The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

The Doer of Deeds

Here, on this dimly lit night ferry, a group of truckers bask in the melancholy end of their day of work, relaxing from the work of navigating their rigs through this day. Each has a place to go yet tonight, a short leg of a much longer day’s journey, but they are nearly done. They have gathered around a table, playing dice and quietly joking with each other as if they’ve known each other forever, the bond of their profession bringing them together. Occasionally they erupt in laughter when the dice rolls. A biker sits in the corner with his arms folded over his road-stained leathers, content with his travel, seeming out of place for the well-kept cafeteria deck. The cafeteria has closed, the distant lights of the island hover above and below the blackness of the night across the water, and the smell of the Sea occasionally wafts in. The waters are still, but not the placid smoothness of a lazy summer day. This is the calm of a sea whose guts are still churning from the storm earlier, a sea spent and worn, that still smells of things dredged up by the wind and waves that beat it through the day. A storm has passed, the same storm these truckers and biker have passed through today.

This is not a pretty boat here in the deep of the night. Couples in love do not canoodle their way around the outer decks. Pairs of old ladies, friends from as far back as they can remember, do not sit in seats with their shopping bags from a day in the Big City gabbing about their neighbours. It is a boat of business tonight, of the serious deeds of life being done while others sleep.

In between the biker and the truckers sit a man and his grandson riding home to tell grandma of the wondrous things seen and done today. The little boy asking questions one after another – his energy fading faster than his curiosity. The grandpa answers about every third question, letting the boy walk himself through the others, and smiles at the animated joy that forces the weary child up and for a quick lap of the row seats when an answer dawns on him. Sometimes he winds up at the window, staring at the distant island lights. Sometimes he winds up underneath the seats, exploring for more questions. The questions the young boy asks of his Grandpa are of this new world of Industry. He wants to know about the trucks in the hold. He wants to know where they might be going, what they might contain. He wants to know why the smell of the tires and diesel excites him. He has caught a hint of the connection of his Grandpa, the man that up till now was just an old man who loved him, but now, in the context of this night, he realizes that this old man is part of this world too – and suddenly a knower of Manly Things.

The boy searches for more questions to ask of his Grandpa. He peers at the biker over the back of his chair 40 feet away and studies the leather-clad figure, covered in road-grime and mud and bugs and other short-”u” voweled Earth Words. When the biker’s eyes unexpectedly open, the boy ducks, turns around, and asks his Grandpa another question in low, urgent tones. A low chuckle is the only response. The lad sits in silence for a little while, then surreptitiously steals another glance. The biker’s eyes open again, and the sudden eye contact shocks the boy’s senses. He spins around again, and in the stillness of sitting, not wanting to be seen, the day suddenly overtakes him. His questions fade, the top of his head droops against his grandfather’s shoulder, and the dim lights of the island tiptoe closer without his knowledge.

The biker sits, watching the truckers, listening to the boy’s newfound silence, keeping track of the Ferry personnel and occasional other passengers that wander through the tables looking for something to do. Here, at the bow of the ship, an atmosphere has been created that makes others hurry along, feeling out of place here, looking to find refuge in another part of the ship. This place is for those who have done Deeds today. And this boy is in their midst. The grandfather has, by being here with him on this night amongst the truckers and the biker, shown this boy who he will become, where he belongs in this life, a Doer of deeds.


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3 Responses to “The Doer of Deeds”

  1. Sarah says:

    I love this story Daddy 🙂

  2. Jodie Bubblehead Christopher says:

    Great insight and outsight again Glenn, I love these!

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