The Milkshake Variations Vol. II; Captian Hongo Hawkes

Written by Tyrone, dedicated to the preservation of the milkshake

Captain of the seagoing vessel "Bonhomme Leroux," carrier of a salty-ocean scent, friend to most animals, predator to fishes, an uncle to a five-year-old boy I've never met, an enemy to my own mother and father, former drunkard, your last ecclesiastical refuge as you grip the railing of the "Bonhomme Leroux" as it reels from the waves splashing and knocking it and you about and you know you're only moments away from flying into the dark empty of the sea, there, just before it happens you will see my face and I will tell you that this is how it happens sometimes. A lover of the raindrops on my tin roof and the blue felt stapled onto it. But most of all I'm a person who overestimated his own capacity to believe mankind would properly revere the sacral three flavors of the milkshake.

Sitting at the diner counter, ashore at last, I turn to the waitress and ask if she uses real ice cream in her milkshake. Ice cream, she assures me is an option. But so is frozen yogurt. I grip the handle of the hook knife attached to my waist. The sun slows its westward descent, freezing the evening sky a shade of red that matches the ire now alive within my soul.

Man can be so many things in life and so many of his choices dictate that outcome. Once a mere little boy fishing off peers into the ocean I now captain the "Bonhomme Leroux" out of Fort Pierce, Florida. Were I not to fall off that peer into the ocean, knowing not how to swim I often wonder if I ever would've been a sailor. Would I have developed a fear of the sea that would lead me on a life path trying to overcome that fear and understand the mysterious deep blue. I often think not.

I now wonder if I can contain this rage inside me. Swells of ire building higher than any ocean wall I've sent my ship up are now building in my soul. Weaving their way into my bones, my muscles, my fiber.

I will take this blood orange out of the bowl in front of me and show the waitress what it looks like to really cry.

You see, father, I know how to consider the feelings of others you wretched man. My hand cold and wet now. I look down and see that I've squeezed every bit of life out of the blood orange. I tuck my hand under the counter, tightening the grip on my hook knife with the other. Did you still want that milkshake, she asks. I sit frozen, staring out at the sky. It's darker now. A deeper red. I say nothing. She says she'll be back in a few minutes. I turn and face her, sliding my knife out from my belt. Slowly. I smile and nod at her and her frozen yogurt ways.

The sun resumes its descent. I put the knife back. I ask the waitress her name. Rose, she says, pointing to the tag above her left breast. Sure, it is. Would she be a red rose? I wonder. How does she really make her milkshakes?

Couldn't you use ice cream and only ice cream, Rose. She cannot hear what I am thinking. Then I wouldn't have to do this thing.

Remember when father made you scrape barnacles off his boat when you were a child. He gave you a putty knife to clean the entire boat. Made you get in the water to do so and it was always wet. But you expected it to be. It would never change no matter how many times you went in and no matter how many times you came out. He'd get in the water when you were finished and check to see if you got all the barnacles off. If you didn't he'd hold your head under water. 10 seconds for each barnacle. You only ever missed once.

Rose, where do you keep that frozen yogurt.

Refuge of the lost, the poor and the willing. I will take you dangerous places only so you can return home and love the things you've overlooked in life.

She says she keeps it in the freezer, back in the kitchen. I suppose you would, I tell her. I want to tell her so much more. Show her how bad it can be.

Saver of lives, loser of lives. You can't help everybody all the time. Some of you die along the way. It cannot be helped. But the desperate among us often can't afford to worry about that so climb aboard my ship.

I make my way to the freezer and grab the frozen yogurt. I throw it out the back door. It's summer. Still hot in the evening when the sky is still red. I stomp on the containers. Cut them open with my knife and let the contents slowly spill out onto the blacktop.

Rose appears and asks me what I'm doing.

I can't save all of us, Rose, is what I tell her, but I do try. Just promise me one thing, I say. Okay, she says, but I'm not so sure I believe her. Just use real ice cream from now on. People have to die, Rose, but they don't have to do so without the right to a proper milkshake.

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