Monday, May 3, 2010

"I will pose for you, but definite not naked, you Yankee scum."

"Hey, I was born and raised right her. I ain't no Yankee scum."

"If a strong handsome man like you is not in uniform, you are either a Yankee or a Yankee sympathizer."

"Ah well I guess I'm the 1863 version of a 4f."

"There ain't no such thing. You must be a Yankee."

"Hey, I'm and artist." I said it holding up the camera.

"Ah I see, so you are one of those sissy boys."

"Take a walk with me, you will be safe after all I'm one of those sissy boys." I knew how to use her words against her. I had made a living for years doing just that.

"Very well, since my scoundrel of a husband is off being a weekend sailor why not." So I would be trying to take advantage of her family squabble, so what.

We walked outside the campsite and along a small creek, Someone obviously kept the creek bank clean and trimmed. Most likely a lot of people had walked that same route. Probably even more than one couple had moved quietly along the creek bank.

I didn't realize how deeply she was into the civil war role play game until she said, "So do you think that horrible Lincoln person can really free all the Negroes?"

"I think he already has," I replied.

"It takes more than a piece of paper to make a man free," she informed me.

"So it does, so it does." I replied. As we continued to walk I wondered how a rake like me seduced a married woman in 1863. I decided on the full frontal assault. She stopped to look at the moon for a second, so I gently turned her to me and tried to kiss her,

She surprised me by not running away, or allowing me to kiss her. Instead she said, "It's too soon for that."

"It's never to soon for a kiss in the moonlight," I replied. She turned her face back to me and allowed me to kiss her gently. After a few seconds she broke the kiss. She turned without a word and led me back to the encampment. I expected something different, but she went to the fire at the center of the tent circle. She poured herself a cup of coffee, took a sip, then began to sing Amazing Grace. My blood ran cold at the sound. It was played or sang at ever cop funeral I ever attended.

The last one was Charlie's. That moment brought all the last few weeks back to my mind. I have a strange feeling that something bad was about to happen. Something besides me shooting another roll of film that is. I had no idea if I captured the beauty that was Jenny or not, but I know that I sure as hell tried. Even with the high speed film and the roaring fire the odds were against me.

Saturday morning began with the re enactors waking me up at 6am with orders to leave the tent city. My little canvas shelter could stay ,but me, my camera, and my blankets had to go.

I went out to breakfast at McDonalds again. Then I spent the day shooting images that could have been a reenactment or real. Actually the camera was so modern that the images were easily identifiable as coming from a modern camera. Old cameras had worse optics, but better negative to print ratios. It was a noticeable difference.

Jenny chose to avoid me most of the day. I tried to engage her in conversation early on, but she was cold, so I knew better than to try again. There were lots of possibilities for her coolness, some involved me being a jerk , some involved her being timid, and others involved what might get back to her absent husband. All in all, I decided that the ball was in her court.

The plan was for Sunday to be just a typical day around camp, so that the tourists could see what life was like. One of those living history exhibits that had become so popular of late. My plan was to get an early start for home the next morning. I had plenty of shots of camp life. I made them before and after the battle.

The campfire singing and story telling lasted until about eleven. I was fairly tired so I retired to the small tent like shelter to sleep immediately after. I had been asleep for sometime, when I felt the hand on my shoulder. I looked at my watch to find that it was 3am more or less.

"Shhhh," Jenny hissed and made the universal finger motion to follow her. She led the way back to the creek. I follower her to a blanket spread under a tree. She motioned me to sit and I did of course. I leaned back against the tree trunk, then Jenny sat between my legs with her back to me. She leaned back allowing me to wrap her in my arms. She leaned her head back against my chest. It was obvious she did not want to speak. She just seemed to need to be held.

I sat under the tree until almost sunup. I held Jenny and she fell asleep in my arms. I nodded off from time to time myself. As the sky began to lighten Jenny and I separated. I made it back to my makeshift tent just in time to be awakened by the fake captain, who told me to get my shit and get out. He phrased it a little better but that was still the gist of it.

There were no last words between Jenny and I. I suppose she didn't need any and I sure as hell didn't. It had been a night right out of some silly southern romance novel. One of those trashy thinks women seem to love so much. Well she had her illusion just like the rest of the role play game she was involved with.

I made quick work of packing the car and even quicker work of getting the hell out of Kentucky.

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