Date unknown – Fresh off the boat

I walked up the weird metal stairs for what seemed like a really long time and came out a short (I mean vertically, I bumped my head) corridor onto the deck of a ship that seemed like a mile long.  Or maybe not the deck, like the side thing?  I don’t know how ships work.  It was a like a walkway.  There was another guy like the one below who was smoking a cigarette and had a strap around his neck.  For some reason I thought it was for a canteen when I first saw it.  It wasn’t.  It was for a gun.  A submachinegun maybe?  I know about as much about guns as I do about ships.  He frowned at me and said something in a language I didn’t understand.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a gun pointed at me.  I don’t care for it.  It was a stupid thing to do, but I turned my back to him because I wanted to get away.  He barked something at me and I turned back to see he had the gun in his hands and was shouting.  I told him in French that I didn’t know what he was saying and he jerked the barrel of his gun to the side like he was telling me to do something.  I don’t know what he was trying to communicate.  Did he want me to jump over the side?

I know porthole isn’t the right word, but that’s what I keep thinking was at the top of the stairs.  It was like a big metal protuberance – I guess it was like the fire door on the roof of an apartment building.  I grabbed at the door because I wanted to put something between me and the gun but when I seized it the door ripped off the hinges (or whatever) like it was held on by toothpaste.  When it tore off the frame it flew out of my hands and slammed into the gunman, knocking him over the side.  I saw his cigarette sitting on the desk and I grabbed it, taking a deep drag.  It was the worst cigarette I ever tasted but it felt so good.    

I was a little afraid to look over the side, but I had to.  I didn’t hear a splash and I saw why.  The man was lying on a . . . wharf maybe?  Is that those things for ships are called?  Was it a jetty?  A pier?  Whatever it was it was ten or twelve feet down.  The man was still moving, which was good, but he wasn’t moving enough to shoot me, which was even better. 

I didn’t see any way down in the immediate area and I didn’t want to explore so I finished the cigarette and then jumped over the side myself.  That was probably a bad idea as well.  I landed on that concrete (or whatever) like I was stepping out of bed, I’ve hurt myself worse stumbling on heels.  I grabbed some more garish red and purple bills out of the groaning gunman’s pocket and headed away from the water.

The city that lay before me was like nothing I had ever seen before.  It was built on an upward slope, the bottom portion closest to the water was a massive sprawl of bungalows and row houses that were piled on top of each other like debris that the tide had carried in.  Directly behind them was an explosion of bright lights and flashy buildings like the Vegas strip had exploded to cover an entire city the size of Chicago. 

I’m pretty sure that Madripoor isn’t in Arkansas

Leave a Reply