Stringers | Three

Death by misadventure was the official cause: nine point-three inches of rainfall find the Chihuahuan Desert each year. That same nine point-three inches of rainfall is also enough to drown a collared lizard when its path leads to an open oil drum used to trap rainwater. Caspar found the unfortunate reptile at the bottom of the drum on his way to the ship where routine maintenance and a swabbing of the deck awaited. What made him look he’d never recall and how the lizard got there he’d never know. But there it was, floating on the surface, several feet from safety, still, silent, bloated, dead. Vibrant colors now dingy shades of pasty chalk. He poked the poor fellow with a stick forcing it below the surface and held it there for a few seconds and then withdrew the stick allowing the lizard to bob unencumbered back to the surface establishing it was quite dead.

What Caspar did recall with absolute certainty though, was the day of his discovery, for it was July 3rd, his birthday; and only moments before he had heard about the death of a Brian Jones on the store radio, dead at the bottom of an outdoor pool on some farm in England and something or other to do with Winnie-the-Pooh. So on this celebratory day, Caspar wore a sort of weighted dread, a sense of his own destiny. Water, life-giving, life-taking. Death by misadventure.

Complete with gangplank, metal anchor and hand-carved steering wheel, the Osberg ship in all its glory captured the imagination of even the most uninspired of weary road warrior. Prow bursting skyward navigating the shimmering golden sands of endless wasteland, the full-scale replica portrayed an incredible vision of Viking craftsmanship and window into the shadow-side of Scandinavian dreams. Sails rippling with early morning zephyr, so realistic, it was easy to imagine the vessel crashing through bitter cold icy chop at some nautical pace on way to do battle in the Norwegian Sea.

to be continued…

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