The Sailing Stone XIV

The Sailing Stone XIV

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Adrian’s eyes had been open for several minutes before she realized Beckett was not lying beside her. She had lain under the warm covers in hopes that Beckett would soon walk in carry breakfast. Her stomach had begun singing an empty tune.
      After having thrown water on her face and brushed her gums, Adrian texted Beckett. While she had been making a poop she realized that Beckett never responded: “Hello?” she texted.
      No response.

Where is Beckett Stone? Marriott Marquis, 333 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA

      Beckett stood before the bathroom mirror, massaging the mortal human flesh of his face and jaw. He wore a crisp collared shirt with cuff links. His face was expressionless as he removed the rope chain from around his neck, balled it up into his right hand, lifted his shirt up with his left, and pressed the chain into his navel, the flesh folding in, accepting the rope chain until it disappeared.

      When Adrian found Beckett, she was planning on hitting him in the stomach. I mean …she was mustering up some serious kind of rage. How? How could he not text her? What is he up to? What is he doing? Where could he have gone? Adrian was getting weak from hunger and would have to go have breakfast …actually brunch …alone.
      Adrian threw on some clothing and looked through the gym, after which she asked an attendant to look for him in the men’s locker room. No Beckett. She scurried around the hotel restaurant and the lobby – to no avail. Out at the pool, she started to grow worried as the cacophony of the spring break revelers got under her skin and added to her anxiety. After a walk through the conferencing center, she hurried out to the parking lot for their car. She hoped with every fiber in her being that the car was gone…at least she would know he had left. At least she would know what to do.
      But the car was there – everything was left inside from the night before: old coffee cups half drunk, paper wrappers, napkins…the car was full of his absence.
      Defeated. Sobbing. Adrian walked up to the concierge and broke down: “My boyfriend appears to be missing. I need your help.”

      The head of security at the hotel, a large, hulk of a man with greased back hair and a pencil thin mustache, going by the name of “Rocco,” was looking over the footage that one of his employees, Ricardo, was playing back for him.
      “This is all we were able to find, Sir,” said Ricardo, playing back footage from the early AM hours, of Beckett running through the lobby, panicking.
      “Is that our man?” asked Rocco.
      “Yes, from what our staff has stated, that’s the boyfriend from room 2017 – a Mr. Kelvin. He was running out warning others of a fire that had started on the upper floors.”
      “And we are 1000% sure there was no fire last night.”
      “Absolutely positive no fire, Sir.”

      Beckett, having driven up behind a Sullivan Moving and Storage truck, in a black SUV, parked curbside at St. Vincent de Paul Village soup kitchen. A couple of volunteers in red tee shirts greeted Beckett out front as the movers rolled up the back of the truck and lowered the truck gate.
      “Holy crap that is a lot of clothing you’re donating?” said one volunteer to Beckett.
      “It’s everything I’ve ever worn here on Earth. All worn once…for the most part. Nice clothing. Quality labels.
      The movers had begun lowering move bins of black garbage bags full of clothing. Must have been 20 bins of clothing.
      “I suppose you wouldn’t be up for helping us in the kitchen today, we are short a man,” said the other volunteer to Beckett.
      “Sure…why not?”
      The second volunteer stepped forward, “My name is Jimmy.” He had blotchy complexion and his fingers were like sausage links. “Come with me, I’ll show you how to get started.”
      The first volunteer, his name was Dobey, had a jaw that almost swung, it hung so low. they both trudged slowly behind Beckett – they seemed to be in discomfort.

      “Hey fellas…” Dobey said to an array of kitchen workers, rapidly preparing food and criss crossing in front of each other. “I have a young man here…Beckett….right?” Beckett nodded. “And he donated just right now a truck load of clothing and he said he would fill in for Stubby here in the kitchen.”
      “Awright…well have him grab that ladle – these homeless folks are doubling and tripling up. They’re hungry. Here’s an apron and cap.” Beckett did as he was instructed. “Anybody want soup…you dunk the ladle, pour the slop in these here, in one of these cups, and place it on top here. It’s not rocket science, get it?”
      “Got it.”
      “What kind of name is ‘Beckett’ anyway?”
      “What kind of name is “Ward?'” Ward smiled.
      After a short time Beckett had to carry the empty soup pot to the back of the kitchen and grab a new one.
      “Do you volunteer here, often, Ward?”
      “I used to be the one on line. I was walking hungry for many years before I had a revelation.”
      “And what was that?”
      Ward stopped what he was doing and leaned into Beckett. His breath smelled of rotted teeth. “That this life sucks and everyone needs a hand.”
      Tempers were flaring at the lunch tables:
      “You’re always stealing from me,” said a giant tree of a man who had thinning hair parted don the middle in a mullet style. His eyes flared when he spoke as if he mistrusted anything anyone told him.
      “Are you talking shit again?” said Rosendo, a drifter.
      “Not me, Paco. All I know is that everyone has to watch their shit around you.”
      “My name is not Paco. Stop your raciest shit, eat your food and shut the fuck up.”
      The big giant tree of a fellow’s eyes bulged. Another man, much older and sleight, walked over to their table. “We don’t want no trouble, Ben. Everyone is just a bit on edge. The weather is hot and everyone is miserable.”
      “Stay out of this, Ernie,” said Ben. Ernie rolled his eyes. “This is between me and the spic.”
      “What did you call me you stinking piece if shit? I’m not afraid of you, I don’t care how big you are. I am Mexican and am afraid of no man.”
      “Come on…come now…this is not going to end well. You’ll both end up in the clink.”
      “It would be preferable, Ernie,” said Ben with a smile as he rose to his feet…must of been 6’5.
      “Ben…I have told you before, I hate the name ‘Ernie,’ my name is ‘Ernesto.'”
      “I don’t give a fuck about you or him. You both don’t belong in this country, or haven’t you gotten the message.”
      “This is my country as much as yours!” said Rosendo as he shoved the tree trunk man – who didn’t budge an inch from where he was standing.
      “You’ve stolen for the last time,” said Ben as he withdrew a blade from his boot.
      “No Ben!”
      The shout got the attention of Beckett and Ward.
      “Suck on this…” said Ben as he thrust his knife forward, stabbing Ernesto in the stomach, who had hurriedly positioned himself between the two men. Ernesto slumped to the floor.
      “Help me! I’ve been stabbed!” Ben upended a table and hurried out. Rosendo crouched down beside Ernesto and held his hand.
      “Can we get some help?” Rosendo shouted.
      Beckett had sped out of the kitchen and knelt beside Ernesto. He laid his hand over the wound, the crimson area of Ernesto’s dress shirt. Not even opening the shirt, Beckett pressed his open hand on the wound for ten seconds. After the ten seconds were up, Beckett stood and looked down on Rosendo and Ernesto. “You’ll be just fine.” Beckett then grabbed his sport coat and left. Ward followed him out with his eyes.

      Beckett had begun clicking on the clicker in his pants pocket. The hotel room was clean. He had no possessions with him other than the fine duds on his back. He removed a final envelope stuffed with cash from his endlessly deep and mysterious coat pocket. He dropped the thick envelope on the bed – written across the front: “Thank You.” Beckett gave one last look at the hotel room, perhaps his last on this earth. There was no expression. When he opened up the front door to his suite his head was met with a cataclysmic and mortal blow of a sawed off shotgun. Ward was standing there in a black suit. With him – the two volunteers we met earlier, Jimmy and Dobey. They trudged in behind him. Beckett’s head was nearly blown off, blood and bone was splattered across the room.
      “If he ain’t going to help us, then he ain’t going to be allowed to be human either.’
      “Fuck him,” said Dobey.
      “I need you both to check his body. Check every opening of his body for a stone. I need to make sure he is dead.”
      “Should we just put him in the grinder?” asked Jimmy.
      “No, I feel like having some fun. Check him thoroughly, please.”
      Jimmy and Dobey removed Beckett’s clothing and and had begun inspection.
      When the inspection was complete, and Ward satisfied, he lit the drapes of the hotel room on fire. “I love the flow of fire. Let’s go before the sprinklers go off. Come on.”

      Adrian woke up with a wretched scream. Clutching the stone around her neck, she sped out of the hotel room, grabbing her purse as she went. Waiting for an elevator that would not come, she alarmed other visitors of the hotel: “I’m coming Beckett. I’m coming. I’m coming…I’m coming. Open the fuck up!” She was hysterical as she entered the elevator.
      The concierge looked alarmed as he was now watching the girlfriend of the missing patron darting out of the hotel, much the same way her boyfriend had two night’s prior.
      Adrian looked mighty small as she darted through the massive parking lot looking for their car. She knew where Beckett was headed. The love of her life was heading home. She had to get to the sailing stones to stop him.

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