A fishing boat with an outboard motor puttered past the lake house. The wind off the lake gently stirred leaves on the tourist trees lining the dock. The pontoon boat was secured. A loon laughed heartily as a Saturday morning began to unfurl.
“That rod was tangled up. I fixed it but it still can’t cast worth a damn.”
The five old friends passed the morning with small talk about sports and things that men feel comfortable discussing. I drank my coffee black and listened to the birds and frogs and crickets and more.
The night before was full of laughter, scotch, burgers, and stories often told. Each of us was well past middle age laughing out loud while trying to make sense of how things came to be in our respective lives.
I scribbled notes on a large piece of paper with business plans but all the while in my head I heard myself say, “easy now… have courage. Steel yourself for one more charge. One more war made up of daily battles. Steel yourself. You’ve done it before and you’ve done it well. Well enough, at least.”
A canoe approached.
“Did you find Bigfoot?,” I asked.
“We did some reconnoitering on the far side of the Lake. Saw a loon close-up.”
“I’m going to go back to my cabin and take a nap for 5 or 6 hours”
We all laughed.
“The Mets won 7-3”
“Mets and Yankees on a collision course”
“Tyler McGill is back off the IR”
“Hey, look …a chipmunk!”
“Oops, am I being too loud for the neighbors?”
“Hey, I just spotted a cool birdhouse”
“It’s got no floor”
“I love this place”
Dragonflies hovered about and the clouds were cottony against a light blue sky. Oversized scoops of vanilla ice cream.
“You see that eagle?”
“He’s being chased by two crows“
“a hawk among crows can be an eagle,” I offered Moose who was doing something of great import. But, still, he carried the conversation thread with some verve.
“Did you understand the significance of the three-eyed crow in Game of Thrones?”
The back and forth banter was the residue of many years of old friends making fun of each other.
“Is that the scallion cream cheese?”
“You bet it is.”
“Love the scallion”
“So, there was one summer when I was 15 and a couple of friends and I filled an empty box full of fireworks and we lit it and pushed it out onto the lake. That was fun.”
“And then I was spending part of a summer in Nantucket and some guy put a tape in the box and said these guys are going to be as big as The Police— it was REM – the Murmur album.”
M and C got on surfboards. Stood on them unsteadily. C fell into the lake.
They both laughed.
It was early. Even though it was late. These weekends are always a nice getaway. Surrounded by friends. Guys who know you.
They don’t all know that my back is back against the wall, again. I thought to myself as I studied clouds from the boat. Only M. They all have their own things to handle.Responsibilities. Like most guys’ weekends, C was in charge of the tunes.
“…The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down… if the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.”
“The thing I like about the book is the way Jefferson writes to Washington, “Dear Sir,” and what he’s saying is don’t believe what others are telling you about what I said, I am loyal to you.”
“You didn’t want to get on the bad side of Washington”
“How’s your son liking college in Cali?”
“He loves it”
“Santa Barbara is beautiful”
“And he’s getting laid?”
“If you are getting laid everything is good…”
“And when you are getting laid and not having to deal with stuff…”
“You see that guy from Oracle…
“Yeah, buying up most of Kuwai”
“Smart – no taxes”
“…The time has come to weigh those things …this space is getting hot.”
“There’s no one out…we are all alone.”
“It still feels like early season”
“This lake never feels crowded”
“But it was busy at the marina getting gas – we just spent $500 the other day for gas”
On the pontoon, boat talk shifts to sports -family-business-high school – college and back to sports. Beach towels wave. The lake glitters white as the waves lap the shore lazily and wicker chairs are standing at attention while another pontoon boat on the other side of the lake blasts music from a speaker.
It won’t be long until it’s time to stand around the BBQ grill with drinks watching the sun go down.
Later we will watch the NY Rangers game on the computer, while drinking more scotch, and raising glasses to one another.
6 thoughts on “The Lake House by Adam Kluger”
This rambles in a way that is the same as that day on the lake.
You controlled the pace and the dipping into different conversations was very well done.
You always have the guts not to over explain, the specific details on everything said is known by the characters, so the snapshot that you write is truly like eavesdropping whilst people watching on folks you don’t know.
You are a master at he understated!!!!
All the very best my friend.
Even though brief and heavily populated for the brevity, you were able to touch upon the collective humanity of the characters. And the setting is fantastic.
Just enough hints to add an air of mystery. There may not be anything foreboding lurking below the surface of the lake. But the MC’s life … that’s a different story.
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I like how effectively and realistically this captures the vibe and ‘real life’ straining through. Perhaps everyone feels like their back is against the wall?
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As others have commented I loved the juxtaposition of the Jokey chatter and the MC’s financial problems, plus the suggestions that the other guys might have unspoken problems of their own. I was reminded of another lake-dweller’s remark – Thoreau’s “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Although these men led lives of noisy desperation. Thank you
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Superb pace and dialogue. I really enjoy writing like this that is an honest, true to life vignette of reality where on the surface nothing really happens, but under it a lot does.