Oh and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not alive and in some very real sense I don’t even exist. I’m all past tensed out but that’s not going to stop me from writing and sending my words out into the world. You know, when I began writing fiction in the early 60’s, I wrote under various pseudonyms in order to make some money. Over the past four months I’ve been writing under various pseudonyms once again. This time I haven’t made any money. So you see not only do I have a sense of humor but I’m definitely dead. Dead men need no cash. That’s one of the perks of non-existence. That and still maintaining a sense of humour.

   Let me explain: if you’re reading this then my predictions back here in 1979 about future technology are spot on. Sometimes you just get lucky. I don’t wish to rub any of this in but if anyone would like to contact any of my former colleagues it would be much appreciated. With the help of a former student I created a computational program that would automatically put these stories up in the future so that it is now a surprise to absolutely everyone. 

  And so as they say, Surprise!! 

  Today’s story is set in Canada. In “Will you tell me ?” I wrote “In Montreal, they walked in the snow, leaving marks like Maple Leaves.” Today’s story takes place on the other end of Canada where marks are made to look like other things. 

 

Jumping Ship

 

     The thin woman seated by the window unfolds some future inevitability with a flip of her hand. What a crisp gesture, I think as I stroll by. I’m people-watching as I walk around the 6th floor of the Queen of British Columbia which is sailing towards Vancouver Island and this woman’s gesture has caught my eye; her hand turns over the way a page is turned over. She’s explaining some brutal truth of the future to her husband. Possibly, maybe.

    As people-watching is really only interesting in partners, a two-person sport where you pose impossible questions about strangers to a friend, I grow bored and my mind wanders into memory. I remember reading about how one man jumped from the deck of a ferry in order to forge his own short-cut to a baseball game on one of the Gulf Islands located en route between the mainland and Vancouver Island. (Saltspring I think. Is that the name that would inspire someone to such insanity?) He jumped overboard with his belongings in a black garbage bag and swam to the island where police waited impartially. He missed his game. In order to pass the time more pleasantly, I walk out onto the cold deck and push people overboard and then imagine that they’ve jumped jump ship for one reason or another. 

   First I push three little scouts overboard and then imagine them swimming to Galiano in order to get a badge which includes the words “water-courage”. They tie their yellow and orange scarves together as they swim off like little ducks. It’s in their training. Next, I see a teen shivering in a t-shirt. His arms are held out from his body as if he were muscle bound. I bend low and then heave-ho him over the rails. I imagine him jumping overboard in order to swim around Mayne Island for a couple of years in order to beef up and build Schwarzenegger-sized muscles. He dreams that he’s Conan the Barbarian at the beginning of the movie where he’s captured and forced to push the arm of a mill around and around.  He’s determined and content as he swims off.  Finally I target some tourists who are taking pictures of the sunset. “Would you like me to take a picture of you two together?” I ask. They hand me their camera which is all the closeness I need to send them whoosh over the deck railing. I take a picture of them in the water and then toss the camera overboard. In my imagination, however, I see them jumping in order to get a better shot of the pink ripples of the water. (They are so beautiful after all!) In your imagination anything can take place. 

  When I walk back into the warmth of the ferry, I’m tackled to the floor by several large men. Their faces are up so close against mine. There’s very little space or distance to make up a story about them. I wouldn’t even call this people-watching even though I’m staring right into their eyes. 

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