Horrible things that have happened on the Island
- Sadie Thornton, found dead in her hot tub; she had been cooking for days. Naked. Aneurysm. What her blowdryer was doing plugged-in on the deck, resting on the tub’s lip, was never determined.
- Jewel Slater, consistently black-eyed, slipped like jelly through the door of her boyfriend’s truck as they rounded a curve on the north side of the Island, her head crunched beneath the wheel and left an asphalt stain and she was only twenty-one.
- Chromosonally fucked-over Piggy Watts, who wandered up the Mountain –which isn’t a mountain at all but a densely wooded hill through which and around which there are no roads– and returned six days later, hopping into the gas station on a Sunday morning when the regulars were sitting around the card table enjoying coffee and maple bars. His left foot was gored and he couldn’t ever say what happened.
- Tragedies like the salmon trawler going down and the Hanson brothers drowning in the middle of the night don’t really count because it happened off the coast of Alaska, not on the Island. But you can count the drowning of red-haired, camo-panted Trent MacGregor, 6 years old and climbing up –parentally unsupervised– onto the ferry’s edge, flapping his arms at the gulls nested on the creosoted piling, falling into the broken-up water just as the ferry terminally docked.
- The doubt-plastered pastor, suicided via revolver, the bullet poorly aimed and thus propelled, yes, straight into his brain but no, not killing him instantly. The killing took almost a year, the bullet an irritant seed slowly shellacked by gray secretion so that by the time he was dead and an autopsy performed and the bullet extracted by long needle-nosed pliers it had grown to twice its original size. Unholy pearl.
If you drink in the wild roses here, the volcano in the middle distance, the killer whales and blackberries, the funk of low tide, the fall afternoons when the sun stakes claim to an aching sky, if you stay and find yourself half drunk with wonder, you cannot help but wake to find these stories, too, caught in your hair, rubbed into the corners of your eyes, and smudged on your lip as you set the empty glass down.