No Ferry Today

The bar was supposed to open at noon—where is Duncan?

Margo hadn’t gone back to the mainland the night before. The warm summer breezes had beckoned her throughout the workday until she decided to take blanket down to the beach and sleep on the sand. Her friend Monique had joined her at the last minute; she had a house further inland on the little isle, but she, too, had been tempted by the breeze coming in off the ocean.

When the bar closed at 2:00 a.m. they’d taken iced coffees and sandwiches, their beach blankets and their phones, and giggled together over Netflix shows until they’d fallen asleep. This morning they’d awakened late, rushed to Monique’s for showers and fresh clothes and wandered down to The Beach Bar to report for lunch duty.

After exchanging puzzled looks, the women unlocked the door and threw open the windows. This was so unlike Duncan, who usually arrived a good two hours before opening to fire up the grill and do early lunch prep. The bar was generally busy from the time the “Open” sign went up.

Not today. It was nearly one before Junior Samples sauntered in. “Where the hell is everyone?” he demanded.

Margo and Monique had been busy chopping vegetables and unstacking chairs, and so hadn’t taken much notice of things outside. “Dunno,” Monique said.

“What do you mean?” Margo asked.

“Look for yourself,” Junior said. He scratched his bare chest absently, drawing Margo’s eyes to his nearly perfect pecs. “Not at me!” Junior laughed good-naturedly. “Outside.”

They all went to the windows. The beach was nearly deserted. There were a couple of island folk walking near the shoreline, looking bemusedly across the reach.

“No wonder we slept in,” Margo remarked. “The ferry never came!”

This was unheard of. They ferry always came. The trio wandered outside and down to the shoreline, where there were joined by a few other people.

Melvin Samples, Junior’s uncle, shaded his eyes and stared out across the water, where the mainland was just visible in the early afternoon light. There was a blinding glare across the water, with the sun nearly directly overhead.

“What’s going on over there?” Vivian asked. Viv was Melvin’s wife, a tiny woman who wore glasses with thick lenses. Squint as she might, she was never going to be able to see the distant shoreline–even with her spectacles, her vision was terrible.

“Nothin’, honey,” Melvin replied. “Cain’t see a bloody thing.”

Margo pulled out her phone, freshly recharged while she’d showered and dressed, and placed a call to Duncan. After a few seconds, she frowned, stared at the screen and tried again.

“What?” Monique asked.

“It’s not ringing. Nothing is happening.”

Monique was trying to pull up the news. “I think my phone’s broken.”

Junior’s phone began blasting out an old ZZ Top song. “My playlist works,” he announced. “But nothing else does.”

The group turned as a unit without speaking and hastened back to the bar. Margo turned on the television. Every channel was playing the same thing: snow.

Devin Murdoch asked, “Should I take the skiff over? Check it out?”

The group was silent until Melvin said, “Maybe we should have some lunch and mull that idea over.”

Monique slap some burgers on the grill.

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