Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Ch. 49

Eric began to get suspicious when Vlad turned not towards the next city, but toward Willowdale State Forest in Massachussets. He became still more suspicious when Vlad stopped at the toll booth at the entrance.
"You'll have to come back in the morning," the woman said, "There are no camping facilities and we're just closing."
"I have a friend who's property is inside the park," said Vlad, "I'd really like to see him."
Understanding dawned on the woman's face.
"Of course," she said, "The hair, the build - you're Elvis's brother, aren't you?"
"Vlad Berljottsen, at your service."
"I've heard so much about you! Lydia Hamilton, I'm a friend of Elvis."
They shook hands, Vlad leaning out of the car as far as he could.
"Well, seeing as you're family, I guess you can go on to his place. You know the way?"
"If you'd refresh my memory."
"Third right, you'll see a private property sign."
"Got it. Thank you."
"No problem, good to finally meet you."
They drove on. After they were out of earshot, Eric spoke.
"You have a brother? Named Elvis?? Who lives in a state park?"
"I do. Elvis was born a year after I was, and my parents determined not to repeat their blunder, wanted a truly American name. It was the best they could come up with. As for the state park, the house was built when it wasn't a park at all, but when the park was built, the original owners didn't wanty to sell. When they finally did sell, they would only sell it privately, with the stipulation that the buyers could not make it part of the park. That's built into all sales contracts until the house's demolition. Only it's been harder to find buyers each time it's sold on account of no one wants to live in a national park cut off from civilization except for tourists. When Elvis moved out here to seek his fortune, it was all he could afford. But last I heard he lives alone, so there'll be plenty of room for us."
"That's quite a story," said Gina.
"No, that was an explanation. I'll tell you a story if you like. When Elvis and I were boys, living in the old country -"
"Hey look!" interrupted Eric, "The private property sign! That's our turn."
"So it is," replied Vlad and turned the car. There, a little deeper in, was the house, but not so deserted as they thought.