The Harbor Master's Office

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The air was soft and cool that morning. A gentle fog kissed the many rooftops that dappled the shoreline of Boston Harbor. A small boy hid behind the harbor master’s office and peered out at the numerous boats that were now beginning to wake up and glide lazily across the water. He waited silently for the master to leave the office for his daily walk among the various fisherman and merchants so he could try to sneak in again. He had tried three times in the past but was caught. The last time he tried to sneak in, the boy nearly had his arm torn off by the harbor master’s pit bull before he could reach the door knob. But this time, he was ready; the boy stole some sausage from the butcher’s shop when he wasn’t looking and put them in his pocket for the dog. Any minute now the master would stand up from his desk and merrily stroll out the door and down the dock toward Mr. Marley’s row boat.

The boy crouched beneath the office window. He pulled a switchblade and hair pin out of his pocket and crept toward the door. He looked up at the knob glistening with morning dew. It almost appeared to be taunting him with the memories of past failures. The boy furrowed his brow, stuck out his tongue in concentration, and forced the knife into the keyhole. He held it in place while simultaneously wiggling the hair pin around inside. His heart pounded so loudly against his ribs, the boy was sure someone could hear. He took a nervous glance around and his stomach lurched into his mouth when he heard a faint click behind him. He froze in place for what seemed like hours and didn’t dare breathe. The only movement around was the sweat that poured from his forehead down into his shirt collar. When he could hold his breath no longer, the boy turned slowly and saw no one. The click he heard was the sound of the lock unlocking. The boy heaved a sigh of relief and lightly pushed open the door. He stepped inside the harbor master’s office and left the door ajar. The office was small and white with a severely cluttered desk in the far corner. There was a bookshelf next to the doorway with photos of the master’s family on the top shelf and an old, grubby sofa against the rear wall. The boy made his way over to the desk in hopes that the master had been lazy and left the bottom drawer unlocked. He was in luck; a piece of old rag was sticking out of the drawer. The boy reached in, rifled through the files scattered about and found the envelope. Fearing the master’s arrival, he darted out the door without bothering to lock it behind him. He scampered down the dock without looking back and ran all the way back to his so called home in an alley.





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