Jesse Jarnow

the island, no. 3

(Short fiction in even shorter increments.)

The Island: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11

Thursday, the island returned, and David Mallis proposed an expedition. I was right there. He was a little drunk, though not so gone that we did not take him seriously. Under the bar light, the pores and pockmarks on his cheeks were an ageless stone. Three days later, under any light at all, once he’d washed the blood off, his skin was golden.

The lobster boat was inherited from his father. Once, before dawn, Andy Byers’ brother — who owned a rival operation — blew a hole in the hull with a small explosive. That was the height of the battle. “Doesn’t anybody want to know? Really know?” David asked, standing near the dartboard, his fingernails crusted with plaster. Only Carlos Dias would join him.

I could not go. My father would not hear of it. There were deliveries to receive, linens to air, a house to run. He was stubborn those days, hobbling bow-legged. The ballgames over for the season, there was little for him to do. Weeks earlier, just after the Series, he’d taken to looking through his atlases. When the island came, he’d been drafting navigational charts for some days.