Old Black Maggie – Episode 37

th[2]Getting Ready for Paradise

Gary peddled home immediately and surreptitiously; he did not want to take any chances of being spotted by The Gravediggers.

That night at supper nothing was said of serious concern. When Gary completed his meal he asked to be excused. His parents looked approvingly at each other. He hesitated at the foot of the steps to listen.

“I think you got through to him,” Gary’s mother said.

“We still got a ways to go,” Gary’s father said.

Gary heaved up the steps two at a time. In his room, he was nearly giddy with excitement. He could not slow his thoughts to concentrate on anything. All he knew is that in a matter of hours it would all be over; a new life awaited him. Excitement and anxiety overrode any possibility of fear.

He tried to read, but his mind danced. He turned on his radio and listened to meaningless gibberish. Nothing made sense. Every thought and word was scrambled and stored for contemplation later.

At eleven the only light in the house was small nightlight in the hallway just down from Gary’s room. He watched the clock’s hands move slowly to midnight. Certain his parents were asleep, he slipped out the window and made his way to the waiting ladder leaning against the roof. Within moments he was in the alley next to his home and heading toward Beez’s downtown apartment.

He avoided streets and moved only through the alleys. As he crossed streets he checked for traffic, especially the police. He caught sight of a police car slowly moving along the street. It slowed as it reached the alley where Gary was hunched low. He dashed behind a car and rolled beneath it to avoid possible detection by the police. He heard the police car slowly roll by, crunching the gravel beneath its tires. It stopped. Gary heard the door open and then the crunch of footsteps. Next the sound of a zipper and then the sound of urine splattering. The sound of the zipper again, footsteps back to the car, the car door shut, and the car slowly moved away.

Gary continued his journey through the alleys.

He finally made his way to the town square. The clock on the courthouse read 12:45.

Gary hurriedly completed the last three blocks of alleys and found his way to the doorway that led to Beez’s upstairs apartment. He slowly climbed the steps. He tapped quietly on the door.

The door opened. Beez smiled. “You made it!”

Gary rushed inside.

“Are you tired?” Beez said.

“No,” Gary said. “I’m too excited.”

“We’ll be ready to go in just a while,” Beez said. “There are a few things I want to get out of the way.”

“Where are we going?” Gary said.

“I guess we no longer have secrets,” Beez said and handed Gary a small stack of photos. “Look at them.”

While Beez left the room Gary sat on the couch and shuffled slowly through them. They were pictures of a tropical island, white sandy beaches, palm trees, small houses with a flat roof.

Beez came back in the room with a set of new clothing hung over his arm; a pastel orange shirt and white pants. “What do you think?”

“Is this where we are going?” Gary said.

“Do you like it?” Beez said.

“Yes,” Gary said. “It really looks nice.”

“It’s one of my favorite places,” Beez said.

“Where is it?” Gary said.



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