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Chapter #6

Declan 1.1 (The Tallywhacker Man)

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Ew, so gross. This ick is making me sick.
I decided to head towards the ocean and shower off at the beach, maybe
wash my clothes in the public restroom there. They’d still be wet, but way less
My Goldie outfit! Fuck man, I hope I didn't ruin my Goldie outfit. I was
kind of hoping to go back there someday and wear it for the crazy hat lady.
Somehow I thought that'd make her day.
I smacked a mosquito that landed on my arm as I made my way along.
Pretty soon another one started buzzing around my ears and as I was waiving
my hands around trying to swat it, a huge swarm of the little bastards started
attacking me. In mere moments I was covered head to toe. It got so bad that I
just started running as fast as I could, swatting them every time I stopped to
catch my breath and there was just no swatting them fast enough. The canal
slime must attract them like a magnet. I was running and smacking and
running and smacking, and they just kept coming.
And as I ran, I knew I was getting close because I could smell the oceans
briny breeze. When I finally saw it, I caught a second wind and started running
even faster. I knew that shelter was just a few strides away.
My feet skidded across the cold shallow waves, and, oooh, there’s the
nuts. Aghhh, fvvvh, oooh, that was cold. I caught my breath, and my gosh that
was a lot of mosquitoes, especially for this time of year. I gave the mosquitoes
time to disapate and then eased myself out of the ocean. It was just about the
time my body adjusted to the temperature, and so it was oooh, fvvvh, again.
I headed over to the restrooms and turned on the sink. I began soaking
and ringing out my Goldie pants and my Goldie shirt and my crusty undies.

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I rung them out one last time really good. It had to be two or three in the
morning, and there wasn’t a soul around, so I decided to throw my clothes over
a fence that separated the sand from the boardwalk. I was itchy all over from
the bites, but at least I do feel better knowing there not all over me.
Exhausted I decided to hide out in the bathroom for a while. You know,
let my clothes dry in the ocean breeze a bit before putting them back on.
A few moments went by, and I saw a young couple’s long, thin silhouette
walking towards the beach. They were holding hands and walking real close,
kissing and stuff.
I knew they were sneaking down to go skinny dipping in the ocean. I just
stayed quiet, hoping they wouldn’t discover me hiding naked in the bathhouse.
Watching them walk by made me feel lonely. It’s been a while since I was in
They made their way down to the water, and I decided I better go get my
clothes before anybody else walked up or noticed them. So I snuck out of the
bathhouse and ran over to the fence, covering my wanker doodle with both
Then, surprise! I ran into some teenage tourists standing there in my
way, laughing at me. It was like they appeared out of nowhere. One yelled out,
“Hurry! Grab his clothes!”
Oh no.
And they grabbed them and the they all started running toward a
beachfront resort, laughing and running and laughing and fuck me.
“Come on, man. Don’t leave me out here like this, kids.” Pant, pant,
pant. “Come on now.” My energy was spent. I couln't barely even chase them,
much less catch'em.
One of them dropped my shirt, then one of the girls started calling me
the tallywhacker man. They were all laughing at me hysterically and running
back when I lunged forward to try and grab my pants.

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Then they all started saying it and laughing. “Tallywhacker man!
Tallywacker man! Mr. Tallywhacker! No pants, no pants!”
Ughhh. I’d beat ’em half to death if I could catch ’em. Why do things like
this always happen to me? Fuck me.
After some more teasing and bantering, they gave me my pants, and I
walked back to get my shirt. I was a beat man. I was tired, sore, beat up, and
humiliated like no other.
“I’m going to kill every one of you little brats,” I said.
The oldest-looking one said to me, “What the hell are you doing out here?
Banging some other guy in the bathhouse? You sick and disgusting old man.”
“Old?” I repeated. “No, man. I’m just trying to get home after a long and
dreadful night.”
One of the girls said, “Yeah, I bet your girlfriend kicked you out for being
a dumbass, and now you’re whacking it in the bathhouse while peeping on
people going skinny dipping in the middle of the night.”
Then it hit me that that was what they were probably doing in their room
while their parents were asleep. I wondered how long they’d been watching the
“No, no, come on,” I begged. “Not every grown-up is a perv or a freak.”
I noticed the girls are twins. “Yeah, and the ones out and about at four in
the morning are never freaky pervs,” one of them said sarcastically.
“Yeah, well, you got me there,” I replied.
Then the youngest one piped up, asking, “Are you in trouble, Mr.
I chuckled. “Nah.”
Then the older one said, “Then what?”
Little smart asses. “Yeah, I’m in trouble. You got me. Are ya happy now?
Do you really want to know the truth? I got a freak out there that wants to kill
me and a best friend who kicked me out of his ball so he could lead them away
as a decoy. He might be dead right now for all I know.”

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Then the other twin chimed in with, “Sure, Mr. Tallywhacker.”
“Ugh, would you stop calling me that? It ain’t funny anymore. You can
call me Dickey.”
They laughed and said, “Same thing!”
I didn’t want to tell them the name I went by. You never know.
The oldest one grinned and looked at me, saying, “We might be able to
help you. If you buy us some booze, I’ll give you the keys to my dad’s boat.”
Then he pulled them out of his pocket and jingled them at me. “He’ll just think
he left them in there, but you gotta promise me you won’t wreck it.”
The one that appeared to be his girlfriend said, “Yeah, and you have to
leave it where the cops can easily find it.”
I couldn’t believe it. Finally, a stroke of good luck, and all it would cost
me was a bottle of booze and my dignity.
“Well, okay,” I said. “But you guys can’t be doing anything dangerous if
you get drunk. And none for the little one,” I said, pointing at the kid with the
squeaky voice. “And if you two,” I said, pointing at the older couple, “get lucky,
you’ll wear a condom. Do you have a condom? Forget it, I’ll buy you one of
those too.”
Now, there was an all-night liquor store visible from where we were
making this deal, and the resort’s boat dock was only about two hundred yards
from the liquor store on the Intracoastal Waterway side of the street.
The oldest kid jingled the keys at me and said, “I’ll be waiting at the boat
dock.” And the littlest one, about eleven, giggled. I don’t think he’d ever had a
drink before. But what the hell, they’ll be talking about this night for the rest of
their lives one way or the other.
I walked, because I was just too tired and sore to even strut fast, across
the street. I went in, picked up a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20, and asked the clerk
for a condom. I shrunk down to about the size of the squeaky kid when I
noticed the guy’s name tag. Read Tally. Yup, there it was, big as life on his
nametag, Tally.

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“Thanks, Tally,” I said after I made the purchase and walked out the
I gave the kids their bounty, and they gave me the keys. One of the girls
said, “Thanks, Dickey.”
I looked over and saw a twenty-foot open fisherman with big red letters
on the side of the boat that read, you guessed it, Tallywhacker. I looked over at
the kids and smirked. “Daddy’s boat, huh?” I couldn’t believe the irony. I was
about to steal that poor clerk’s boat because some smartass little twerps found
the keys he’d left behind.
You couldn’t miss it. The whole world would find this boat as soon as I
started it up. But I turned the key anyway and hoped there was enough gas to
get to Highland Beach. The gauge seemed to be broken. It didn’t register
anything at all.
I hoped the kids didn’t get hurt, or caught. They all waved and laughed
at me as I idled backwards out of the slip. Then I snatched the wig off the little
one’s head as I passed. I said to them, “You kids be careful now. Don’t get
I hopped in, put on an over-sized life jacket, cranked the old dinosaur
engine, and I pointed that Tallywhacker north. Then I gave her a little gas. I
shook the wig a little over the side of the boat, and then stuck it on my head for
the cameras up and down the Intracoastal.
The sun was going to be coming up soon. It was already starting to
lighten the starry sky. I knew it was just a matter of time before Tally noticed
his boat was missing. Almost the entire Intracoastal was a no-wake zone, but I
pushed the limit as much as I thought I could get away with.
There was a straw fishing hat under the console, so I reached down and
put it on over the wig to help secure it to my head nice and tight. It’d been a
while since I’d been on a boat. I used to live on the M-1 canal in Royal Palm
Beach. Life was good when I was a little boy. We didn’t have much money, but
we had some good times.

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My dad would go fishing almost every day after work. He was a carpenter
before he decided to open up the taco stand. He’d catch fish like they were
going out of style. I would bet he caught every bass in the canal at least twice.
He even had names for some of them.
I remembered one called Hook Mouth that lived at the bottom of the
seawall that Dad built in the backyard. The fish looked like somebody broke
his jaw catching him one time. He wasn’t a big fish, but you could see his
crooked mouth from the top of the seawall. You could dangle a brass hook
right in front of him with no bait on it, and he’d bite it. He was kind of like our
own little pet fish.
A couple of fisherman looked up and signaled me to slow down a bit. I
obliged them. I didn’t want to piss anybody off while driving a stolen
Tallywhacker. The water was pretty calm, and so was the ocean. I thought
about getting out into the ocean and opening it up a little but, I didn’t want to
get out there and run out of gas. So I just kept putt-putting up the waterway.
Putting along was so relaxing. Everything was so serene. The trees, the
mansions, the condos. A school of mullet jumped, breaking the still waters as
the wake danced with the boats floating behind me. I decided a little putt-
putting detour wouldn't hurt round about the edge of the Hillsboro inlet, by the
old lighthouse.
The sun was starting to crest over the ocean as a cool, briny breeze
flowed through my wig. It was so surreal and picturesque. A flock of people
were flying south over the ocean in their flycars, probably headed to Fort
Lauderdale or Miami.
I turned the Tallywhacker around while gazing at the old lighthouse on
the north bank. It was one of the last ones in the world.
I made my way back to the Intracoastal and started heading north again.
A cop in a police boat heading south waved at me at the mouth of the
inlet. My heart stopped.

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Finally, I smiled and waved back at him. So far so good. Easy does it, so
far so good. Then I heard him idle up slightly as he cruised away from me and
out of earshot. As relieved as I was to hear it, I was not about to turn my head
around to see. Nope, no way, just easy does it.
I got up to Hillsboro Beach and saw a few early birds heading to the
beach. They were walking over the bridge as I was going under it. They looked
like a family of tourists. They all had beach towels flung over their shoulders.
The dad, a tall lanky fella, had the white stuff on his nose. His daughter, who
was way too young for me to be looking at, was beautiful. Her long, straight
hair was waving in the breeze. Her bikini top was a size or two too small, and
her young perky breasts looked like they were about to burst right out of it. If I
were a few years younger, I’d park the Tallywhacker right there just for the
possibility of saying hello. Her little brother stuck his tongue out at me as his
mom readjusted the strap of the cooler she was carrying.
Moving along, I saw a few more mullets jumping, probably spooked by a
snook or a jack. A pelican dive-bombed into the water just off the starboard
side, startling me a little. I guessed he got himself a little breakfast. There was
a flock of parrots in the trees, making a lot of noise just before they all flew off
into the morning sky. There wasn’t a cloud around.
Off in the distance, I could hear a police siren. It seemed to be getting
closer and closer. Holy shit, that was the cop I just waved at.
I was going around the bend just past the Palmetto Bridge. Heart in my
throat, I threw down the throttle, and the Merc 1500 wound up and started
screaming. The bow of the boat rose straight up in the air and then leveled
down on plane, and, man, that boat was hauling ass.
My hat went flying off, and as I came around at the very next bend, the
motor went blumpityblump…blump.
Fuck. I was out of gas.
Quickly, I jumped into the water and started swimming to the shore as
the boat drifted the other way.

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The cop was right behind me. I was almost to the bank when I saw him
coming around the bend. He headed full blast towards the Tallywhacker.
I snuck behind a mangrove that was growing a few feet away from the
bank and watched as he pulled up to the boat. He looked in and around it,
then quickly turned his head to see if he could spot me.
I held my breath as if he might hear me breathing or something. The
salty water was burning my eyes, and I didn’t know what to do. I’d never been
in trouble with the cops before. I didn’t want to be in trouble with them now
The cop turned his head and looked on the mainland side of the bank. I
must have pushed the boat in that direction jumping towards the island.
A couple of police roloballs pulled up on the scene. I had to do something
The cop in the boat tied a rope around the Tallywhacker and pulled over
to the bank on the mainland side, where the other cops were. As soon as I saw
them start talking to each other, I ran up the bank. I was on the north side of
the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.
I wrapped the wig in the life jacket and tucked them under some of the
mangrove’s roots, then hiked up the slippery bank and found a trail. I didn’t
look back. I just kept running as fast as I could, winding around the banyans
and gumbo limbo trees, until I wound up at a tunnel that went under A1A to
the beach. I hid out in there to catch my breath. I saw blue lights flashing as
another cop pulled into the nature preserve’s welcome center up a hill in the
Hey, I wasn’t in the boat anymore. I was just a guy going for a walk on
the beach. Hmm, with wet clothes on. That was kind of suspicious, especially if
I was the only one on the beach or anywhere around to question. I wish I had
some white stuff to put on my nose or something to make me a little less
suspicious. Oh well, I got what I got.

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Of course, my comband was ruined. That left out calling for help. It was
water resistant, but it was not waterproof. And it was sure as hell not salt-
water proof.
I walked to the other side of the tunnel and gazed out across the beach,
over the ocean. I was exhausted from all the crap that’d been going on in my
life, and now this. What the fuck. It used to be so easy. Just get up, goof off
with my friends, and find a little work here and there. Fuck, now I was
probably headed to jail.
I backed up against the tunnel wall, then crept up real close to the
entrance, listening for anything at all and trying to see what was going on. And
I heard some rustling around, but it didn’t sound like cops looking for
I poked my head out and saw that the cop who pulled into the park had
opened the trunk on his cruiser to let out the cam swarm. I’d be dead meat
soon. Busted like Buster.
I looked around, and over by a playground where I saw a homeless guy
with a bicycle. It had baskets over the back tire and another one over the
handlebars in front. They were packed full of crap.
No help there. Dammit. So close, yet so far.