Anna Sidak
"Call me, Ishmael!"

I knew he wouldn’t, being a down-to-the-sea-in-ships type in striped jersey and rubber boots, salt in his hair. At sea too long, a metaphor. Ranted on about his peg-legged captain and his captain’s great white fish, all through dinner.

I’m not about to read the book. Deadly pages on flensing, blubber, and ambergris, I believe, and has the nerve to state right off ". . . nothing particular to interest me on shore." Then set up housekeeping—"no more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world." I admit I read a few pages; and wept but am now recovered, thank you. "Queequeg," indeed.

He dreamt I know, and drank, and dreamt to drink again then waxed poetic, called the chief mate "Mr. Starbucks," as though they’d a decent mug.

Says he claimed a coffin—he’d always a taste for coffins—from the wreckage of the mad captain’s ship, and rode it till rescued by a passing schooner. Placed hand on heart and declared himself an orphan. Enough pathetic.

Then wrote his book . . . don’t believe a word. He spent that year at his brother-in-law’s country place and a good part right here in town with me.

Anna Sidak's stories have appeared in New, Beyond Baroque, Bachy, Oasis, Snark Bite, and Linnaean Street. She lives in Southern California.


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...