Prentice Carnahan stopped his bike at the pedestrian crossing for three women with a baker's gang of children to pass; little girls in pink and purple swimsuits, scrawny boys in hip-hugging shorts chattered as they balanced and dragged beach chairs, umbrellas, towels and watery floats across the bikeway. A trio of ghosts, the tattooed older siblings not too many years older than the boys, floated alongside like angels guarding their charges. Would that the dead could talk to the living. Would that the living listened.
"You're the Poe-Lease Man who came around when the gang bangers shot my poor Billy. They done set me and my chillun up in the group home over here. We're doing better now, thanks to you," the woman said in her own slightly fragmented English that Prentice remembered. Details like that never left his head, gift of an eidetic memory.
"Yes Ma'am, I'm glad to hear you're doing better."
The bike path paralleled the automobile traffic for several miles next to the park and created a sweaty paradise for Prentice until the jitney appeared.
The jitney was packed by a driver and a butcher’s gang of teenagers; three vampire-wanna-be girls in dark makeup and bikinis, a fat sweaty swearing boy . . . A screaming unisex mob stood on toes, slapped rear ends and threw dry sand across the jitney’s interior. A phalanx of ghosts—a pair of Chinese coolies with conical hats, who were much older than the teenagers, but not that much older—floated alongside the jitney, like diaphanous people with halos.
Prentice recalled one of the coolies saying; “Ah-so, you da porrice-a-maan who herp when my fair-haired lovely little numba’ one daughter Lisa get chop-chop by biker gang. Biker gang make up fo’ dat by providing new chicken coop for white rollers, which we sell for a substantial mark-up resulting in marginally increased profitability at our new ethnic market. Thanks to you, sexy man!”
Sometimes an eidetic memory is an odd thing, Prentice thought. He waited for the jitney to park, then wobbled his bike into the parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts. Because you can never have too many stereotypes.
Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Dixon/anon.