Blood Lines Chapter 22

   JT Marcunas started in Kensington with gas stations, went on to diners and convenience stores, and ended at the Parkview Drive-in in Brackley Beach. From Kensington he went to New London and Stanley Bridge. He stopped at farm stands and fish shacks. He stopped at liquor stores. He described the motorcycle and what little he knew about the rider. In between he stopped at every ice cream stand he saw. They all had gravel parking lots, although not all of them had gravel. They served some of the best ice cream in the world, most of it from ADL Dairies. The milk and cream came from Prince Edward Island cows. The sugar came from Florida.

   A new ice cream store had opened in Charlottetown six years earlier and was soon expanding. Inside a few years Cows was voted “Canada’s Best Ice Cream” store in a Reader’s Digest opinion poll. Twenty years later it was listed as No. 1 in the “World’s Top Ten Places for Ice Cream.” Walking up to the counter of his third ice cream stand JT broke down and had a scoop of Wowie Cowie.

   Everywhere he went, he went in the door, described the red motorcycle, left his name and phone number, and asked to be called if anybody spotted his man. One woman in Stanley Bridge remembered the motorcycle because the rider had paid with a one-hundred-dollar bill for a fish sandwich.

   “Do you have anything smaller?” she asked.

   “Take it or leave it, lady” the rider said, snarky. She made change for him and watched him ride away. “That one was a rude piece of work.”

   When he walked into Captain Scott’s on the Cavendish Boardwalk, JT heard the same story about a young man on a red motorcycle stopping in for a bite.

   “He come in, ordered fish and chips, and when I brought him his food, he paid with a one-hundred-dollar bill. But then he threw it down on the floor and said it was no good, it was old fish, and he wanted a new piece. When I said no, I thought at first he was going to come over the counter at me. I even put my hand on this knife that he couldn’t see.” He showed JT the knife. It was a knife that could gut man or beast. “What he did though was throw the fries down on the floor next to the fish and stomp out. I went to the door to make sure he was leaving. There was something crooked as a corkscrew about that young man.”

   When JT got to North Rustico he stopped at the Lion’s Club and the co-op store. He went to the Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant. He stepped into Lorne’s Snack Shop. Two women were at the counter. One of them said something.

   “What was that?” he asked. She said it again. He caught a word or two. Judging by their unfamiliarity with English, he suspected they were Newfies. When he asked one of them if they were from Newfoundland, the bigger of the two said, “I just dies at you!” JT reckoned it meant something pertinent. He thanked them for their time.

   He walked across the street to the harbor. He talked to the Doiron’s in their fish shop, a couple of teenagers scraping danglies and goop from the bottom of a boat, and two men at the entrance to a yellow building. The two of them were outside the entrance. One man in suspenders, his pants pulled up to his belly button, was sitting on an old stove next to the door. The other man in a red t-shirt and ZZ Top beard was standing in the doorway. They were the Court brothers. There were white board signs on all sides of the door advertising deep sea fishing. One sign said, “This place has been advertised in Modern Maturity Magazine July – August 1985.”

   “Yeah, we seen him,” ZZ Top said. “We take tourists out mornings, afternoons, and evenings, but never on Sundays.” They were born again Christians. “We was here one Sunday, not working, since it’s a day of rest, when this young fella on a red motorcycle pulls up. He wanted us to take him out, not for no fishing, but to see the lay of the shoreline. We told him we don’t do that, and besides we don’t go out on Sundays. He flashed some hundreds, but we said no again. He didn’t like that. He got mad as a hornet, took a couple of steps at us, but he was kind of scrawny and us two being grown men, he backed off, but not before swearing up a storm.”

   It was nearly dark by the time JT made his last stop at Brackley Beach’s Parkview Drive-in. He talked to the teenager in the ticket booth. The teen was downing a can of Big 8.

   “We don’t get many motorcycles here,” he said. “Practically none, no sir. I can’t remember the last one.”

   “OK, thanks for your time.”

   “You know, we’re showing a cop movie tonight, if you want to stay.” 

   “Is that right?”

   “Yeah. It’s got Jim Belushi in it.”

   JT parked in the last row, turned off his car, and hooked the sound box onto his partially lowered front door window. He adjusted the back rest. The movie started.

   The big screen cops and robbers movie “K-9” was about a disheveled San Diego detective who orders pizza delivered to his car during stakeouts. He heats up the leftovers with his cigarette lighter. He’s after a drug dealer who sooner than later spots him and blows up his car with a helicopter. After he gets a new car his commanding officer says he has to ride with a partner for safety’s sake. He would rather work alone but settles on a compromise. His new partner will be a dog. The dog later bites some of the criminals and sniffs out the dope. To top it off he saves the policeman’s life. He later plays dead, and the detective thinks he really is dead. While he is delivering a eulogy the dog slyly opens his eyes, takes a peek, but quickly closes them again when the detective looks his way.

   JT laughed so much he had to wipe his eyes a couple of times. When the movie was over he flashed his red and blue lights to show his appreciation. On the way home he thought, if I don’t get myself a steady girlfriend soon, I’m going to have to get a dog for a friend.


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