My name is Jerri Pinehalst. I have long pretty hair and I like to put pink in it sometimes. I was on the ferry coming off Block Island. A crowd of chads and chicks chirped in millennial beside a great host of Brazillians of every color who chattered in unintelligible Portugais. The ship started up like a great creaking rattling furnace and began to clatter and racket along sounds of whining leashed dogs and pinging iPhones 5-10.
I’d stayed three days, drunk all of it. I’d just eaten a sweets-flavored nip that made me nauseous, woken up with a flat Budweiser soon in hand and no sense of direction except to get back to mainland, get my car and maybe head inspected. I’d bought a blessed cursed Volkswagen van to travel and live in off a Brazillian from a shady side street, who title-jumped me and forced me to elaborately craft a bill of sale and copy of an out-of-state dealer’s license, which was a nervous affair till I finally pulled it off and got the registration, walking out of the Motor Registry feeling clever and elated.
My grim reflection in the laptop stared back at me as the captain sounded over the loudspeaker, announcing our thirteen-mile trip at sixteen nauts. I was at a crossroads in life, ferrying aimlessly across the sea back to a few mainland goals that included mostly getting my Van moving to travel in and see a few girls giving the illusion of interest. (Or was it just wishful thinking?)
The ferry rumbled out, steered as a bus or even more casual. One minute in and I was already getting seasick. Or was it hangover? I had been drinking for four days straight, though I promised myself and family and God and everyone not to. Of course I knew I would, it’s just what you do with old drunk friends who you don’t see too often. Recent not-good events gave a dumb mind every incentive to drink, just like sad celebration. A succubus even flushed my anxiety pills down the shitter and left my body wracked nervously from creeping withdrawals your doctor doesn’t warn will come.
The water rocked like Noah’s Ark. The hi-speed ferry blasted by. My stomach rumbled, hungry. All my foodbank food was stashed in boxes at family’s where I’d crashed for two grim weeks since I left a sensational seasonal rental, and determined never to rent again until I had kids in the works, and instead live in a shoebox in the meantime. A little girl whined and cried on the other side of the room. What a treat, when I’d have my own snotnose to weigh down beside me. But if the ship sunk, it would be from the weight of zoomer Brasileiros whose barely-Romance Celtic tongue I could not falo.
North end of the isle pulled away beside me, God delivering one dry land for another. Already the mainland was in view, with shrimpy-looking fishing boats peppered around the coast. The jutting sandy bluffs, tree-topped, disappeared in final sideways glance and the currents picked up in open sea like the nauseating dance of life that carried back and forth and up and down and tilt-o-whirl down and down, water crests waving up and down and down and down….
The only thing I could be sure of was returning to nothing. I’d have to build whatever came next, even if it was more nothing too. Who had anything, anyway? People had nothing better than pricey cars and mortgage debt houses to show and I had forever for the rest of that shat I’d never have. I was a writer needed experience, and about nothing more but unobtainable peace. Love was all that was missing, and always, at that. Girls talked big game about big hearts and romantic inclinations, but it took half my life in love to realize they just wanted a monkey to dance, or a dream that didn’t stick round for long. I’d rather be a dream than a monkey, but worse, I was nightmaremonkey.
I’d go back to mainland to dream and bleed and see the cool woods at night. I always told forest, my soul would be back in time. I always dreamed death in life, soul flying over windswept quiet treetops like thunderbird sea hawks. Party with graveyard ghosts, read a book to them. Fix gravestones. Whistle bad tunes to century-dead babes by New England graveside, great-grandparents of acquaintances. Meet choice new people with tired eyes and show myself a bit crazy, maybe a bit interesting, like flashes of life.
Ferry rocked left and right. 11:22 flashed by. We can never get off the boats we choose to ride. Thompson said something about this.