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MoPOP at dusk, Seattle

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Loggerheads

I was going to start a collective mosaic novel but my prospective cohort thought that I might want to tackle this one by myself. Will see how the thing plays out down the road...

He looked through the scant contents of the refrigerator with the ravenous pangs of a hungry cheetah on the parched veldt, with the perceptive eye of an aging detective twelve weeks short of retirement, which in fact he was. Since Jo had banished nearly all the gluten from their life, the search for satisfaction had certainly become no easier.

As a short timer, Ernie certainly knew the drill. Use every possible sick day legally permissable, don’t make waves and don’t do anything stupid. Dance on the top of the water with the lightest footsteps possible and work at staying invisible. And why not?

Ernie twisted the cap off the near third full seltzer bottle and looked for a remaining bubble or two. They were long gone but no matter. It was Mah Jong night, Jo would be out with the girls and he honestly welcomed the time alone. The Isotopes game had a 7:00 start and the team hadn’t been doing too badly of late.  

He grabbed the peanut butter jar and the celery and settled himself into the comfortable confines of the club chair, dinner knife raised akimbo. The chair was one of those Jackalope retreads, something that screamed fake and trashy to the locals, probably made in Korea or someplace like that, but good enough to fool the patsy newcomer who regularly found their way to this Land of Disenchantment.

The quiet space was broken into little fragments as his wife hurtled into the room. “Please get your feet off that. You’re eating it without a plate? I asked you not to put your feet on that.”

He assented with a mumble,” I thought you left,” swiveling his aching leg over the coffee table and on to the less than satisfactory ottoman. Jesus,why didn’t they tell you your hips would feel this shitty when you were young, he mused that he would have taken better care of himself?

“And tomorrow morning, don’t forget, I’ve got the birdwatching group at ten. Louise Turner thinks she spotted a Purple Gallinule down at Percha Dam. She put it on EBird and all hell broke loose. Was she sure, who else was with her, did she have a visual, a photograph? You know how some of these people get. It’s a religion.” Might be a vagrant, might be a bunting. You know Louise Don’t these people at the Ornithological society have anything better to do? 

“Bye. Feed the cat.” The door hit with a crash.

Ernie grunted, his eyes stuck like lasers on the tube. Marneau was back with the team after three cups of coffee with the big club, the Rock,s and everybody knew that this was make or break time. He was no longer a kid. Lets see if he can find that stroke again.

Of course that was the inherent problem of rooting for a farm club. As soon as they start hitting they’re gone so the fan learned early not to make too much of an emotional attachment. Ernie dumped the last two fingers of Bombay in the tumbler and looked out the window of their suburban home, watched his wife’s headlights fade into the evening with a feeling of relief.

A feeling soon displaced by the familiar ring of his cell phone. “Let me freaking be. Christ.” Getting to the phone would require him getting off his ass and that would require a great deal of effort and he was in no mood for such interruptions. 

Twelve weeks, that meant eighty four days, 2064 hours,120960 more minutes and he would ride into the sunset and collect a much deserved retirement and try not to look back at a life spent mingling with a wide cross section of the world's most vile and depraved bastards.

“Yo?”

“Hey dude.” It was Hennesey, the junior man he had shared a desk with for the last six years. “Sorry to call so late. Watching the game?”

His faculties were honed from years of being similarly bothered. He knew young Inspector Hennessey had no interest in the score of the baseball game.

“What is it, he sighed?”

“Odd homicide off Gibson, think you need to see this one, pops.”

He reached for his jacket, fumbled around for his wallet and badge and took the last hit off the Kool 100. 

“What’s odd?” He said, his head cocking the phone on his shoulder while his index finger slid his left heel into his shoe.

“Guy is stuck to a fence.”

To be continued...

© robert sommers 2016

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