01 02 03 The Revolted Colonies (TM) : The Crossing 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Crossing


Trump clamored into the mid-ships of the small, sleek scow.  He stood stiff-legged once the boat stopped bobbing.

"Please sit," said the ferryman.  Trump dropped heavily onto the plank seat, grabbing the gunwales. The ferryman swept the stern line off the cleat and stepped lightly into the boat  with one leg.  He pushed off with the other leg and settled in the stern, beginning a slow rhythmic paddling.  Both men remained silent as the boat glided away from the shore.

"How far away are we going?" Trump asked.

"Not far," the ferryman answered.  

Ok, thanks, ah, what's your name?"

"Charon," said the ferryman.

"Charon. Thanks, Charon."  The boat moved steadily away from the shore and into a mist. Soon, the small boat was blanketed in fog. Charon kept rowing without hesitation.

"How much time will this take?"

You'll be back in -- no time." Charon's hesitation confused Trump.

"This stop was not on the schedule.  I was told this was an emergency. Nobody can tell me what this was about?  Don’t you know?”

"I am only a ferryman," said Charon.  I know the boat, the river --"

"This is a river?  It's still, like a lake." 

Yes, a river," said Charon. "Styx?"  

"No thanks," said Trump.

"Styx is the name of the river."

Trump was unhappy. “This is horrible,” he said. The plank seat was uncomfortable. The mist was settling on his suit and tamping down his hair.  "This is horrible," he repeated. "No disrespect, ah--"


"Charon, there’s got to be a better ride."

"Only this boat crosses the Styx, and I am the only boatman," said Charon.

“You make all the trips? What if you aren't available?"

"Then there is no trip."

"What if there's an emergency?"

"Then, I am available.”

As the boat emerged from the bank of mist, Trump saw to his right another boat of the same type, traveling past in the opposite direction.  

"Charon, what is that? It looks like this boat. The passenger looks like me, and the ferryman looks like you. Hey!”

"That is not another boat," said Charon. "It is the same boat, the same passenger - you, and I am steering."

"That’s impossible," Trump said.

"No, it is as I say.  We are the same, but it is another day."

"When is that?"

"Yesterday or tomorrow, I cannot tell."

"I don't remember being here before."

"Neither do I. But then tomorrow, I will not remember today."

"How do you know?"

"Because I have no memory of yesterday."
The boat lurched to a stop, as if it had run aground.

"My fee, sir," said the ferryman.

"Amex Platinum?" asked Trump.

The ferryman stuck a finger into his passenger's mouth and withdrew a coin.  "This is sufficient," he said.

"We are here, sir. Please step out of the boat."  As Trump stepped out, he tumbled forward and was submerged with only the heel of one shoe sticking out of the water. He was able to poke his head above the surface.

"I'm caught. I can't get out. Give me a hand."

Trump reached up, but Charon paddled the boat away in a half-circle.  "I'm sorry sir. I cannot retrieve you. I must go."

"But you're the only ferryman, and that’s the only boat. When will you return for me?"

"I cannot say, sir. Perhaps tomorrow or yesterday. I must warn you, though, that the mud makes you vulnerable. You will no longer be invincible. You will be mortal, except for your heel."

The ferryman paddled away, leaving Trump stuck in the mud, with only his heel sticking out above the surface of the water. He could not move in any direction, except to lift his head occasionally for air.

As he lay there, he saw the shapes of various creatures moving around in the  dark water.  They took many forms and sizes. He was able to see through the murk that they were creatures of all patterns: stripes, dots, irregular markings;  of all colors, bright as well as dark, from black to white and all colors in between. The creatures lay still momentarily as an undertow rippled through the water. The creatures slowly stirred, closing in and circling the sunken figure. 

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