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  • You made this, asked Patrick.

    Another slice of bread disappeared into his mouth.

    Yeah, I said.

    God damn good turk, said Ziggy.

    And plenty of it, said Patrick.

    I ‘magin, said Zig.

    You got any more of that blueberry sauce, asked Patrick.

    I fetched another quart mason jar.

    God damn good turk, said Patrick as he drowned a new slice in blueberry sauce.

    And plenty of it, said Ziggy.

    I ‘magin, said Patrick

    I was sure I’d landed in some lower circle of hell and wondered how many times the wheel was going to turn.

    I lived in a little house perched over the harbor that winter. $50 a month. The gas fired toilet stopped working in December, the rain coming down the hill flooded it regularly through the front door and full moon high tides, when the wind was out of the south, slopped up through the floor on the seaward side, but the oven worked and I used it. The guys stopped in whenever they were cruising the area which was 5 times a day:

    Morning to see if I had gone out hauling offshore with Dickie
    Just before lunch if I hadn't
    2:00 munchies, checking to see what I made that day
    Again at the edge of dark to see what I had going for supper
    And 7:30 to check and see if I wanted to contribute to a 6-pack patrol

    Just as regular as the US Mail, said Dickie and shook his head.

    Patrick was camped in his grandmother’s trailer.

    Just looking after the place while she’s down in Florida, he explained. I had never met her but figured her to be a helluva generous soul given Patrick's standard of housekeeping. Either that or she didn't know to hide the key better then the nail in the side of the doorframe.

    Zigmund Floyd lived in little one room shack right by the town dump. He dug clams to get by. He didn't drive but he didn't need to drive to get to his spots. The harbour was closed to clamming because of pollution but Ziggy had a headlamp and a blanket and he did just fine.

    He always had a plan. I’m gonna fix up that boat of mine and head out to the islands soon as spring comes, he told me. I just got to glass her. Lyford give me a couple of gallons of resin and some mat.

    I looked over his boat while I waited for Dickie to come alongside the wharf to put bait aboard. She lay there upside down on the beach by the wharf. Even in the dark long before dawn I could tell she was in hard shape.

    Is Zig really going to take her out, I asked Dickie on the long run offshore.

    In the eerie green light of the radar screen, Dickie looked like we might be entering some kind of Stephen King zone. He pushed his cap back and settled it again. Tore off a paper towel and wiped the spotless window.

    Floyd, he said. His name is Floyd Carter.

    I finished filling the bait bags for the first string of traps, took off my gloves, dipped them in the hot water barrel and wrung them out. Set them neatly on the edge of the barrel. Gave him time.

    Floyd was alright, he went on at last. Smart as a whip. Read every damn thing. Tell you all kinds of stories. Until they gave him them drugs. He ain’t been right in the head since.

    The fellas at the garage took a 100 pound propane tank and cut a door in one end, cut a hole for a length of stove pipe in the other. Gave it to Zig for a wood stove. Some days when no one had money for gas we walked out there. He cleared a space for us on his neatly made bed while he sat on the broken stool he’d scavenged from the dump. We smoked and talked about the weather and the price of lobsters and sweated in the tiny shack with the stove all cherry red. Zig had his clothes hung to dry inside and the place had a deep and penetrating funk about it.

    When they stopped by my place I’d bring out the cookies or brownies or bread I’d baked that day.

    You made this, asked Ziggy.

    God damn good turk, said Patrick.

    And plenty of it, added Zig.

    I ‘magin, said Patrick.

    In early March, as soon as there was a lull in the gales, long before the first foolish robin arrived, I loaded my skiff and headed for the island.

    There in the silence, alone for weeks at a time, I leaned back in the rocker in the corner by the woodstove on stormy days.

    Plate of bread or cookies or brownies on the table beside me, a book in my lap.

    You made this
    God damn good turk
    And plenty of it
    I ‘magin.
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