To be honest, I had no clue what the kid was getting at but at least I was dealing with a fellow American here, mano a mano as Hemingway would say. So what did I do that got me fired?
Petty cash and the stuff of poetry. I grabbed my pocket knife and paid Teresa a quick, not-so-friendly visit: I slashed her sail.
After luring me past the docks to the old paper mill, the kid withdrew a gun from behind his back. Apparently he didn’t grasp the consequences of further implicating myself in the matter, but he wasn’t exactly pleading.
As I lay awake in bed that morning, I turned off my phone, pulled the blanket back over my head and tried to fall asleep. Until a stone the size of a football smashed through my bedroom window. The kid told me to get up and grab the boat keys.
Sure, the border patrol had never much bothered us before aside from the rote business of checking our papers. Otherwise they were always friendly when we crossed, certified and watertight smiles all the way. But that’s when I remembered I’d slashed the sail. What about the engines, he said taking aim. Fair enough, I said at great peril and then got dressed.
The goon with the weird moustache dropped us off across the street from the neighbors’ driveway. Slogging through the marsh, my feet got soaked and cold and in my head I prayed to the Lord Almighty to forgive what we were about to do.
When Blackwell hollered from the back patio, I threw Teresa in reverse and cut the engine. After securing the boat I clambered up the ladder, clumsily catching my foot on the edge of the dock, and fell flat on my face.
When Blackwell reemerged from below deck he turned on the kid, dashed the gun from his hand and sent it flying to the fiberglass floor. I whispered the first lines of a Hail Mary with bated breath and then forgot the rest.
What do you think you’re doing? Blackwell said. I raised the gun above my head and cracked him square across the skull. A cloudless blue sky had the sunshine surrounded.
We crossed the border as expected, sans all complications. I took my time, the water as still and quiet now as in my mind, and waited until sundown before heading back to Burlington. Poetry, my friends, pure and simple.