February 19, 2018

The Wreck of the Indomitable


So anyway. The Old Same Place was bustling and there was a clatter and a chatter from within. The fires had been put out and the First Responders had found no bodies and yet Certain Individuals were unaccounted for. The body-sniffing dogs were brought in from the Sheriff's Office and a company started sifting thorough the ashes of Marlene & Andre's Place for bone fragments as Marlene and Suan and Rolf stood there holding hands. This is the kind of reality to which we in NorCal have become accustomed. Late in the news was the information that Mr. Howitzer's yacht was no longer in dry dock and was also missing.

The Coast Guard was called. Nobody knows who called the Coast Guard as land-sea rescues have always been a problem on the Island due to jurisdictional language confusions, according to the report on the last disaster in which human lives were lost.

Seems folks in the PD do not know how to talk to the folks in the FD and neither one knows how to talk to the CG and all three have a confusion on how to talk to anybody with their wits about them in just about any agency you can name.

So people die. It's a problem and nobody seems to have an answer but the PD did get more money to play with for their Rescue Boat. Which has yet to be employed. And they seem to be happy with the situation as it stands.

The FD is much put out about this favoritism, as they see it, in which the PD got something out of someone's death and they did not. The Coast Guard is much put out on being called to rescue someone standing in three feet of water, which certainly obviated use of their impressive Cutter with a draft of some 20 feet at the keel.

"Please do not call us again for such stupid things," said the CG commander and both the island PD and FD shifted their feet with embarrassment before going back to business as usual.

Perhaps someone should convene a Commission, but nobody is accepting responsibility for doing so even years after the event. They eventually blamed the tragedy on the heavy use of agency-specific acronyms to the point not one agency could understand what the other agency was saying.

PD: Hey CG! We need a boat, pronto!

CG: What's that PD? For what you need a boat? Got a floater?

PD: No, overtime is fine. We need a boat. Man in the water, possible 133, but no 2120 to be concerned about. We suggest taking a 137 approach.

CG: If I read you, it is not urgent, PD.

FD: It is urgent, very urgent. We need a boat on a three alarm status.

CG: Who the heck are you and what are you talking about?

CP:We need a boat here, captain.

CG: Yet another country heard from. Sending the SS Boutwell. . .

PD: That is big of you captain.

CG: I am not the captain, I am the Radio Officer on deck. . . .

CP: [sounds of shouting, confusion] Stop those two women from going in the water!

CG: Why can't you go in the water? How many people are in distress?

PD: We cannot go in the water: we are Fully Equipped.

FD: COAL was Wealth, man. Don't be a Jake.

At the end of the day, the man drowned.

In any case, certain individuals are missing and there is much discussion about this in the Old Same Place Bar.

As the Angry Elf gang drove past the entrance, Suzie bolted out the door to throw a bottle at their red truck, screaming, " You ASSHOLES! YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF ALL OF THIS EVIL! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!" Which she continued to yell until Padraic and Dawn brought her back inside, the lovely woman in tears for the loss of her dear friends.

Meanwhile, far to the North, Denby cooled his heels through another V-Day, glad for his circumstances for there was no way that he could now get in worse trouble than any time before. He sat with Rachel in the Galley after both of them had scoured for scraps of anything edible without finding much more than a tin of water crackers, which they shared.

"Well," said Rachel. "You could stand to lose some weight anyway."

"Happy V-day," Denby said. "I love you."

"You do not," Rachel said indignantly. "You love someone else and I know it."

Denby sighed. "It is another lousy V-Day. Why does this always happen to me?"

The entire ship groaned with agonized sounds of tortured metal and breaking timbers above.

"Are you Jewish?" Rachel said after a while.

"That is the first time anyone has asked me that question while I was still wearing my pants", Denby said.

"O! Really!"

Upstairs, or above ships, or whatever you call it, Festus was talking to the Editor.

"Frankly I find this situation to be extreme," Festus said as the ship shuddered after striking something beneath.

"You are always free to quit at any time," said The Editor, his employer.

"That right there is the epitome of California's labor market and perhaps that of the Nation. The ship is about to founder and the only thing you have is the obscenely named Right to Work Law. This is just a perfect example."

"You are free to leave at any time." The Editor said, while all around the angry sea tossed and churned with whitecap waves among the jagged rocks.

The entire ship shuddered again, followed by the sound of splintering and tortured metal.

"I suspect it is already too late," Festus said.

"You know I have always loved all of you," said the Editor.

"Still," said Festus on the pitching deck, hanging on to a halyard. "That is all too late if it ever meant anything at all."

Right then the cabin window burst and in rushed the cold, salt sea.

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 down the streets of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, keening over the Ohlone burial mounds through the gloom to an unknown destination.