February 11, 2018

Adrift

 

So anyway. The morning arrived with a semi-bright luminescence as the boot drifted on swells in a dense pogonip, as the Ohlone used to call it. The sky appeared gray but light and on all horizons around the bright lit boat not a smidgen of land could be seen. Apparently they had drifted beneath the Golden Gate and were now far a-sea. with only the Farralones rocks to be expected next. The iPhones and other devices they had with them had all failed due to lack of charge and the ship remained without lights, electricity, or power of any kind. There was a radio, but it did not work.

What I would give for a decent, working telephone, said Rachel. I miss my ivory handset rotary with gold appointments. She wailed. Who is going to feed my sweet Henry?

In the distance those on board discerned a voluble complaint and familiar voices. The voices did not belong to Rachel's Henry. The voices belonged to Javier and the others on the powerless skiff that had swept out at the same time as The Indomitable.

The Editor shouted out to them and Javier responded they had no idea where they were and what to do about it.

The Editor responded that had been the case for Javier all his life and so nothing had changed.

A number of calls across the water were made and contact was established with the lost party, which employed its oars none to soon as the little dingy had started to take on water several hours previously. The dingy survivors threw a rope and were soon attached to the hapless Indomitable and all fatigued, hungry, and sodden residents of the dingy soon climbed aboard the Indomitable only to encounter yet more fatigued, hungry and chilled individuals. As for the dingy, they attached cables from the powerless winch but were unable to lift it so that it could drain.

Meanwhile on the Island, the fires had been put out and Mr.Howizter was wroth for the loss of an income source and the lack of tenants upon whom to blame his misfortune. As far as he knew, all had perished and this was bad because that meant there was no one to sue for damages.

Officer O'Madhauen had a great deal to do with routing traffic around the various fire zones so as to prevent looting, snooping, improper lane changes and speed infractions around the destruction.

Nothing was worse and more damaging to the social fabric than moving violations during a time of disaster, so Officer O'Madauen applied himself with a will.

The Almeida family, awakening to a morning of smoke and ashes in the air, seeing the chickens all distressed and even the noxious raccoons in retreat, noting the increasing rents that offered nothing as reward, made plans to relocate to a berth that might genuinely call itself a small town, instead of a fake metropolis with walls lined with Mafioso and greedy property management firms. They had old family connections up north in the old Portuguese fishing village that abutted the Land of the Shark.

Chiton Souvlaki, Wilmer Titrake, MD (air surgeon), Borg Busby Rubbitsum - the proprietor of A Touch of Wonder, and Marvin of Marvin's Merkins, all had gotten exorbitant rent increases from Mr. Howitzer's firm and were looking to relocate to more inviting environments.

Wootie Kanootie's herd continued to thrash across the Bay until they reached the temporary harbor of Angel Island, and there took momentary refuge, startling the deer that already lived there.

It seemed everyone was on the move and all the chatter in the Old Same Place Bar was about where to go and what to do next. Denby had not played in the snug for days, and seemed to have disappeared somewhere god only knows and so Padraic reconnected the old jukebox, hoping some locally retired jazz player would drop in and offer services on the cheap without expecting much other than a single free beer and a plate of food as pay. The right to practice his art should be enough, said the always frugal Padraic.

As for Denby, Padraic assumed he had died in the fires, and so Suzie morned quietly behind the bar.

Meanwhile The Indomitable continued to drift out beyond the Golden Gate. Currents had fortunately brought her back towards the coast away from the sharp, jaggy Farralones and the lost crew began to hear the crash of breakers again after six days at sea. They did not know it, but they were approaching the mouth of Drake's Estuary with its imposing cliffs that some said resembled the slate colored escarpments of Dover.

And which were just as dangerous, for the bottom of the estuary was littered with the fragments of lost Spanish colonial ships.

The sun arose in a red ball and as the day progressed, the wind began to thrum the guywires of Mr. Howitzer's wayward yacht. As the day proceeded to an early night, winds whipped the decks and sent a salt spray everywhere on board, sending everyone into the cabins. The seas became unruly and began to pound the craft around like a kitten batting a ball of twine. Things flew off of the shelves and tables. What was not bolted down skidded across the floor, including Festus, who cried out with indignation until Rachel took him up and wrapped him in a towel.

The crashing of the surf became louder although they could not see through the pitch dark of the cloud-shrouded heavens.

Steadily, The Indomitable marched like a true Conservative towards the uncertain doom that awaited all aboard.

The sound of foghorns rippled in waves across the Bay and moaned over the smoldering embers of the humble Edwardian cottage that had been the Household of Marlene and Andre and quavered like ghosts in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, keening over the Ohlone burial mounds through the gloom to an unknown destination.

 

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