The Bigger Bounce
Jack Ryan looked out of the dirty window of the cab. The sun shone through the threating clouds and bounced off the water ahead of him. Beside him sat a bag full of all his possessions. At least the possessions he could hold. On top sat a brand new harmonica. It had taken him a while to find one he really liked. His last one was his favorite but it had been tainted after his stay in jail. Now he was heading back there. To a place he had wanted to forget, a place that wanted to forget him. All he could think about was who would still be around. Would the crime, deceit and lies still be in the air? Would Harris still be a prick? Would Frank ever learn how to rob a place by himself? Would number 9 be there?
As the car pulled up outside the hotel Jack saw a familiar figure standing by the doorstep. He got out of the car, paid the driver and headed for the door.
"Morning Officer." Jack said.
"Well, well, well. The tumbleweed returns." Officer Coleman said.
"Wow big word. Have you been reading word of the day toilet paper?"
"Cute. Very cute surfer boy. So how has life been treating you Mr Ryan?"
"Can't complain." Jack said.
"Seeing as I am here, I had better make sure you settle in nicely."
"How thoughtful of you." Jack said with an air of sarcasm in his voice.
"If I had enough evidence, I would bust you for robbery."
"Well, I guess I will wait with bated breath."
"Watch your back around here Mr Ryan. I am watching you. Any evidence that you are up to your old tricks and I will have you back in my jail so fast you feet won't touch the ground." Officer Coleman said. Jack giggled as he recalls the moment he infringed on the Officers privacy and copped a look at his 'boyfriend' "Did I say something funny?"
"No, officer. How did you know I was coming back?" Jack asked.
"I know everything."
"Did Frank tell you?" Jack asked.
"Just don't let me see you in my jail again Mr Ryan." Officer Coleman said. He started to walk away.
"Officer? Is Frank around?"
"I suggest you stay away from him, if you want to stay out of trouble."
"Your concern for me is heartwarming officer." Jack smiled as the officer walked away. Jack turned back to the hotel. The place looked like it had housed more rodents then actual humans. But Jack wasn't complaining. It actually felt nice to be back. He had always liked this place, despite its resident money grabbers and bent judges. His last visit had ended with mixed results. He was $250k richer, Ray Ritchie was deceased and Nancy, the minx was scrapping for a lift. The best place for her he thought. She had caused him too many problems. He walked into the hotel lobby and up to the desk. No one seemed to be behind the counter. He leaned over it and poked around.
"Hello" He called. No one answered and no one appeared. He looked around for one of those annoying bell things. His eyes fell on a leaflet. He picked it up and sighed. "Bob Rogers Construction" He read. How did that weed manage to take over a mutli million dollar company? He glanced his eyes over the rest of the lobby. It was one step up from a back alley. Whoever the owner was, he needed a serious visit from the environmental health officer.
"Anyone home? Your place is being robbed." He called. If no one shows I may rob the place myself.
"Can I help?" A voice said from behind the desk. Jack turned around and almost choked when he saw the man in front of him. So it was true.
"Jack Ryan. What are you doing back here?" Frank asked.
"What are you doing here I heard Frank had an honest job, I had to see it." Jack said.
"Yeah. My family knew the owner. When he passed he left it to us." Frank explained. "I heard you had run off with Gayle from number 9"
"Didn't work out. But she writes occasionally."
"So what are you doing here? If Officer Coleman catches you here he will put you back in jail."
"I already got reacquainted with him, outside here as a matter of fact. Despite my last rumblings in this lovely place, the surf is still the best there is. I couldn't miss an opportunity like that."
"Well it is great to have you back. I can get you the best room in the house." Frank said.
"Where, in the basement?" Jack laughed. "Its fine Frank, I am going to head to my old place...nice place you have here."
"I know it needs some work but I just haven't got the money to spend."
"Well I am sure we can figure something out." Jack said.
"Want a tour?" Frank asked. Jack nodded; Frank picked up a key and led Jack up some stairs and into a corridor. The hall seemed lighter and much more inviting then the lobby downstairs. There were paintings and plants all over the place. Frank opened a door and Jack followed him in. The room was nice. A big bed with fresh sheets. A large window with drapes that matched the bedspread. A mini bar and dressing table sat on the side, a TV was sat on the top.
"Its our best room."
"Its great Frank."
"So you just here for the surfing, or someone else?" Frank asked.
"I have not seen Nancy since the day I left." Jack said.
"You mean the day of the robbery?"
"You know what happened?" Jack asked.
"I know the lie Walter made up, I know Mrs Ritchie shot me thinking I was you. What happened man?"
"All you need to know is, they all tried to set me up but I rised to the occasion."
"Apparently all of Rays money was missing, any ideas?"
"No, no idea at all Frank." Jack said.
"Come on man, you spent every day with that Nancy, she was a troublemaker with a capital T. You have to know?" Frank pushed.
"Don't you trust me man. I want to put Nancy and all that happened behind me okay." Jack said.
"I took a bullet for you Jack."
"It was a graze Frank." Jack said.
"Leave it Frank. I just wanted to come back here and enjoy the surf."
"Watch your back, Harris is still fuming after your last confrontation."
"Don't worry about me; all I am here to do is surf." Jack shook Franks hand and headed down the stairs. Frank watched as his one time best friend disappeared in front of him. He knew Jack was aware of where the money ended up. What he couldn't make out was why Jack was lying to him.
As Jack got out of his hire car he felt the warm breeze on his face. The air was clear and fresh; he took a deep breath and relished the feel the sea gave him. The openness of the water in front of him, the golden sand. If he had a choice he would always live at the beach. No matter what was going on, the sea was always there, the surf was his best friend. It listened to his problems as he became one with it, it didn't stray from him or mislead him. It was there, full of confidence and passion. He stood and watched the white clouds of the waves, lapping through the warm sand. The sounds were almost harmonious to Jack. They seemed to call to him like a whale calling for its lost young. It was sweet, comforting. Jack had never felt more at home then he did here, maybe he would stick around this time.
He pulled his bag out of the seat beside him and humped it on his back. He had left his prized surfboard here and was eager to retrieve it. Though he was slightly concerned. He had been boarding at Walters resort Keiki Vista and in a hurry, had left some of his belongings behind. All he had had time for that day was to grab a few clothes and a ride out of there. He hoped it was still there. He pulled a key from his pocket and walked further down the beach. The waves were lashing high and he was itching to ride them again. He walked silently along the path and up to his place hoping that it hadn't been let out to someone else, or bulldozed by Richies company. As he got closer he could see someone inside, great, it was let to someone. He crept up silently and tried the door. It was open a jar. He tiptoed in and looked around.
"Hello!" he called. Hope whoever lives here hasn't got a knife or something. He thought. There was no answer. He walked into the kitchen and noticed that nothing had been moved from when he had left. The coffee cup on the side, waiting to be washed. The towel hanging on the chair, the box of spare car parts he had been cleaning was still sitting on the table. One of the curtains at the kitchen window had fallen, to Jack it looked like a screw had come away from the wall.
"Is anyone here?" He called. Maybe he had been seeing things. He put his bag on the table and turned back to the lounge. All of a sudden Jack was aware of a presence near him; he turned around and was surprised by the figure that was staring back at him.