Sharkey, Chapter 5

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I don’t know how long I held onto Maris before I pulled away. She’s so beautiful, and I can’t stare right at her for too long. It’s like staring at the sun. I’m sure I’ll go blind if I do, and I always drop my eyes after just a few seconds.

Maris’ hands stayed on me, though. They traced down my shoulders and arms as I stepped back. It gave me this tingling, shivery sort of feeling that raised goosebumps all over. I hoped she didn’t notice.

“I-I’m … I’m sorry,” I muttered, sniffling and trying not to see if everyone in the place stared at me. “It’s been a … well, I’m sort of … I think I …”

“Johnny,” she said, and her voice soothed my angst to silence, “it’s okay. It’s all right to hurt.”

My mom had to click here to keep reading

Sharkey, Chapter 4

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“Hi, Johnny.”

I felt more than heard the voice. Oh, I know it well. That voice haunts many a dream, many a lonely seaward night, many a land bound tossing and turning and sweating in my tangled, empty bunk at the house.

Oh yeah. That voice cuts through everything and gets down to my core, right into my soul. My head vanishes into a foggy haze the instant that melodic set of pipes tickles my eardrums. I feel my eyes glaze over. I feel my body start floating.

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Sharkey, Chapter 3

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When I came back downstairs, Mom was still there, in the living room. She walked around the mantle, giving the photos there a soft smile. Me and her at a beach picnic back when I was about eight or so; Dad and me on the boardwalk during a Fourth of July festival of some sort. That kinda stuff. Just my pictures, ones that I took with me when I moved out of their house, and I could see her remember each event, each frozen moment, captive for eternity in that split second, as it replayed in real time in her mind’s eye.

She turned when she found out she had to click here to read on

Sharkey, Chapter 2

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I dried up enough to be functional by the time my mom came over about eleven.

I knew it was her from her knock. If I’m not right by the door, I can’t hear it. As it happened, I was laying on the couch, trying to figure out what needs to be done. So much has to be addressed, from Sharkey’s estate to funeral arrangements. I’m overwhelmed, but I know Sharkey doesn’t have any family, and it’s up to me to get these things done. Who else will?

So anyway, my mom gives me her little pitter-pat knock, and I heard it somehow, so I bellowed through the door to click here to keep reading

Sharkey, Chapter 1

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Sharkey died today.

I cried alone in my bungalow for most of the morning, trying to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I have no idea how I’m supposed to keep running the boat, the crew … he’d expect me to though. But Sharkey was … well, he was my granddad, he was my skipper, he was my friend and mentor. He taught me everything I know about sailing and trawling, and about being a man. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do now, and the prospect of not hearing Sharkey’s voice, his grit-toothed bellowing over the crash of the waves, whine of the winches, scrambling squeaking rubbers of the crew, the gulls and the wind, not hearing his pirate’s cackle in Oliver’s after coming back in with a catch, not seeing the gleam in his eye when he catches me staring at Maris … without those things, my world doesn’t make sense anymore. I’m turned topsy-turvy, inside out, I’m lost and adrift and I don’t feel like doing anything except trying to make myself either believe Sharkey’s finally gone, or wake up from this goddamn nightmare and find out it’s just a dream, and he’s standing on deck screaming for me to wake up and get a move on, boy, the day’s a-wastin’.

Sharkey.

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