Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The Boardwalk
By Jack Bristow

The man, Derek Whitely, walked the boardwalk, past the junkies, Bible salesmen, and religious zealots of many stripes. He had an acute anxiety in his heart but was not sure why—something, and he didn't know what, was profoundly wrong. And then he had thought of Julianne—the perky breasts, the brown hair, the delicately nimble body pressed against some other being. Then, he was stopped by an Eastern Indian with what looked like a velvet pebble in his forehead.

“Your future—it desperately needs to be told. Come with me—around the doughnut shop.”

“I don't have money for this type of bullshit,” Derek replied.

“No,” the Eastern Indian had said, guiding him by the arm to behind the doughnut shop. “I do not want your money. I have had thoughts about you all day—and anticipated your coming here at this very moment, please.” The east Indian, who introduced himself as Karpal, was tall-- about 6'7, with intense brown eyes and a no-nonsense demeanor.

He cringed as he had looked into Derek's hand. “Ah, I see—it's your old lady. You've been having all types of terrible intuition about her this morning, no? That she was maybe engaged in all kinds of decadent sex acts with other men.”

Derek, his blood boiling abnormally, was about to curse out the Indian, but then had remembered his inexplicable paranoia just moments before. Instead, he told Karpal, a panic-stricken tone permeating his voice. “Yes—oh, God, yes! I had the feeling this
morning—and I don't know why—that she's been cheating on me. Probably, it's all bullshit—a husband's jealously. You know.”
And then Karpal nodded his head understandably. “This woman, I can see her clearly. Her name is Julianne—she has brown hair, little breasts, but an extraordinarily attractive face, no?” Karpal smiled confidently at Derek, and Derek returned the smile, thinking, Aha, I must have been overreacting to all this. And Karpal—his purpose is to assuage my paranoiac concerns.

“Ah,” Karpal rubbed the tiny pebble embedded in his forehead, “I can see her now. On the massive king size bed in your bedroom, no? She's in there with a man named Jordan Whitely, and he's really giving it to her good!”

Derek shrieked, and then collapsed onto the boardwalk.

“I'm very sorry for you, it is never a good thing for a man to find out his wife is having an affair,” Karpal placed his long tan hand on Derek's shoulder compassionately, and then he helped Derek to his feet. Derek red-faced now, saying to Karpal, “You don't
understand the half of it my friend—Jordan's my big brother. That son of a bitch—that ribald, two-timing son of a bitch. I'm going to go home and kill him!”

“Hold on a second, my friend,” Karpal waving his hand across his pebbled forehead again, this time saying, “Aha, here is another vision. And this is a man named Carl Whitely, and this is four years ago, he is really giving it to your old lady good! And she is wearing a white, bridal gown. She wore that on your wedding day, no?”

“Oh Christ,” Derek tumbling to the ground again.

Karpal helped him up, and asked, “Who is it this time—another family member?”

“Yeah,” Derek replied, tears streaming down his cheek. “My father! Holy shit. I can't believe it-- my very own father, putting the wood to my wife, on our wedding day!”

And then it had all started to make perfect sense to Derek—his wife was pretty effortless in the sack that night, and now he had known why: She was sloppy seconds. Oh God. Oh God. Derek started thinking, over and over again. I can't bear another image—please, God, do not let there be another one, because, as it is, I'm already going to have
to kill my father and brother. Please, God—don't make me have to kill anyone else.”

“My friend, I'm afraid to tell you,” Karpal said, “of yet another vision—your wife, and this time she is with a woman. But at least, my friend, she does not share your surname! Her name is Rebecca Leland. She and your wife are going at it in in the backseat of the an '89 Chevy. And, oh boy! You should see the woman she is with—big roomy chest, pouty lips, and large blue eyes.” 
“Let me guess: She has a panther tattooed on her left forearm?”

Karpal looked at Derek perplexedly. “Why yes, my friend. But how did you know that?”

“She's my sister!”

The man fell to the boardwalk yet again, his face red like an abused piece of raw meat, whimpering, stuttering. And then, after Karpal had helped him up for the third time, the man had run for the end of the pier, running and running until he had reached it, Karpal in tow. “No, my friend. Please do not do that—I have another image, something else,
that may help you reconsider. It is not so bad as the other ones, my friend. Please, do not jump!”

Derek, already halfway over the pier and determined to jump had said, somewhat irritatedly, “No,I've heard enough. I can't bear to hear anymore about my wife engaged in sexual intercourse with members of my immediate family!”

“My friend,” Karpal insisted. “This is different—it is not like the others. You have to hear it.”

“Why,” the man had asked pleadingly.

“Because,” Karpal replied, waving his hand around his pebbled forehead one last time, “This one's my favorite—it involves your wife, two Chip and Dale dancers, an old lady, two circus midgets, a donkey, a German Shepherd, three Albanian goat herders, two vials of Cocaine, a ping-pong ball and two bags of ice.”

“No,” Derek cried, before leaping head-first into the shallow, rock-infested waters.

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Jack Bristow is a short story writer/on-again, off-again, bassist from Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you have nothing better to do, you can follow him @RealJackBristow.


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