The sun dipped westerly and a buzzing wind had cut across the sky. A horde of cars and trucks left a dusty cloud on the exit of Reggie Firefeather’s Strawberry U-Pick farm and the Breadman waved his arms wildly in a sort of protest but Garry Perry just walked through it paying it no heed.
Neither Garry Perry nor the Breadman had ever been to Reggie Firefeather’s Strawberry U-Pick. In fact it had been years since Garry Perry had left the Slough area. With the English Emporium warehouse, or the job house as it was known on the Slough, going strong and Clay Biffley offering to do the shopping for the both of them, Garry Perry never saw the need to reach beyond Dyke Rd.
There was also Garry Perry’s dislike of the foreigners. They spoke in a weird language he didn’t completely understand and behaved in a way he did not agree with. He often monitored them from his deck as they would click their cameras at the sight of the wooden sign on the crown of his home. It read “Dinner Plate Island School” and he could not figure why they found it so amusing. If they wanted to know, it was his father who had mounted it on his home when Garry Perry was very young and did it without telling his mother, who then subsequently kicked him out for ten days just for the insensitivity that it showed to good taste. Darny ‘ight too, Garry Perry had always thought. But the foreigners kept coming and clicking and he kept shaking his head at the silly sight.
The clothing they wore sometimes boggled his mind, too.
Some women would walk by in thin black pants made from outer space, as they pushed their three wheeled baby prams with one hand and sipped their Starbucks coffee with another.
The men were no better. They would go by and spit all over the ground as they ran past the homes and would allow their mangy dogs to relieve themselves on any property they could. Often he would hear some men say in disgust, “muddy flatters” as they kept six for their pooches.
Garry Perry never said anything. He just accepted it as foreign behaviour.
“Welcome guys to what I call a little patch of fruit heaven,” Reggie Firefeather as he marched up to Sloughians. Garry Perry and the Breadman were snooping around his car garage. “It’s just about closing time but you got enough time to feed yourselves today and come back tomorrow.”
The U-Pick farm was now completely empty but the farmer appeared to have no problem letting the two Sloughians in for one last pick.
“Ya git Zomb-eyas?” the Breadman asked urgently. “We wanna see Clay Biffley, ya knew.”
Reggie Firefeather rolled his blue eyes and sat down on a stool by his garage door.
“Yeah… we got Strawberries,” said Reggie Firefeather shaking his head.
“Ooh, Fug-A-loo,” Garry Perry said, as the Breadman’s face turned the colour of snow. “Id thar right, huh?”
The farmer put his shovel down and wore a face of confusion.
“Yeah, we got plenty of strawberries; you pick ‘em, you pay for ‘em, you keep ‘em. As simple as that, boys. This Clay Wiffley, I’ve never heard of.”
“Biff,” Garry Perry corrected.
“Cana we do a looky-loo?” the Breadman asked, hooking his head around the corner of the garage. Reggie Firefeather watched him closely acting as if he thought they were threats to steal or worse.
“What are you looking for?” Reggie Firefeather asked. “The strawberries are over there and you better get going because I’m not going to keep this farm open much longer.”
“Many?” asked the Breadman scratching under his chin to show he was taking all this investigation business very seriously.
“Yes, it’s a farm.”
“Ooooh, FUG-A-LOO,” Garry Perry said. The shocking admission by Reggie Firefeather made him both excited to be that close to the answer of the whereabouts of his friend Clay Biffley and scared of what lay in the U-Pick fields behind the garage. For if what laid there were a field of Zombies he was no man for the job.
The Breadman kept up his investigation of the farmer’s residence. He swung his fishnet wildly a few times in no particular direction and then began looking first under flower pots, then knocking on the side garage door and then finished by looking in the farmer’s house windows to see if there were any evil beings living under the farmer’s rug.
Reggie Firefeather soon grew tired of the investigation and said: “there is nothing to find up there. Why don’t you get going to the U-Pick or get going home.”
The two Sloughians, detective the Breadman and Garry Perry the Wise got going towards the U-Pick fields as the sun disappeared completely behind the tall hemlocks to the back of the field, moving slowly so that they didn’t miss a clue.
“Flipping muddy flatters,” Reggie Firefeather mouthed under his breath.
ONE MORE SMOKE FOR THE ROAD
9 years ago