Apr 29
earleyg's picture

My Grandfather Pear Part 1, Chapter 2

The following morning, Pear woke to the sounds of crying and shrieks. He bolted out of the house and ran to the beach where he saw a horrific scene; a large boat, torn in two, its bow stuck deep in the sand, its stern no where to be seen. Three bodies were on the sand, two unmoving, the third gasping for every breath. The sound of sirens wailed in the distance, ever drawing near. Pear ran through the sand to see more.
“I tell ya!” The sailor who had been dragged from the wreckage stuttered. “It’s a big ’un! A big ’un! It’ll smash any boat ta smithereens!”
“A big what?” someone in the crowd asked.
“A big ’un!” the sailor continued to screech. “It’s a big ’un!”
“Goddamit, man! Snap out of it!” A woman growled, shaking his shoulders violently. This sent the sailor into a frenzy, his body thrashing and jerking. Pear took a tentative step back. It appeared as if the man had completely lost his mind. The familiar blazing red vehicle was a welcome sight for all the witnesses and they stepped back as the paramedics strapped the sailor to a stretcher and loaded him into the back of the ambulance. The other two bodies were placed in long, black body bags. As they were carried out of sight, all the people fell silent, including Pear.
As the crowd dispersed, Pear caught sight of Annabella, her eyes red and filled with tears. Pear ran to her and asked her what was wrong.
“That was my father.” She groaned. “The one who wouldn’t shut up. Argh!” She angrily swept as tears spilled from her gentle brown eyes. Pear gently took her wrists in his hands and brushed the bangs from her eyes.
“It’ll be okay.” He tried to assure her.
“No! It won’t! My dad’s been delusional most of his life, but this, this might just ruin him forever! He always wants attention and exaggerates everything. It can sometimes be hard to tell when he’s being completely serious and when he’s just making stuff up. No one will take him seriously, and when they do, it’s usually when he’s faking it. That’s what he wants.”
Pear patted Annabella’s back gently.
“Well, I guess there’s only one way to find out.” He ventured. Annabella flashed him a look of caution.
“I don’t think you know how crazy my dad can be.”
Annabella was right. The old guy was crazy. Crazy, hysterical, melodramatic. Pear had insisted on visiting the hospital to try to understand better what had happened. Anna-bella wouldn’t come no matter how hard Pear asked her to. Thrilled that someone had come to learn more, the sailor prepared himself to really blow up the proportions of what happened.
“That whale was monstrous!” He began, his eyes bulging out of his head like a pug’s eyes when you squeeze its neck too tightly. “Thought it would eat us all up!”
“A whale, sir?”
“That’s right, my friend, a whale! A leviathan! ’Ee could swallow up a ’hole ship if ’ee wanted to! And ’ee tried to with our ship! Coulda hold fifty grown men!” Pear narrowed his brows at that point in the story.
“Sir, as I recall, that bow was your typical sized boat, no more than fifteen feet long.”
Realizing that his crowd was trying to reel him back in, the sailor fixed his eyes on the young boy.
“Eh, boy? Ye forgot about that stern of hers! That stern was a good stern! Stern and steady.” Unimpressed, Pear gave the man a deflated look. Annabella was right, he thought. As usual.
As Pear got up to leave, the sailor made a desperate attempt to keep his audience. He grabbed Pear’s wrist and yanked him back, screeching and spitting, “Ye gotta believe me!
“I believe Annabella’s right about you, old man!” Pear shrieked in response, grabbing the attention of a passing nurse. She reacted quickly, severing the sailor’s grasp from Pear’s arm and shielding him from another assault. Pear quickly exited the room before the nurse turned to look at him. As a precaution, he made sure to leave the hospital itself as quickly as he could.
Pear ran over the details of the colorful story the crazy sailor had fed him. A leviathan had attacked. Pear was undaunted by the thought of a huge leviathan. There were no such beasts in these waters. The most likely suspect would be the shoal that lay just half a mile out from shore. It can be dangerous at night and during the changing of the tides. I think I’ll settle for believing that the shoal ripped up the boat and killed those other sailors, Pear decided firmly. That old geezer can’t talk straight.
Two days later, it was determined that bite marks were found over the dead sailors’ bodies and Annabella’s father was recovering from a large wound in his leg inflicted by an animal. Perhaps Ole Salty was telling some truth, Pear thought privately, reluctant to believe him. But then he remembered all the other lies he had been probably told and discarded the thought altogether. The most logical explanation was that a reef shark had heard the sound of people in the water and was trying to get an easy meal.
Annabella was still troubled by her father.
“I still don’t get how he can make up these stories and expect people to believe him!” She told Pear one evening as they sat on the beach.
“Well, if he was forced to give the truth, he would, wouldn’t he?”
“I really don’t know.” Annabella answered honestly. “I would like to say that he would, but I don’t know if that would be the truth.”