Lansing, Iowa – October 9, 2012
“Hey! That guy’s got a canoe!” the kid shouted.
I looked up and saw a pack of kids heading toward me on the sidewalk. I’d parked the kayak on the Lansing Library’s lawn so I could keep an eye on it while I sent a few emails home.
Not a single person seemed to notice the boat, not when I dragged it out of the city park, not up main street, not in front of the library. At least they pretended not to, I saw a few sideways stares, but no one said anything until that kid.
“After all we’ve been through,” the Looksha said, “you’re just going to let him call me a canoe?”
“It’s a kayak,” I called out to the kid.
But he ignored me and pointed toward the back of the boat as the group passed.
“Hey!” he said. “That guy’s got a flamingo!”
I looked down and laughed.
“They’re talking about you, Frank,” I said.
The bird sat back and smiled.
“Of course they are,” he said. “A flamingo in Iowa is much more interesting than a canoe.”
The Looksha shot me a look.
“It’s a kayak,” I said.
I grabbed the nose of the boat and started rolling it back to the river. No one said a thing to me, not until I got to the water and Ali piped up.
“You really got to stop talking to that flamingo,” he said. “It’s not real and people are going to think you’re crazy.”