Gregson’s family loved him for who he was 20 years ago. Now that he was 50, all that potential was gone. A man must choose himself; it’s a style that he puts on. Many men let their wives dress them. Gregson thought there was nothing more horrific than letting a woman fumble with his necktie—not that he ever wore one. What’s even worse, is listening to people who don’t see you. Their internal monologues keep them sane. They see themselves in everything.

Gregson followed his brother-in-law through the tall grass.

Their estate had a white porch overlooking the ocean. Gregson’s dad rocked in a chair like a metronome, staring at the waves, thin as a skeleton, waiting for something.

“How’s the cancer, pop?”

“Not so good!”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“What’s the matter, do you want me to die?”

“Of course not.”

“Well, I’ve killed the cancer with Vitamin C mega doses. The only thing I miss, is not being able to take a drink of Coke. Cancer cells love the stuff, and so do I. Maybe, we have something in-common—your mother seems to think so.”

“That’s because you smoke your cigars inside her house.”

“Well, you’re probably right. If you had been smart, you could’ve made police commissioner.”

“There are many kinds of intelligence—best to choose the one that makes sense to you.”

Pop rolled his eyes. “I’ve been working on my will— been getting my affairs in order. And no, I didn’t cheat on your mother. It’s the other kind. I’ve decided to leave everything to your sister, except my library. Supposedly, you can find the treasure, if you read every book.”

“That would take a dozen lifetimes.”

“Probably right; I tried, myself, and now it’s up to you.”

“I’m going for a run.”

“Enjoy your legs while you have them, son. Wooden legs run in the family. Your grandfather lost his in a scuba diving accident, and I lost mine in a hunting accident. The way you’re headed, you’ll lose yours because of your diet. Murder doesn’t sit well with you.

“I know pop; that’s why I’m going for a run.”

Gregson did his best thinking on the trail…

Living, was a challenge. Most people were not alive. Gregson watched the boys playing in the soccer field, as he ran past. They were growing like weeds, and fighting the crushing concrete. He knew the weed-killer would get them in the end. They would all identify with their jobs. Even he, didn’t like to call himself a PI. Once you give yourself a title, you can put yourself on the shelf, like a dusty trophy. When society can’t use you, it ignores you. Praise, is the best form of control. You learn that in school, if you stay in school long enough. It’s like a Ponzi-scheme. Teachers learn how to control kids, and they kill them with kindness. It’s worse than murder.

The trail ran next to the canal. Gregson knew where he was headed. It was the old Spanish mission. Being home made him think about being a kid, and being a kid reminded him of lost dreams and lost gold. The Father was still alive, and the Father understood him. Perhaps, a conversation would reveal a clue. Gregson’s best friend, Murphy, was always running his age. It was a line-graph, where the body slows down and the miles pile up. At 45, Murphy hadn’t failed yet. At 50, Gregson was running in reverse. He was nearly to the terrible twos, and becoming a toddler of three, which was beyond him. He needed to stop eating kettle corn! The trail took a dog-leg left, through the swamps, and there was a runner, lying in his own blood, with his right leg bitten off. The mission was 100 feet away, and Gregson ran on two legs to get help.

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