Chapter 2 – Part III

So this one is going to be a little harder to get down because at this moment, here in 2010, I’m in the middle of a med legal review for a drug I’m writing about now. It’s a couple million dollar account and I’m sitting here writing on my phone about having to get back in the car without anyone being able to see either side of the road. I wonder what Crazy Leon would say if he were sitting here at this table.

Let’s get back to us in the car. When the engine started, I remember feeling like we were at the start of the Indy 500 or something like that. A big race. An important start. We were in it now. We drove slow on the highway, in the rain, through the night, looking for a place to pull over.

Crazy Leon turned around and didn’t look all that crazy right then. He was calm and ready to deliver his cargo to a safe place. After all, he didn’t want to waste his trip looking for a parking space, but he realized that the responsibility thrust upon him would answer whatever critics he might have had that questioned his dedication to discipline. Indeed.

“What we need to do is stay calm, so keep it low and we’ll be good. Any noise is going to distract the course. Are well all aboard with our captain? Nod if you understand.”

We all nodded, said nothing, and put our trust in the man behind the wheel. The skulls that I saw in the sand of the beach seemed to be duplicating themselves in the cliffs next to us as we drove, which was a little disheartening because the cliffs weren’t fully exposed, so everyone once in awhile and oncoming headlight would illuminate something terrible next to us. It was better to just stay in the dark and listen to the the captain.

Then, we just stopped. Leon has seen an opening on the side of the road, did a slightly risky uturn, and pulled off. There were no signs on that little space of land that looked over the unmarked beach. In fact, there were other cars there as well, so the reasoning was that it would be safe. The engine stopped and we got out, then walked out onto the sand.  When I think back, the rain was coming down at such an alarming rate we all must have been soaked but nobody was paying attention to what was wrong with the situation – only that we had survived and were now safe. We sat next to each other in the rain. A flock of birds in front of us moved like a painting that kept splitting apart then coming back together. Douglas balled up in his puffy coat and looked extremely comfortable, while Madison was, I think, having another go with the ocean but this time in a more conversational role.

Crazy Leon was basking in the glow of getting his crew to safety, and flicked his long hair every which way so that he looked like a freaked out version of one of those shampoo commercials. He drew a line in front of himself in the sand and looked back with a giant grin. He kept faking jumping over it. I stood up and walked right over that line and he just lost it. It was cheering like he had just watched his boyhood baseball team hit the game winner in the world series. He went with that .

He snapped his fingers like he remembered something and pulled a tennis ball from inside his pocket.

“Grab a bat,” he said through his laugh. “You crossed the line, which means you’re up. You two, get out there and play the field. We’ve got a game. This guy wanted to cross the line.”

Madison jotted to where centerfield would have been and Douglas went over to third base.

Leon was very careful, using the line as a pitcher’s mound, not to step or cross it. I grabbed a stray piece of wood and started taking warm-up swings, while they tossed the ball around. It was game time.

Leon looked in to his catcher, the one in his mind, shook off a couple of signs and tossed a wicked curve. I swung and missed badly and the ball rolled past the imaginary catcher. He started screaming at me to run – that this was my chance. A crowd grew from the rocks and sand, echoing the crashing waves with thunderous chants and claps, so I took off around the bases. The crowd started turned to skulls again, but my boys yells and cheers kept me going. They were all waving me home, and soon they too rounded the bases with me. We were screaming hysterical and at the peak of enjoyment, there, in the rain, without nothing but ourselves to provide life. It was amazing. We all crossed home together and celebrated the victory.

The flock of birds moved again, their flapping wings echoing the cheers from the ocean. All feel silent except the sounds of rain against our coats. There was a realization of where we were and what we were actually doing, so we sat down again, each next to on another, and watched the sea do it’s thing – finished with our game, for now. Douglas, who had yet to say a word, took off his headphones and was pointing at something in the background, back towards the parking lot. It was a giant yellow sign – something familiar.

“What, what is it,” Crazy Leon yelled. “What are you pointing at!”

“Denny’s” Douglas said. “It’s a Denny’s.”

Crazy Leon busted out laughing, his eyes bigger than the moon that was lighting our scene. “You’re crazy. You want to go in there? You want to go in there. YOU WANT TO GO IN THERE!”

We all walked through the heavy sand and up to the parking lot. Crazy Leon held the door open for us as we all walked through. The warmth we felt reminded us how cold and wet we were.

“4 please,” Madison said in his best sane voice. “We’ll need a table for 4.”

The hostess, a young college girl who no doubt had had her own adventures on the beach, showed us kindness and a table in a section that had been closed.

“I think it might be best if you sat here,” he said. “I’ll take care of you.”

Leon lost it and starting laughing like a hyena right there, and it was all we could do to get him to the table. Nobody could blame him though. The man had held it together for us throughout the hard times of the night, so here, among people having their evening meals, was his time to let it go. We all shuffled into our private section and sloshed down into out booth, opened up the menus, and started in with the task of ordering something to eat. Were we hungry?

I got lost in the breakfast skillets and combo deals, wanting to get everything I could out of –

DAMN! Meeting is over. Will finish this off later…

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