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George Ferryman - 4

This is an installment of a longer story. See parts one, two, and three.


Tuesday, October 31

Within hours of arriving in Nassau, Marilyn knew she was never going back to New York. She sublet her apartment to the cat-sitter, offering detailed instructions on how to keep the African Violet alive, and placed a request via the postal service website to forward all her mail to her parents’ house in upstate NY.

The move was a hasty decision, but one that gifted her with an unfamiliar sense of peace. Between the steel drum bands, ocean breezes, and powdered-sugar sand beaches, Marilyn was certain she’d found her paradise.

She calculated that her savings would last three, maybe four more weeks, if she didn’t eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, and instead took advantage of the free happy hour buffet the hotel offered each afternoon. “A daily diet of crab cakes and conch salad is infinitely doable if you’re living in paradise,” she reminded herself. Eventually, she’d have to figure out how to earn a living, but that was a problem for another day. And with that thought, she grabbed a towel from the cabana and chose the perfect chaise to witness the sun’s trek across the azure sky.


George was sweaty, and the steel drum band in the airport that was supposed to dose the incoming tourists with “Island flavor” was giving him a thumping pain in the head. In addition, the plane ride had stiffened his knee, sending a throbbing pain up his leg. The two pains met somewhere in the vicinity of his shoulder. “Maybe Paris would have been a better choice,” he grumbled, slowly shuffling his suitcase through the corral leading up to the Customs Agent.

He presented his passport. “You here for business or pleasure?” The agent asked. “Neither. I’m on the lamb,” muttered George. The agent stared at George. George stared at the agent. The agent slowly pulled his out his walkie and brought it up to his mouth, eyeing George warily. “Pleasure. Pleasure. I’m on vacation,” George quipped. The walkie clipped back onto the agent’s belt with a snap.

Just how close had he come to seeing the inside of a Bahamian police station? Fortunately, he would never know. His only point of reference for foreign incarceration would remain a documentary he’d once watched on drug lords. George had scoffed at the mules who unknowingly transported cocaine that had been slipped into their pockets at crowded airports. “What idiots,” he said aloud in his empty room, “How could you not know that someone planted something on you.”

He subconsciously checked his pockets. Empty.

Relieved that he was still a free man, George slipped through the automatic sliding doors and hailed a taxi on the hot street.


“Dear Georgia-Jane,” the card read, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I get happy just thinking of you. Wishing you a birthday full of joy and wonder.” The card depicted a watercolor bouquet of yellow and pink tulips which were now splotched with brown droplets, courtesy of the mid-sip chortle that spewed coffee across the front of it. “Joy and wonder, my ass,” she huffed as she tossed the card into the trash can next to her desk.

The phone rang within seconds. “Jesus Fanny,” she said aloud after seeing the caller-ID, “Are you spying on me?” She picked up on the third ring. “Hello.” The familiar, squeaky voice responded with a rendition of Happy Birthday, hitting notes only dogs could hear. “Happy Birthday sister,” Fanny squeaked out when she’d finished “singing,” “Did you get my card?”

“Yes, it was lovely,” Georgia-Jane deadpanned. “But I’m on my way out the door now, so I can’t talk.” It was a lie she used every time Fanny called. “Oh, I’ll get right to it then,” replied Fanny eagerly. “I was just wondering ‘bout the lawsuit. Did you file the papers? Was little George notified? Has he called you?” Fanny’s voice reminded Georgia-Jane of a cartoon chipmunk from the old Looney Tunes collection. She had to get off the phone, now. “Fanny, I’d love to sit and chat, but I really am late for an appointment. Gotta go!” And with that, she hung up, cutting her sister’s voice off mid-squeak.


Named after her maternal grandparents, George and Jane, Georgia-Jane had always hated her name. Instead of rolling off the tongue, her name stuck in your mouth like dimestore taffy. For a brief time in middle school she referred to herself as Vanessa, a name that sounded to Georgia-Jane like an ethereal goddess. Her friends all made fun of her, however, making up rhymes like, “Georgia-Jane hates her name and thinks she’s better than us, but Georgia-Jane is still the same old trash that likes to cuss.” As a freshman in college, she went by Gigi for about two seconds until someone mentioned they were off to visit their grandparents — Gigi and Gumpa.

“At least I’m not called Fanny,” she thought with amusement, “It’s literally a synonym for ‘ass.’” She chuckled, self-satisfied with the knowledge that she’d been the one to give Fanny her nickname in the first place. Though she was hardly to blame, I mean “What 3-year-old can pronounce ‘Francis’?”

Jane poured herself a cup of coffee, strong, black and slightly bitter, and settled down at her desk. “Now,” she plotted, “let’s see what else I can do to torment little Georgie.”

[Find next installment here.]


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