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Angels at the Eastport Bridge
By Robert Tane MacIntyre
Balboa PressCopyright © 2011 Robert Tane MacIntyre
All right reserved.
Chapter One"FAT MAN" FLYNN
Why is it, those who readily beg for mercy, are usually the last to give it? As it is, those who cannot trust cannot be trusted, and those who cry foul, are usually the first to injure out of fear of being injured. It would then follow, that creatures of this nature would grasp every negative thing, all negative argument, and act in kind. What is the course for these prepared types? They automatically seek power and the control of everything, out of their own fear of not having any control or power, acting to provide justice and compassion for themselves by denying it to others.
Therefore, it is best to be made aware of those who seek power, who seek control. Those grasping for power, never waiting to accept it, are to be carefully observed. WARRIOR POETS
Michael "Fat Man" Flynn was in a quandary. He knew nothing came easy in life, but he had been presented with a problem and a solution in one package and this made him cautious and suspicious. Everything made him cautious and suspicious. He was a suspicious fellow, an untrusting person that, as it is with those who do not trust anyone, could not be trusted by anyone. He was living the obsession he had begun many years ago to 'Be someone' and, as is the case of those with strong fantasies and no imagination, of great ambition and no capabilities, obtained the ultimate prize for those with blind sincere self serving intent. He sought, and obtained, public office. Flynn was the Mayor of Annapolis.
Taking his thick, short, fingers over the papers set before him, he reviewed the petition by many of those supposed business and community leaders over the bridge in Eastport to have their own separate town. "Strange collection of people," He thought. It was almost as if, over the past few generations, the weird and off center of the human population in Annapolis and surrounding area had migrated their way across the Eastport Bridge. Every artisan and craftsman, every writer, painter and boat jockey, seemed to want to call the place home. Now they wished to be called the "Maritime Republic of Eastport" and have self rule, autonomy from Annapolis. No way to understand that.
Their desire to incorporate and become separate from the city of Annapolis did have some appeal for him, the snobbish city council, and some potentially generous developers, but the ramifications were a potential political tar pit for his stubby dinosaur legs. He would be careful here. Yes, a most cautious man. If possible, he would ignore it.
However, thinking on it again, he knew this was not an unusual petition. He had seen the likes of it several times before and so had his predecessors. Once every couple of years its twin, or cousin, would be sent here with a copy going to the Governor's office at the State House. Each year, he would get a call from the Governor asking just "What the hell is this?" and placing any initiation, or decisions, at his feet. He knew the process. If by a miracle he and the town council approved this move, the State representatives would disapprove the action, politically damaging him, and would simply throw the decision back into his face. They would see no potential benefit to a disassociation with the south side, at least, not in the same way as he. Should they turn the request down again, it would be him alone, a large portion of the voting populace would hold responsible for standing in the way of this action.
He also knew there was no money to be made presently on that side of the bridge. There would be no development dollars and payoffs to expand his 'Docksiders' because of certain historical edicts and city ordinances restricting such new construction or development. As long as Eastport was considered a section of Annapolis, cute new river front condos, theme restaurants, and professional offices, would only be a dream as nothing could evict the trash that owned some very desirable property there, or break down strongly supported historical edicts. There would be no wrecking ball put to those old handed down houses, which pissed him off as they smiled smugly at him each time he drove past.
Still, there was hope. His mind began a familiar fantasy about getting some of these ordinances changed, or taking a machine gun to the members of the Maryland and Annapolis Historic Societies with their ever present nasal voiced, slick hair, liberal arts degree, paid for by the taxpayer, legal lobbyists. Snapping back to reality, he realized such a thing would never happen. It was as if Eastport was protected by some stroke of bad luck. His gun would probably jam.
Many shared the Mayor's thoughts and attitudes. Annapolis had always looked upon that side of the bridge as separate, as if Spa Creek had been the dividing line for taste, class, money, affluence, sailing shoes, sweaters tied about the neck, Navy football, "Trickle Down" patronizing and condescending Reaganomic mentality, mundane historic societies, and under baked sour dough bread wrapped around goat cheese and alfalfa sprouts. "East Puerto Ricans" is the misdirected name given to the inhabitants of the lower side of the creek, because Eastport is actually south and west of the city. He always chuckled under his breath at that slur.
"Wouldn't that be something though", He thought to himself and spoke aloud.
"What's that Mike," Answered a startling and unexpected voice from behind causing him to bump his knee sharply on his desk. Flynn had not noticed Raymond Orson Gant, Chairman of the Annapolis City Council, President of the Annapolis Savings and Loan, head of the Maryland State Bar Association, owner of about a dozen real estate companies, half of the buildings and Marinas in and around the city, and maximum creep. This was a fellow of influence and power and his real claim to fame was the claming of everything, and one of the things he claimed as his own personal reserve, a thing of possession, was the town of Annapolis. Go figure. Flynn saw him as a smoky fellow upon whom his eyes could barely focus, and who sometimes frightened him to death.
Gant's home was among the elite, the rich and strong of Wall Street and Capitol Hill, and was an important member of many secret societies, whatever they may be. He was a man who could easily be imagined sitting next to Newt Gingrich, the Governor, or at the privileged right hand of the Devil, across from the guy who invented Pop music, the Macarena, cellophane on individual cheese slices, and flies. A man who provided the silent machinery for Flynn's political campaign and who the Mayor genuinely hated as he put his hand out for a warm handshake and ass kissing smile.
"Great to see you Mr. Gant," Mayor Flynn immediately noticed that Gant had completely ignored his greeting and already had his hands on the petition, reading it as if he had picked up an amusing comic book, with a jelly smudge. "I was just commenting on that petition from those weirdoes in Eastport."
Ignoring the Mayor further, Gant spun the papers about in his fingers rather deftly like he had been practicing a small juggling sideline. As the papers continued to bounce about in his hands as if they had recently acquired the fear of catching fire, Gant looked out through an amazingly clean window, observing people under umbrellas, with crew neck sweaters moving orderly around State Circle.
Waiting for Gant's next word, Flynn sucked a cube of air through his front teeth. This gesture always annoyed Gant. He also noticed the Mayor always kept one hand in his pocket like he might be looking for the balls he lost just before the last election. You could say he didn't like the Mayor much. You could say, he didn't like anyone much. Actually, he didn't like or dislike people so much as he simply gave them little or no thought other than they were usually in his way or giving him a continuous headache. However, this Mayor was at least better than the last for Gant's personal agendas. "Thank God for pliable, eager morons", he thought.
Drumming his skinny fingers from his free hand on the windowsill, Gant looked pensive. As a devious benefit crossed his mind, his dancing fingers stopped suddenly as if they had found something innocent to stab, coincidentally causing the sheltering birds to flutter away and risk the bad weather. "Damn birds." He thought. Gant hated anything that could fly, anything, of 'so called' natural beauty. Most of the things people thought to be 'naturally beautiful', Gant believed to be annoying and messy. "Damn birds," He said out loud.
"What's that Mr. Gant?"
"Nothing," Gant looked up. "This is an opportunity Mayor. I think it should be given some serious thought. Maybe I'll speak with the Governor." Gant was simply speculating aloud, leaving that casual thought hanging in mid air for the Mayor's thick brain to process. However, anyone knowing him at all would understand that he had already surgically processed this scenario completely to his clear personal advantage, seeing a wonderful outcome. Trouble was no one knew him. He was merely sending his chosen and unconscionable attack dog ahead with his wishes without a whistle.
Now, it is best to mark Gant as a cautious man too but, in obvious contrast to Flynn, he rarely reveals what he thinks are, unnecessary social skills or respectful pleasantries. He never felt he needed them, because he answered to no one. Also in contrast to the rotund Mayor, he was slight of frame wrapped with tight, pale, yellow skin covered in a delicate coating of anonymous mean. In fact, he would rarely be noticed anywhere if it weren't for his sharp feral eyes and poisoned tipped nose. Most people found him uncomfortable in presence and appearance. The Mayor found him most intolerable, right up until the time his mind bumped into the unemployment line. Then employment lines like, "He's not such a bad guy once you get to know him." sneak out and betray his soul.
Not saying another word, and without the courtesy of a goodbye, Gant left the Mayor's office and headed out through the office door with his clean black suit bristling through its frame. His five foot-seven inch form seemed to duck under the doorway. As he left the petition obviously behind with his silent orders stamped all over the damn thing, the Mayor noticed the faint smell of oily smoke and felt a chill. Totally confused, Flynn stood in his office with only a clenched fist full of anxiety for company.
The resulting silence found him wondering about Gant. This man who had come to him during his first mayoral campaign with offers of help, influence, cash, and personal attention to their agreeing agenda for the city's future and what he heard Gant say was the "Endangered Status Quo". This is a man who walked about more like the Mayor than the Mayor, the arrogant little twit. Flynn was always much braver when alone and thought this when he may have found a gonad with his hidden hand.
Actually, having been in office for two years had washed away a lot of his naiveté about who Gant might be, and educated him into the "status quo" of Gant's personal profits and influence. Still, it was the 'what' that struck a small match in the tiny hearth of his intellectual curiosity. This flame was quickly extinguished however, when his assistant came through the door acting like she had caught a shiver by a passing ghost, looking about as if she were being stalked by an invisible mad Chihuahua.
"Mayor, may I have a word with you?" She said looking back over her shoulder uneasily at the 'Gantly' disturbed air that seemed to curiously swirl before her eyes.
Staring at Jennifer was the standard reply he often gave to her when he was annoyed but knew he had to listen anyway.
"You have an appointment today at two, with a Dr. Jacque Chantz concerning conditions at Crownsville Mental Hospital. Your wife called to say she's at her mother's ... and Chief Walker is on the phone. He wants to know what he should do about all those strange reports he has been getting concerning the Eastport Bridge."
Chapter TwoTANE MacGREGOR
Could it have happened that God's creation, God's plan, became greater than imagination, even larger than God? Lost Circles
It is said life occurs at the first moment of awareness. No one is truly alive until they become aware of themselves in their conscious and subconscious reality. Aware they exist, and are both separate and connected to all things within their sensual range of comprehension. Separated, for the sake of identity and connected for a place in life's scheme in order to provide a purpose, a motivation to continue with energy. Growth and development may begin the first time you question your reality and put its balance to the test.
There is a reflective thought, which echoes of life becoming stronger in the testing of this balance. The more centered the scale, the more life flows until a personal progression, a spiritual birth occurs. It is difficult to confirm the truth of this, but as true as can be, Tane MacGregor felt more balanced than a ballet slipper on a pinhead when he awoke and became aware of himself in a rain slick alley on the Annapolis side of the small Eastport drawbridge one fateful, cold, slippery evening in April. Tane was alive and awake and, as many will refuse to disagree, as insane as a water buffalo on a bike. The damn man spoke to Angels, and occasionally to God. More importantly, he believed, they spoke to him.
Now, early in his life, Tane could not have told you exactly who was speaking to him, but he knew these conversations had begun more than thirty odd years before, leading him cold, hungry, and previously confused to a small alley, near Spa Creek, where the predawn mist filtered the bridge's lights to cast a shadow over his memory; a memory that tried to return him to 'once was'.
A lifetime, a cloudy lifetime ago, he heard the voices of Angels and listened intently to their counsel, as they delivered messages from the Universe, of life trapped within Time and Space, of souls seeking individual expression through painful journeys, and of gentle caresses from God's heart. For Tane, these Angels would weave songs of such contemplative beauty as to make aging elephants weep, and homeless men on distant street corners laugh and curse as they raised their fists to the heavens, pushing his fresh, young, promising genius over the edge of perceived insanity, to a life of wandering and wondering.
By appearance, his situation may have been considered tragic, but one would have to ask if any of us, even a genius, with such great promise as Tane MacGregor, would make the conscious decision to view the mysteries of the universe first hand, even if there was little, or no, possibility in understanding them? Would Einstein, Sagan, or Charles Delve, have given up everything just to be in Tane MacGregor's shoes, to listen to the sounds and rhythms of the cosmos through the voices of Angels, real or not? Could they have had the patience, the endurance? Who among us would be willing to run the easy risk of a difficult insanity?
He had waited so long and many years passed as he listened to the complicated simplicities of bending melodies and flowing thoughts. He waited and waited, shutting out all outside distractions to focus and decipher, to understand the voices, the sounds, the visions, and the touch; oh yes, the touch! He waited patiently for the understanding he knew would come, if only he could just open his mind and heart wide enough, and expand the sight of his soul, the voices and sounds would come together and carry meaning, and justify his tortured faith. If he was vigilante enough, maybe even his Angel would return.
This patience was a true and hard road, a hard life, and a painful obsessive stretch of spirit, but one note, one clear thought would easily provide the meaning for his existence, the purpose for carrying the enduring lonely ache in his heart, and the answer to all his questions. So he listened. He listened, and listened, and listened, and waited. With time passing and taking its toll, leaving him more alone and studied, he waited still. He waited like no Human before and experienced loneliness like no creature on this earth could imagine. He became a cold rock floating in lightless space, a solitary figure, with no thought of action or desperation touching his mind and heart. "A dusting statue, a creature of stone and tears", as was said by some of those who took more than a few seconds to look upon his light, as they watched him sit silent and motionless beneath the Eastport Draw Bridge. Soft tears, rolled under long, uncombed locks and across a dusty beard, to fall gracefully in front of an unmoving stare.
Excerpted from Angels at the Eastport Bridge by Robert Tane MacIntyre Copyright © 2011 by Robert Tane MacIntyre. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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