The ocean is beautiful I can’t deny that, fishing boats burn in the distant, the night is illuminated. Icy cold waves lick at my limbs and I am thankful for the numbness that follows. I know I am dying; these wounds are self inflicted, wounds of passion, if not love. I was born in this place, this icy place of sand and surf. My secret family surrounds me, singing songs long ago lost to the world.
My wife is standing above me, my wife is the sea, and for a moment I think I see tears in her eyes, but I realize it’s started raining, the great flood is upon us.
“You’re not really dying flesh is a burden. All of this was foretold. Planned.” I hear her voice but at the same time I don’t. “I would never let you die Philip.”
I realize that this is not my story, it all started long ago with a man I barely remember. A man I call father. This is about him I was never really involved.
My wife is dragging me from the water and prying the revolver from my cold blood stained fingers. If I had one more bullet I would destroy that face, or maybe I wouldn’t, maybe it would just sit in the gun.
The water is red and my blood swirls black in the changing sea.
But for now try to ignore my blood, the men and women writhing naked in the sea, the way the sky seems to be melting, falling with the rain. None of it makes any since with out him. I close my eyes and everything fades away.
* * *
Maria wanted the wedding to be small, not a secret she said, more like a vacation. I didn’t mind, or I told myself I didn’t mind, because I can’t really imagine seeing my family either. I’m almost laughing as I pick up the phone; of course I call my mother. Her phone rings all the way through to voicemail, her ringback tone is Aeorsmith. I try three times and then leave a voice message.
“You can call me back if you want. It’s no big deal. Maria says Hi.” And then I hang up, that’s how I feel, it’s not a big deal, it’s just a vacation not my real life.
I don’t notice anyone walk into the room; I don’t know how long he’s been here. When finally I turn around and see him slumped in the corner fiddling with a cigarette he barely notices me.
“Oh, hey man.” I haven’t seen my father in four years. Before that he waited twelve to contact me, we meet over a few beers and he barely resembled the man I remember. He looked like me, just going out partying, his hair was cut into a Mohawk and wore a sex pistols shirt. At twenty-seven he made me feel old.
Now I’m thirty-one, with grey in my hair and he looks nineteen wearing a baggy black blazer. As always there is a hand painted green eye on his lapel, the simple insignia of his church. When I was a child he told me they talk about his god in the bible, strange bedtime stories about what’s under the water, stories that made me a little bit famous.
“Dad what are you--”
“Phil come on man, how many times have I said you don’t have to call me that anymore. We’re both grown ups.” He stands and comes over to me, slapping a hand on my back.
“I don’t want to call you Howie dad.” This is an old argument.
“Why not? That’s what your mom always called me. How’s she looking these days?” he whipped out his wallet and retrieved a worn Polaroid. “I remember when I first met your mother. She looked so sweet, who knew she’d be such a bitch.” he passed the picture over. It was my mother wearing nothing but a bad brains shirt and a pair of panties.
“Why do you show me stuff like that? You know it makes me uncomfortable.”
“Do you have any pictures of this newest one?”
“Yes I do.” I almost didn’t want to ask, but I couldn’t figure out how he knew to come here. I handed him the picture of Maria.
“Dad, what are you doing here?”
“She’s good looking Phil, your lucky she puts up with, your mom never had a body like that.”
“I’m serious dad, you don’t care about this sort of thing, did mom call you.”
“No, Maria did. She sounded like a sweet hear but I don‘t know how she got my number.”
For a moment I say nothing, and he just smiles at me. I mumble something that sounds like I’m sorry and he laughs right in my face.
“I wasn’t going to come, but she sent me a copy of that book. Green eyes.” He says it with a laugh, flipping up with lapel. “I liked it Phil, even if you switched something’s around it was real good. I’m not the only one, we all really liked it, some parts even make more sense.”
“I’m surprised to hear that, Green eyes is so much different then all the stories you told me.”
“Do you think your readers know it’s all real?”
“It’s not real dad.”
“Did you know that Jesus was a fishermen? He knew worship had nothing to do with a church or wine, it’s about blood.”
“Do you know what you sound like? I write horror stories and you believe it.”
“You didn’t write them, you just re wrote them and you believe or you used to. Been swimming a lot boy?”
“No, dad I avoid the water. you know what’s down there.”
“I do, but look, buddy, I didn‘t come here to argue. I‘m not even staying for the ceremony, I just want to talk.”
“Talk about what?”
“Do you really believe all that stuff about global warming?”
“What do you mean?”
“You wrote that story, I can‘t think of the name. About the politician that goes insane and tries to form a committee to stop global warming, because of what lurks in the deep. Do you really believe all that?”
“Do I think global warming is an issue? Yes I do, beyond that it’s all a joke dad.” He’s staring at the photo of Maria.
“She is good looking. Hey, I wan to give you something call it a wedding present