dead sea

THE HEADLINE READ, “McCartney Dies! Ringo Last Living Beatle!” and there was a photo of Mr. Starr giving the peace sign. I folded up the newspaper and tossed it back on the counter at the seaside bar. One of the natural attractions was the wreck of a ship more or less on shore, and you could walk out on its rusty deck and look over the edge into the roar of the sea, if you dared. There were other families on the ship’s deck and I noticed, with some concern, how a child dove off into the water and swam back, safely. Of course, my daughter wanted to swim too, and before I could say no, she went over the edge, into that swirling froth. I thought about diving in after her, but soon after she was back on deck dripping wet. On the way back to the hotel, Lata ambushed me. She had been hiding in the bushes. She told me she wanted a baby, but I said it was an impossibility. “Please, please, please,” she said. “I love you.” I told her it was impossible. “If I have any more children, I’ll just die. And that’s the beginning and end of it.” I felt rotten about the whole thing and went back to the hotel room. It looked over a vast swimming pool, but there was something lifeless about it. “Dead Sea,” I quipped to myself. Where was this, anyway? The Bahamas? The Canaries? All these places looked the same. Later, Ramon came by to pick me up. He cruised up in his convertible and off we went. Latrell was in the back seat. He kept putting his legs on me and I kept pushing them off. He was in a bad mood too — was it McCartney’s demise that had rankled everyone? — but Ramon kept telling us that McCartney had really died back in 1966 in a car accident, and it was only his replacement, William Campbell, who had died. Or maybe he had also died and this was just another replacement? How many McCartneys were there? I felt bad for Ringo. He was the oldest one, and now this? What a rare honor, to be the last of a quartet. I’d had enough of dead ships and dead seas, dead heroes and and dead everything. I needed to find another island, to get away for a while. As soon as we pulled up to the little supermercato, I gave them all the slip.

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