Donald Hucks

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Drown short fiction by Don Hucks

Riptide. Notorious up and down the coast. Labor Day a drowning up toward Gilchrist. A local boy this time, one of their own. Not some tourist. Not some college kid on break. Would’ve known what to do. Must’ve panicked, lost his head. Damned shame. And they’d almost made it through the season without a washup their side of the ferry. Kate knew the boy’s father, from the bar. Ran a shrimper out on the bay. Took well whiskey and water. Twice. First one slowly, second one not. Now and then talked into darts, just one game, never before the first taste of the second drink. Won, mostly. Always a two dollar tip. Always sure to say thanks. Hadn’t been in all month, not since just before. Would he ever be back? Would he still nurse the first one? Still stop at two? Be talked into throwing? Bother being polite? And later what? Years from now? One of those mean old drunks, bitter, sardonic, that nobody can stand, and nobody left who remembers why? Always a reason, she figured. Everybody with a story nobody wanted to hear.

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