THE DORLEY CYCLE
My thirsty mouth was lapping of the oily waters, an answer of filth and shit scrambled in the accents of comers and goers, and deafened by the police sirens and the nearing helicopter flashing its light on all coastal beauty. I loathed Dorley more than before.
Now I looked upon the town with new eyes, a vision that left me less than a minority amongst a vast population of strangers, half of which my new idea proclaimed involved in the weird stories Dorley kept telling. I was a mentally instituted spear archer with some clarity of dimensionality and a head loaded with loony sounding proof, but I was alone in a fight beyond my grasp and I didn’t like that.
I went down by the harbor, taking the worn flight of steps in two quick descends and walked the groaning planks struggling to read names of gently rocking boats in the dim light, searching for my uncle’s old one, hoping to see Eli around it. A part of me wished the kid was far off here, but the wish soon died and was replaced with a sort of comfort.
He walked straight for me in the company of two veteran ship-owners who chimney smoked above his head. I kept myself to the shadows. They walked past me before parting ways.
His head span in my direction and he stopped in his tracks. Eli was looking shocked.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
I knotted my eyebrows.
“Still holding that grudge from the funeral?”
He gripped his backpack strap tight. I could hear his teeth grit inside his clenched mouth.
“Wasn’t until you showed up. I remember why I wanted to hit you.”
“Listen, Eli, I didn’t come to fight. I wanted to see how you were doing and apologies for disappearing like that.”
“You ran away from a mental institution, Jackson. I have my doubts about trusting you and your words.”
“I had to go. They were going to lock me up for a long time and I couldn’t let that happen. There are things happening in this town that..”
His voice, low and shaking cut me off.
“You decided to tell them you killed a mermaid and a siren instead of the truth, whatever it was. What did you expect was going to happen?”
“Dorley is a bad place kid. I need you to understand that. There are things beyond my or your control at power here.”
“Yeah?” his voice threw a mocking tone at me and I nearly lost it again.
“I came back to sort things out.”
“Good luck with that. Don’t come looking for me again.”
He turned to walk away, but then stopped and faced me..
“You know, I feel sorry for you Jackson. I’m sorry that what happened to you messed you up like this. But it has nothing to do with me.”
I let him run up the road and stood reliving the echoes of his rejection ringing in my ears. I realize Eli never liked me, never thought of me as family. I’d say likewise, but more than ever I needed someone to rely on.
“Ey bud, got a light?”
I squinted my eyes at the fella approaching me. He had a slight slur when he spoke and when he came closer I saw his jaw couldn’t close all the way up, leaving his mouth ajar to spit saliva every now and then. He brushed it off with his sleeve and nervously tucked his hand behind his back.
“I don’t smoke.”
“Oh that’s good, I’sppose. Would’ve been for me too, but keeps my throat dry, so I’sppose it’s good sometimes.” He slurped his fluids back in and looked around for someone else.
“Hey man, sorry I can’t help. Maybe if you try the bar.”
He shook his head at me.
“No biggie friend.”
He then stared at me for the longest time and I cleared my throat.
“I’m Paul ‘Paulie’ Glass. Pleasure. I’ve always wanted to be called something else, like Victor Frankenstein or any other character from a horror movie. You like horror movies? I prefer the classics myself. The 30’s and 40’s.”
“I’m not much of a fan, not really. “
Bubbles formed on the corner of his lips when he tried to laugh. His laugh gargled in his throat. I shivered.
“You ain’t keen on too much stuff are you?”
“Maybe not. I’m really interested in Dorley though.’
“Is that so?”
“Mhm. Traveling and exploring is my thing and I’d like to know Dorley.”
“Are you a private investigator or something? Because of them kids that died?”
I swallowed down my “no” and waited for him to scream police, aiming to put him down before he gets too loud, but he took my silence in his liking and pretended he hadn’t asked that question.
“Well, all you wanna know about Dorley is in the council’s archive. I work there part time cleaning, sometimes on the weekends when I’m not down here scrapping the dirt. I could you know, hook you up, that is let you in to have a quick look.“
This guy was harmless and friendly and perhaps a bit careless for his own good and without questioning him again I rolled out a crumpled fifty dollar bill pushing it into his shaking hands. Buy all the lighters and cigarettes you want, just lent me access to a small portion of Dorley’s secrets written and printed, and I might win after all.
He handed me a long and heavy flashlight from the emergency kit.
“There ain’t no security right now, but he’ll step by here around 9. I don’t know why they need patrolling security when they put one of them burglar alarms.”
He unlocked the door and put in the numbers. I went in, turning my light on, gliding it inside the room, finding a glass door in the far corner with brown folio letters spelling archive. The sea groaned inside me again, the salty and moist feeling returning with the same rage that put those creatures to sleep forever. I was going to put them all to sleep forever.