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(_13) Chapter Thirteen

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The truck rumbled sweetly through the giant trees ..  long columns of feathery light spearing down from above where the sun found it way into the cooler moisture laden air.. it had been a marvelous run through glorious sunshine from Vancouver to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay, then across the shimmering Straits of Georgia and Howe Sound to the huge island and on up the sunny eastern coast where Jimmy had turned it to the west and upward into the mountains. Billy lolled in the back and tried to avoid being trampled by the ever curious  dog Quinn who ranged every corner of the truck bed as the scenery whipped past them all.  Creighton and Jimmy sat up in the cab conversing here and there.. musing, laughing.. One of the Oklahoman’s broad shoulders and meaty forearms taking up space well outside the truck and connected to large fingers that tapped in a slow rhythm on the rear view mirror.

Jimmy pulled off the pavement to the right into a wood chipped lot that was in deep shadow from the dense and towering firs on all sides. He nodded in that neat way without really looking at he door handle and at the same time let Creighton know.. in that “Jimmy” way.. that this was as important to him as that morning with his two lost cousins in Gastown.

At the crack of the driver’s door the great dog was out of the back and disappearing from sight.. Billy stretched his long legs and arms and leaped lightly down.. looking around him at the massive trees.  Creighton joining him at the back as Jimmy stepped off in the direction the dog had taken. They followed without question but full of questions.. and soon caught up to him where he had stopped at a circular clearing.

The tree he stood before was staggering to the two young men. Fully 30 feet around it was simply an astonishing creation to them.  Its very bark alone was on a scale that they had never seen.  and trying to look up at its crown was impossible..  the human head and neck just didn’t seem to allow such an acute angle. It was tempting to lie down and look up.. to try and find where tree ended and sky began, which was about a football field away.

After several moments of contemplation and seemingly satisfied with what he saw, Jimmy headed easily back for the truck, giving the two young men a light smile but saying nothing to disturb the moment.

They found him already sitting in the truck and the huge black dog.. taking up most of the rest of the cab but grinning widely at their arrival..  Creighton and Billy simply accepted the obvious, got in the back and found space on either side of the mottled kayak. The truck growled to life and pulled quickly back toward the paved road heading west. 

They gaped at the sudden view minutes later as the truck veered onto what would be the first of many switchbacks leading toward a glowing shoreline far away and below them. It was impossible to miss the huge scarring of the land. In places it seemed as if there was more missing than what remained.  After the sight of the staggering trees in Cathedral Grove this was shocking and took their thoughts whirling away.  Billy’s eyes met Creighton’s for a long moment and they both knew why Jimmy had shown them the great tree.

Down toward the distant coast they rolled.. at times the clear cut came right to the road and they could see the wreckage.. the jumbled and tangled remains of trees.. torn, ripped.. and in many places not even touching the muddy and convoluted ground. It was a place of slash and shattered timber. In places where they had an elevated view they could see the tangle was at times 10 to 30 feet high.. and that walking through it would be an impossibility.  Several times they saw small deer.. and even a black bear that rumbled across the roadway and cut into the slash.. disappearing quickly into the secondary growth that had grown up near the edge of the road. At times they crossed small streams that ran red from the fallen timber up hill.. They wondered now about what Jimmy had told them of the great salmon streams.

Each of the two young men in the back had their own thoughts to listen to. Though they had a pretty good instinct and a bit of a sense of who Jimmy Walker was..it was still a bit of a rude awakening.. there was a tone to where they had travelled.. a powerful and sad tone.  There was a coldness that came top their faces slowly but surely.. as both tried to come more to terms with the reality of what Jimmy seemed to be involved in.. and this seemed a taste of the environment that it was happening in.

Jimmy had casually mentioned that he was taking a drive over Vancouver Island to pick up a friend’s car and boat and both had jumped at the opportunity to hang with their team-mate.  With distinct impressions of just who Jimmy Walker seemed to be.. both were simply caught up in his passage.  He was a river flowing.. and they were currents within.  Re-write this .. ease off (how much do they know?)

Finally the torn and flattened forest released them and they soared along the highway to the south..  a marvelous archipelago of black islands laced with impossibly green spruce out there to their right.. huge rolling swells reflecting in a hypnotizing way.. the morning sun. A turn off the highway onto a winding dirt roadway, until stopping at the brow of a sharp rise overlooking a somewhat circular cove. The two points or arms that created the rugged harbor were offset. The southern arm jutting out somewhat allowed waves from the extreme north west to slip inside.. and were vulnerable

“I need you guys to fire that sucker up .. and I need Creighton to brace whoever shows up and ask if they’ve seen the thief who stole his car and boat..  and when that rap is over I need you to collect the skiff that goes on the trailer.. and then they’re both coming back to Vancouver.. driven by Creighton.  Billy goes back with me.. we need to talk about stuff.”

This sudden challenge he offered them where he had pulled over to the side of the road within feet of a weathered sign that appeared to read.. Comuppance Cove..  The pance in Comeuppance had been seriously peppered with buckshot.. but in clear sight was a panoramic view of the cove just below.

“I need you two to do this without me.. I have to find someone who’s hereabouts. Any problem? You’re just two rednecks from down south.. that got drunk and some thieving injun stole your boat .. and your car to boot. You’re pissed  and hungover.. and just want your stinkin boat.  There’s some heavy dudes down there in the cove.. make no mistake.. but you’re just the two to get it done.. and I have cousins who will thank you for your help.  I’ve told you a bit about what’s going on here.. and we can use your help.. in fact I’m counting on it.  We meet two miles down the road in one hour… Thanks guys..  I think you’ll find the keys to the car under the floormat by the way.

There was no mistaking the short, intent nods from the two ballplayers. It had been a nice ride but now there was work to be done and they stepped up to bat without questions. The dog sensed the moment and gave several stiff legged hops with a barely muffled yip as  Jimmy stepped away briskly, the kayak suddenly on one shoulder in an easy rolling lope toward the wooded point to the south of the cove and the surfer’s path that had been worn along its seaward edge.  


Written by diamondwalker

November 26, 2008 at 2:44 pm

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