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Walk 'Da Dock

Andrew Utter

Walk ‘Da Dock


As the final bell interrupted Mrs. Baldwin, the entire class bolted from their seats and into the already crowded hallway. My mind already on my baseball game tomorrow morning, I mindlessly wandered to my pale-blue locker, not paying any attention to where I was going or who was around me. Therefore, I didn’t notice Billy, a person I tried to avoid, at his locker, two down from mine.

“Hey chicken!” Billy shouted.

“Talkin’ to me?” I angrily retorted, a little confused and dazed.

“Who else?” he questioned, now staring straight at me.

“I thought you might be talkin’ to yourself again ‘cuz you can’t even walk down Mr. Smith’s old dock!” I idiotically tried to counter, with immediate regret.

“I bet you haven’t either!”

“I have too!” I lied.

“Alright then. If you can do it once then you can do it again. Let’s make a bet. If you can sit alone on the edge of his dock for thirty minutes at midnight, which you won’t, then I’ll give you my baseball card collection, and if you can’t, then I get yours.”

I knew I had to take the bet. I had to. I couldn’t back down to Billy, the bully since 3rd grade.

“Deal!”

***
That night, of course, I never even came close to drifting off. My eyes were glued to my clock as I watched the red digits slowly flash from number to number, getting slower each minute. Finally the “PM” dot dimmed out and I slithered out of bed and into some warmer clothes. I saddled my old bike and stealthily pedaled into the dimly lit night. Only a few firefly-type streetlights lit the cracked road. The midnight ride seemed to take hours, but in reality it took about 10 minutes.
After pedaling down the dark streets and through the crowded alleys, I got a whiff of the salty air. Finally, I reached the old, rusted gates of the dock. It seemed as if they were luring me to a fateful demise, just creaking back and forth with the gentle breeze. As I hopped off my bike and dropped it to the side, I finally realized what I was doing. How stupid was I? After all the stories and myths, why had I been so determined to prove myself to Billy? This was idiotic, but I couldn’t turn back now. I was at the edge of the dock, about thirty steps away from victory.
I took it one small step at a time, slowly nudging myself down the swaying dock towards the end. The water seemed fairly calm, but the dock was light enough for the water to stir it gently. Towards the end, the dock did more bobbing than swaying. Finally, I assumed the position and hunched myself over the edge, watching my frozen breath drift out of my mouth and blend with the midnight panorama.
Surprisingly, the time seemed to fly by. When I got up to leave, I checked my stopwatch to make sure my timing was accurate and, sure enough, it was. Before I left, just to relish the moment (for now I could do anything) I started to count the ways I could organize Billy’s legendary baseball card collection. Content with myself, I hopped up and spun around ready to leave.
“What are you smiling about?” I dropped the stopwatch, but before the “plunk,” I quickly scanned the haggard man’s face to realize that I was staring down Captain Smith. In his hand he held a long-barreled pistol, stabbing me in the gut. Running on adrenaline, I just followed my instincts and dove through the dark surface of the water. I took off. When I came up for my first breath, the sound of a warning shot ricocheted off the surface of the water. Without direction, I just started tearing through the water.
Soon I found myself panting with no air left about a quarter of a mile away from the dock. Remembering where I had left my bike, I swam through the bitter blue water to the shore, about half a mile from Mr. Smith’s dock. I then started to stealthily creep towards my bike, but as I reached down to pick it up, something caught my eye at the end of the dock.
The old man had laid down in an odd way at the edge of the dock. When I was about to turn and run, I heard a faint, craggily voice. It was coming from the heap of skin and bones at the end of the dock. He needed help. I didn’t care if it was a trap. If the old man needed help, I felt it was my responsibility to help him because my arrogance had led to whatever was wrong.
Sprinting down the dock, I realized he was having trouble breathing. When I hunched over him, he pulled something out of his front pocket: an inhaler. The man had asthma and his airways had gotten constricted after I shocked him when I jumped into the water. He was dying. I frantically fumbled with the inhaler. Having never handled one before, I didn’t understand how to properly administer it and the man’s jumbled instructions were of no help either. Instead of simply running away from the scene, I took the unusually light man in my arms and started to run. To where, I didn’t know, but I did know that my legs seemed to just keep going and going, carrying me faster and faster.
At the local emergency clinic, we bolted through the doors and stormed straight to the desk where I simply told the nurse to get a doctor. Before she could tell me “Just a moment,” I gave her a look that brought a doctor to the scene immediately. After a few basic questions from the doctor, one came that changed the way I thought forever.
“Why did he collapse?” the doctor interrogated quickly. As a stretcher came rushing in, I thought to myself, regardless of the consequences, did I really want to tell another lie and put another life in danger?





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