ON THE WATERFRONTVirgil stood at dockside, observant; watchful. The security threat had been posted and everyman appeared to be extra vigilant.Reports of vandalism and sabotage had heightened of late, making the last few weeks before his retirement more stressful than the past twenty years. They had dangled that early retirement carrot before his eyes, but it wasn't about any sweet financial package. Virgil loved being productive and helpful.Boat after boat, ship after ship, Virgil kept his guard up for anything suspicious. Arrant barnacles had been mistaken for plastic explosive by one of the night shift inspectors, and he still catches flack from the crew. New guys were always conscientious to a fault. But. Virgil believed you were better safe than sorry. He watched and waited. Three more weeks without incident, and Virgil could put his blue helmet into storage. Until then, Virgil kept vigil.
Hahaha... that's my husband, Pete, in the pic... I'll have to start calling him Virgil. Thanks for this, Walt!
Good one, Walt, and so plausible it could have come from any dock in the country, or the world, for that matter. I like vignettes like this.
“What the hell is this?”“This is what I promised you– a way out. Now hand it over. I can’t be here.”He looked over his shoulder at the deserted dock and held out his hand.I pulled out the registration for my year old Jaguar and proffered it to him. As he reached for it I pulled it back a touch.“Where is it headed? How do I get off at the other end?”He peered from under the rim of his hard hat, eyes narrowing as he rose onto the balls of his feet, hands easing slightly out of his jacket pockets.“Give me the damned registration.”I held the document away from him and prayed that the tremble I felt in my fingers would not be visible to him in the grey morning light.“Answer the question.”He rolled his shoulders and stood stock still. I thought back to what Steve had said. ‘There’s this guy I know’ – nothing about him being a friend. Suddenly he looked away and shrugged.“Mexico.”“And getting off?”“Look, It’s fucking Mexico, not the Pentagon. Walk off and get a cab. Not my problem.” He reached his hand to me again and I surrendered the paper this time.“And the keys?”I dug deep in the pocket of my Chinos and flipped them at him. He caught them in one hand and they disappeared into his jacket.I turned to scramble over the wet rusty rail and heard his boots clump away.The footsteps stopped abruptly and I heard him call.“Stay away from the Captain. If he recognises you you’re toast. You really don’t want to wind up in a Mexican prison. Luck.”I looked for a place to hide and pondered my rapidly failing store of that particular commodity.