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Richard and Wilson stood on the bridge watching the barges as they moved lazily up and down the river. Well, Richard was watching the river traffic; Wilson had made himself comfortable on the pavement. He was watching the cars as they drove across the bridge. The evening sun had painted the city with glowing orange light. It was that magic time of day when anything could happen.
“Richard, are you hungry at all?” Wilson asked.
“Sorry, what did you say?”
“I asked if you were hungry. Feeling a bit peckish, maybe?”
“I don’t know, Wilson. I think I’m a bit homesick right now. Not really feeling up to snuff. I want to eat, that’s certain; but with the full moon, my wings have blackened. I dare not attempt to hunt. Not safe to fly about the city with my wings in this state, you know. I should be OK in a couple of days though. Don’t tell me you are thinking of going to a pub? Don’t tell me that you fancy a pint, and a dish of shepherds’ pie?”
“I should say not,” Wilson replied. “Remember what happened last time we tried that. It makes me shudder just to think about it!”
Richard threw his head back and laughed. A loud laugh that came from deep in his belly – the water got a little rougher on the river below. “Looking back at it now I actually find it rather humorous,” he said.
“Yeah, it really was, wasn’t it?” Wilson smiled as he remembered too. “Only in hindsight though mind you, only in hindsight.
‘No, I was actually thinking of something a little more in keeping with our standard modus operandi. I was thinking we might stop one of these cars. We could take the driver rather easily. A BMW went past a moment ago with a tasty looking woman in the driver’s seat, two young children in the back that would have made delicious starters. We might even want to stop one of these coaches. That would be a bit like going to a buffet, I think. We could let them all run about on the bridge for awhile before we dined. You know, play with our food a bit!”
“Oh, you’re bad Wilson, you really are! Can you imagine what my mother would say if she knew I was even contemplating such a thing?”
“So, don’t tell her Richard. She need never know. What do you think?”
“I think it’s a bodacious idea Wilson.” Richard smiled, “I especially fancy the fun we could have with a coach. When the next one comes along I’ll step out in traffic and spread my wings. These black wings will stop them for sure. You open the door and leap on board. Make sure you roar really bloody loud and look ferocious.”
Wilson bared his teeth and roared – the colour of the setting sunlight shifted, ever so slightly, “Like this, you mean?”
“That’s excellent,” they high-fived, “No wonder you’re ‘King of the Jungle’.”
They both crouched a bit when they saw a silver coach turn onto the High Street and head in their direction. Richard was actually holding his breath in anticipation. What a splendid day.
“Hi Dad,” Samantha said when she walked into my office and plopped herself on the edge of my desk.
“Hey Sam,” I replied. “I wasn’t expecting you. What’s up?”
“Nothin’ much. I was running some errands and realized how close I was. I thought maybe I could convince you to take me to lunch. Hey, who’s this?” she picked up the wooden frame that sat next to my phone.
Behind the picture glass was a portrait of a young lady taken outdoors. The sunlight reflected off her cheeks but her large inquisitive eyes, staring at the camera, were shaded by her auburn hair; hair that wound carelessly down over her left shoulder. She wore a coarse knit, crew neck sweater in shades of green. She sported a half smile and looked happy.
Sam grinned as she studied the photo. “I used to have a sweater just like that one,” she said. “This girl looks familiar. Do I know her? Who is she?”
I closed the open file on my desk and set it aside, “Well shit, Sam. This wasn’t how it was supposed to play out. I don’t know what was supposed to happen but it sure wasn’t this.”
“Her name is Emily, she’s 15 years old. She looks familiar because she looks a lot like you.”
Sam studied the picture and spun slowly to sit in one of the chairs across the desk from me. She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips a little, “Dad?” She repeated.
“She’s your sister. Well, half sister.”
“Does Mom know?”
“Of course she does. I could never keep secrets from her. We worked this out long ago.”
Sam kept looking straight at me, obviously anticipating more.
“Emily and her mother live down south. Years ago, I had a brief affair. Emily was the result. I see her as often as possible. Emily’s a wonderful girl Sam. I think you’d like her.”