Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Canvas Bag...part five

A week passed, then another. David managed to spend enough time in the fields so as not to arouse any suspicion, but he noticed that he wasn’t getting picked as often. The effort wasn’t there, and stronger, more desperate backs were always available. David was starting to feel more comfortable. He had been very careful. He had gone out one rainy day to Sunnyside and bought a radio. He placed it on his kitchen table and listened to baseball games from the Midwest. The Cardinals would come in on clear nights. Bernie had surprised him one night. It had rained three days straight and there was no work. Bernie stopped by to check on him. He had seen the radio but hadn’t said anything. He had been sure that it had been Bernie who had left the bible verse, but he had never mentioned it. Bernie was religious, but in a good way, out of some soft spot in his heart, not out of judgment. The day after his visit, there was an envelope in his mail slot with four dollars. David made the decision there and then to make a gift to Bernie. He took the bus across town to a post office in Clovis where he bought a small carboard box and a book of stamps. It had probably been dangerous to carry a ten thousand dollar bundle of cash in his jacket pocket on a public bus, but precautions had to be taken. He couldn’t allow the package to be traced back to him. The money fit perfectly snug in the box. He thought about writing a note but decided against it. David would be sure to be in Bernie’s for breakfast every morning for a while. But if Bernie was ten thousand dollars richer, nobody would ever have known by any change in his demeanor. Same old Bernie. Still, it had given David a feeling, something approaching joy, when he imagined Bernie’s face opening the box.

As the days passed, David began to notice the changes. He had put on a few pounds. He had become lethargic. Although the level of physical exertion in his life had been greatly reduced, he lacked energy and late in the day had to fight to stay awake. But no matter how tired he was, peaceful sleep was illusive. He longed for one good night of sleep, just one night without the dreams. No matter how many adjustments he made in his nightly routine, the dreams would roar to life as soon as he drifted off. They weren’t nightmares, just unsettling little scenes and always in color. Anna was in most of them. David had thought it would be different after the money, thought his spirit would begin to heal. It was better. There was better food, just no healing. The note in his mail slot this night said, “ Proverbs 16:25”….”There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” David threw on his coat and headed to Bernie’s.