the wrong boat

THIS STARTED WHEN Erland and I were cycling in Norway. We were traveling around and eventually arrived to the M-Fjörd, which had on one side a long, picturesque view of the sea through rings and rings of old pines. I could even draw you a map of the place if you would ever like to go there. We traveled down a gravel road through the pine forest and arrived at what looked like a botanical garden and museum. It might have belonged to some old philanthropist at some point. The kind of place that had been gifted to the state upon his death. Within this old estate, we encountered a red crow with a broken wing that was sprawled across an ancient sun dial. It could no longer fly but it continued to struggle with its wing. Later, we went into the back building and down a set of wooden steps. This led to a dockside bar. There were a lot of young couples sitting around drinking Guinness or glasses of white wine. The place had a New England feel to it, with platters of fried clams on plates with lemon wedges. Suddenly, the whole bar began to rumble and the man at the bar, a younger fellow with dark hair, informed us that we were no longer at the museum, but were actually on a seagoing vessel bound for the east coast of the Americas. Soon we had left the harbor behind and were out on the open sea, somewhere up in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Norway. Dozens of vessels came through the sea, mostly warships bound for Russia. I was surprised the news had not informed me of this fleet bearing down on Arkhangelsk. There weren’t only American ships. There were Canadian vessels too, and I spotted a few with Scandinavian flags. I went to use the restroom in the boat bar, which was located in a ship’s cabin, and saw on the wall a faded map of Orient Point, Long Island. Was this ship really going to sail all the way to Orient? Erland came into the cabin and said, “You have to get out quick. We’ve been torpedoed. The ship is taking on water!” I looked down and saw that my ankles were already wet and I climbed the steps. We both jumped off into the sea as the boat sank. We were soon rescued by a Swedish vessel passing by, and returned safely to Europe.

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