Thursday, November 6, 2008

Droubble: The Voyage of the Violetta

The Voyage of the Violetta

The smoke from the old engine makes me cough. Or is it the lingering, chilly damp? Waves crash and split against the bow.

The captain hollers to shut down the engine. We run it less and less of late, going instead where the wind takes us under our jerry-made sailing rig. Good diesel is harder to find than it once was; these days we run on seal blubber rendered in old oil drums over a driftwood fire. The seals are plentiful and trusting, in the absence of their major competitor, plump and fat on recovering salmon runs. They’re easy enough to hunt.

We used to run the engine harder, back when we had some pretense of destination; now that we know there’s nowhere to go, we sail under power only to avoid navigational hazards or inclement weather. And, of course, to run the generator. We don’t have much use for power. Light comes from oil lamps. The GPS is worthless box, half of the satelites having decayed out of orbit. Radar and running lights are of little use, for what other ships are out here?

We just run the radio, a long unanswered call to whoever might be left.

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