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rang up "slow ahead." The chief responded; the big engine slowed,
the noise and vibration quieted, and Defiance settled, like a bird,
into a smooth, wakeless glide across the harbor, heading for the
channel markers blinking, one above the other, on the old warehouse.
In the channel, they passed two tugs pulling a tanker away from
her berth, and at Bethlehem Shipyard, bright welding flashes signaled
the activities of the graveyard shift.
stood at the rail taking in the smell of land. That last set, he
thought, would always be with the crew. The shock, like a wake of
a passing ship, would travel through the fishing families. Then,
radiating further, it would evoke sympathy, concern and curiosity
in the maritime community; until, finally, it would be absorbed
into the crowded city and disappear.
sat alone in the galley, writing in a notebook. Johnny came in and
went to the sink to rinse out his coffee cup. "You making out the
grocery list, Augie?"
might as well. When do you think we'll go back out?"
who knows!" Johnny dried his cup with a dish towel, then hung it
in the cabinet by the stove. He stared out the window at the passing
docks. "We'll be back out before you know it," he said finally,
then added, "We'll unload the fish at the cannery in the morning."
Johnny left the galley and went up to the bridge deck. He glanced
inside, then leaned against the wing rail.
on the wheel, brought Defiance slowly across the channel. The fish
dock stood lonely and silent, an empty stage. Anton gripped the
wheel tightly. Defiance moved down the dock, the sound of her engine
echoing against the building and waking the gulls on the roof. She
entered the fishing slip and glided past the Paramount, dark and
deserted. There was room ahead of the City of L.A.; Anton brought
Defiance further to port, and she closed in. He searched the dock
when it came into view. He shuddered. They were there: the ambulance
and Pete's green Buick. The ambulance was dark. Anton had envisioned
flashing red lights. He saw Pete get out of the car.