The Hard, Cold Facts

The Hard, Cold Facts…

Grandpa Waller always said it was a good idea to know something about where you’re going before you get there, otherwise you might drive right on by and miss it. Grandpa’s bilious bromides were the main reason no one looked too hard when he rolled off into the night in his wheelchair during a Fat Tuesday visit to New Orleans in 1958. However, in his blessed wandering memory, this is where you get on…

Panoramic view of Klinkleburg, circa 1891

Panoramic view of Klinkleburg, circa 1891

Trying to understand this unusual speck of rock in a lonely sea is a bit like walking in after the first fifteen minutes of a new “Star Wars” film with a super jumbo bucket of popcorn in one hand and half a quart of watery soda in the other — figuring out what you missed so far is no problem, but finding a seat is going to be an adventure.

Somewhere in the great Caribbean Basin lies the island of Poco Cabesa and the town of Joetown, home to a few hundred locals and a President-for-Life named Comrade Joe the Only. For all its glories and follies and flaws, its flora, fauna and foolishness, Poco Cabesa is a magical island where space and time have little meaning and receive absolutely no respect. A place of contrasts, contradictions, and general confusion, it is also a place of grace and honor… you just have to look real hard.

On the northwest portion of the island is the paradisaical kingdom of Medillo Grande, where an air-sea charter service called “Following the Equator Air & Sea” ekes out a bare existence. Well, actually, it just ekes.

Off the water

“It’s in the shop again?”

That’s because FTEA&S is little more than a dilapidated Catalina PBY Flying Boat owned by a cantankerous crustacean (if there ever was one) named Mad Jack Waller. Its sole crew-member is a screwball savant Bengali wrench-wrangler named Babala Prince Albert Holmes. In the greater scheme of things, “hanging on by its fingernails” describes its current socio-economic status.

And the latest President-for-Life? He’s just a younger, hungrier, more capitalistic sequel to his President-for-Life uncle, who’s now the island’s second-most celebrated recluse. And the locals, well…

But, I am getting ahead of my story. In any case, you have been forewarned…

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.– Mr. Twain

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