Meandering by A.J. Walker

The day was stretching beyond all natural laws for Sgt Derek Thompson. He’d never been good in heat and these weeks in the interminable tropics had been pure hell. Still, his quarry was in his sights, in fact sat next to him, in the slim shade from the rusty upper deck. He smiled when a memory of a breeze took some of the pain away, knowing that soon he would be back in England.

Daniels loved the rusty boat. He’d made the journey countless times, up the river and across to the old city – like a holiday every time. New faces and old on the boat, a few days in town in the usual bars and restaurants. A break from the ramshackle village he called home since his voluntary exile.
He looked to his Rolex. Another hour they’d be docking. So, in another hour and three minutes he’d be ordering the best steak in the house and holding a tall mojito frozen at absolute zero. Harry’s Bar. Heaven.

Thompson looked to the river’s flat banks worried that they didn’t seem to be moving. There were no landmarks to hold on to. He closed his eyes. Dreamt of a warm beer in a drab bar, some peanuts, football on the telly. Heaven.

An hour or so and he’d be at the dock and over the border. He’d grab Thompson. The local police were to meet him. Extradition; supposedly a doddle. His stomach lurched. He’d decided it was a reaction to the Larium. He’d considered playing roulette with the mosquitos. But he decided that was an idea born from dehydration and self pity after too many nights with his head in the toilet.

Daniels looked back to his book. Still on the same page as when he’d boarded. He always took a book, using it as a barrier to unwanted conversations. He’d choose objectionable books with lurid covers as a guarantee of being left alone. This time: Piers Morgan.

Finally, the two men saw the city through the heat haze. Daniels nodded to Filipe. It was time for the diversions to begin. He almost felt sorry for the pale sweaty sap beside him.


(was entered and won Angry Hourglass in April 2016)


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