After a long stretch of careful scientific study — double-blind, I assure you — I am prepared to present to the world the Donovan Graham Law of Inverse Inebriated Performance. The Law, backed by several solid bits of anecdotal evidence that I gathered at The Village’s Talent Night, postulates a precise set of relationships involving the factors of
1) time of night,
2) amount of alcohol and other substances consumed,
3) bravado (actual or substance-induced),
4) talent (real or imagined), and
Previously, in Island Wars… Donovan Graham, an ambitious young journalist, is covering the showdown taking place there between the U.S. and Canada on Grand Seal Island. He spends as much time as he can down the The Village, enjoying the parties and the women. But he also spends time in The Town on the north side, talking with the old folks, attending Quaker Meeting, and learning how to contradance.
I had prudently decided to abandon my quest to locate the source of The Village’s everlasting drug stash. I figure it’s Floyd, and I figure that everyone on the island knows it’s Floyd, and I figure that the GSI Powers That Be did some serious thinking about the kind of world they wanted to create on the island, opted against a Nazi-style police state, and decided not to worry about it. There’s a tight balance between oversight and overkill.
It’s really cute. The gang down at The Village have perfected the art of disaffected distance, the science of nonchalance, the finesse of worldly disdain. The president’s been shot? Don’t be such a geek. The Cave is on fire? So? We’ll party on the beach. The island is sinking? Bummer, man — better check the Zip-Locks.
It was while we were digging clay on the Midges that I learned a bit more about Eliza. She was born and raised in Milwaukee. Can you believe that? The sexiest and most atmospherically exotic woman on the planet comes from Wisconsin. Hard to comprehend, but true. She stayed there, blossoming beautifully, until it was time to head off to college. She could have attended any college in the country — her test scores and GPA wouldn’t have mattered once any guy in the admissions office had gotten a look at her — but she chose to attend the Michigan School of Art and Design.
I never finished telling you about the Quaker Meeting. The first half of the Hour of Silence was spent counting random objects, and it seemed as though the Meeting had gone on all week. After dodging the Island-Car Laser, I had tried everything to make the time go by: counting slowly to one thousand, singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” to myself, trying to name all seven Dwarves and as many of the characters from The Addams Family that I could think of.
The beach just west of the town of GSI is fairly quiet, a long stretch of seagull-strewn rocks and seaweed-clogged sea. I like to hang out there every now and then, eating a sandwich and watching the ocean, gazing across the straits and wondering what people on the mainland are doing. You know — those people who live in real houses and eat cooked food and all that. Don’t get me wrong.
The prisoner opens one eye. The cell block is dark, but there is a sound, a scraping. The turning of a key in a lock! The light is blinding as the warden shuffles in. “On your feet!” she orders. “You’re getting out of here.” The prisoner rises slowly, blinking in the realization that he is once again a free man. One slow step at a time, he begins to walk toward the noise and bustle of the outside world….
In other words, I am free once again to cover The Village.
The Day rolled around. D-Day. First Day. It was time for me to go to GSI’s Quaker Meeting.