We don’t know which generation is writing the most books, but we do know that boomers have time to write that younger generations don’t have. And we like the book we just saw by baby boomer Tim Bryant of Jonesville, South Carolina. It’s about an aging, world-weary dealmaker who moves from South America to South Carolina. Here’s an excerpt, called, The UPS Guy.
The UPS guy came out with an urgent delivery from Honduras. Had to zig-zag backroads in the afternoon sun — heat shimmering off asphalt — relying on GPS to find Pineapple Hill, my island surrounded by cows.
Yes, it was crazy hot in South Carolina, especially the boonies: too flat and too depressed to get a good breeze going. He would’ve had his van door open when he turned at the brick columns. Following the sandy drive ‘round a stand of bamboo, he climbed a slight hill, passed an unkempt vineyard and perhaps caught a whiff of honeysuckle — a fragrance I associate with Marianne and her parents’ Gone With The Wind-style house where Lantana, tended by gardeners, grows where slaves once picked cotton.
Rounding the hillside, he would have seen my sailboat on jacks beside the weathered barn and heard my stereo before seeing the house: towels drying on rails, surfboards leaning against an old Jag.
I wished most he’d have seen Marianne, her striking resemblance to Mary Anne on Gilligan’s Island. Had that happened, it would have all made sense. Including what he saw next: Me, in a blue rubber pool, the $200 type from Big lots — it resembled a big Martian mushroom — floating ’round and around on a lounger, plastic cup of Cuba Libre balanced on my forehead, snoozing, dead to the world.
Had he met Marianne — experienced her handsome, country girl innocence — he’d have understood everything, even the bag of weed and the semi-auto Glock on a crate beside the pool. He might’ve followed the imaginary line out to empty peach cans, all shot up, and then put it together: that I was there for a Dawn Wells look-alike; her Protector, her Knights Templar. Or whatever.
But Marianne was away and, metaphorically, so was I. Off on a mission in that blue rubber pool.
So what did he do? He completed his delivery efficiently as possible then made a quiet retreat, leaving his package on the crate, beside my pistol. I was lucky. Other people would’ve seen that Glock and raised me a Beretta or Walther.
I wonder how long he paused beside the mushroom, its wonderful jets pushing the water— and me— clockwise, while Led Zeppelin blared psychedelic.
Hopefully, I hadn’t talked in my sleep, revealing dark ciphers on which so many things depended.
For all I knew, he took a sip of that rum drink — watching me circumnavigate my world — before replacing it on my head before going on his way.
When I woke and saw the package, I leapt from the pool and ran. Looking back from the sundeck — it was just a glance — I saw DOLPHIN IN CAPTIVITY painted on the pool in red. The writing was jagged and spikey, resembling the deed of a psychopath. Or one of Marianne’s kindergartners.
Aha! I thought. The game is on!
A nanosecond later, seeing the paint can among the fallen targets, I remembered the work as my own.