulled up and then turned onto 1st Street East, heading to the other corner of the park.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:24 am

The Map of the Park:

Image
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:26 am

---

"He's definitely looking at the units for sale," Miranda said, tapping her Bluetooth as she sat back in the office. "I don't know if they're just going to pick and dash, or not."

"Just keep an eye on him?" the voice came on over the headset.

"Yeah… Troy, did you find anything on why the car tags tripped the cammo?"

"No clue yet, Mind," he replied. "They don't need to put a reason to tag a vehicle PA-1. There just aren't that many issued to Wisconsin plates, though."

"Keep on it. I suspect there's a reason, but I'm not sold on if he's a friendly… he just turned around to the back side."

"Got him, I'll keep an eye on him."

"Good. I'm going to make a few calls here."

Miranda tapped the Bluetooth to hang up. She leapt down from the chair, went over to the door for a quick peek out, then trotted over to a door that was only accessible by dogs – and dog-sized beings.

Behind the clubhouse was a room that may have seemed a bit small – and bare – for humans. But for someone like Miranda, it was just the right size. She leaned up against the lone table that was in the room, and put her paw down on a spot in the corner.

Suddenly, a pair of 3-D screens appeared in the air in front of her. She pawed at the screens, scrolling through to get to the one she wanted. The left screen showed the view down Fourth Street North, on the east side of the park. The red Chevy was slowly making its way down the row.

On the other screen, she brought up the information she had accessed on her laptop in the office. The car was flagged as "PA-1" – Paranormal Aware, Level 1. That was reserved for those mundanes who had Library access – but why in the world would he be using a car, if he could just portal in here?

Not like he could use the portal, anyways – it was hidden in plain sight, as they say, and it was locked down from the declaration of "Mundane 1" status. No one could access it.

She looked back at the screen that showed the car stopping at one of the trailers. Yep, they're looking at the homes for sale. Hopefully they're just browsing; maybe they'll find the lack of people too unsettling…
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:29 am

---

The last one of the three lots was unit number 67 – three bedrooms, two baths, a breakfast nook and a relatively unobstructed view of the Superstition Mountains.
And what a view. When I stopped the car, Sarah let out a gasp, and then tapped my shoulder. "Look at that!"

It was almost picture-perfect. Right beyond the wall was a view of the eastern side of Apache Junction, towards Goldfield – and a perfect unobstructed view of the Superstitions.

"This one might be a winner," I said to her as I pointed to the info box on the side of the trailer. The colors were a not-too-garish off-white, and the exterior looked to be in decent shape. It had a decent sized carport, and a long Arizona room on the other size.

Sarah eagerly got out and grabbed the sheet from the box, then got back into the air-conditioned car. I had noticed another set of eyes watching me from the porch of the trailer next door. I know the park said they were pet friendly, but this many dogs? I thought.

"So what now?" Sarah asked.

"Let's see if the park office is open. Maybe we can get in to see that last one." I put the car in drive and pulled up and around, back to the main road and the park office. I noticed that there was a camera pointed down the street atop the maintenance shed. I also noticed that the back wall of the park in the northeast corner was shaped a bit oddly – it looked like a large-ish garage door, that wasn't quite big enough to be one. I shrugged and pulled up to the office.

The entire central common area was quiet. There was a fenced-off pool to the one side, and a set of mailboxes, and the office was set next to the clubhouse. There were a few fountains and some planters in the middle, along with a rather old looking saguaro cactus.

"You stay inside and enjoy the AC," I told her. "I'll see if anyone's in the office."
Last edited by jwhouk on Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:30 am

---

Uh oh, was Miranda's only thought as she saw the man get out of the car.

Instantly, she pawed at the floating display, and tapped a facial recognition. In the time it took him to reach the door of the office, she had the name (she wasn't sure how to pronounce "Houk") and the same "PA-1" designation – but this time with a long set of acronyms. WI-DOC-DJC-LHS-YC.

She was about to search for what these meant when she heard the door being tugged.

Fear struck from a primal level.

"What's he doing?" she hissed over the headset.

"Finding out the office is closed?" came back the reply from Troy. "He's looking around now…"

She looked up at the camera, which was still focused on the car sitting outside the community center complex. The woman wasn't doing anything noticeable in the car. However, she couldn't swipe through to the other camera angles without losing her search on the alphabet soup of acronyms.

"He's taking out his phone…" And, a moment later, the phone in the office rang.

Miranda let out a yelp that she somehow managed to squelch from being heard outside of the control room. She turned and looked back at the access door, hearing the phone ring again. And again.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:32 am

---
I heard the click and the echo of the answering machine through the glass door of the office.

"Thank you for contacting Coyote Den Mobile Home Estates of Apache Junction. Our office hours are from 10 AM to 4 PM Arizona Time, Monday through Friday. We are unable to answer your call at the present time. Please leave your name, number and a brief message as to the reason for your call, and we will get back to you as soon as we can."

The machine beeped, and I simply disconnected the phone. The clock on my iPhone said it was 2:01 PM.

This is getting to be too much, I thought. Someone here wanted us gone for some reason. And the place seemed to be deserted – even though logic would suggest more people this time of day.

That was when I noticed something: a scent. One I'd smelled before. Pungent, but not overpowering. Now, after years of working in the Department of Corrections, I'd smelled a lot of things – most of them bodily fluids and the like. But this was something different. And I could remember smelling it before… but not at work. Somewhere else…

I walked around by the Clubhouse. The doors there were locked. No one was inside, either. I walked around the perimeter of the community center area – the door to the pool was closed, and there was no one to be seen down any of the streets or in any of the trailers.

I saw another pair of eyes looking out the window of one of the trailers across from the mailboxes – yet another dog.

A dog.

Wait a minute.

That smell… It was from Shelly's wedding! After I found Sarah and Aeternia in the safe room of the Pillsbury complex, we were seated next to… who was that guy? Kronwulf! He was the one who renovated the Machine Shop before the wedding – and afterward, if memory served.

He and his family were there – and they had that scent. What was it that… Jacob, yeah, that was his name – what had he said?

"Fear pheromones," I said out loud. And suddenly, everything came into focus. My eyes narrowed, and I turned back to look at that set of eyes in the trailer.

That wasn't a dog.

The eyes disappeared after I stared for a few moments, but my suspicions were getting confirmed.

Only problem was, I didn't have any contact numbers that I could call. After I'd purchased the new iPhones for Sarah and myself, we'd lost all the old numbers we had on our old phones.

I sighed. Only one thing to do.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:33 am

---

I did some tapping and swiping, and activated data access for my browser. In a few moments, I had up my Gmail account – and a quick search found my most recent correspondence with a contact: phix@library.org.

Using the speed typing feature, I cranked out a quick but information-packed e-mail:

Code: Select all

Phix,

Need information about place named Coyote Den Mobile Home Estates. Sarah and I looking at homes here, but it's deserted. Believe it's Paranormal Friendly, but they may be giving me the cold shoulder. Old portal not working anymore, and lost my old contacts with new phone. HELP! Please text or call back at (262) XXX-XXXX.

Joe
I quickly hit "send" and waited until the browser told me it'd been delivered. I then put the phone back in my pocket, looked around for a bit, and slowly walked back to the car.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:35 am

---

Miranda was still trying to find out what the tag "LHS-YC" meant when a frantic cry came over her headset.

"The PORTAL is OPENING!" Troy was nearly howling into her ear.

"WHAT? The portal's locked! No one is allowed to override it in that state!"

"IT'S OPENING, ALL RIGHT?"

"But who in the world could open a locked portal?" She looked up at the floating screen. The man was now standing next to the car, waving at someone who was walking toward him… from the direction of the Portal door.

She quickly reached up and swiped the view down on the camera. A figure appeared, walking away from the portal towards the car. The camera struggled to focus, but when it did…

"Oh. She can," Miranda said.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:40 am

---

Just before I got back to the car, my iPhone buzzed. When I hit the home button, there was a message notification from an unknown number – but with an anticipated message.

I'll be right there.

Smiling, I tapped on the window of the car. Sarah rolled down the window.

"No one in there?" she asked.

"No, but I just got a hold of someone who can help us find out what's going on." I walked around the front of the car to the driver's door, and just as I was about to get in, I saw a flash come from the wall in the corner of the park, next to the maintenance shed and access gate.

"And that confirms that," I said to myself. I waved at the figure emerging from the portal.

"Hey, Phix," I said.

"Hello, Joseph. I take it that the home search has hit a snag?" Phix was dressed in her usual blouse and skirt outfit that made her look like the matronly librarian she portrayed to the mundane world.

"I was already a bit frustrated when I found out the In 'n Out Burger no longer had a portal," I replied. "This – this is way over the top, if you ask me."

"I'm sorry, I thought you knew that portal had been taken off-line," Phix said, reaching the back of the car. "We had an incident with a drunk who slipped through the portal, puked all over the place. Gave the apo on duty for that sector a bit of indigestion."

"I bet," I said. I opened the door and leaned into the car to shut the engine off. "C'mon, Phix is here to help us."

"Phix?" Sarah said in confusion as she unbuckled herself. "What's she doing here?"

"Helping us find out why this paranormal community seems to have shut down over our appearance," I said out loud as she climbed out. "It took me a while, but I remembered that scent from Pillsbury. The same scent that Kronwulf and his kids had while we were waiting for things to clear."

"Werewolves?" Sarah asked, a bit incredulous.

"Actually, they're more like were-Coyotes," Phix explained. "Same brand of lycanthrope, but a different breed. A bit thinner, usually. Though if I recall, the manager here isn't all that skinny."

"You'd know better than me. I've only seen what I thought were dogs wandering around here."

"They must have found out you're listed as PA-1," Phix replied.

"Wait, what?"

"First things first, Joseph." She walked over to the door of the office and tapped on the window. "Oh, Miranda? Miss Phearson? Could we have a word with you out here, please? And in human form, if at all possible."

A few seconds passed, and from the right of the office emerged a slightly older woman, in a gray shirt and dark pants, with gray and black streaked hair. She walked over to the door, adjusting her headset at first, then unlocking the door.

"Oh, Madame Phix! What a pleasant surprise! What brings you to Arizona?" she said with false bravado.

"Miranda." The sphinx coolly looked at the older woman. "Still jittery from that little incursion from last year, I see."

For a wolf hybrid, Miranda looked very sheepish.

"The driver of that 4x4 nearly took out our portal door – from the other side," she explained. "And he was wanted on a whole bunch of drug charges by the DEA. We didn't think it unwise to install the system we have in place."

"And you, of course, thought it was the perfect thing after all your years as an MIB desk jockey here in the Phoenix area," was the sphinx's response – with a look that would have burned a hole through any mortal.

"You know damn well how many drug runners and pushers we had to deal with in my office!" she retorted with what sounded like a growl. Sarah unconsciously moved behind Phix in what I comically perceived as a hiding maneuver.

"This is true," Phix said, reaching back to put an arm around Sarah. "Of course, Joseph here," she motioned to me, "has dealt with his share of ne'er do wells in his career as well."

I reached out my hand to the woman.

"Joseph Houk. Recently retired from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Corrections."

She took my hand, with a tilted head.

"Miranda Phearson. Manager here for the last ten years. Worked at Phoenix area MIB based out of South Mountain for 15 years prior to that."

"I'm sure we could swap stories, but that's kinda not what I and my wife, Sarah," I motioned over at her, "are looking for. We had our eye on that one unit, number 67 – the one facing toward the Superstitions."

Miranda looked at the two of us, and hesitated a bit. Then she heard the slight "ahem" coming from the sphinx in human form standing in between the two of us – standing a good head taller than my wife, and a bit more over me.

"Uh, well, as you may know, like some parks here in the Valley are 55-plus only, we are a park mostly geared toward paranormals," she explained quickly. "We do obviously need to keep a quota of mundanes, but there is a screening process…"

"I don't think that would be a problem," Phix stated simply. "Mister Houk has worked with MIB in the past, to where he was the liason to MIB for the Wisconsin DOC at Lincoln Hills School."

"Yeah, just finished working my last days as a Youth Counselor there earlier this month," I added.

Miranda looked at me, then snapped her fingers.

"THAT'S what those acronyms stood for!" She shook her head in amazement. "I was wondering what all that alphabet soup meant. When you flagged as PA-1, we normally see something MIB-related – and that I can usually decipher – but your line…"

"Wait a minute – PA One?" I looked at Phix.

"Paranormal Awareness, Level One," Miranda began to recite. "Given to mundanes who not only are aware of the paranormal, but have high-level access to ranking paranormal individuals. Anyone who has Library access is at least a Level Two. Someone who has MIB interaction is usually Level Two as well. Someone with both…"

"…is Level One." I nodded. "I guess being an acquaintance of the Jaguar Girl does that to you."

Miranda froze.

"You know the Jaguar Girl?"

"It's kinda how I got involved in all of this in the first place," I explained quickly.

"Wait a minute – who's the Jaguar Girl?" Sarah asked.

"Monica," both Phix and I responded at the same time.

"Oh," was her response.

Miranda gave my wife a look of suspicion.

"What about her? I didn't see any listing for her PA status."

"Her, I can vouch for," Phix stated. "She sometimes babysits my daughter when she's able."

"Which hasn't been much lately," I said quietly.

"Regardless," Phix continued, "These two would like to see that unit – if you would be so kind as to assist them? Oh, and – pardon the expression, but it fits here – how about 'calling off the dogs'?"

Miranda frowned at her – the frown of someone who was being punned at and told off at the same time.

"Very well," she replied. Reaching up, she tapped her headset. "Tony, tell everyone to stand down. The visitors are approved. I'm taking them over to unit 67 for a tour."

"Uh, yes ma'am," came the reply over the headset.

"Stop calling me that! I'm only two years older than you," she barked back, clicking the headset off with a sigh. "Let's go inside. I'll get the keys to the unit."

I kept my tongue as she invited us into the office.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

Warrl
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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by Warrl » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:46 am

jwhouk wrote:...just say no to the West Valley. Sorry. (Family is in AJ.)
RVs - in decent condition - can be moved easily. I was thinking that separating the task of finding a house to live in from the task of finding a place for said house to sit, might make things easier.

(Quartzsite has at least three or four RV parks filled with rigs that look like they probably haven't moved in 5 years or more. In general I'd recommend skipping those, for something you want to move to Apache Junction, but some of those rigs at least look from the outside like they are in decent shape to possibly move after you pull the add-on porch out of the way. And it has a few dozen other RV parks, and several large lots that are currently in the process of being filled up by RV dealers both new & used...)

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by FreeFlier » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:12 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Wolf-who-watches wrote:)()()()()()()()( )()()()()()()()( )()()()()()()()( )()()()()()()()(

Two-legs have no sense of smell.
True enough, though he did recognize the scent in time.

--FreeFlier

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jwhouk
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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:06 pm

---

The home was in very good shape. The third bedroom was at the front of the unit, but it had been essentially converted into an office by the previous owner. The Arizona room extended off the hallway to the master bedroom (something Sarah liked), and there was a decent sized raised patio off the living room with a ramp that ended at the front of the house. There was also a storage shed by the northwest corner of the unit.

"There aren't a whole lot of cars in the park, mostly because anyone who has to go anywhere uses the portals," Miranda explained. "We have a few with golf carts, and one or two with XUV's. Tony, my brother-in-law, has the pickup you saw. We use that for hauling things, mostly. Other than that – it's usually Uber or Lyft for most people, if they need to get somewhere."

"Would we be too out-of-place with two cars?" I asked.

"No, as long as you don't drag race out of here," she replied. "Most of the rest of the people here are more sensitive to noise than anything else."

"Hm." I closed the door to the utility room, just off the kitchen. "That reminds me – the scent. That, um, isn't going to be pervasive around here, is it?"

"What? Oh – no, no. To be honest, you really had myself and Tony freaked out. It shouldn't be an issue going forward. If you have problems, I know a good gardener in town who can provide some plantings that would reduce the odor."

"I think we can manage otherwise," I said. "I'd just be concerned for my cat. What's say we talk about an offer?"

Edited - changed the floorplan a bit...
Last edited by jwhouk on Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

Warrl
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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by Warrl » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:06 am

They did a good job of hiding that park - it doesn't show up on Google Maps as far as I can find.

:mrgreen: :ugeek:

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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by FreeFlier » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:02 am

Warrl wrote:They did a good job of hiding that park - it doesn't show up on Google Maps as far as I can find. . . .
Your clearance isn't high enough.

--FreeFlier

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lake_wrangler
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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by lake_wrangler » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:11 am

Paraphrasing, from memory, from a conversation on Grrl Power:

Sydney (i.e. the latest recruit): maybe it's clearance Purple.
Maxima (i.e. the boss): there is no clearance Purple
Sydney: that's what you think
(0r something to that effect... implying that "the boss" doesn't have high enough clearance to know about Purple clearance)

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jwhouk
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Re: Coyote Ugly

Post by jwhouk » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:49 pm

---
The logistics of moving into a motor home park that isn't quite on the map is a bit… well, interesting. It turns out that the access road to the solar panel "farm" located north of the park also has an access road to McKellips Drive, to the north.

Miranda – who insisted that I call her "Mindy" – showed me the access road from the north.

"It's used by the SRP for access to their canal," she explained. "There doesn't look like there's a road, but there's not only a gate but a bridge over the canal, right next to our solar panel farm. If you have a mundane moving company carrying your stuff, we'd give them this entrance as the address. That way they'd be able to get the truck in and out without an issue. Only thing would be that they'd need to call us about opening the gate from McKellips. SRP gets a bit touchy if someone tries to enter their access road without permission."

Dusty got me set up with a moving company that served paranormals and para-aware mundanes. They had offered to use the portal system, but the cost was a bit prohibitive for that option.

We also chose to drive down to Arizona in the Land Rover – after making a little detour to a certain shop in Minnetonka. Sarah took it over to RE while I opted for a latte at Tina's. Ari was exceptionally gracious to her, and John gave the Range Rover Sport a clean bill of health.

I did mention to Mindy my concern about having a cat in a park full of coyotes and lycanthropes. Her response was that there were a few of the other residents who had cats and other non-sentient "pets" of their own. "So long as she doesn't try to attack one of us, she should be good."

We signed the papers on the loan and closed on the home February 1 – two days after we already had everything packed, loaded, and headed down to AJ. I asked around, and Shelly volunteered to pick up my car from my dad's. Meanwhile, Dusty offered his assistance in helping getting things unpacked once the truck got there. He also offered to "house sit" with our cat, taking her through the portal instead of subjecting her to the long drive down.

When we pulled up to the trailer in the LR, we beat the moving vans by a day. Our first night in Arizona was a quiet one, though a lot of it was calling people to let them know we were in Arizona. That included a call to a phone number in Washington state – mostly because I wanted Sarge to give the place a once-over, for possible issues that I hadn't considered.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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