The young boy and the Pier Master
Danny swears this happened on Bosbome Pier…
“Do you have them?”
The young dusky-skinned boy shifted uneasily in his tweed suit, such a heavy material he thought, even though he found England cold especially with the summer sun dipping below the horizon and a bitter wind sweeping from the sea, he hated how the suit pressed against him. The Pier Master was in not mood to be dallying:
“Well, boy do you have them or not?”
The boy put his hand inside his jacket and drew out a small fold of black velvet. The wind swelled and almost took the package but the boy had firm hold.
“Right here, Master.” the boy held the package up with a small bow of his head.
“Well I don’t bloody want them, chuck them in the sea and be done with it.” said the Pier Master brusquely and with the annoyance of a rational man that had no truck with this sort of nonsense.
“Sorry Master, alas I cannot.” the boys head stayed bowed.
“Of course you can, the sea’s just there. It’s the wet thing down there over the railing.”
“This is your pier, Master, for the curse to be lifted you have to throw them over.”
Typical, thought the pier master, first I get a phone call from the bloody Governor of all things and now I’m supposed to save an Egyptian princesses’s life with a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Well the quicker the better, with a swipe he grabbed the velvet fold. Immediately his hand dropped. It felt as heavy as the artillery shells he had handled during the great war. The ache in his leg swelled to a crescendo of pain, So many men, friends, bullies, husbands, most of them bloody children really, lost in a rain of sand and blood…
The young boy saw the colour drain from the Pier Master’s face.
The Pier Master’s mouth made some movement but no sound came out like a silent prayer, the boy could see tears in the English mans eyes, all of a sudden he seemed very old.
He shook the old man. Confused he stumbled backwards towards the rail, lets go of the small velvet fold that got so heavy over the railing and into the sea. The boy shifts in his suit and reads something from a scrap over paper in his pocket. Out of the corner of his eye while trying to concentrate on the figures on the papyrus he sees the old man rub his face, long ago he stopped trying to understand English idioms but tonight he finally understood ‘pull yourself together’ after seeing the Pier Master gradually raise himself to his full height and muster his authority. Respectfully he waited for the boy to finish. Soon they were both just standing in the twilight watching a calm sea and enjoying the breeze.
“I’ve seen some things in my time lad…” the Pier Master trails off
“Do you drink tea?” as they walk off back down towards the shore.