Saturday, April 21, 2012

Joe Cocker

Sitting comfortably on the end of the dock, she stares across the mirror-perfect lake at the island about 10 miles away. She can tell it is inhabited because of the boat moored on the beach. The drift of lazy smoke with no mind of its own. Always, just that one if any at all. And now thinking about it, only just sometimes. Even during winter. Just sometimes.

For all these years, living here, coming here to be by her self, staring out at that island. It has became her solitude as well as ...whose?

Thinking about it now she turned to look back over her shoulder at Fred’s Bait and Groceries behind her. I’ll bet Norman knows. I wonder if Fred is in.

She glances at her wrist watch. Two-forty five. Naaah, Fred is probably napping by now. I’ll bet Norman would know.

She gets up off the end of the dock and before turning and walking back off the dock to the shop, stands and stares at the island again. Peaceful.

Turning now, walking back along the dock glancing into the water to see all the rocks dark and gloomy on the bottom, an occasional darting trout, she listens for the creeks in all the boards she knows to step on as she strolls along.

On the black top she crosses over and up the stairs skipping a few and into the shop, pushing the door and jingling the door bells, “Hey Norman. How ya doing?”

Norman glancing up from the newspaper sitting there, leaning forward on his stool, “Hey Cass!”, not needing to tell her, ‘same oh, same oh’.

Cass now on the opposite side of the counter waits for him to lay the paper down. “Who lives on the island?”

Norman, raising his eyebrows slightly. He has known Cass now for about four or five years and her Mom Kathy. “Well Cass, if I was to tell you, you’d have to swear you won’t tell. It ain’t that I don’t trust you, but I think I know you well enough to tell you so you won’t go blabbing it all around Maxwell. We got a deal?” Norman ready to read her expression.

“Really? It’s some kind of a secret?”

“Well, yes it is.”

“Well then, you got my word on it.”

“And you not going to share this with anyone or make a fuss or go out and bother him?”

“I was just curious. I don’t mean to make no trouble.”

“Well, I don’t recon you would Cass. Names Joe Cocker. Mean anything to you?”


“Didn’t recon it would. Joe Cocker is a musician. That island there is his get away. He uses it on a need to need bases. If his boat is there, he’s there.”

“Yeah, I see his boat and the smoke for his chimney.”

Norman glances up to look through the front window. “Yep. He’s there.”

“So, who’s Joe Cocker?”

Norman smirks a little with a half raised smile. “Joe Cocker is one of the real rebel rousers anti-government anti-Vietnam protesters that there ever was. Him, Joan Bias, Bob Dylan, and about a dozen other very popular bands back in the sixties and seventies were the thorn in the side of the US Government.”

“My Mom probably knows of him.”

“But you are not going to tell her, are you?”

“A promise is a promise Norman. Does anyone else know about him being there?”

“Oh, a few.”

“Well, thanks Norman. And thanks for the trust.”

Norman looks her in the eyes and says, “Well, Cass your welcome. But, I don’t mean to be so blunt but this here issue is a make or break friendship thing between us.”

“I understand.”

“Okay then. Enough said. Go on over and get one of chocolate bars your always buying. This one’s on me.”

“Well then”, now smiling broadly, “I’ll just have to come in and ask you more questions Norman.”

“Get outa here!”

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