Ruby's and Roo's Adventures in Austin - Continued
Roo and I sat in the very back of a black Suburban. Blade drove while Shark rode shotgun. The others sat in the row of seats between us. I was glad. I wanted Shark to be as far away from Roo as possible.
Blade parked in a small parking lot located on Riverside Drive, across from the Long Center. Everyone got out and wandered down a wide stone conglomerate pathway. The stone path led us straight to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s statue, which had been installed next to Lady Bird Lake.
The tree-lined stone conglomerate pathway divided two large green spaces where people played with their dogs off leash, even though there was a small fenced-in area nearby that was legally leash-free. Whoever came up with the leash-free areas in Austin were extremely clueless about dogs and dog owners. Somehow, they think a whole bunch of dogs should be crammed together in a tiny space to try to run around in and play together. In my opinion, most people just want to play with their own dogs in a nice big space. Besides, tiny park spaces breed diseases.
As we neared the water, we were also nearing a very busy wide crushed pink granite gravel path. Julie strolled up next me and wrapped her arm around my arm to make sure I came with them. Sometimes Julie was nice to me and sometimes she was not. Right now, she was being mean-Julie.
Hoping to annoy her, I prattled on about my favorite subject. I said, “See that crushed pink granite making up that running path?”
Julie said, “Yeah, what about it?”
Taking my cue, I said, “That’s our famous Texas pink granite. It was used in the construction of the state capitol building. The granite came from large igneous batholiths that cooled slowly as they rose to the surface. The granite was given the geologic name Town Mountain Granite and was considered to be about six million years old when it intruded into earlier formations. The well-known Texas geologic sites called Enchanted Rock and Granite Mountain were formed this way. Large amounts of pink orthoclase feldspar were responsible for the pink color.”
Julie stared at me with blank glazed-over eyes.
Smiling, I said, “There will be a quiz.”
I continued, “At first the capitol was to be constructed of limestone, but the source limestone weathered to a rusty red and did not stay white. So instead, the planners agreed to an offer from the owners of Granite Mountain quarries. They would donate their pink granite in exchange for a rail line to be built from their quarries to the capitol. It took four thousand flat cars to deliver the granite to the capitol construction site.”
I cannot help it. I am a geologist.
Julie said, “Enough already. Stop! I can’t take it anymore. We need to concentrate on geocaching. Shut up!” She elbowed me, which I did not appreciate.
I sighed. I was wandering around Austin with a bunch of loonies and a possible murderer or two. The pink crushed pathway was not going to get me out of this. I looked ahead and only saw a path that followed the river in both directions and was full of people riding bikes, walking, running, or even riding Segways. In fact, a group of Segways had surrounded the statute, so that their riders could listen to a tour guide. Along the water’s edge, a very short stone wall formed a semi-circle around Stevie. I thought about jumping one of the Segway riders and rolling away. However, I knew from experience those things did not roll away very fast.
I loved Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was one of my all-time favorite musicians. Right now, Tick Tock People was running through my mind. Time was ticking away for me and Roo!
Blade and Shark were close behind us as we skirted the crowd of Segways and stood behind the statue. Our troupe stood together and peered out across the water. People were poling surfboards while standing up, riding swan paddle-boats, rowing kayaks, and fishing along the shore. It was a sunny day and it seemed like all of the citizens of Austin were out enjoying it.
Julie said, “Where should we look? There are trees across the trail and one right here. Mostly, I see weeds and water.” She peered over the little wall.
I said, “Let’s see, the clue we were given at the last stop was: At six o’clock, do not fall in the lake.”
Rider said, “I’ll look at the trees across the way while you short people look around on the ground.” He looked directly at me.
While everyone searched the area, I ignored Rider and sat down on the little stone wall directly behind Stevie.
Mumbling to myself, I said, “Six o’clock would put me directly behind Stevie and do not fall in the lake must mean there is something possibly behind the wall and in the water. I turned around and scanned the area on the other side of the wall. There was a little bit of a muddy bank and lots of weeds. I decided to brave it and stick my hand down into the weeds at the point closest to wall.
Just before I did, Blade came up to me with Shark. Roo uttered a warning, “Grrrrrrowl!” I sat back up and pulled Roo close to me.
Blade said, “What’s ye doing sweetheart? You don’t fool me a bit.” He pushed me aside and shoved his hand down into the weeds.” Personally, I was relieved.
Meanwhile, Shark and Roo were having a snarl-fest and I decided to move her away. Blade pulled up a canister, which drew the rest of the motley crew back to him. I thought this would be a great time to escape and nonchalantly began to walk away with Roo. Rider, however, saw my attempt. He grabbed my arm and pulled me back.
Rider said, “Not so fast, darlin’. We need you to solve the next stupid clue.”
Frowning with disappointment, I wanted to give a low growl like Roo and let Rider know that touching me was not a good idea. I was good at one-on-one combat, but I did not know if I could take on the whole group. I was going to have to just outwit them. That should not be too hard, you would think with this bunch.
I was surprised when someone tapped me on shoulder. I turned and saw my ex-boyfriend, Jed Johnson - - of all people!
Jed said, “Is this man bothering you?”
Rider said, “Get lost buddy, and mind your own business.” Rider shoved me aside and stood up to Jed, so that they could look eye to eye. The two men were puffing their chests out and leering at each other like a fight was about to break out.
I said, “Ok, guys, that is enough.” I stood between them and pushed them apart.
Jed said, “Look lady, I was just trying to help.” I felt him stuff something into my jeans pocket.
Jed quickly bent down and petted Roo on the head. Jed said, “Wow, what a great dog.” Roo wagged her tail so hard I thought it was going to fall off. She licked Jed’s face. Roo loved Jed. I was always jealous of their relationship.
Gently pulling Roo away, I said, “It’s okay. We are all on a geocache treasure hunt and I am helping them solve the clues. Ha-ha, their kooky old aunt left them an inheritance and the only way to get it is to find and solve the clues.”
Looking like he was going to explode if I revealed any more information about their precious treasure, Rider said, “That’s enough. We are through here.” He shoved me back toward the group and gave the evil-eye to Jed.”
As I reluctantly joined the group, I wishfully glanced back at my friend and once lover. Wearing runner’s shorts, I could not help but admire Jed’s great quarterback ass. I mumbled, “Be still my beating heart.” I gave a big sigh. Just as I was getting over Jed, Rollie appeared and met up with Jed. Rollie had lost his beer gut since his last heart emergency and was looking quick svelte. My pulse increased again. I did not often see the two men who drove my hormones crazy stand together. They usually did not like even being in the same room together - mostly because of me.
Three women, one very short, soon approached them. Ah, the cavalry had been called in by Susan. Backup had arrived, hurrah!
Nice-Julie came up to me and showed me the clue. She said, “What do you think it means?”
Everyone in the group was staring at me now. I read the clue and said, “I haven’t the foggiest idea. I guess we’ll need to go to the next place and figure it out.” I really wanted to tell them to go do it themselves without me, but I refrained. On the other hand, my curiosity was also getting the best of me and I wanted to find out what was at the end of the rainbow. I was feeling more confident, too, because my friends were watching us.
We plodded back to the suburban.
Blade maneuvered the huge vehicle onto the Riverside Drive and headed for out next destination. We were just going down the road to Zilker Park. I had played soccer there many times. It was where Austin City Limits had their big festival every September, and where the city held their kite festival every March. A huge big open space with one small outcrop of limestone in the middle of it. Jesus H. Christ, there would be no place or way for my friends to intervene. I was on my own again!
Rollie said, “Ruby is helping murderers find a treasure?”
Jed said, “I’m just telling what she said.”
Susan said, “Look, they are leaving, we had better follow them. You two, stop arguing and get into my car. I’ll drive.”
Rollie said, “No, I’ll drive.”
Leaving Jed’s car behind, Copper, Charlene, Rollie, and Jed jumped into Susan’s vehicle. Susan had obliged Rollie. He was a cop, after all, and knew how to follow bad guys without being obvious.
Charlene said, “Has anyone got a plan? So far, we know they are going to the next geocache location, wherever that is.”
Copper said, “Yeah, that makes it hard to have a plan.”
Rollie said, “Everyone keep their eyes on that black suburban.