Lost at Sea

They found him washed up on the beach, flailing in the surf, an ancient wreck of a man, naked except for his socks. He said he was a pirate and a ventriloquist and a father of nine and so much more. “I’m telling you,” he said, “I’m an all round good egg but I’ll be the first to admit I do have a tendency to be economical with the truth.” They offered him a blanket and a tomato sandwich and a swig from their soup flask. He grabbed the flask and downed it in one, then made a face. Oxtail. His fourth favorite soup. “I’m not being funny,” he said, “but a bit more seasoning next time.” He shrugged, a peace offering, and said, “But what do I know, I’ve been lost at sea for sixteen days and the last thing I ate was an albatross.” Before they asked, he said, “Chewy, and it tasted like chicken.” They said “Is that right, is any of that right, or are you just being economical with the truth?” The old man looked down at his wet socks and hairy ankles and smiled. “Believe me,” he said, “it’s all true.”

Flash Fiction by Gary Duncan

Image by Adam Strong

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