My god, you’re always losing focus. First you’re distracted by the seals, now by the group of girls, all dressed up and on their lunch break. You shake your head and check the split time on your watch. Not too bad. A little off pace but its flat for awhile so you can make it up before the next mile. You’ll stay focused after that. But what about the car? Should you fix it? Damnit! You’re drifting again. Focus on your stride…anything.
You pass a group of mothers with children, they’re taking up the whole damn path but you really don’t mind. Just as easy to take a detour onto the grass and jump back on right after the trash can. Wow, its not full to overflowing for once. That’s amazing.
Holy crap what is that? You nearly fall over your own two feet but manage to grab a tree. A startled crow rises out of the trash container and flies off. You know what you think you saw, and you don’t want to see it again; but you know you have to look. Your heart beats faster as you peer over the lip of the can, slowly, not even seeing inside it; you move so that it’s revealed like you’re peeling the lid off a tuna can.
Oh my god it is.
You can’t help yourself, you retch all over yourself and the ground. A young lady moves towards you “I’m a nurse can I help?” You wave her away, you tell her you’re fine. You suddenly feel responsible for keeping anyone else from experiencing the horror you just saw. But you have to sit down. What do you do? Call Linda your girlfriend, but no. You don’t want her to see this either. But you are not sure you can handle this alone. Better call the police…yes that’s it. That’s the main thing isn’t it? Just call them, sit here and keep folks, especially that group of kids over there, away from the can.
You’re talking to Linda…”look, I saw something horrible at the park.”
She starts crying, she is sensing your distress. You want her to stay away, but she won’t. You make her promise not to look in the trash. “Daddy is with me,” she says. That’s great. Her father is a grade A asshat. You better pull yourself together or you’ll hear a lecture on all the stuff he’s had to see. What a windbag.
The police are coming. You can hear the sirens in the distance, they are getting closer. You welcome it and you dread it. It’s not like they’re just gonna say “thank you sir. It’s citizens like you…” no. There’ll be a million damned questions. Now you’ll hoping Linda gets here quick, father or no father, you just want someone else to be around. Her father may be an ass but at least he wouldn’t take any shit from the cops. Thank god, here they come, Linda, with him in tow.
The police are here too, the first squad car rolls right over the bike path and stops close to you. You wave Linda away from the can, telling her not to look…it’s too terrible. She backs away. But not good old dad. He strides right over and looks in. The cops are yards away “sir get away from there. This is a crime scene.” He looks at the cops like they can go fuck themselves and reaches into the can.
You yell, “Larry no!” The idiot is actually going to touch the evidence. The cops are pissed and are sprinting towards him. Right as the fastest cop gets to him he hoists it up into mid-year. You scream, Linda screams. The mothers scream. The cops are yelling. But Larry is laughing his ass off. Raised high above his head is a volleyball, covered in left-over food goo, wearing a blonde wig.
And suddenly, you realize, this is the moment he decides to let you marry his daughter. Because he won’t miss the chance to remind you of this at every possible chance for as long as you both live.