Harold’s eyes roll towards his eyelid. Could he be considering giving the masses a chance to get to know him? I could introduce him. I begin to devise a plan.
“I can talk to some folks at the Evansville Rescue Mission* and tell them that I’ve talked with you,” I begin to lay out a plan. “I’m sure they’ll take you in.”
“Isn’t the Rescue Mission a shelter? I have shelter.”
“You can get cleaned up there. They can help you get connected to employers.”
Harold’s face distorts like someone who ate something that disagreed with him.
“The staff is committed to helping others help themselves. You’ll interact with other human beings who’ll introduce you to others.”
Harold scratches his head, “Each time initially people will be shocked and stereotype me.”
“Yes, I’m sure. I think you’ve got the courage to face it and then the personality to change their minds. You’ve changed mine.”
Harold rubs his chin, “I need tonight to think about this.”
I start to invite him to my house for the night, but then I remember it is also my wife’s house, too. Melissa is a very open-minded and compassionate person but bringing any stranger who is even stranger than most without talking with her first might not be my best decision.
“I need some time alone to think about this and I’m sure you have other things you need to be doing,” Harold rises to his feet.
I begin the process of standing to my feet. From my knees I raise my left leg. Then I place my hands on my knee and push up with the rest of my body.
“I have become comfortable with this vagabond life. I may not want to live as others. I need to weigh the costs before I try something new,” Harold watches me slowly rise to my feet. Something he was able to do in seconds took me a minute or two.
Finally to my feet, Harold plops his hand on my shoulder and stares down at me. I guess him to be nearly seven feet tall as he looms over me and tightens his grip on my shoulder.
“I’m going to trust you to leave and tell no one about me or that you saw me or where I am,” with each word I feel a stronger tightening on my shoulder until his fingertips are pressed against my clavicle.
I nod, “Y-you can trust me. I’ll tell no one.”
Harold doesn’t say it, but I can read in his eyes “you better not betray my trust.” The grip intensifies before he releases me.
“Go,” Harold waves toward the entrance to the cave and turns and walks toward his bedding on the floor. “I need to sleep. I want to go fishing tonight.”
I turn and quickly leave before he changes his mind. My steps are swift for several yards along Pigeon Creek’s bank and up to the paved Greenway Passage. Several city blocks later, I am home. It is not until I stumble up the steps to my front porch that I feel exhausted.
I check my mailbox unconsciously out of habit and then fall into my front porch swing. The porch is engulfed in shadow but the heat and humidity of this late summer’s day urge me to go inside.
The cool air conditioning gives me goosebumps even though the room temperature is probably set at 75 degrees. I find a water in the refrigerator and then rest on the sofa in the living room.
I take a small swallow of the water but it tastes so good and refreshing I return the bottle to my mouth for a sizable couple of gulps. I place the cap back onto the bottle and rest the bottle between my hands.
I rub the cool bottle against my forehead and then my wrists to help cool me down. All the while, I assess the events of my whimsical trek along the bank of the creek. It seems almost like a dream or a fictional story I’d make up.
My promise to remain secretive about it is real, though. I don’t regret making it under the circumstances that forced me into the decision, but I wish I could tell someone. It’s not an every day experience.
The rest of the day for me becomes routine. That night when my wife comes home from work, I manage to keep my promise to Harold resisting the urge multiple times.
Harold’s sleep is restless wondering if I betray him. When the summer sun has slumbered for a couple of hours, Harold heads out under cover of a nearly moonless night to go fishing.
Harold hikes along the creek bank concealed by the shadows of trees, weeds and shrubs until he reaches Garvin Park. For only a few moments, Harold is hidden only by the dark of night, but quickly huddles with his well-used fishing gear in the cover of tall foliage.
Unknown to him, a police car cruises the park and an alert EPD officer caught a glimpse of something or someone crossing the road and disappearing into the woods.
The officer reports his intentions and leaves his vehicle. With flashlight in one hand and his other hovered over his holster, Matt Dion watches and listens as he meanders stealthily along the park’s path. He hears rustling of brush near a Garvin Lake alcove.
Officer Dion’s hand unsnaps the latch on his holster and carefully moves closer to the origin of the sound peering into the spotlight of his flashlight. A bedraggled dirty crane flies off toward the center of the lake startling Dion.
A few yards away, Harold is alerted to the sudden flight of the crane and notices the flicker of flashlight. He hunkers down into as small as the big man can and tries to stay as still as he can.
Officer Dion continues. He heads toward where Harold fishes. Harold carefully gathers his gear and is poised to run if discovered.
The beam of Dion’s flashlight filters through the greenery exposing some of the ground to Harold’s right. Slowly the beam moves toward Harold but a small bush blocks the beam as it moves to Harold’s left.
The rays of light distance themselves away from where Harold hunkers low, but the officer’s footsteps draw closer to Harold. Officer Dion stops. Harold coils. The light flashes directly on Harold blinding him.
Harold springs forward toward the light into a full gallop. Officer Dion is caught off guard momentarily as a tremendous dark shadow of a figure heads straight to him.
Harold plows into Dion who loses his grip on his flashlight as he drops with a hard thud to the ground. The police officer quickly recovers, grabs the flashlight and directs its beam toward the massive blur escaping up the hill, down the other side and out of sight.
Dion assesses what he saw but it computes a visage hard to believe. He wonders if the shadows were playing tricks on him. He decides to report what he believes he saw knowing he will be constantly teased and maligned about it for a long, long time.
“Be aware. Someone or something akin to Big Foot flees on foot in the vicinity of Garvin Park and Pigeon Creek,” Officer Dion rehearses this in his mind. He decides to keep it to himself since there is no critical crime committed other than trespassing the park after hours.
* Evansville Rescue Mission, https://evansvillerescuemission.org/
Categories: Author Confession
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.