He was short, fat and bald, a loner who dreaded

going to work, complaining the door to his office

might as well have been the gate of San Quentin.

Shackled to a steel desk, buried under bills of lading,

invoices and claims to be filed, he waited for the morning sun

to glitter off the Chrysler, illuminating his favorite reveries.

He stood on the bow of a schooner, jaw clenched, a proud

buccaneer slashing through whitecaps, rolling breakers

sweeping salt spray on his resolute face, patiently waiting

to land on Tahiti where honey-colored women with melon

size breasts sporting bougainvillea blossoms in silky long

hair would embrace him like a mother who found her lost child.

An addicted clock watcher, his ennui-ridden soul waited till five

before swiggin a fifth of Captain Morgan, the rum he liked best.

On a last day at the office he reported with glee that his uncle

had died and left him his farm on the Isles De La Madeleine.

Once again he found himself watching the clock, his guardian

of sobriety. While stirring a bouillabaisse or reading a book

he’d look up at the clock waiting till five to have his first drink

(except on weekends when rules didn’t apply).

His ritual gradually lapsed as the DT’s came on metamorphosizing

him into characters in his daydreams. He welcomed aboard

mutinous stragglers from Pitcarin Island, shushing them when

they badmouthed Captain Bly. He enjoyed amiable chats with men

of the sea, discussing the price of breadfruit and when the wind

was right to haul sail, but the fire in his belly ignited in a skirmish

with Captain Cook over missing doubloons. In a coruscating rage

he pranced around the room in a simulated duel, knocking over

an oil lamp he vanished in flames, the time on the clock of no matter


Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605