“Pulling into port now, she is.”

The old-timer looked up at the bridge of the vessel, where the captain was visible. A curt nod from the skipper acknowledged his wave.

“Impossible,” said Sheila. “They’re about to tie up. What happens when they do?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that, lass,” Harry said. “Watch.”

The crew was scrambling to get the mooring lines thrown, the bumpers out, but the ship and their own bodies were rebelling against it. As they rushed about their docking, the freighter gradually began to fade away into the fog. Each sweep of the lighthouse was like a wave washing away more of a sandbar; two more sweeps, and only eddies were left in the fog.

“The way I figure it,” said Harry, “they want to tie up as much as they ever did. They think that if they ever make it ashore, that’ll be the end of it. They can go, wherever’s next. But even though they tied up at this dock a hundred times, they never made it that night, which means they’ll never make it this one.”

“But they keep trying.”

“Yeah,” Harry said. “I don’t think they’ll ever make it. But I come out here anyway, cheer them on. They seem to notice, as much as anything can, in that state. Maybe they appreciate it. I know I sure would, after forty years of madness doing the same thing and hoping for a different result.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!