Posted on: January 16th, 2011 In The Deep Deep Sea There Is An Even Deeper Susurrus

by Ben Godby

“I’ll take you from Brazil to North Africa,” the man said, and something made me inclined to believe him. And it was a tough sell, mind you, because I live in Cape May. But he spoke like an Islander and he had skin like a Congolese, and though I was born economically distrustful of people looking like that, I’ve been inclined to believe them in mystical matters–ever since I saw Live and Let Die with Roger Moore.

Baron Samedi, am I right?

So I said sure, and sure enough, the mouth of the Amazon receded behind us as the old man shoved us off with his long wooden pole. (Do you call it a punt, or is that the ship? Because it wasn’t a punt; he was piloting a raft, did I mention?) Across the burgeoning swells of the Atlantic, we shook and we quailed; but I didn’t mind the jaded turbulence of the seas. Just so long as my pilot didn’t hand me a midget’s top hat and some bloody chicken feathers, I’d follow him from the ends of the Earth to the coasts of Venus and Mars.

He paddled with that stick, and I tell you, I never imagined the things you’d see crossing from Brazil to North Africa. On a Risk board, it all looks pretty bland: basically just a bunch of dots and dashes, y’know? But there were dolphins and whales, and gulls big as my torso–they must have roosted on whitecaps–and I suspect there were other things lurking below the surface that didn’t show themselves at all. Once, I thought I saw a castle, floating–floating!–on the water, all the way out to the south; but then it slid apart, like a mirage, or a glacier, and tumbled down into the sea.

So it was either a metaphor, or a glacier. The end’s coming, can’t you hear?

When we finally reached other side, it was just as I’d expected: brown earth and sand and palm trees, and golden-blue surf crashing against pristine beaches. The man set me ashore, pushed off, and waved goodbye, and left me to wonder how he’d brought me from Cape May to Brazil to North Africa–and then back again.

Do you remember, when everyone graduated from college, and they all went on stupendous travels–to help orphans in Nepal, to party like wild animals in Thailand, to absorb culture in Paris, to do ecstasy and fuck hookers in Amsterdam–but we didn’t? We hung out in Cape May, the town we grew up in, and lay on the beach, wondering where each piece of flotsam and dross that washed up came from. But maybe that’s because we never graduated; or maybe, if we bumped up on some distant shore, bloated bodies, rotted with age, in some patch of land yet unknown to us, they’d wonder where we’d come from–and maybe they’d pick us up like driftwood and hurl us back into the sea.

It’s not so sad, really. That old man? He never went on stupendous travels, either.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

2 Responses to “In The Deep Deep Sea There Is An Even Deeper Susurrus”

  1. Alex J. Kane Says:
    January 16th, 2011 at 10:41 am

    An eerie and eloquent debut, Mr. Godby. May we read many more!

  2. Alex J. Kane Says:
    January 16th, 2011 at 10:41 am

    An eerie and eloquent debut, Mr. Godby. May we read many more!

  3. THE SUNDAY SHORT STORY REPORT | My Blue Screen Says:
    January 23rd, 2011 at 8:17 pm

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  4. THE SUNDAY SHORT STORY REPORT | My Blue Screen Says:
    January 23rd, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    [...] “In the Deep Deep Sea There is an Even Deeper Susurrus” by Ben Godby (Brain [...]