Author: Campbell, Bruce

The Lonely Sentinel

Shortly after dawn, on a cool October morning, Angus MacNabb arose from his austere bed. He stretched, scratched the stubble on his chin, broke wind and padded to the washbasin, where he splashed some cold water on his face. He studied his face in the cracked mirror, turning it this way and that, and shrugged.

He picked through a pile of wrinkled trousers, and desultorily selected some faded brown corduroys. Angus glanced across the dimly lit studio apartment and spotted a sole clean shirt on the broken down bureau. With a grunt of satisfaction, he strode the three steps to it and pulled it over his head.

Angus checked the ticking Little Ben on the rickety nightstand next to his bed: it was nearly 6AM – time to get prepared for the visitors to come. He went over to the tiny kitchen area, and with great effort he wrestled his refrigerator away from the wall, exposing a surprisingly dust free area underneath it. Angus whipped out a Swiss Army knife, and dropped to his knees. He carefully inserted the knifeblade between two of the floorboards, and deftly pried one up.

Angus reached into the gap left by the missing floorboard and pulled out what looked to be a bundle of rags. Untangling the rags and allowing them to drop to the floor, Angus now gripped a small metal box.

There was a loud pounding on the door – the visitors had arrived! Angus allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction – once again, he had come through for his employers. Angus rose and opened the front door, and there on the stoop were two large-framed gentlemen. Both wore dark gray suits, tall Stetson hats, and dark sunglasses. At the curb, a 4 door Ford F350 pickup idled.

“You ready?”, one of the men demanded. “You got the package?”

“Yes, yes, I have it!”, MacNabb answered impatiently. “Let’s go.”

“Roger that.”, murmured the other man, and the two large men flanked Angus MacNabb as they walked quickly to the waiting vehicle, and piled in. Two hours later, the three men delivered the votes cast by CBA members for the annual Board election to the people in charge of counting them.

Nobody in the CBA remembers how Angus MacNabb got the job of guarding the votes for the annual CBA Board of Directors election, but he’s been doing it since at least the mid 1970’s. An odder choice would be hard to find, since Angus seems to have no connection to bluegrass whatsoever. If he likes any music at all, it’s bagpipes - there are several Black Watch LPs by his ancient hi-fi. You’ll never see MacNabb at a bluegrass festival – he doesn’t like people, and considering his, shall we say, unusual personal hygiene, folks don’t like being around him all that much either.

What Angus MacNabb has going for him in his role is utter reliability. Once the votes start coming in, Angus is completely devoted to protecting the intellectual property under his care. He finds a new ingenious hiding place every year, and he never goes out without setting up elaborate booby traps that would foil any attempt to toss his place. Angus cannot be corrupted or tempted – his personal needs are too simple. He cannot be threatened – he is a fearless man, and despite his slight physical stature, he carries a menacing bearing that would make anybody think twice before confronting him.

Best of all, Angus, works for free – just another dedicated CBA volunteer. They come in all ages, all shapes and sizes, but they all contribute. Tonight I raise a dram of Glenfiddich to the scrappy little Scotsman who never lets us down!

Posted:  9/22/2010

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