256 Words

What the Sea Snark Said when it Talked

Robert Champagne

It was the rudder. It was attached to the styrofoam hull by a strip of plywood, and the plywood had bubbled and rotted off. Now it was loose in my hand and I pulled it up into the boat. We had started to spin on our center-board and I worked on the letting out the sheet. The wind whipped it from my hand and the sail went limp. We stopped spinning and sat dead in the water, the wind starting to push us towards the middle of the lake.

"What happened?"

"The damn rudder fell off."


"It's a piece of crap. The wood rotted and it fell off."

"Can you get it back on?"


The sun was in her hair as she looked down at the paper cup in her hand.

"So we can't steer?"

"I don't think so."

I caught the sheet and pulled it in and the sail filled up again.

"Hand me the oar. I'll see if I can steer with that." I put my hand down on the stern and set the oar against it but it wasn't enough to keep us straight. We fell back into a spin again and I let out the sheet.

"We should probably head in before the wind pushes us further out."

"But I haven't even finished my wine."

"I know. But we're far enough out all ready. With this oar it could take us an hour to get back."

"It's always something."

I put the oar in the water and pulled toward land.

Copyright ©2002 Robert Champagne. All Rights Reserved.

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November, 2002
Issue #79

256 Words