excerpt – Keeping up with yesterday (2nd)

A gull sat on the wooden piling of the pier and stared out to sea. It was mid-morning, according to Gerald’s watch. The harbor was empty except for the lame boats still moored. The boys on the dock would be getting to them eventually. Blown motors, leaking cabins and who knows what else was on the list needing to be fixed. Gerald didn’t care. He scratched his chin with his index finger and then snaked the finger up behind his ear under his cap.

“Gerald Calder?” Gerald turned around and looked at the two men standing on the gravel road that lead up to the pier. They were smart looking, wearing clean suits and polished shoes. The one man was taller and more unkept than the black haired one. Gerald didn’t like either of them.

“You’re late.” He said gruffly. He hauled himself up off the railing and lumbered towards them. Gerald pushed passed the men and made his way to his truck. He took out a pile of folded maps and set them down on the wooden picnic table that he had parked beside. As he spread them out, the short one introduced himself.

“Sir, my name is Michael Avro, I …” Michael began. He tried to offer his hand but Gerald waved him off.

“Don’t be a fool, I know who you are.” Snapped Gerald. Michael stepped back, then looked abashed. Tristan sniggered. Michael shot him a look and Tristan went silent.

“I don’t like waiting. You are lucky that it’s not a busy day for me today.” Gerald muttered. He was busy unfolding maps, and did not hear Tristan comment to Michael under his breath.

“Like any day here is busy” Tristan said. Michael shot him another look. Gerald looked up from under the brim of his cap and frowned.

“Do you want to see what you’re buying today or not?” he said. Gerald pointed a stubby finger to a highlighted parcel of land. His finger left a grease mark over a small lake. Michael tilted his head and tried to look at the land from a different angle. Tristan looked out down the road, ignoring the other two completely.

“The road is accessible at any time of year?” Michael asked. He took out a pad of paper and started to scribble down some notes. Gerald shook his head.

“Only during the summer, unless you get the county to come in and do something about it. Winter is impossible, right up until the end of spring when the ground dries out.” He said. Michael squinted his eyes and looked at the other map details.

“You’re asking only $3,000 for this still, yes?” Michael stated. He had the listing folded neatly in is pocket. They had already made an offer to buy 10 parcels of land in the area, Gerald’s was the last one.

“Yep. Steep price for 10 acres but what are you going to do.” Gerald said rubbing his chin. Michael said nothing. Tristan toed the dirt. No one spoke. Gerald watched the two brothers closely. They didn’t consult each other. Gerald noticed they barely even looked at each other. He could really use the money and the land was useless anyway; mostly swamp and nowhere to build anything. Gerald felt like he was stealing from children. He liked that.

“It’s a fair price, Mr. Calder. We will give you 3 thousand for it. I will have my bank wire the cash to your account directly.” Michael said finally. Gerald smiled widely. He put out his fleshy fist to shake Michael’s hand.

“Oh well now you can call me Gerald, now” he said. Michael shook his hand. Tristan walked away to inspect something he saw on the side of the harbor shack.

“It’s a deal” Gerald continued. He ignored Tristan. Michael was the one to do with business with, Gerald realized. He cleared his throat and spoke again.

“Now if you are interested in buying some more land, I have a couple of buddies who might be interested in selling…” he began. Michael thought for a moment.

“Possibly, but I will have to contact you. We need to get this squared away first… where is the land your buddies have?” Michael asked. Gerald grinned and pulled out two more maps. He spread them out over top of the other one, and stabbed randomly with his finger.

“Around in this area, I will have to get a hold of the guys first of course, but just so you know the general area.” Gerald offered. He hooked his thumb into his belt loop and leaned on his other hand.

“Things have been pretty slow around here work wise. People are kind of desperate for money you know. They would probably give you a fair deal too.” Gerald said nodding. Michael agreed. Gerald clapped his hands. The noise was so loud that it made Tristan poke his head back around the end of the shack.

“Alright Michael Arvo, you have yourself a deal. It’s been good doing business with you.” Gerald clapped Michael on the back and started folding up the maps.

“Do you mind if I have those for awhile Gerald?” Michael asked, “If it’s no trouble.” Gerald chortled.

“Of course. I made the land registry copy these for you. No trouble at all.” He said. Gerald started to wad up the paper, but Michael stepped in and began folding for him. Gerald clapped him on the back again and started off to his truck.

“Be talking to you soon then Michael?” Gerald asked. Michael nodded.

“Yes definitely. I will call in the next couple of days. Find out from your friends if they are interested in selling their plots.” Michael said. Gerald nodded vigorously as he climbed into his truck.

“Don’t you worry, I will talk to them.” He said as he turned on the engine. The roar drowned out anything else that was said. Gerald shifted the truck into gear and rolled out of the small harbor parking lot. Michael watched him leave. Tristan came back from behind the shack, shaking his head.


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