Crazy thing. I fell asleep on the couch last night while watching TV. My dear wife woke me to go to bed and I heard her but I was lost in that dream state. I was like a pre-cog from that movie Minority Report. I believe I sat up but that was the extent of making it to the bedroom because I awoke this morning around 4:30 still on the couch. Usually I don't remember my dreams and this one wasn't much different but I remembered parts of it. Enough that when I finally got off the couch I came in here to write a story based on that dream.
This will be incredibly short but for me, worthwhile. With recent events taking place I wasn't sure what to post. My heart goes out to them.
Perhaps these events somehow triggered this dream because this is way out of my normal thinking realm. I don't know but when you have an urge to write that was as strong as this one was this morning you have to act on it. Like I said this will be an incredibly short story and I will write it live on Blogger. I plan to finish it by this time next week!
The Illegal Protector
A bus pulled up to the curb, brakes squealing and black exhaust billowing from the tail pipe. A single man emerged and stepped to the curb. The doors closed and the bus pulled away quickly as if escaping from the man, air hissing from a leaky suspension barely overheard by the roaring of the engine as the grey submarine on wheels made it's get away. Leaving, no..... more like stranding the man.
The day was warm and the man tugged at his shirt collar allowing some of the pent up air inside his white button up shirt to escape. The shirt was a cheap one he had picked up at the local Walmart. He knew better than to wear a good shirt on one of these bus rides. He carried with him a small leather duffel. Not the traditional black leather but one of a maroon shade. Some would call it burgundy but the man preferred to think of it as maroon. He wore black slacks, also purchased at the same time as the shirt. He was non de-script and most would overlook him as a salesman. However at a closer glance, by a more observant person, one would notice his footwear. Not patent leather dress shoes as one would expect but work boots, more specifically engineer boots. The ones like the greasers always wore in the 1950s and 1960s movies you would watch as a kid. The pants covered up most of them but beneath the black pant legs you could see the bulk. The boots themselves were polished almost to a mirror shine and only blemished by scuffed toes. This man was no ordinary salesman.
He surveyed the street. Heat waves had already begun to shimmer from the black asphalt and the man checked his watch. Eleven O'clock. It was going to be a hot one. The traffic on the street was just beginning to pick up for the lunch hour. People walking down the sidewalks engaged in conversations with their cell phones. A man on a bench reading the paper, head bobbing back and forth as he fought to stay awake, two pigeons playing tug of war with a dried up french fry.
He spied what he was looking for and headed that way. A phone booth. They were as rare these days with the advent of wireless. The world was fading to a different place. He was left behind looking for phone books. He reached the booth and began shuffling through the phone book. He stopped when he reached the map of the small village. Pulling a scrap of yellow paper from his front pocket he placed it on top of the book and began to scroll with his finger. The scrawl on the paper was barely legible, not his handwriting as his was neat and purposeful just like the nuns at St Mary's had taught him. Bloody knuckles or not he had learned. This script looked as if to be written by a 4th grader. He found what he was looking for.
Maple Street dead ended at Elm Street. He chuckled, how fitting would it be if his business was on Elm Street. It was not and his finger traced down Elm Street to Oak Street. Apparently this was a tree loving town he thought. Oak street was his destination and he looked up from the map to orient himself in this quaint little town, population 1300 and saw a street sign. With a slight nod he closed the book and emerged from the phone booth. It was hot in there and darkened circles had begun to form under his arms.
He began his walk. The map in the phone book had indicated a walk of about 2 miles. He set is pace. keeping his head down but his eyes moved none the less. He did not want to be noticed but he wanted to notice everything. This was a risky business and he must not take chances. Soon he was on Oak Street and the trees were in fact grand old oaks more than a century old.
They shaded the street and the man began to cool. He needed his wits about him and sweaty palms did not help. He remembered his first job. How nervous he had been. How he had almost got caught. Many jobs later he had learned to remain calm and cool. If he botched it then the unimaginable would happen. He couldn't let that take place. He had to be perfect.
Perfect for the children.
He had begun his business 6 years prior. He had been all over the country. Business was growing and he had thought about taking on a partner. This was a difficult decision. It had to be someone he could trust and more importantly someone who would not run right to the authorities. There was no salary with this job and you had to live off what you could scrounge off each job. Sometimes there was nothing only a sandwich from the fridge where the business had taken place. That came many years later. The ability to eat after a job. He thought back about his first jobs. Vomiting in the alleyway afterward. Running and hiding in the woods for days at a time. It had taken awhile to perfect his talents and he was getting there. Slowly but surely.
It had all started with a small note written on the back of a childs toy. He had been in the store one day and witnessed a mother jerking her kid around. The small boy couldn't have been any more than 6 years old. She was swearing at him and when she had slapped him, his cheek turned bright red and little crystal tears of sadness coursed down his cheek.
In that store, in that very spot he stood it had clicked. He wasn't sure of the details but he knew he had found his profession.
He followed the lady and her kid home. On one of her rounds carrying the groceries in he had quickly walked up to the car and dropped a toy into one of the shopping bags. Nothing more than a small GI Joe figure with an action backing. This particular collection of Joes had colorful, action packed backgrounds that the child would unfold once taken out of the plastic package. It would stand on its own and the child would have a piece of that imaginary world to help the Joe's begin their quest for world peace.
He had opened the toy, just a tiny slit large enough to slide the background out, unfolded it and wrote a tiny note on the inside. No parent would ever look close enough to notice it. Only a child, lying on his belly in the midst of playing with his new toy would notice it. He folded the background up and put it back inside the package. A small dab of super glue resealed the package instantly and no one was the wiser. This was not without consequence as most of the time he was sure the child was beaten or scolded for stealing something that they knew nothing about. In the end he always hoped it was worth it. Eventually the kid would get the package or it would be taken back to the store and some other kid would get it.
He had almost perfected this tactic. It was safer for him now. Less risk. A reasonable delivery vehicle. A child's toy.
After the delivery he would wait and observe. Sometimes he would get an answer and most times he would not but he never gave up.
As he stood there in the shade of the giant oak tree he reminisced.
He was their protector.