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imagined Louisa sobbing hysterically as she sank down on the wooden
dock, her heavy, black fur coat slipping off her shoulders, a gold
chain and cross twisted around her neck. Anton saw himself standing
over her, staring down, motionless while she cried, "You promised,
Anton, you promised! He hated fishing. Why did you have to take
him with you?" She would blame him. He could already hear her sobbing.
"You made him go on that stinking boat. That goddamn stinking boat!
I hate you. It's your fault he's dead. You killed him!"
image was so real that Anton reached down for her. "Louisa," he
said aloud, startling himself. Over the bow the tanker steamed silently
toward the horizon.
galley was lit by the bulb over the sink. The aged, varnished cabinets
soaked up the yellow light, and the rhythmic clatter from the engine
room poured out through the fan exhaust in the uptake behind the
stove. A few men sat silently around the table, swaying and jarring
with the boat.
was at the sink cleaning: going in and out of the fresh box, arranging,
scrubbing, stacking the sink counter with food, putting it back,
cleaning the sink and the counter, then attacking the fresh box
again. Every so often he would reach for the apron tied at his waist
and wipe away the tears on his smooth, red face. The crew sat staring
into their coffee cups like so many lonely bus travelers.
chief came up from the engine room for some coffee. His face was
sweaty and his black, oily hair hung limp. He took a cup off its
hook, grabbed the coffee pot and started to pour. When he saw Tony's
name on the mug he banged the pot down. Everyone looked up. They
watched the chief leave the galley with the cup. He threw it angrily
out the open storm shutter into the sea. It disappeared beneath
the foam. Then he came back in, took another cup and filled it.
"Don't you know it's bad luck to keep that thing on board?" he said.
He nudged his assistant, Slavko, to slide over as he sat down at
the end of the table. No one said a word.
leaned against the winch, steadying himself against the wind and
swell. "You threw up before, didn't you, after the accident?"