TITLE: Ferry to Brenton
GENRE: Adult Upmarket contemporary
James wasn’t actually reading the newspaper—he was hiding behind it. Hiding from the blinding reflection of May sun on a glassy harbor. Hiding from the rock-hard bagel on the round table in front of him. Hiding most of all from that empty ferry dock.
If only the flimsy paper could block out sound as well. His stranded commuters perched at three tables against the Brenton Bean’s outside railing, and their worries hammered against his hangover like a seagull feeding frenzy.
“Think the ferry'll get here like the mayor said?”
“Boss is gonna kill me.”
"I've gotta get off this island, or I'll…”
James should've delivered them to Newport just over two hours ago. Right now he should be steaming back to Brenton Island again, sunlit spray flying and diesels rumbling, already tasting his daily bagel-and-coffee reward. But yesterday he'd been fired. So instead of clutching a wooden wheel, he was crushing limp newsprint.
Every time he checked the empty dock, someone would try to catch his eye. The regulars over at the big table knew to leave him alone; even Mayor Frank hadn’t tried to strike up a conversation this morning. The others, who’d all deserted their Wednesday morning routines to drift down here in search of news, speculated about him in voices pitched to carry. What had really happened to James yesterday afternoon? Could the ferry even run without Captain James? Each time he heard his name, the scar on his left temple throbbed.
Though that could be last night’s beers.