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The Drunken Paddleboater and the Sea
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons | July 28, 2014
The bay was angry that day, my friends.
He was a drunk man who slept alone in a paddleboat in the waters near the Bay Bridge on Sunday and he had gone some time without taking a drink of Bud Light Lime. In the first hours, another bro had been with him in the two-person paddleboat. But the bro's girlfriend had told him that the paddleboater was now definitely and finally out of beer, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the bro had departed at her order in another boat which been stocked with many cases of the Lime.
“The Giants cannot lose," texted the drunk man to his bro.
“But I fear the Dodgers of Los Angeles,” texted back his broseph.
"Have faith in the Giants, my broski. Think of the great Panda.”
“I fear both the Padres of San Diego and the Diamondbacks of Arizona.”
“Be careful or you will fear even the Rockies of Colorado. #YOLO”
The drunk man rolled his Chubbies up to make a pillow, putting his iPad inside them. He rolled himself in the blanket and slept.
He was asleep in a short time and he dreamed of the Mission when he was a boy and the queso papusas, so greasy they hurt your stomach, and the great green slopes of the Mission Dolores Park. He lived in that park now every night and in his dreams he heard the Truffle Guy roar and saw the taco trucks come riding up to it. He smelled the pot smoke and papusa grease as he slept and he smelled the smell of the Mission that the land breeze brought at morning.
Some of the younger fishermen, those who rented their boats through "Uber for Yachts" or had parties with founder hounders, bought when the pre-IPO stock options had brought much money, spoke of her as el mar—which is masculine. They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. But the bro always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favors, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.
He was sleeping steadily and it was no effort for him since he kept drifting within his speed and the surface of the Bay was flat except for the occasional swirls of the current. He was letting the current do all of the work and as Karl the Fog began to come in it he dozed and was already further out than he had hoped to be at this hour.
In his dreams, the drunk man had landed his fishing hook upon the Google Barge and was following it through the waters of the Bay.
“The Google Barge is much longer than the paddleboat,” the drunk man said in his dream. The line was going out fast but steadily and the Barge was not panicked. The old man was trying with both hands to keep the line just inside of breaking strength. He knew that if he could not slow the Barge with a steady pressure the Barge could take out all the line and disrupt it.
He is a Google Barge and I must convince him, he thought. I must never let him learn his strength nor what he could do if he made his run. If I were him I would put in everything now and go until something broke. But, thank God, they are not as intelligent as we who kill them; although they are more noble and more able.
When the old man awoke and saw the 29-foot rescue boat coming he knew that this was a Coast Guard cutter that had no fear at all and would do exactly what they wished. He crumbled his empty cans of Bud Light Lime into projectiles to defend his paddleboat and made the rope fast while he watched the Guard come on.
The drunk man’s head was clear and good now and he was full of resolution but he had little hope. It was too good to last, he thought. The Guard boat shined its light on him and it hurt the man's eyes, for he was drunk on Lime.
“The ocean is very big and a paddleboat is small and hard to see,” the drunk man said to his bro, back on shore. He noticed how pleasant it was to have someone to talk to instead of speaking only to himself and to the Bay. “I missed you, bro” he said. His bro silently opened a Lime and handed it to him.