Chapter 1

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Author's Note: Look both ways before crossing the street  You can buy this book at Amazon, B&N, and at Smashwords for any other device. 

Call me Ishmael.  No, I'm not the first one to write that sentence.  But this book has nothing to do with a whale, white or otherwise, although a ship features prominently.  So humor me, and call me Ishmael.  

It was rare for me to have a day free from work, and there was nothing needing done around the homestead, which was rarer still.  My lawn was cut, there was no paint peeling, and the windows were all unstuck.  My bills were paid or could wait a while longer, so I had tossed them to the back of the desk and left the house.

The sun beat bright and hard, a polished diamond in an azure sky.  Earlier in the summer, I had crafted a tiny boat from a single sheet of plywood; cutting, bending, and gluing, to see if it could be done.   To my surprise, a boat sprang from my fingers like Athena from Zeus’ brow.  It fit one person nicely, and fit in the back of my small pickup.  As I possessed the  perfect boat for impromptu trips, I threw it on the truck like a faded summer leaf and left the house behind.

Within an hour after my departure, I was a world away, floating on nearby Lake Erie.  The sun warmed my body like a microwave sandwich in a browning tray, while the breeze cooled things perfectly.  

“Call me Ishmael,” I murmured.  The breeze gusted just enough to turn the nose of my small craft this way and that without turning the thing into an amusement park ride.  I found the motion very soothing.  Before long, I dropped my anchor and ignored the fishing rod by my feet.  I abandoned myself to inertia, like a newborn babe, but without the necessity of frequent diaper changes; I dozed in the watery cradle.  It was, in many respects, a perfect day.

Left to my own devices, I dreamed on while my midget boat drifted the length of the anchor line.  Time passed.  

“Ahoy!”

I became dimly aware of a shout, somewhere to my left; and then another, and then another.  The third was decidedly urgent sounding.  

“Ahoy there!”

I stirred and pulled my head up from the slumbering depths, only to drop it when I could not focus my attention on waking up.  It was such a perfect day for sleeping in a boat.  I couldn't imagine anything effecting my repose.  There was more shouting, which irritated me until I opened my eyes to see what all of the hubbub was about.  Immediately I realized how deeply I had been sleeping.

There was water in my boat.  Any amount of water in any boat, where it is not supposed to be, is not a good thing.

“Holy cow!” I shouted, and at once thought better of it.  As if in response to my cry, the stern glue gave way and the entire port side of the good ship Pequod sprang to starboard.  I scrambled back away from the surging water, but the space for scrambling was quite small, and the water followed me.  In fairness, there was less than three feet for it to traverse.

I heard another shout.  Automatically, I turned my head, to locate the source, and almost smacked my groggy noggin against the side of a large, fiberglass hull.  The smooth white surface was close enough for me to reach out and touch it, so I did.  It was as smooth as it looked, and, unlike my boat, did not appear to be sinking.  I heard another shout, which was closer, and came from above me; I looked up.  

On the deck, about three feet from my face, was the beautiful, down-turned face of an angel.  I gazed at this vision of loveliness, forgetting the water deepening around my seat.  

“I think you’re sinking!” she shouted.

I had to be ten years her senior, so she obviously considered me deaf.  “I think you may be right.”  It was all I could think to say; I wanted to be witty and sharp, but found that hard to pull off in a sinking boat.  The water now completely swamped my small craft, and despite the buoyancy of plywood, the Pequod was headed under the waves.  Slowly, yes; rather grandly, perhaps, but doubtlessly, down.  Not good.

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