Year: 2024

Deadlifting

Helicopters fly over Portland Harbor. It’s late. A warm summer night in July; and full of flies. The bugs attack the day’s catch and are swatted away by swollen hands. Two weathered Americans carry a body wrapped in blue tarp from cold storage. The first mate trips on his boots, slips his grip, and drops the torso. “Careful, Josh! Christ,” hisses the captain. “That’s my bad,” says Josh, wiping his hands on a pair of overalls. “Bend with your knees, not your back,” says the captain. Josh nods, mindful of his form, and drops into a squat. They count three seconds in silence then haul the corpse up again and carry it to the stern. It reminds Josh of deadlifting at the gym. “What d’you think this one did?” he says. “Same thing they all do,” says the captain. “Piss off the Company.” They chuck the body into the sea, and in the same motion, the captain falls against the gunwale, out of breath. He stares at the black water until his first mate comes …