|About the Book|
Stingray (Lexington Avenue Express - Short Fiction)Father Colgan leaned against the wall of the gymnasium. He held a glass of something that looked like iced tea but smelled much stronger. The priest’s back rested against the faded red brick and asMoreStingray (Lexington Avenue Express - Short Fiction)Father Colgan leaned against the wall of the gymnasium. He held a glass of something that looked like iced tea but smelled much stronger. The priest’s back rested against the faded red brick and as he drank, his words slurred slightly and his verbal encouragement took on an ever-deepening Irish brogue.The sky was crystal blue on that last day of August. The air around us hummed in dull acknowledgement of absent breeze. A tinny news report crackled from a transistor radio resting on the hood of the priest’s nearby Hudson.Shouldnt we scrape this first? Greg asked, holding his paintbrush up for the Padres inspection. Thick, jagged flakes of rust clung to the silver paint, ominous dark stars in a brilliant universe.Just paint, my boys, the lanky priest responded in his lyrical cadence. As he spoke, Father Colgan lifted his glass to the tip of his prominent beak and studied a winged invader swimming furiously on the surface of the beverage.Hook, Greg and I could read the priests thoughts and we grinned at each other, knowing the Irishman wouldnt waste the precious nectar. Seconds later, a pale index finger rudely dislodged the fledgling Weissmuller from the sea of gold.Maybe we should get some new pipes to replace these worst ones, I said, but I soon realized my words fell upon deaf ears. Tongue thrust to one side of his meaty lips, Hook was intently slathering paint and the priest was carefully examining his drink for the remnants of an errant leg or wing.And so we painted, artisans laboring beneath a cloudless Kansas sky. The radio news ended and was replaced by the drone of Bobby Darrin’s Mack the Knife. I smiled to myself, confident that this ambitious painting project would bring considerable celebrity my way when school opened the following week.*****The following Monday morning at ten minutes of eight, Hook and I turned the corner near the rectory and the bright red Stingray had already arrived, parked in my spot on the end of the bicycle rack behind the school gymnasium. A crowd of third graders had assembled around the garish newcomer- Linda Mueller was standing in the group, beautiful beyond description in her fresh blue school uniform.HOLY MOLY! Hook cried, unable to contain his excitement. Look at that! A new Schwinn Stingray! I saw one just like it at the Western Auto in Cherryvale last week!In one sickening instant, the arrival of this crimson, two-wheeled interloper dashed my dreams of third-grade glory. Now as Hook and I peddled up the drive, the bike rack leered at me, a silver-toothed monster grinning malevolently while all eyes focused on the new kid sitting astride the Stingray.