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Time is dying. That was the last thought I had before I headed below deck to look for a blanket. I couldn’t find one, so I’ve been tearing up cushions instead to have something to pack around me if I can find a corner to bed down in. It’s a moonless night and I’m all alone on a powerless boat amid Lac Léman. It occurs to me that I’ve made some poor life decisions in the past 24 hours.
My name is Jeremiah Jesus and last night I was in Germany trying hard to drink myself to sleep. I’m what my aunt, Mama Grace, used to politely call swarthy, which was her way of saying that my daddy was Mexican. I’m not ugly or pretty, tall or short, thin or large. Aside from my hawkish nose, I’m pretty indistinct. In Europe, I’m often mistaken for Greek so I was speaking in a Greek-accented German which was getting progressively worse as the night went on. Fortunately, when I totally blanked on what to say, I just recited some poetry in French which everyone seemed to think was hilarious. God, I fucking hate Germany.
Every single time I’ve been there it’s gone badly. And by badly I mean the kind of experience that, just being in the same nation, makes me want to get black-out drunk to calm my nerves. Mama Grace would have said I have history there, and history has a bad habit of repeating itself.
So, why go to Germany if I hate it so much? Money of course. A lot of money. One of my best clients hired me to translate old manuscripts for a German university. They wanted me to fly in to deliver the work. I saw no good reason to fly over just to deliver some papers, but in the end, money talked and I walked my ass onto an airplane. I explain this only to help you understand why I made the choices I made. I’m not defending them.
Everything went fine with the university and I was in and out in eight hours. I hadn’t even unpacked my bag at the hotel, so I had it with me as I walked downstairs, calling the airport to get an early flight out. Or, at least, I would have if they weren’t closed because of some security issue. So, my plan was aborted before I could even check out, and I did the only reasonable thing under the circumstances and headed to the hotel bar, bag and all. Maybe if I’m lucky, I thought, someone will rob me and take my mind off being back in Germany. A good mugging could turn this into the best trip yet.
Within minutes I was sat on a barstool drinking something black with the consistency of milk. I heard someone say “Time is dying” and then they laughed. What distinguished the speaker from the background noise, however, was what they said next. “Twelve hours easy, eleven maybe, ten if we piss quick when we gas up the car.” The voice was American and ten hours anywhere would put us outside of Germany.
Now, the wise move would have been to continue drinking until I was ready to pass out, then go back upstairs to sleep and take my scheduled flight in the morning. Mama Grace used to say that you can’t help a bad idea getting in your head, but you can learn to ignore it. I should have listened to her more.
To be continued…
© 2023 – 2024, Liam Armitage
PART 3 (COMING SOON)
PART 4 (COMING SOON)
PART 5 (COMING SOON)
Would you like to unleash your storytelling skills? Leave a comment below or e-mail your idea, story or poem to email@example.com and, who knows, maybe your words could become the stuff of legend aboard the Resilience. Or maybe we’ll find them a spot in one of our Libertalia Tales collections.
ABOUT LIAM ARMITAGE
Liam grew up watching Gojira movies, wandering through the woods with feral dogs as his friends, and hunting for cheap science fiction books in second-hand bookstores. Upon becoming old enough to immigrate, Liam’s wanderlust led him down a path of exploring just how much trouble he could get into, without actually breaking any laws, in various legal systems.
Along the way, he played D&D with one of its creators, learned archery from Buddhist monks and, when he won a Warmachine tournament, triggered a set of quantum incidents that started a thousand-generation dynasty that transformed a parallel universe. However, due to the different flow of time, that entire universe suffered its cosmic heat death in three days and Liam never noticed.
After he was threatened with a gun in a bar in Hong Kong and woke the next morning either being legally married to a waitress or owing a life debt to a gangster, it wasn’t clear, he decided it was time to return home. He now lives in his office painting miniatures, writing and updating a spider board with the movements of the twelve secret kings.