The Porch

It was touted as a studio but it was really just a shack, built sometime in the mid 1800’s before indoor plumbing, electricity, or insulation became standard. It would be freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer, although perhaps the presence of those enormous oak trees would make summer quite bearable. Still and all, a shack.

Obviously they’d added on a little bathroom in the back, if you could call it that. A shower that was nothing more than a surround built over a drain, there would be critters coming up out of that for sure, a toilet that wobbled at your approach and a sink that spit more water at your torso than at your hands. Still and all, a bathroom.

There was nothing wrong with the wood stove and as the shack was so small, you could cross the whole thing in ten strides one way and seven the other, that little wood stove would keep ya plenty warm as long as you kept it stoked. Although stoking it could be a problem, tiny little thing that it was you couldn’t fit much more’n a couple logs in it at a time. Still and all, a wood stove.

No kitchen to speak of, but there was a counter someone had put in somewhere along the line and it would do for holding a hotplate, maybe an InstaPot, maybe a toaster oven. It would all depend on the electricity that’d been put in. The lamp in the corner, the only source of light besides the bare bulb that flickered in the bathroom, made sputtering noises and sparked a bit, the plug hanging limply in the socket rather than snug. Still and all, electricity.

There was nothing to complain about, really. Who didn’t want a chance to live in a piece of history? How many gold miners had lived in this shack? How many had struck it rich? What would happen if you dug around underneath the house and did some panning like in that movie with Clint Eastwood before he was a cowboy, back when he sang songs and you could see just how impossibly tall he was…Paint Your Wagon! That was it. Would you find any gold down in the dirt under this little shack?

The thing that really sold the place, the thing that made it stand out above the recently renovated one bedroom apartment with subway tiles in the kitchen and imitation granite counters in the bathroom, or the two bedroom cabin made from real logs chinked together where you could look out the living room window and watch the deer cross the yard, the thing that made the bathroom and lack of kitchen irrelevant was the porch.

The shack had a rough-hewn wood porch that wrapped all the way around and went out far enough that you could put some chairs out at the outer edge where the porch roof didn’t quite reach and watch the stars and other chairs up against the outer wall of the shack and be out of the rain. The porch spoke of a rocking chair, a pipe, learning to whittle or perhaps knit, and long evenings where the only words spoken would be about the lovely weather or the vast quantity of stars. The porch said “yup,” in that way that says you’ve seen it all and want to forget it, and here’s where you could do just that.

The porch was the first thing you saw when you arrived and the last thing you saw before you left and the porch called to you. It had a distinctly male, distinctly old, and distinctly charming voice, much like Sam Elliott or Kenny Rogers. The porch spoke of cold beer or perhaps whiskey, and warm tales, stories of long ago that weren’t really so long ago at all. Living in the shack was the toll paid to hear the stories the porch had to tell. And who wouldn’t want to pay that toll.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

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