Wharf Rats

The old dock groaned beneath him, a wooden creature breathing to the pulse of the waves below. Stretched out, he returned to his book during this break in work. The summer sun felt like a hot iron on his back.

The female voice startled him out of his imagination. “Hi, Roohead. What are you reading?”

Sir Lancelot’s tale stumbled. “I … Oh, hi, Tatyana. Wait … What did you say?”

She lay down on the deck herself. “Slow day,” she said. The sun shone off her perspiring face. “I asked what you were reading.”

He felt like he’d missed something already in this conversation but shrugged it off. “Just a book about King Arthur and knights and, well, you know.”

She nodded. “I didn’t know you read stuff like that.”

Well, how would you? You have never really talked to me much. “Yeah, I like to read all sorts of things.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her chest rise and fall beneath the white cotton blouse.

Tatyana made some sort of sound like a cat purring.

Is she alright? “What do you like to read?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t read much. Romantic stuff. Princesses finding princes. Happily ever after stuff, I guess.”

Romance? Nobody really reads that junk, do they? “Well, I can loan you a good book about gangsters, I finished last week. There was a secretary in it. There was a kiss, well an almost kiss.” Maybe, that part I sort of skimmed. She’d like it, I think. The shootout scene was awesome.

She furrowed her brow and closed her eyes.

He shrugged and found where he’d been interrupted.

The waves continued their eternal beat. The dock sighed again.


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