True North

Best Prologue Ever

Father was wailing. I deduced from the morning sun and moving flotsam that we were drifting slowly southward with the force of an unknown current. He slumped on the backseat of the wooden rowboat and I leaned forward grabbing his shirt to keep him from pitching overboard. Both of his hands had been severed at the wrist and the stumps had been tightly bound with duct tape. His normally withered forearms now bulged with an unsightly color. When they had pushed us out from the estuary on a falling tide before dawn I had been given only one oar. When I clearly noticed this at first light the humor wasn’t lost on me. I was equipped to row in circles with my left hand. The thumb of my right hand was missing and the pain lessened when I raised it high. In the early light I had seen a green or loggerhead turtle and took my thumb someone had stuffed in my pocket pitching it toward the beast but the turtle had submerged in alarm misunderstanding my good intentions. By midmorning the shore had arisen and I could see the coastline south of Veracruz. The current was carrying us toward Alvarado. My father woke from his latest faint. His face was too bruised for clear speech and now rather than wailing he bleated. His eyes made his request clear and I pushed him gently over the back of the boat. It was quite some time before he completely sunk. I would study the stinking fish scales and bits of dried viscera on the boat’s bottom and then look up and he would still be there floating in the current. And then finally I was pleased to see him sink. What a strange way to say goodbye to your father.


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June 16th, 2010 / 10:55 am