The Stockbroker – 6

It was about a mile down to the greenbelt. Near the trailhead he ran out a flock of yellow heron that only stood there now looking at him. Waiting for him to move on so to continue at whatever it was they were feeding. He walked the few feet to the head and turned to see them disappear back into the brush. When he turned he stood there for another moment. The city before him, Townlake set upon with rowers and runners on the trails. A dog was chasing a ball thrown from a scoop and stopped and spun wildly head over feet onto the great lawn and somehow came up with the ball set in its gaping maw.

It was still a few hours before nightfall as he had walked the trail the two miles clear to Twin Falls without stopping. Campbell’s Hole had been without water but here the water was high enough that it was lapping against the foot of bluffs. There were a few swimmers and people sunbathing on the smooth slabs of rock. At the far end of the bluffs people were ushering in Friday night with cans of Modelo and Bud Light and cigarettes. A few had taken to the top of the cliffs for jumping. All the way down Halloo, one cried out until the cry was silenced by the plunge and then the diver reemerged and started his way back up the cliffs. Morris knelt with both knees at the shoreline and reached into the creek and drank from his cupped hands. He drank continuously and for a long while. The water was cold. Very cold. He stood afterward and walked offtrail and sat behind a mesquite tree and did another bump and took off his socks and shoes and put the stash in one of the socks. He sat there with his knees bent and the bottoms of his feet in the dirt and he wrapped his arms around his legs and rocked slowly while he hummed some old country tune.

Hey, boss, a voice said.

When he turned the dragworm was right at his shoulder. He smelled like oil and his hair was blonde and matted and he smiled at Morris with big yellow teeth.

Hey boss, he said again.

Without speaking Morris reached into the sock and retrieved the stash and tapped some powder onto the back of the worm’s thumb and the worm raised it up to his nose and took it in. Thanks, Boss, he said. He scurried off and somewhere back into the mesquite grove where Morris could see another figure before a small cookfire taking hold and a thin spire of smoke rising up through the honeyleaves. He studied the rest of the woods for a moment and then returned the stash to his sock and stuffed the sock deep inside his shoe. He sat for a while longer. He was beading with sweat. He looked up toward the jumpers. Finally he said to himself: It’s now or never Morris.