Wrecked – Chapter 3
Sgt. Dewey Beverage & suspected Taliban soldier Akhbar Ali have washed up on a deserted island.
Chapter Three – Moonlight
“Dewey! Git your ass in here!”
A young Dewey Beverage trudges into the cramped living room of his father’s Tallahatchee, Florida trailer home.
“You been playin’ with m’guns, boy?” Dewey’s father Chummy slurs drunkenly.
“Well, one’m’s missin’.”
“Maybe you misplaced i–“
Dewey can’t even finish his thought before seeing the fire in his alcoholic father’s eyes and knowing what comes next.
“I’ll get the belt, pop.”
“Git the big’n.”
Sgt. Dewey Beverage and Taliban soldier Akhbar Ali are huddled under a palm tree in the pitch black on the edge of the island’s jungle, unable to fall asleep after hearing a distant howl.
“What do you think that was?” Akhbar asks.
“Coyote, maybe?” Dewey offers.
“I do not think they have coyotes on tropical islands.”
“Well don’t ask me then, Mr. National Geographic. I ain’t from no palm tree paradise, I’m from Florida!”
“It may have been a black panther,” Akhbar theorizes.
“Oh no, Black Panthers hate white people. And I’m white people!”
“I was referring to the animal.”
Dewey opens his mouth and Akhbar interrupts him. “Before you say something racist, let me rephrase. By animal, I mean large jungle cat.”
“You mean ‘cat’ like a cool black jazz musician?”
“Oh, for Allah’s sake.”
Young Dewey Beverage is in a gravel pit with his friends as some girls — his future sweetheart Michelle Dunwoody among them — look on.
“Watch me shoot these cans, y’all.”
Dewey lines his father’s rifle up to a collection of his father’s empties set up on the opposite side of the pit.
“Shoot ’em good, Dewey,” his friend Hank Shirkey encourages. “Shoot ’em to bits.”
“Be careful, Dewey Beverage,” Michelle shouts, to the giggles of her friends.
Dewey winks at Michelle, cocks the rifle and narrows his eyes.
“What in tarnation!” Chummy Beverage hollers from behind the boys.
Dewey spins, startled, and inadvertently pulls the trigger. The kids scream and scatter as Dewey’s father falls to the graveled ground.
“Oh, hell,” Dewey mutters.
The downpour finally dissipates into a gentle sprinkle as the shivering men come out from under the palm tree canopy onto the wet sand, a distant sunrise beginning to shine dim rays onto the island.
Akhbar whips his hair, sending a sailing arc of saturation behind him as he looks up and down the beach. “No sleep, no shelter, no food, no contact with the outside world and it’s now clear we’re not alone on this island. What do you suggest we do now, Sgt.?”
Sgt. Dewey Beverage is already carving the end of a stick with his utility knife. “We gonna hunt that beast.”
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