Here is another of those two-sentence stories with poetry added. I’m thinking of them as “Minuscule” and quick to read.

Read the first Minuscule, the explanation of why I wrote it and got started on this idea, and search under the category Fiction/Poetry Combination for others in the series.


Remove a detail or two and what you’ve got left is a vague sad story about a passenger who fell overboard sometime after dark, the kind of thing where I’d say, Oh, that’s too bad, while thinking about breakfast or sun lotion, maybe. Amend the perspective, though, add back in a couple of particulars, and suddenly things are a lot different: I am not a passenger hearing a story; I’m a swimmer wearing brand new cruisewear who didn’t go into the ocean on purpose, treading water and watching the lights of the ship move away from me, and I’m not thinking about breakfast or sun lotion, I can assure you.

I’m sorry
I didn’t eat cake
for breakfast
even though
there was no reason why not.
Now it is too late.

(Shadorma 45)

Postcard lady swimming underwater 7-16 small

Mail art postcard, July 2016.

28 thoughts on “Cruise

    • Thank you. I am not sure which one you refer to (and I actually know something about Conrad, I did my college thesis on him (surprise, I turned it into a print book a couple of years ago, will my book obsession ever end, but people have actually bought it, so…) Listen to me bragging. Anyway, which story are you thinking about? So rarely does Conrad come into conversation, I leap right on the reference! because I loved his books and still remember how great doing that project made me feel.

      • The story where someone falls overboard and another (sailor I think) goes in to rescue him but the boat sails on and nobody knows that either of them are missing. I could just be making this up, but I don’t think so. Could it be from Lord Jim?

        • In Lord Jim it’s Jim who abandons the ship and pays for it later but doesn’t swim, he goes in a boat – maybe you are thinking of the Secret Sharer where a man swims to another ship to escape a paying for a crime?

  1. I hate that feeling of removing ones self…….for the sake of self preservation ……I’ve been battling the fearless foe all week dodging bullets……that metallic taste in your mouth,I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and refuse to change my disposition……and that’s the truth

  2. I really like the pivot between the perspectives in this piece. It is actually really chilling to be propelled into the point of view of the person treading water as hope of rescue disappears. Drowning is common in my family history (as is death by torpedo) because so many of my family members were seafaring so I think that has left me with a bit of a fear of drowning. This story, therefore, really stirred something in me emotionally.

    • Death by torpedo? I need to know more about that. But I digress. I am a really good swimmer with no fear of water ever in my life, but I have experience with drownings in my circle of acquaintances over the years, and it is terrifyingly easy to die in the water. I was also a lifeguard in my younger days and so I take the water very respectfully and do not play around. I scared myself with this story, a little, thinking about how hopeless it is to be a person alone in the middle of the ocean.

      • I’m a nerdy family historian so I keep a tally of causes of death. I have – so far – 88 war dead including 20 who died as the result of a torpedo. When doctors ask about family medical history, my kids used to joke that I should tell them about all the torpedo deaths.

        • I can’t help myself here. One torpedo or many? I am guessing WWII? My imagination immediately took me from the logical explanation (result of a ship battle) and gave me a torpedo leaping out of the water and going door to door down the street. With eyes and flicking its glance side to side, with your poor family in its sights. Not to be disrespectful, I hope you don’t think that. And I love what your kids said. remind them it is also part of their medical history now, too…!!!

        • Oh my goodness, no. Absolutely no offence taken. Death is a part of life. I wouldn’t keep a “tally of death” if I was that reverential about it. I got excited a couple of weeks ago when I uncovered another cholera death as I had not moved that figure on the chart in quite some time. They were killed in both World Wars. Some were serving in the military and some were merchant sailors in convoys that were attacked by U boats. Most were killed in individual incidents though I have a couple of instances of cousins killed in the same incident as they were serving aboard the same ship.

        • Cholera. I think your family is pretty exciting. I have an uncle who did a big search of our family and as far as I know, nothing exciting about us. At all. Ever.

        • My family history is probably pretty boring to anyone but me. The cholera is, of course, directly related to poverty but I also have some more exotic causes of death (yellow fever and the like) because of those seafaring ancestors of mine. My BEST cause of death is my 4 X Great-Grandmother who, on dying at the age of 38 in 1839, had her cause of death recorded as “Visitation of God”.

  3. I’ve been looking at all your art in different posts and think you are very talented. Combined with your short short stories, I’m sure your book will do well! I read about your buying ceramic supplies but haven’t seen any examples of your ceramics. Can you give a link?

  4. Didn’t mean to skip over your ceramic figures, which are fun and whimsical. I think your black and white sketches and drawings, however, are genius!

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