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Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1057862-Its-Always-Questionable-in-Florida
Rated: 18+ · Book · Music · #2231553
Fictitious and delicious!
#1057862 added October 22, 2023 at 9:00pm
Restrictions: None
It's Always Questionable in Florida
"Hard to believe they removed the playground from here," Dana mumbled while pacing along the edge of the bandshell stage. "I visited that playground a lot when I was a kid."

"Did you play on the wooden structures that you showed me pictures of?" Quinn asked.

Dana shook her head. "I think that was first built right before I started high school. No, the playground I remember was mostly separate slides and what not, and many of them were made of metal. I did like the little tunnel with flowers painted on the outside. It looked like part of a huge concrete pipe. Come to think of it, maybe it was a part of a giant concrete pipe. I don't think there are any pictures of that playground, though."

"That sounds so rickety."

"Oh, it was, and yet I still did things like climb on top of the monkey bars. I was either terrible at using playground equipment or a prodigy in finding new ways to misuse playground equipment. Hard to say."

Quinn chuckled. "The answer is yes."

Dana gave her husband a soft smile and stopped. She took a moment to look west from the bandshell stage. Despite the sunny conditions and general lack of work and school between Christmas and New Year's, the park space around the bandshell was rather quiet. She saw a number of boat trailers parked not too far away. Likewise, a glance off to one side showed a few people posing with a vibrant blue sculpture that per the plaque was installed in 2016, almost a full decade since Dana's last visit to this park. Even though she was surprised, Dana felt that she had no right to complain about the relative lack of activity. It was a reasonable change of pace from the last couple weeks.

Everything from the flight to Orlando to the train ride to West Palm Beach had been a constant flurry of fending off overzealous fans and attempting to be invisible to the nationalistic bigots. Both camps had re-emerged in full force once the Time Person of the Year issue had been released. Even being on the short list meant photos and a feature story, both of which reminded her of being in the spotlight in Paris. At least this time Morgan was in a similar spot, so Dana felt less alone in dealing with the onslaught. She did worry about Quinn, as he had spent more than his share of time and energy helping Dana deal with all this attention, a real feat given his homebody nature.

This train of thought prompted Dana to face the back of the bandshell. She found Quinn standing off to the stage left side, his gaze directed a ways in front of them both. Curious, she wandered over to where her husband stood.

"Everything okay?" she asked.

"Keep facing me," he muttered. "There's someone off in the distance that keeps looking at the stage but hasn't approached. I think as long as we're acting like we had planned to walk off the stage when we do leave that should convince him that we're not interesting."

Dana pursed her lips. "Right. Wanna head over to the docks? We might see some more herons."

"Hmmm...along the water but not by the docks, at least right now."

"I'll let you lead the way."

Quinn nodded and began walking toward the steps leading off the bandshell stage. Dana followed suit, making sure to focus dead ahead and not turn her head too much to the side. Once off the stage, the two of head followed a walkway south. They walked for a little bit back toward the former playground space, all the while checking the water to their left for any signs of wildlife. A couple birds captured Dana's attention, and she spent a decent amount of time snapping photos of them.

After a while, Dana decided she'd had enough of the southern portion of the park and began walking north. To her surprise, Quinn not only let her set the pace but opted to stay behind her as much as possible. This continued even as they reached the docks and pier. They spotted more people in this part of the park, but Dana pressed ahead with exploring. Before they could set foot on the pier, a man in a red trucker hat approached.

"I know you," he said.

Confused, Dana and Quinn stopped. Dana scanned the man's face for any sign that she worked or went to school with him at any point. The sunglasses and graying goatee made this task almost impossible.

"Really," she muttered after a bit.

"Yeah. You're that Chink Sympathizer from the Olympics!"

Dana fought to keep her eyes from rolling inwards. "I can assure you that I am not Russian."

"Oh, don't play dumb with me. I saw the pictures. You tried to save a Chink's life."

Dana saw Quinn step forward and waved him off. She then refocused on the man.

"There's a difference between saving a life and sympathizing," she said. "I don't have to agree with someone in order to help them. If your car or truck caught on fire —I don't know what you drive —, I'd dial 911 in a heartbeat. Is this a hard concept to understand?"

The man's face started to match his hat, and his left eye twitched. "Yeah, whatever, look. If somehow my truck caught fire, I wouldn't need your help, but since you seem so damn convinced that helping people is the right thing to do, I guess I couldn't stop you. Doesn't mean you're not a Chink sympathizer."

With that, the man wandered off, leaving a bewildered Dana and Quinn at the foot of the pier. A woman with a blond ponytail stepped off the pier and stood next to him.

"I've seen him around here before," she mentioned. "He tends to harass women with darker skin."

"Wonderful," Dana replied. "Maybe I should have told him that I do have the capacity to get sunburns, albeit small ones."

The woman chuckled. "Might have helped. Still, you handled him better than most, but it might still be worth heading elsewhere for a bit."

"Thanks for the heads up," Quinn told her. "He looks like someone I saw earlier."

"Yeah, he's a regular around here, and not a particularly good one, either."

"I kind of gathered that."

Dana nodded in agreement. "I think we've seen most of the place, anyway. Well, have a good day. Hopefully we won't cause you any trouble like he did with us."

"Thank you. You two stay safe now."

"We'll do what we can."

With that, Dana and Quinn walked back to the car in silence. It was a bit of a distance from the waterway to the parking lot, and both of them kept any eye out for the mystery man. They made it back to the car without anyone approaching them, and they wasted no time in buckling up so Dana could get the car in motion as soon as possible.

Once out of the park, Dana headed for the Lake Worth bridge. As she drove east, she sighed.

"What a fucking maroon," she grumbled.

"That's a polite way of putting it," Quinn said.

"Everything about what he said was just...wrong."

"He couldn't have been more wrong if he tried."

"I don't know. If we'd been there much longer, he might have tried."

Quinn nodded. "True. Are we going someplace in particular?"

"I want to try to find a beachside park on the island a little bit south of here. I thought about going to the Lake Worth Beach, but that place is always crawling with people. I don't feel like trying to put up with that right now."

Quinn reached over and rubbed Dana's shoulder. "Understandable. Hopefully the place you have in mind is less crowded."

"Should be. I hope."

With that, Dana refocused on the road and getting across the bridge.



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Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1057862-Its-Always-Questionable-in-Florida