Okarito - Tyler
They went back outside, where Kathleen was sitting looking out over the lagoon. They sat on either side of her and waited while she studiously ignored them. Finally, she couldn't contain herself any longer.
"Well? Am I allowed to know what you were talking about?"
"Of course you are, Dear," Bob smiled. "Tyler is going into business, hiring kayaks to the tourists. He'll use our ones for a start, I'm going to look after his accouints and tax details and we're going to provide him with $10,000 seed money to get started."
"Oh we are, are we? And why should we do that?"
"Because it's a good thing he's doing and because he is our grandson and we love him and he loves us too."
"How do you know he does?"
"Because he told me so."
"Tyler? When are you going to tell me that?"
"Now, if you like. I do love you, Grandmother."
"Oh, Darling Boy! I love you too – very much."
She stood, leaned over and hugged and kissed him. "Now you're really at home. Don't go away again."
"I won't. This is my home now."
"In the house?"
"No, in the tent."
"You're a stubborn little thing, you know."
"Maybe I got that from you."
"Maybe you did," Bob agreed. "Is Bevan coming to see you tonight?"
"He said he might, but it doesn't look like it. It's getting late."
"He might have something to do. But, don't bet on it. Bevan could turn-up at 3 o'clock in the morning."
"He could," Kathleen nodded. "Nothing that boy did would surprise us."
Tyler said, "He's not that bad, is he?"
"You think?" said Bob. "Ask him about the time when he decided to become a full-time nudist and he went to school with no clothes on."
"He did that? Bevan?? Really???"
"Yes, really," Bob laughed. "It was a long time ago and he was only a little boy, but he went to school naked. They covered him up and took him straight home, of course. The whole town was laughing for days!"
"They would've been – those that weren't shocked. But that's a strange thing for a little kid to do, sort-of adult, in a way."
"Yes, it was. Funny, not many people saw that, but we did. Bevan was born with an old soul. He's not your average boy."
"He's not. He's exceptional. Bevan is great and I really like him a lot."
"That's good," said Kathleen. "Because I think he likes you too and that doesn't happen very often. It's never happened before actually. I knew you two boys would hit it off; that's why I sent him out here to meet you."
"Thanks for that, Grandmother. I'm glad that you did. Well, bedtime for me, I think. I've got work to do tomorrow."
"Yes, Granddad, already. It is dark y'know."
"No, I know that, but I meant you've got work already?"
"No time like the present. I want to take some photos, get some brochures printed and advertising arranged. Plus, I need to make a couple of sandwich boards saying, "Hire your Kayak here.""
"I didn't think you'd start so soon."
"Why not? I can be open for business and making money by the weekend."
"Why not indeed. Let us know if there's anything we can do to help. Good luck and Goodnight, Boy."
"Thanks. Goodnight, Grandad. Goodnight, Grandmother."
"Sleep well, My Lovely Boy. Goodnight."
He went back to his tent and, after a minute admiring the lights of the town away out across the water, he went to bed and, eventually, to sleep. This was unusual for him, normally he lay down and went out like a light, but not that night. His brain was far too busy for sleeping.
He was both excited and nervous about his venture; what if no customers came?
But, they should; he would, if he could. If he was on holiday, touring around with more money in his pocket, he'd be keen on hiring a kayak and exploring the Okarito Lagoon at his own pace.
He'd seen a lot of tourist attractions and activities in his travels around the country – it was a huge industry. They often interested him and he'd thought they'd be fun to do, but he never had. His tight budget didn't allow for such frivolities. All that he could afford were the free ones of the sightseeing type, but there were plenty of them – it was a beautiful country with heaps of variety.
However, he really did think that there was nowhere better than the unspoiled country around here. How was he going to convince the masses that he was right and that they needed to pay him to get up-close and personal with the environment?
He really hoped that this worked-out and he didn't let his grandparents down – they were showing a lot of faith in him. He lay there, thinking, tossing and turning with his mind racing for hours, but eventually his body won-out and he slept.
It was late when he woke in the morning. The sun was already shining on the tent and making it hot and stuffy in there. He slid out of the sleeping bag, rose up on his knees and opened the front flaps. Bevan was there. He was sitting outside and grinning at him.
"Good afternoon, Sleepy-Head!"
"Afternoon? It's not, is it?"
"No, not really – not quite. But it's late for you. What were you up to last night?"
"I wasn't up to anything. I just had a bit of trouble getting to sleep."
"Bit of trouble waking up too. I thought you were going to sleep all day."
"Well, I didn't. What are you doing here, Bevan?"
"Came to be with you, of course. Aren't you happy to see me?"
"Always! But shouldn't you be in school?"
"I should, but I'm not. I'm sick of that; it's time I had a day off."
"A day off? You've been there for, what, one day?"
"Two days this week and that's enough. Boring! I'd rather be here with you."
""But you should be there, you've got to go. You're going to fall behind if you're never at school."
"Hasn't happened yet. I'm brilliant, don't you know? Anywho, you should talk, you don't go at all."
"I used to, but then I left."
"Maybe I should leave too. What're we doing today?"
"I did have plans, but now you're here, we could just go back to bed?" Tyler grinned in what he hoped was a suggestive way.
"Not likely. It's a beautiful sunny day and we should be doing stuff."
"You're not horny at all?"
"Nah. Can't bothered with that today."
"Can't be bothered? You're not natural!"
"No-one ever said I was, Darlin'. What're we doing? There must be stuff to be done for this business of yours."
"Yeah, there is. I need some photos for an advertising brochure for the kayaks."
"Coolness. It's a perfect day to do it. What sort of camera have you got?"
"Haven't got one."
"How are you planning on taking pics then?"
"With my phone. There's a camera on my cell."
"Of course there is. Any decent phone has got a camera these days, but they're useless for taking good pics. You need something better than that."
"I haven't got anything better. It's not ideal, but it'll have to do, for now."
"No, it won't. I've got a camera. It's nothing flash, but it's digital, it's waterproof and it takes decent pics. We'll go get it and that's what you can use."
"Yeah? Thanks, Bevan. I'll have some money, later today, that I can use and . . ."
"Shut it, Tyler Rodden! Don't you suggest paying me. Don't you dare!"
"How did you know what I was thinking?"
"I just did. I'll be offended if you offer me money to use my camera. We're mates, aren't we? Mates help each other for free, that's what they do."
"They do. Thanks, Mate."
"That's better. Besides, when you're rich you'll be able to keep me in the style that I'd like to become accustomed to," Bevan grinned and Tyler grinned back.
"You're a mate, but you're still bloody incorrigible."
"Oh, I know – I think. Right then, you want pics out on the lagoon? We'll take a couple of kayaks and we'll get going."
"I was planning on that. But we won't need two. They're two-seaters, so we'll only need one."
"Don't be daft. We need two. You can't take pics of your very good-looking boy-model paddling around if you're sitting in the same kayak, can you?"
"I guess not. But where are we going to get a very good-looking boy-model?"
Bevan blew a raspberry and said, "I'll pretend I didn't hear that."
"Fine then," Tyler nodded. "But, I'm telling you now, you are not good-looking."
"I'm not?" Bevan's face fell.
"You're not. You are way better than that. You're beautiful."
"Yeah?" He grinned again. "Nearly as much as you, Cousin. It must be in the family genes."
"You started it."
"True anyway. Let's get going, time's a-wasting here."
"Aren't we going to eat something first."
"Nope. Well, maybe a coffee and we'll take some apples to eat on the way. I know breakfast is important, but I can't be bothered today. Grandmother has fed me so much in the last few days, I'll be getting fat."
"Not much fear of that. I mean, look at you! You're as skinny as me."
"You're not skinny, Bevan. You are slim, slender and perfect."
"You think? Okay, I'd better watch my perfect figure too – but I want that coffee!"
They had a coffee and a muesli bar each, and then walked around to the boat-shed to drag two kayaks out and into the water, munching on apples as they went. They strapped-on helmets and life-jackets and selected paddles to use. Bevan put spares of each into his kayak.
Tyler asked him why, and he replied, "Cassie's at home. She'll probably want to come with us and I'm not coming all the way back here for more gear."
"Should we take another kayak then?"
"No need. She can double-up with me if she comes, and do all the work. Then you'll two models which will make for better pictures."
"Okay then, but we're not inviting her, I'd rather be with just you."
"Won't have to invite her. If she decides to come, she'll come. Cassie is an irresitible force, don't you know?"
"Maybe I'm the immovable object."
"You? You're not. I know how to make you jump around in bed."
"That's different! Let's do it then."
"Do it?" Bevan queried, eyebrows rising.
"Kayaking," Tyler replied getting into his boat. "I thought you said that you're not horny?"
"I could be persuaded."
"I'll persuade you later. We've got things to do."
They paddled down the lagoon and across to the row of houses backing onto the water at the edge of town. There was no doubt about which one they were going to, Cassie was standing on the lawn there, waiting for them. Bevan slid his kayak up on to the sloping grass and Tyler followed him in.
"Hey, Brother. What've you got there? Not much meat on him if you're planning a meal."
"Don't be daft, Cassie. I'm not going to eat him, not yet anyway."
"Not yet?" Tyler protested.
"Yeah, not yet," Bevan leered.
"I don't want to know about that," Cassie stressed. "What're you two up to now?"
Tyler said, "We're not staying. Bevan needs to get something, and then we'll be gone."
"Bevan needs to get what? And where are you going?"
"Just out on the lagoon. Okay, he needs to get his camera."
"To take photos."
"Hahha! He's corrupting you already. Such a smart mouth and you used to be a nice boy."
"Seriously, what are you taking photos out on the lagoon for? It's all very nice and all, but anytime you want to see it, it's there. You don't need pics."
Bevan said, "We're going to make a porno. Want to be in it?"
"With you two? I don't think so!"
"Good job!" Tyler laughed. "If you must know . . "
"I must. I must."
"I'll tell you then. Granddad is lending me his kayaks, I'm going to hire them out to the tourists, so we want some nice photos of the lagoon to use for advertising."
"I see," Cassie nodded. "That could work. Why didn't I think of that myself?"
"'Cause you're bone-idle," Bevan grinned.
"I bloody am not! I just haven't found anything that interested me. I think I might go into business too, in opposition to you. I'll wipe the floor with you because I know the place and you don't."
Tyler said, "You said that you've got no money, so how are you going to get kayaks?"
"I'll borrow some off Uncle Bob. He's got plenty."
"Oh but you can't. He's got none to lend you – I've already leased them all."
"What, all of them?"
"Yes, all of them."
"Damm. That's the end of that idea then. Quick aren't you? Only been here 5 minutes and you've already sewn-up the market. I guess I'll have to come and work for you instead."
"Who said I want you to do that?"
"I did. C'mon, Cousin, don't be mean. I'll make a wonderful guide, and you know I will."
"You probably would, but I wasn't planning on offering guided trips."
"No? Why not? You're not planning on letting the Loopies out there by themselves, are you?"
"If you mean the tourists, yes I am."
"They'll get lost out there. It's a huge area."
"It is, but no-one's going to get lost. The waterways are easy enough to follow, it's not a maze. And, I'll give them a map."
"Fair enough. But some people would like a guide, I'm sure of it. Besides, it's much more interesting if someone's telling you what you're looking at."
"Maybe. But I can't afford to hire staff. I haven't made any money yet."
"But you will. Okay, Cuz, I'll come and work with you for nothing until you can afford to pay me. Or, until I get bored – whichever comes first."
"I can afford to pay you nothing. That wouldn't be a problem, but deserting me when you get bored would not be good."
"Up to you to see that I don't get bored then."
"Well, if you're busy, you won't be. Are you really going to work for no money?"
"Yeah, I am. For a start anyway. It'll be fun and it'll be something to do."
Bevan said, "Why don't you just go and get a proper job somewhere?"
"Like where? There's nothing around here that I want to do."
"You could do something basic, like a shop-assistant or washing dishes or something. At least you'd be getting money for it."
"Yeah, but not much. For your information, my Beloved Brother, I've been talking to Aunt Kathleen. She thinks Tyler's going to make a lot of money and I agree with her, so I want in."
Tyler said, "You've been talking to Grandmother and you knew what I'm doing? Why didn't you say so?"
"Because I'm sneaky and I wanted to hear it from you, and I did. So, you want my help or not?"
"I think I do. You people do things differently around here!"
"Sure we do. We're family, remember."
Bevan said, "Okay, so Cassie helps you as a volunteer and helps build a job for herself when you can afford to pay her. How about – you hire out the kayaks and, if anyone wants a guide they pay extra and Cassie gets that. That way, everyone wins."
"That would be a win-win," Tyler nodded. "Does that sound good to you, Cassie?"
"That sounds very good. I told you that my little brother's brilliant."
"I think you're right. Do you want to come with us to get some photos out on the lagoon?"
"Try and stop me! I'll double-up with Bevan."
"See, Tyler?" Bevan grinned. "I told you this would happen. There's a helmet and jacket in here, Cassie – and paddles too – you don't get a free ride."
"Didn't think I would."
"I'll get my camera and we'll get going."
Tyler slid his kayak into the water and climbed in again. Cassie strapped her helmet and jacket on and did the same. Bevan came back and handed the camera to Tyler.
"You know how to use it?"
"I think so. It looks simple enough."
"It is. Just point and shoot. Yell out if you have any trouble. Cassie, who said you can have the front seat?"
"I did. Ladies go before Gentlemen, y'know."
"Who's a Lady?"
"Who's a Gentleman? Get in, Bevan, and we can go."
They paddled, side by side, out into the wide lagoon where there was no current – almost. The camera hung on a strap around Tyler's neck and he snapped lots of pics, working on the theory that if you take hundreds, some of them must be good.
They also chatted as they went. It seemed that Cassie was just as good at getting information out of somebody as she was at giving it. "You want a couple of sandwich-boards to sit by the road and show the Marks where to come. How big will they have to be?"
"Oh, I don't know," Tyler replied. "The normal size. Like you see sitting outside shops and stuff. A meter and a bit high, I suppose."
"Two pair of boards, joined at the top by hinges so they're self-supporting, and a bright colour?"
"That's it. Something bright to be eye-catching. Lime-green would be good, I think. We'll paint words on them in dark-green. That can be our company colours."
"Right then." Cassie pulled out her cell-phone, speed-dialled and spoke to someone. She turned it off and put it back in her pocket. "Two sandwich boards coming up. They'll be ready later today."
"They will? Wow. How did you do that?"
"Our dad is a builder and he's sitting in his workshop doing nothing much. So now he's got something to do."
"Cassie, you're brilliant! I'll pay him for them, of course."
"You will. But they won't cost much. Dad will see it as an investment. Any time you want building done in the future – boatsheds or whatever, you might get him to do it."
"I will. We're going to need some billboards too, to put up by the highway to bring people in. You think he could build them?"
"You know," Tyler mused aloud. "I think I like having a big family around."
"They've got their uses, " Bevan agreed. "Let's go up the creek here."
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