Joe in the crate

Joe woke up to a rushing sound. He blinked, rubbed his eyes and looked around. It was pretty dark in the crate, but pencil-thin rays of sunlight pierced through the wood, illuminating the dust that rose as he stirred. Sunlight? Joe blinked again, his mind still foggy with sleep. This was an alleyway. It didn’t get sun until 3 in the afternoon, for a whole 30 minutes. And what was that sound? Was that waves?

“Did some fuckers move me to the docks?” he muttered out loud. “I will cut their fucking mums ear to ear…”

He’d had a few spats around the docks and had been bidden to stay away, a warning he’d intended to heed. You don’t fuck around with the Italians. If someone caught him emerging from a crate in the middle of the place, they’d sling chains around him and dump him in the harbor quick as a bullet.

Joe felt beside him, grabbed his flat cap and put it on. “No use sitting here waiting for wops, Joey,” he muttered under his breath. “Get yourself outta here now.”

He sat up and got to a crouching position, ready to make a sprint for it if need be. He carefully lifted the lid three inches and peered outside.

It was a beach.

Joe stood up straight, throwing the lid off the crate and gaped. It was a white, sandy beach, squeezed between dunes on one side and a foamy, rolling sea on the other. Joe turned around, but there wasn’t a single high rise building in sight. Hell, there wasn’t a single building in sight.

For a full minute, all Joe could do was gape. A million million thoughts tore through his mind and he didn’t have an answer to a single one of them. Was it the opium? Am I hallucinating? Am I dead? Did someone drug me and put me on a boat and toss me overboard and I washed up here? Hoe long was I out? How am I not dead? What if I am? Until he noticed he hadn’t vocalized the one question he really wanted to ask, really needed to, and he screamed, bellowing the question into the wind.


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