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Waiting for Janice

To get to Snoopy’s Restaurant, Chandler circle back under the bridge that crossed the waterway between Padre Island and the mainland and found a place to park under a pair of scrawny palm trees bending in the breeze. Long, lingering shadows stretched across the scattered beer cans that littered the sand between the van and the wheel chair ramp that ran up the front side of the building. The pungent, salty smells of the beach were overlaid by a stronger, less pleasant odor.

Napoleon wrinkled his nose. “Smells like the wet fur of a dead dog,” he remarked.

Chandler hopedf the smells inside would be better. He led the way through the open door with Julia sandwiched between him and Napoleon. Inside, friendly chaos surrounded the two counters where customers were gathered to place their orders. Most of the tables were already filled with noisy groups of people drinking pitchers of beer and grabbing at heaps of fried shrimp and fish served in platters scattered about on the long tables.

“You two go and find us a table out back,” Napoleon shouted over the bedlam. “I’ll order for us.”

The back of Snoopy’s faced the water and the west, where the orange ball of sun was sinking below the horizon. Chandler chose a small table for four in a corner next to an open window where they could watch the boat tied up at the pier without being blinded by the sun.

“I wonder if Janice is already here in her boat,” Julie said. “I hope Napoleon knows what kind of boat she has,” she indicated the dozen or more boats ranging from small fishing skiffs to modest size cruisers.

A Venture 21 sailboat was tied up against creosote pilings close to them. The rubber fender between its hull and the wood squeaked loudly each time the wake from a passing motorboat washed through the area. Hanging from its stern, A British Seagull leaked oil causing an expanding oil slick on the water. Chandler explained that there were no larger sailboats because the water was too shallow.

A waiter brought them some large glasses of ice water. Sweat trickled down the glasses forming rings of condensate on the table. Julia grabbed a handkerchief from her purse and wiped the sweat from her brow.

“Maybe the wind will shift,” Chandler offered, taking a deep draft of cold liquid and looking around, seeing Napoleon crossing the room in their direction.

The big man arrived with a pitcher of beer and three thick glass mugs tucked under one arm. “The fish will be ready in a few minutes,” he slammed the mugs to the table top and filled them with a dark, frothy beer. “Sorry, there didn’t seem to be any Rothschild white Bordeaux,” he joked, referring to Julia’s favorite French wine.

Napoleon had hardly settled, savoring a quick gulp from his mug, when the loudspeakers crackled, “Mr. Green, your order is ready.”

“That’s me, Forest Green,” he quipped. “Be back with our food.”

Julia snickered at the pun.

Chandler watched as Napoleon pressed through the crowed, people parting for him like water under the bow of a warship. It wasn’t so much his size, Chandler realized, but his authoritative manner.

Napoleon returned with a waiter trailing behind balancing a large tray piled high with seafood. The waiter arranged the food on the table and stepped back, waiting. Napoleon pulled out a large roll of bills and peeled off a generous tip. “Thanks, and bring us another pitcher in a few minutes,” he indicated the already half-empty vessel. The server nodded , looking pleased.

“Where’d all that money come from?” Julia asked Napoleon when the waiter was out of earshot. “It’s not part of the campaign fund, is it?”

“It’s gray money,” he returned

“What the Hell is gray money?” Julia wanted to know.

“You know what gray water is?” Napoleon smirked.

“I believe it’s the murky water left over from washing clothes, showering, or brushing your teeth,” she returned.

“Same difference,” he chuckled. “It’s a dirty stream that needs further purification.”

Please Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental__L.C. Frenzel

4 Responses to “Waiting for Janice”

  1. Ilonita says:

    just lovely,

    warm hug

  2. Susan Hanson says:

    Gray money . . . I love that. 🙂

  3. jack hughes says:

    I felt like I was sitting at Snoopy’s with the group….Need some gray money….

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