Emile was sitting outside the Cap Ferret tourist information office, dozing in the afternoon sun, happily unemployed.
An ancient Citroen 2CV, an exercise in rust and bungee cords, backfired noisily along the quayside and slumped to an exhausted halt across the street from him. With a shriek of complaint, the car’s front door opened, and out shot a three-legged dog. The dog was closely followed by an old man, who steadied himself against the car and noisily hacked up phlegm.
Seagulls wheeled back out to sea in alarm.
The dog hobbled around sniffing at things, bouncing on two back legs and a single front leg. It soon found something it needed to pee on, cocked a leg, and promptly fell over on its side. Dog urine arced up through the sunlit morning in a yellow stream. The dogs lay panting, watching until the stream subsided, then hauled itself up and started licking between its legs.
Ah the joys of nature, the wonders of the animal kingdom, Emile thought.
The old man finally stopped coughing, and glowered around until he spotted the dog.
“Mitterand. Come here.” he yelled in a gravelly voice.
The dog ignored him and carried on licking itself.
“Deaf piece of merde dog.”
The old man stumped over to the dog on age-stiffened legs and stooped to grab the animal by the collar. He dragged it back to the car and hauled it like a sack of coal up into the front seat and slammed the door. Rust drifted onto the tar. He turned and noticed Emile staring at him.
“What are you looking at, you faggot?”
“Morning.” Emile said cheerfully, “Lovely day. You live around here?”
The old man stalked over and sat next to him on the porch.
“Live? Around here?” he asked. “Yes. I live in that piece of merde car with that piece of merde dog. Thanks to my kids who are- ”
“Let me guess, pieces of merde?”
“What? No. They’re ungrateful little bastards fathered by goats and my whore of a wife – God rest her soul - while I was away at sea.”
“Tried to get me locked me away in the funny farm so they could get their hands on my house and my chest?”
“Your chest?” Emile asked.
“But I fooled them. I ran away. They’ll never find me. Too busy digging up my garden looking for my sea chest.
“Oh, right, that kind of chest.”
“Know what’s in my chest?” the old man asked.
“Treasure? Gold doubloons?”
“Nothing, that’s what. Not a goddamned thing. I spent it all on whores and booze.”
The old man fished in his pockets and dug out a tobacco pouch and papers.
Causes Luke James Supports
Doctors Without Borders