gin, delicate, hook, basset hound, pearls, hibiscus
February 10, 2016, Prescott- Rafe was understandably flustered. For the third night in a row, some Bible-study group was sitting in his cafe, talking nonsense about Race Unity. “Race Unity? The White race IS unified, as far as I’m concerned”, Ralph Waldo Emerson Tucker muttered, as he turned on his heels and walked out the door. “Next thing ya know, they’ll have some Black Eee-mahm leadin’ the festivities!”
Rafe headed back to his makeshift camp, at the edge of a ramshackle wharf and threw his backpack on the old cot he called Slumberland. He had to lay down carefully on the single bed, lest its legs collapse. Slumberland was always on the delicate side. Before he brushed his remaining teeth, Rafe had himself a healthy swig of gin.
That’s when Old Blue, his trusted basset hound, came wandering over. “Here ya go, buddy boy”, Rafe cackled, as he poured a bit of gumption into Blue’s bowl. The aging hound, with one good eye, lapped up the gin, in several slow, somewhat agonized slurps.
The dog belched, then Rafe followed suit. One more chore remained, before the snoring. Rafe and Blue went down to the bay’s edge, and checked the baited hook, and their traps. “It’s a helluva great day, after all, Blue’s Clues”, Rafe snickered, as he counted the two dozen oysters in the trap. The grizzled fisherman placed the day’s catch in a lizard-proof container, set it up on a high shelf, in the locked shed, and headed inside to crash.
That night, Rafe interrupted his snoring, tossing and turning, to dream, deeply, that a lithe, lovely young pearl diver was walking past his camp. He could smell the lush, sweet hibiscus in her hair. Rafe may have been a bigot, but he had an eye for beauty, undeneath that snarling, very scruffy, countenance.
He woke, to see the stars still sparkling, high above. Hearing Old Blue murmuring contentedly, Mr. Tucker got up and looked out on the hound’s dirt sleeping area. Old Blue was lying, happily stretched full-out, his snout resting on the lap of a young lady, dressed in a floral print muu-muu, her hair sporting a fresh hibiscus blossom. Carlota had a habit of catching some sleep here, when her father and brother got to drinking and fighting. Rafe was a drunk, but he was no lecher.
“Yessiree, Bob”, Rafe mused, “The best decision I ever made was moving here, to Iloilo.” Old Blue couldn’t have agreed more.