“When you think about it,” Bo said, flexing his mahogany muscles as he pressed fire to steel, pushing toxic wisps of acrid smoke into the seaside air. He was continuing his work on the torpedo with the human face and ass. It reminded me of most of the Presidents this country has endured since I was born. “When you think about it, this world is Hell. I don’t just mean figuratively. I mean literally. Think about it. The people who wrote the Bible described hell as a place of fire, brimstone, sorrow, anguish, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I had an evening to kill. Things in The Village weren’t likely to heat up for a while, given that most of the Villagers pretty much keep vampire hours. And things in The Town had long since buttoned down, with people getting ready for evenings of fish boiled and consumed, teeth brushed, prayers offered, and flannel nighties donned for the impending 8.5-hour trip through Slumberland. “Early to bed and early to rise, and you’ll fish for cod ’neath sunny skies,” they all say. Actually, they don’t — but they could.
I was in The Village yesterday. Bo was not. It seemed like the perfect time for another chat with the most beautiful, graceful, sexy, alluring woman ever born into this species.
I’ll finish telling you about the Coffin dinner from a few days ago. Having disposed of the evening’s light chit-chat — covering the usual cocktail-party topics of politics, work, cold-blooded murder, that sort of thing — I sat down with Coffin, Inc., for a nice New England meal. Cory had rustled up some broiled salmon, boiled potatoes, boiled spinach, and boiled corn, a meal that undoubtedly put a strain on the island’s supply of fresh water. Henry had rustled up some more whiskey.
Previously, in Island Wars… Donovan Graham wants to travel the world and write about exotic places. His first gig, on Grand Seal Island off the coast of Maine, has seen him walking barefoot on hot coals, enduring a Talent Night that was downright freaky, falling madly in love with a gorgeous sculptress named Eliza, and witnessing the escalating show of force between the United States and Canada.
Courage is relative. And at the firewalk, a few days ago, standing next to blazing hot coals with chilly bare feet, I was only distantly related to it at best.
Elderly women walked across the coals with grace and impunity, tossing in my direction only the slightest hint of a sneer that I’m sure no one else could see. Little boys with thick glasses and beanie caps skipped across the hellfire like it was beach sand, picking their noses and sucking on Tootsie Pops.
Last night was my first dinner with the Coffins since the OK Corral, High Noon, last-scene-from-Butch-Cassidy-and-the-Sundance-Kid noshfest that followed the Great Insulting Column Debacle awhile back. This was to be a low-key affair, unlike the previous torches-and-pitchforks episode, and it was slated to include Henry and Cory “Larboardmaster” Coffin, a few random strands of the Coffin Family Thicket, and of course Meg.
I was driving toward Whirlpool Eddie McCoy’s Gently Used Car Emporium — I needed a new brake pedal, because mine fell off — when I saw a bright white pickup truck turn off toward Henry’s place. There’s only one bright white pickup truck on the island, and I knew this was the Big Showdown. The Übergeek from the Canadian Ministry of Outport Management was heading off to count Coffins.
Time flows by steadily, but people grow up in little gusts and bursts. There’s nothing even or smooth about life. I spent some time today thinking about the firewalk that happened a couple days ago.
I met Suzette Houlton this morning.
She’s Floyd’s mother, so I have to be careful not to write anything bad about her or he’ll kill me. Actually, I really think he’d give it his best shot if provoked. Once you’re bored with torturing toads, whacking intrepid reporters is a reasonable next step.