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Man of the Island
A boat interrupted the silence of the night with the slush of water and wood. The dockhand stood up and fumbled with the rope that the skipper had thrown to him. The only passenger on the craft stood up and, ignoring the creaky dock, stepped onto the sandy shore and towards the reeds on the edge of the island’s wilderness. The skipper turned the motor back on and the dockhand sat back down. He had completed is only job.
The passenger was a thin man, wearing a black suit and tie. He looked up at the stars and noticed Orion was much easier to see than it had been in the city. He hoisted his satchel further up on his shoulder and walked towards town.
He had only walked for a few minutes when he reached his two-story house in the middle of the palm tree forest. A few dozen lizards scattered away from his footsteps as he pulled a key out of his pocket and unlocked the door.
The businessman turned the lights on as he entered and sighed – it was nice to be home again. A picture of a young girl (his daughter) was hanging over the mantel. The man placed a few blocks of wood into the fireplace below it and poured part of a can of lighter-fluid on the pile. After dropping a match on to of the pile of wood, he sat down in the leather recliner facing the far wall.
He lied back and thought of the events of his business trip. He had ridden the same boat out to the large Hawaiian island a few miles from the shore of his own. The plane to the main land had been okay, but he still had jet lag once he landed in LAX.
As he lied in the elegantly polished hotel bed, the business man fingered his instruments. They were the only things he had to use to complete the job. He didn’t think he would be able to finalize the task he had been given. A dog barked outside, interrupting him from his thoughts. He stood up, swatted a fly that was crawling up the doorframe, and went to the bathroom to scoop some water onto his face. As he brought a towel to his face, he heard a faint sound from the streets
-- A bouncing ball, swishing of the basketball hoop --
and turned off the water. He pulled a suit on over his slightly-wrinkled shirt and walked out the door. Nobody was in the elevator except for an elderly woman, so he was able to avoid any pangs of vertigo caused by his claustrophobia. She stared at him and took a deep breath. He was used to this. People were easily intimidated by him.
The man hailed a cab once he had exited the gallantly decorated front lobby. A few dead bugs lay on the windshield, which made the businessman give a disgusted look. The driver quickly drove into the road. A few minutes later they were in traffic. A car blasted a loud, obnoxious beep
-- a honking vehicle, a flash of red --
toward the taxi, exerting a rude gesture from the cab driver.
The business man stepped out of the cab a half an hour later, squinting at the bright sun that was just peeking over the top of the high rise he was to visit. He followed a crowd of people into the skyscraper and crept to the elevator, being sure not to come within the sights of any security cameras.
The man joined a throng of people in the elevator and managed to push the button of the 26th floor. Just then, the room began to spin around him. He leaned back into the slick wood wall of the elevator and the dizziness faded away. He sighed with happiness when his floor was reached. Straightening his tie, he stepped into the small office and asked the receptionist to call Georgeman’s office.
He glanced into his briefcase to check that the instruments were still safely stowed. The salesman worked away selling Georgeman’s books. The secretary called him to the small hallway leading to the office he needed to visit.
He opened the briefcase and removed one of the instruments and laid the case on the floor. He walked to the door and thought of what the man had done to him. He thought of how sad his life had been, of how long he had mourned
-- the hospital bed, a small body --
and reached for the doorknob. Then he thought of what his daughter would have said.
The gun fell to the floor, and he turned back to go back to his island.
The man snapped out of his reverie and walked to his bed. He resigned himself to the nightmares sure to come – nightmares about the death of his daughter.