A Maritime Prometheus

By Vic Carman

Still waters, it is truly said, run deep. And there are no stiller waters than in this sheltered cove, protected from the upending chaos of storm surges and the eroding forces of the turbulent tide. No wind-whipped swells push about the sand bars here. The water is murky, cold and deep. What falls below the water’s level is gone for good, its submarine fate a mystery.

I had considered this when I’d first seized on the idea of murdering my wife. But I had not considered the difficulties of the long, narrow dock that led out into the cove. She was not a fit woman and I was not exactly firm of body. But geography had conspired against me: the sloping grassy banks of the cove led to shallow waters that would not move my dead wife’s girth. To rent a boat would, I feared, create a paper trail that some nosy inspector might ferret out and use to incriminate me.

It was a hot day and the sun burned high overhead like the unblinking eye of a hawk fixed on its prey. I did not fear discovery, though. Not on this abandoned peninsula. The only witness was a persistent seagull, no doubt, in search of a morsel or two, whose raucous screech of accusation was unintelligible to man.

A few more inches to go, I summoned all my waning strength and tipped Priscilla’s mass over the lip of the dock.

Relieved, I sank back against the barnacle-encrusted railing. And that’s when the pain gripped my chest. I’d have laughed if I hadn’t been paralyzed by the pain.

A stroke from over-exertion. The doctor had warned of such a fate. I could not feel the right side of my body. I could not pull myself across the dock’s splintering boards.

On the railing opposite, I saw the seagull eyeing me. Overhead, I heard the flapping of wings. Was this justice then? These mangy seabirds judge, jury and executioner. And myself, a maritime Prometheus as good as lashed upon the dock.