Memphis Fast Fiction Home
02.05.2011
steamboat
Bill Boyce

He was headed back to work. Finally. The roads to the depot had been cut off by the heavy spring rains, and he’d spent nearly a week off from his job as the physical plant supervisor. Which was nothing more than fancy company talk for head janitor.

As he rounded the bend toward the front gate, something odd appeared in the corner of his eye. He looked over, and wondered if his drug days had come back to haunt him. Because, sure a hell, there was a huge old steamboat beached on the banks of the river, half-covered in mud and garbage.

His first thought was that maybe one of the Mud Island riverboats had cut loose during the storm, but from the road he could tell this was much, much older.

After parking his car, he walked out a bit, until the mud got to be too much. He looked up at it and whistled. It was gigantic.

Then, he looked over, and swore.

On a sign post, just past the wrecked hulk, was his company’s KEEP OUT sign.

The damn thing had washed up just inside their property line, which made it his mess to clean up.

Memphis Note
Somewhere on the banks of the Mississippi, just south of downtown, there is the wreck of a steamboat. It’s just within view of a maintenance access road, about a hundred yards past a razor wire fence. Depending on the river level, it might not even be visible at all. But, it’s there all the same. A piece of history, breaking down in the tide.

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