Monday, February 13, 2017

The Seal Wife *10


Trappey thought all kinds of things during his long night, sitting alone at the scarred table with only a bottle and the genie curl of cigarette smoke to keep him company. He saw his brother, in the house across the way, ushering another inebriated girl over his threshold after the pub had shut. He was a slick character all right. No sense of right and wrong. What to do.

There was that job on tomorrow. Staying up all night and drinking probably wasn’t the best preparation for it. He switched off the lights and put a rag under the leaking kitchen tap, so the noise would not keep him awake and thinking any longer. It seemed no amount of quiet faucets or alcohol could stop him thinking these days but he made sure he tried his damndest.

Their father had left the houses to his two boys, perched on the mountain above town, more than twenty years ago when he’d bought out his neighbours and dreamed of establishing a Trappe and Sons fiefdom overlooking everyone else. It didn’t quite work that way of course. The old man, now enjoying what is gently termed aged care, would have been mortified had his marbles been intact, to see the concrete tilt up, Tuscan-style monsters that blocked the harbour views and shut away the sun. The two Trappe abodes perched between the monoliths, sporting rusted gutters and the resulting rotten weatherboards, trying to blend in like quaint little garden sheds amongst all that grandeur and fake wrought iron.

He lay in the bed that smelt only of him and no one else and stared at the Baltic pine ceiling, smoking one last cigarette. Finally he butted out in the orange carnival glass bowl and tried to think of nothing. How do you think of nothing? He tried to think of nothing and then not to think at all.

At the airport in the morning he met the two suits who stood waiting for him in the car park. One man toked on a tailor made and looked at the wispy clouds through squinty, reckoning eyes. The other looked younger but closer inspection showed him to be a healthy fifty year old sprouting a rooster ruff of grey blonde hair that would back chat any brush.
“Peter Cowie – Immigration,” said the toker.
“Rowan Stuart – Fisheries,” said the rooster.
“Gordon Trappe – Trappey,” he shook hands with them both.
“And how are we today?” asked Cowie.
Trappey grinned and shook his head. “Ask me later mate. Right now I think a good fuck and a green apple would kill me.”
Stuart laughed. “Well, that’s ... encouraging.”
“Don’t worry mate. I know this coast better than anyone.” It was no idle boast but it felt like it this morning and he left them awkwardly to prepare his charts and chat to the guys inside.

On the tarmac, the first person he saw when he’d run out the Cessna was a woman. She walked towards the plane is slow, thoughtless steps, her head and her thumb bent over a mobile phone. Tawny hair fell over the square shoulders of her jacket, her legs were cased in tight black jeans and she wore high heels. Shit, he loved heels on tarmac.

She lifted the phone up to her ear and at the same time the two government suits emerged from the building with – his bloody brother. The woman and his brother saw each other, both with phones pressed to their ears, and started laughing. Trappey couldn’t hear anything over the engine but he could see what was going on.