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A Sailors Tale of New York

A Sailors Tale of New York

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Published by Luke James
This story received an honorable mention in a Redroom.com short story competition ... or was it mentioned as horrible? One of the two!
This story received an honorable mention in a Redroom.com short story competition ... or was it mentioned as horrible? One of the two!

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Published by: Luke James on May 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/19/2012

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A SAILOR’S TALE OF NEW YORKLuke JamesEmile was sitting outside the Cap Ferret tourist information office, dozing in the afternoonsun, happily unemployed.An ancient Citroen 2CV, an exercise in rust and bungee cords, backfired noisily along thequayside and slumped to an exhausted halt across the street from him. With a shriek of complaint, the car’s front door opened, and out shot a three-legged dog. The dog wasclosely followed by an old man, who steadied himself against the car and noisily hacked upphlegm.Seagulls wheeled back out to sea in alarm. The dog hobbled around sniffing at things, bouncing on two back legs and a single frontleg. It soon found something it needed to pee on, cocked a leg, and promptly fell over on itsside. Dog urine arced up through the sunlit morning in a yellow stream. The dogs laypanting, watching until the stream subsided, then hauled itself up and started lickingbetween its legs.Ah the joys of nature, the wonders of the animal kingdom, Emile thought. The old man finally stopped coughing, and glowered around until he spotted the dog.“Mitterand. Come here.” he yelled in a gravelly voice. The dog ignored him and carried on licking itself.“Deaf piece of merde dog.” The old man stumped over to the dog on age-stiffened legs and stooped to grab the animalby the collar. He dragged it back to the car and hauled it like a sack of coal up into thefront seat and slammed the door. Rust drifted onto the tar. He turned and noticed Emilestaring at him.“What are you looking at, you faggot?”“Morning.” Emile said cheerfully, “Lovely day. You live around here?” The old man stalked over and sat next to him on the porch.“Live? Around here?” he asked. “Yes. I live in that piece of merde car with that piece of merde dog. Thanks to my kids who are- ”“Let me guess, pieces of merde?”
 
“What? No. They’re ungrateful little bastards fathered by goats and my whore of a wife – God rest her soul - while I was away at sea.”“Oh. Right.”“Tried to get me locked me away in the funny farm so they could get their hands on myhouse and my chest?”“Your chest?” Emile asked.“But I fooled them. I ran away. They’ll never find me. Too busy digging up my gardenlooking for my sea chest.“Oh, right, that kind of chest.”“Know what’s in my chest?” the old man asked.“Treasure? Gold doubloons!”“Nothing, that’s what. Not a goddamned thing. I spent it all on whores and booze.”“Very wise.” The old man fished in his pockets and dug out a tobacco pouch and papers.“In 1935,” he said, “I used to sail to New York and back. Regular. I was a stoker and adamned fine one. The best that pieces of merde cruise line ever had. Shovel, eat, sleep andcrap, that was all I did for the 4 days it took to cross the Atlantic.”“Very commendable.”He flicked a match against his thumb nail and fired-up a lumpy cigarette. After a deep dragand another lung rattling bout of coughing, he hawked something green and painful-looking into the middle of the road. Emile tried not to look at it.“Never spent any of my wages.”“Saving for a rainy day were you?” Emile asked.“Something like that. There was this hooker in New York, see. Called herself Lois. I musthave made over a hundred trips before the war broke out. And every time I was in NewYork, I went to see Lois.”His rheumy old eyes got that distant look so often jumped on as evidence of dementia bygrasping children who don’t have the decency to wait for aged parents to die.“New York was a different place in 1935.”“Well yes, it would be, wouldn’t it.” Emile said.

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