Jerren Hawkins had been working the Mississippi Riverboats for nigh on 20 years. Most days you’d likely catch a glimpse of him on three or four of the river’s finest steamers. Those days were nearly at and end: Jerren was heading for dry land and the family pig farm in Wyoming. The Hawkins were big in pigs; Jerren was the only one of his siblings not already rearing prime pork. However, the sickness had taken his older brother and Jerren had been called up.
On his last day Jerren was interrupted as he quietly surveyed the decks of the Marylou-Bell. ‘Step this way Mr Hawkins,’ said the Chief Steward. Jerren looked worried. 20 years above suspicion and now this.
‘Surprise!’ they all shouted as Jerren was ushered into the staff dining room. Most of these people didn’t know who he was or what he did, but Jerren’s was a familiar face and people, it seems, just like to say goodbye.
As the Marylou docked Jerren was waved off on his way. Once he’d faded from view he checked his inside pocket – fob watch, snuff box and two wallets. Not a bad haul for his last day on the job. Leaving parties sure were good for business.