A Very Hot Day

Moira tried to make herself comfortable, but the bedroom was too excruciatingly hot. She was tired from working the night before, but the air was heavy and hard to breath. It was keeping her awake. The sheets she hung over the windows to block the sun also stopped the weak breeze from making its way inside. She reached up and pulled them down in frustration. The sunlight blazed in. She draped her arm over her eyes, but sun started to sear her skin. She would never get any rest in these conditions.

The showgirl climbed out of bed and pulled on her bathing suit. She tied one of her many scarves around her hair and left. Within minutes she was on the oceanfront. The sun still blazed off the sand, but the dark blue waves rushed in and out. A promise of respite. She tossed her blanket aside and ran down to the sea. Her gait was giddy as she plunged into the waves. She swam away from the shore turned on her back and floated. The waves rocked her steadily, lifting her up and letting her glide down the other side. She glanced back at the shore. Families had settled on the sand. Children played in the water. Tourists stood out with their white skin.

Moira turned over and started to swim. She back and forth across the swimming area until her limbs began to feel heavy and tired. She made her way to shore and returned to her discarded blanket among the other sunbathers. Children laughed and shouted as they ran back and forth in the surf. She buried her toes in the sand and laid back as she focused on the sound of the waves. The light breeze blew over her wet skin and cooled her.

Moira gasped as she awoke. The sun was radiating overhead. Nausea overwhelmed her as she struggled to rise. Her vision blurred, the landscape turned a monochromatic blue. She scrabbled to clutch the edge of her blanket and stumbled to the pier. She tripped over a child’s sandcastle and fell to her knees. She tried to regain her feet as the child began to cry and his mother shot daggers at her. Moira disappeared into the shade under the pier. She rested in the cool, damp sand until her head cleared. In the distance, she saw the mother was talking to the beach matron and pointing in her direction.

Moira rose and scurried away farther away. She stubbed her toe on something hard and hopped on one foot until she could lean against a pier piling. She rubbed her toe and her eyes fell on a dark bottle sticking out of the sand. She went over and dug it up. It had a water logged label still attached. She carefully brushed away the sand and read _am__on Iris_ Whi__y.

Moira’s eye shot open. She couldn’t believe her luck. She quickly glanced around to see if any more bottles stuck out of the sand. There was only wet sand in sight. She wrapped the bottle in her blanket and kept walking under the pier. Down to the waterline, then back towards the boardwalk in hopes of finding more.

Across town in a warehouse, Micky O. loosened his shirt collar. He sat on a wooden chair near the backdoor in hopes of catching a crosswind. Behind him Vern and Cylus were repacking crates.

“We’re still five cases and some short from that capsized load, boss,” Vern growled. Micky O. slowly turned in his chair and looked at them.

“Looks like you boys are going to the beach today,” he said. “Try to blend in.” Cylus and Vern looked at each other. The heavy-set men were not the beach going type.

A little while later, Micky O. stood on the boardwalk eating a cherry ice. He saw Vern finally emerge from the changing house. His chest hair curling out over the top of his swimming costume and his arms swung heavily. Micky O. chuckled as the vision of seeing Vern at home among the apes at the zoo.

The sulky Vern tossed his towel over his shoulder and squinted up at Micky. What a prick, he thought. Cylus appeared with a cigar butt still between his teeth and a newsboy cap pulled low over his eyes. He carried a burlap sack with his clothes in it.

“Let’s get this fucking over with,” Cylus growled. They headed down to the water. Children stopped in their frolicking tracks to stare at the two burly men. The smiles melted from their faces. Cylus flexed his bicep and let out a little growl. The children scattered back to their mothers.

A cool wave brushed over their feet as they reached the surf. They waded around and kicked at the sand and made their way down the beach. Occasionally, Cylus left Vern holding the sack and dove into the waves to search deeper. He came up empty handed. He came up to shore and waded slowly in the shadows. He stared at the sand as he kicked up the ocean floor with his feet. He walked smack into something fleshy and bony. The impact barely made him budge, but it sent a woman sprawling into the water. A wave crashed over her and she sputtered as she tried to get her bearings. Shocked, Cylus reached down, grabbed her arm and attempted to haul her to her feet. At the same time, she was striking out at him and trying to fight off her attacker. He settled for pulling her into a giant bear hug to get control of the situation.

“Let go of me! Police!” Moira shouted.

“Calm down!” Cylus ordered. He set her on her feet in the sand and released her. “No one is trying to hurt you.” She pulled away from him and put her fists up in defense. A few feet away Vern was starting to laugh.

“What are you doing grabbing young ladies on the beach?” Moira snapped.

“Hey, you ran into me,” Cylus shrugged. “Maybe you should watch where you were going?”

“I could say the same for you! As it so happens I was busy looking for something.” Moira lowered her fists and wiped the sodden hair out of her face. Vern came closer.

“What were you looking for?” he asked.

“None of your business,” Moira shot him a dark look.

“Say, we could help you look,” Cylus offered.

“I would rather you didn’t,” she scowled and turned to go back the way she came.

“Perhaps we’re looking for the same thing.” Moira stopped and looked at him like a deer in headlights.

“And what would that be?” she asked.

“Whiskey. Irish Whiskey,” Cylus said, he saw her eyes widen slightly as she tried to keep a straight face. “We work for a powerful guy. He’d pay well for every bottle you found.” He waited. Moira studied each of them before she finally gave in.

“How much?”

“Depends on how many you found.”

She finally nodded, “Okay, I suppose it’s more than I can carry anyway…but I want cash. If you plan beat me up and rob me, you should know that I work for Mr. Cicero. He won’t like me showing up with bruises and he’ll come after you!” She tried to sound threatening to the two big men. Instead they both burst out laughing.

“I think everything is going to work out just fine. What’s your name, Sweet heart.”




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