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Thursday, June 9, 2011

From "The Docks" by V.H. Folland

The Docks
"Guy in the dock office. With a gun. Said he'd scuttle the ship in five minutes. Bombs." I was gasping, sweating in the heat. It was all true, but covered in oil, clothes charred, a total stranger, I couldn't have looked a less believable witness. The man stared for a moment, then yelled to the crew. Fortunately letting them out must have given me some credibility, as they abandoned efforts to extinguish the blaze and turned to escape.

A splash over the side indicated a crewman taking a sensible option. Others began to follow. In four minutes this ship was sinking. Anyone close in the water would be pulled under. The rest would be swimming in a sea covered by burning fuel. A shout came from the end of the deck where a crewman had found my abandoned grapple, still trailing over the side. Hauling it up from the tangle of cables where it had caught precariously he was making it fast to the fixings on board and all I could think was there was no god-damn time. I ran back towards the flames.

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