Extract from Rain chapter 2

December 1965 The whites of his pockets languished over dark trousers when Michael finally vacated his preferred stool at The Royal. As he tried to stand and scull the last few mouthfuls of beer, he found himself spread-eagled on the butt-layered tiled floor. A couple of patrons in a similar state helped him to his feet. One tied Michael's shoelace, hinting that it may have been the cause.

Michael staggered toward the west side of town, resting at each landmark along the way. With half the distance travelled, he reclined against a supportive tree trunk, one of many that lined the avenue-like entrance to the Wallin Oval. Even with his vision blurred, Michael could see shapes of words on a bronze plaque, and knew what they had to say—honour to James Wallin, and his father and father's father. Veins ruptured inside his head, pushing him from the arbores column. An agile leap, incredibly, catapulted him over the turnstile, and a forwarding momentum introduced a fist to the wall of the canteen. He jabbed with both knuckles in tandem until bloodied and exhausted he collapsed to the concrete and fell into a wasted sleep.

Sergeant David Mackelroth arrived at the Wallin Oval in response to a 000 call, without the siren or flashing lights. In Maine, 000 was dialled for any unexpected occurrence whether an incident required immediate urgent action or not.

From the turnstile, his torch light converged with a holey wall and below it, a human mass in a curved position, almost foetal. Sergeant Mackelroth moved in for a closer inspection of the fibrolite panel, and its perpetrator, or victim.

"Come on, Michael," he said, bending to lift the lifeless weight to sit against the punctured wall. He huffed a few times to expand his energy reserves then yanked Michael up on to his uniformed back, tying flailing arms around his neck as an anchor. The sergeant heaved as his body took the weight. "I'm going to need your help here," he said as they approached the turnstile. "Stand up, mate...just for a second." After a brief stint on his feet that swung him through the revolving gate, Michael grounded again face first into the dirt. Sergeant Mackelroth hauled him to the patrol car with his hands gripped under odorous armpits as paralytic legs generated a light dust storm behind them.


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2016 by Leigh K Cunningham

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