Jesse Jarnow

the island, no. 1

(Short fiction in even shorter increments.)

The Island: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11

The island appeared Tuesday, solid and clear on the horizon, was gone Wednesday, and came back Thursday. “Ask me what the secret of comedy is,” I instructed Suzanne Camer, as we stood on the old dock. It was autumn.

“Haha,” she laughed, though never asked. Then she coughed. Later, her ex-husband, David, would attempt the first trip to the island in his lobster boat, returning with a deep gash in his forehead. “I think it must be the power plant,” she said. “The smoke. A trick.”

“Yes,” I nodded, “a trick. Somebody is tricking us.” Though the air was crisp enough, my beer was getting warm. I gulped the last third of it down.

There had never been an island there before. “This is the end of the world,” my father told me on the day I fell in the campfire and emerged miraculously unscathed. “Look,” he said, “there is nothing out there. Nothing. The next thing is Greenland, maybe.” He pointed and then went back to tending the fire.

“No,” was all he said when I told him about the appearance of the island, which he never saw.


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