An Unconstant Rest

Stevens came puffing up the path from the armory. “What’s the deal?” he asked. “What’d you drag me all the way up here for?”

“Look,” said James, gesturing out at the whole wide expanse of the sea. “There it is. The biggest puddle the world has ever seen.”

Stevens walked around impatiently, his hands on his head as he struggled for breath. “Yeah? So? I’ve seen the ocean before. It’s nice, if you like that kind of thing.” Out on the horizon a cruise ship slid slowly south, big and white and fake-looking.

“You don’t understand. Come here, let me show you what I mean.”

“Hey, I can see fine from here.” Stevens wet his lips. “I don’t like heights.” James waited. “Fine, fine. Now what’s all this–” James wrapped his arms tight around Stevens and threw them both off the cliff’s edge. Stevens choked out, “You asshole!” as they fell, and would have gone on but the ocean cut his words off.

On the horizon the liner plowed placidly on, its decks thronged with the lazy, the labored and the vacationing, heading south toward sunnier, more forgiving ports.

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