Short story. American folk drama.
He couldn’t contain himself. He walked from aft to stern again and again inside his tug boat dark cabin. Then, he sat in front of his old folding table. He just stayed there for a while, gazing at the nice lamp as the fire kindled in it danced once more for him. He let his thoughts wander, until he had a revelation that he was some kind of mythological being.
He came back to reality as he made eye contact with his police uniform, his belt, his hat and the batch attached to it.
Just to think he would wear those to the grand opening of his neighborhood park. Now that was something that put him back in a bright-spirited state. It was his park, his loyal arena for the past year. Then his eyes went back to the small bit of fire. “They make everything so difficult; now everyone is just fighting. But I will be surveying them; no one doing bad deeds will prevail in this park. I’m going to get there early. I will then go near the children’s playbox, then near the birthday gazebo. No one, no one will escape me. It is my park’s grand reopening. The villains will flee; this is the piece I will carry tomorrow. Those crime lovers will know much better. Now let’s get to sleep.”
But it wasn’t like that… Half an hour later he was still awake. Awake and sitting aft, swinging his legs in the air as he sat on top of the icebox, until the sun came out. He stared all night at a seagull, a bird that was just afraid to get near him but friendly enough to keep his company through the night. Once and once again, he tried to feed her some bread without any luck. Just to get a chance to feel her white and soft feathers was all he was looking for.
The color of the ocean looked like mild tea mixed with water. He stared at it.
In front of him, right at the dock, was the live bait store, the size of a two-story train station. It had just a few air vents near the top of the roof that would have looked well on a barn. The bait shop was covered in rotten zinc panels the color of red fire ants. Some of them were new; others were planks made of old wood. It had a huge water tank fit for a giant. Sometimes he looked at it as if it were a gushing oil rig that had just struck luck. But it was really a rusty structure covered in rotten metal, drenched by lead and bluish huge stains. He stared at it that morning of insomnia. He stared at the neon sign that blinked from its side beam: “Live Bait.”
Someone had shown the courage to line up hundreds of empty beer bottles, all transparent, around this place. Who had the courage to build this? Who had the stamina to build a cement arch, encrusted with hundreds of pieces of colored glass? With all kinds of bottles and mosaics that resembled weird-looking faces, it gave the feeling this place belonged to some kind of cult, rather than to fishermen. He also reflected on that.
The blast of the morning trawler air horn reminded him that time was moving on. He balanced his way back to the cabin that gave him shelter, and before stepping down, he spotted something in the waters.
“Nicole!” he shouted at an old lady who swam with her hat across the mild colored waters. “I will be at the park today. Bring Nicolay; you can be sure I will be looking after your safety.” But the lady continued her swimming; she did not notice the old boat and the man dressed in uniform pretending to get her attention.
It seemed to him that someone was in need of his service.
He went back to his plan. He also thought that this was the best day that the year could bring. He also thought that after all of that year had passed, after all of those vigilant days at his old park, that those visitors at the opening ceremony would reward him with a warm baked chicken pot pie. “By now they should be baking that delicious pie. It may have my name written on top, or maybe my batch number carved on top of its delicious crusty cover.”
At 1 p.m., as he always did for so many months, he strolled near the play yard. The few parents that were there didn’t care a blip about him; no one looked at him as he passed along, with the exception of a tall weird-looking man who was hiding in the back of some wild branches and who saw him from afar and jumped like a cricket out of his hiding place. As he passed near the birthday gazebo, … the same thing. Not one friendly salute for him, not one welcoming gesture, not one cup of water for the security hero. Yet, some weird-looking couple that planned to rob most of the moms’ purses, walked away when they saw the hunched figure from as far as the parking lot.
Their fertile ground for fraudulent acquisitions was no longer available for their team.
He wandered all around the park’s gazebos and picnic tables until dawn, not knowing by then that more than 10 criminals had scrammed from the premises due to his presence. The park’s inaugural ceremony was also over. “I will trap them all; leave them to me. Can’t even get the blues. … What am I going to do?” he said as he walked, swinging his club.
He had a wondrous stride. His piece, his hat, his cuffs … They all dwelled as a part of him, just as the park dwelled as part of his heart.
He made it back to the bait shop on his way home. At the entrance, he looked from side to side and wiped off his sweat, the sweat that poured out of him just like coins pour out of a casino slot machine that had struck a jackpot.
As always the enormous bait shop had only two racks of skirted jigs, only a dozen available. The showroom was empty; the kitchen was as lonely as a desert, and only an old sandwich toaster stood on top of a cutting board. “I have been on patrol for a long time today; I’ve seen all sorts of villains today.”
“Yes, yes, I know …” answered the owner, who was eating pretzels and following a NASCAR race and the PGA golf tournament. Once and once again he pressed the last channel on the remote and sipped his Yuenglin. “Take some of these coffee cakes before they are rotten; take them for free,” he suggested. And he took them, and saluted the owner while holding onto his hat. “Thanks,” he replied.
On the way to the dock, he passed under the glass bottle cement arch, full of green, turquoise and yellow ones. A gorgeous flood of brilliant yet mellow radiance that resembled the entrance of a translucent chapel.. “Hey, no one has taken care of that park like me today,” he said, gazing at the weird-looking mosaic that resembled an old Indian chief. Then he untied his small wooden dinghy, and feeling peace with himself, he made his way to his old abandoned tug boat. He entered his lower level cave, and as he stepped down the screeching wooden stairs, he started to get rid of his plastic toy gun, his hat with replica plastic badge, and his light gray plastic toy cuffs.
He stood in front of the long polished mirror and said to himself: “No one, not one of them will get out of my reach; I will get them all!”
What about him…
By Enrique A. Sampayo Méndez
Proofreading by Phyllis Cox
Cover design: Enrique Sampayo
Editing: Enrique Sampayo
Cover pic: Attribution-ShareAlike
First published by: Enrique Sampayo Mendez @ http://blogdepracticacreativa-enrique.blogspot.com/
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
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If you like Sci-Fi & Fantasy thrillers, in the tradition of science and discovery. You will like this novel.
Also available in Spanish
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