Part Eight - B
By the time Jack had paddled Doctor Twaddle up the lake to the campsite of the medical emergency… it was dark… and… Mr. Simon was dead.
Doctor Twaddle sat in the front of the canoe. He occasionally touched his paddle to the lake water. Most of the time he held on to it as it rested sideways across the canoe. Doctor Twaddle spent most of the trip up the lake “Just looking around; NICE evening, JACK”. This did not bother Jack. This was the way he paddled a canoe most of the time: a ‘fat sport’ ‘sat’ ‘up front’ and he paddled ‘up the lake’. They ‘talked’ but Jack said little. Between the sport and Jack was ‘the gear’ in the ‘center’ of the canoe. Always, just before ‘shoving off’ Jack would, quickly and without explanation, move the two front ‘sacks’ of ‘gear’ to the rear of the pile… nearer to himself. This was to …try… and ‘balance the load’ for Jack was always the lightest thing in the canoe and… the fat sport up front was the heaviest. This shift of gear never worked ‘perfectly’ but it did make Jack feel better as he “plowed up the lake” with Doctor Twaddle. Additionally, Jack had moved the larger “lunch” box back too.
Mr. Simon was “dead” when he first hit the ground. He “lingered” Gerry said but in fact had died “right off” and “before Jack was out of sight” going down the lake in the canoe. “No bother” was made to fetch him back. Gerry had been through all of this before. The other guide; Jim, had two. He and Gerry wrapped Mr. Simon’s body in a “canoe canvas”, tied him off and “tucked him” in a “cool spot” under some young furs. And waited… for the sports to “wake up” (meaning to desire to do something).
Then they took the four sports across the lake fishing. “No one will bother him” Gerry assured the sports about leaving Mr. Simon’s body unattended. When they came back… in two canoes each with a guide “plowing” in the back… it was “suppertime”. The guides made the fire for cooking, a bigger “campfire” they called it and “supper”. After “supper” it was getting dark. The guides “kept the campfire up”. Jack had not returned with the Doctor. “He ain’t in any hurry” Jim said about the doctor. “Yup” said Gerry.
When it was nearly pitch black to the average person, Jack bumped the canoe on to the lake shore in front of the camp after Doctor Twaddle had “HALLLOWED” several times in the darkness toward “A FIRE”. Jack figured the Doctor’s little silver flask had come out of his pocket a couple times “after it got dark” on the lake. The Doctor, told promptly by Gerry that Mr. Simon was dead and “his body’s over there” with a gesture toward …pitch black Maine forest… said nothing and… joined the sports at the large campfire. Jack, Jim and Gerry pulled the canoe up on shore. They took Doctor Twaddle’s gear to the ‘sport camp’ cabin. Jack took the large lunch box over to the campfire, opened the box up and…:
Doctor Twaddle paid no attention to this at all and was engrossed in familiar conversation with the sports. Jack stood there above the open box. Suddenly Doctor Twaddle who appear to have had no notice of Jack and the box said “EAT UP JACK” and… never missing a beat… returned to conversation with the sports. Jack did “eat up”. Jim and Gerry DID inspect the lunch box and DID “help Jack get rid of the cookies. Too.” After eating, Jack went to bed in ‘the guide tent” beside the cabin. He was asleep right away but did notice that the sports and the doctor stayed up around the campfire “pretty late”.
The next morning at first light Jack was up and… with Jim and Gerry… quietly put Mr. Simons body in the center of a canoe. Then they started a fire and made coffee. And waited. After a little more dawn, Doctor Twaddle came out of the cabin and joined them at the fire. “WELL I went to the EDGE of the BRIDGE but I DIDN’T CROSS.” he said. “SOME OF THEM WERE ACROSS when I got TO the bridge.” he said. “BE A LITTLE SLOW this morning”.
Doctor Twaddle went off behind the cabin and came back with his hair combed. He was offered and drank a cup of coffee. When his cup was refilled he looked over at the canoe with Mr. Simon’s body in it. “You got all his GEAR too?” he said to Gerry.
“We got it” said Gerry.
“Your taking ME DOWN, Jack?”
“Yes sir.” said Jack.
“We have them; ROD case, REEL bag, shotgun…, rifle and a pistol. In the back with Jack.” said Gerry.
“I’ll speak to BEN. Shouldn’t BE… WELL… HE WILL KNOW. JACK? You ready?”.
Jack retrieved Doctor Twaddle’s gear bag that was just inside the sport cabin door. He put that, too, in the rear of the canoe. “NOT MUCH ROOM for your FEET, JACK” said Doctor Twaddle. “Good thing that lunch box got ATE.” He continued while looking down at the leather pistol case sticking up from Mr. Simon’s gear. Fifteen minutes later Jack and Doctor Twaddle were “out of sight” ‘down the lake’.
At Old Ben’s store Pete and Jack put Mr. Simon’s body in “the cold hut” off behind the store. Doctor Twaddle went in to speak with Old Ben. Before he walked over to the store he stood over the gear from the canoe. He picked up the rod case and the reel bag. He opened the reel bag and looked at the real. He looked the rod case over. “I’m gonna take these along with me Jack. I’ll speak to Ben about it”. Jack said nothing.
After a few minutes beyond moving Mr. Simon’s body, the Doctor returned to the canoe and the gear. Jack, waiting, had picked up the pistol case, opened it and was looking over the pistol inside it. Doctor Twaddle looked at the pistol too.
“Jack. That’s not the one for you. The shotgun Jack. I’ll take it up to Ben and tell him.”
“That.. but THAT’S the GOOD ONE sir.
“That’s right Jack and you earned it.”
“I’ll take care of it Jack. I’ll give it to BEN. YOU pick it up from BEN when you come back down. Gerry. He’ll KNOW what I say”.
“But… THAT… Doctor.”
“Jack. You listen to me. The rest of your life you’ll have that shotgun. The rest of your life every time you SEE that gun you’ll remember THIS. You’ll remember ME saying THIS. Don’t be ah FUSSY. Listen to me. You earned the gun fair and square. That sport would want only YOU to have it.” With that Doctor Twaddle picked up the shotgun case and took it up to Ben’s store. When he came back he looked down at the gear. “PROBABLY… should TAKE that PISTOL TOO. Probably wish I HAD IT to BLOW MY BRAINS OUT after I finish talking to THE MINISTER.” he said.
Jack looked at him with query.
“I’s suppose to CONTACT some MINISTER about the SPORT. Ben says so. BEEN UP HERE BEFORE WITH HIM. I GUESS. …MINISTER. As if I want to CONTACT a MINISTER!” he said and then smiled at Jack. “Put all this up in BEN’S Jack.” He said gesturing to the gear. “GET that other lunch box too. That will get you back up the lake. Your done here. I’ll go make Old Ben call that MINISTER. “WHERE DO WE SEND THE BODY?” we say to him. Good work Jack:
“Now Jack. When you come down to town you bring the gun along. We’ll test it… next month. Then you can take those daughters of mine up on the mountain for me and let’em pick blueberries. And stay for dinner when you GET BACK, Jack.”
Fifty years and ten months later (March, 2013) I spoke to Jack’s grandson about the shotgun. Jack is sixty-seven years old. His grandson reported that not only does he still “use” the shotgun but “won’t let anyone else even TOUCH IT”. I have actually touched the shotgun but that was about thirty-five years ago before Jack “knew better” the grandson says… Jack says.