Global warming. Sea level rise. Floating Community. Attempted Robbery at a pearl farm.
Inside the cramped, narrow cabin of the sloop called Nightingale, Xavier was seated at the table, with a half-empty mug of beer in front of him, and several empty bottles beside the mug. Quin sat across from him, with an open lap-top computer that was logged on to the socialjustice.com website, along with a partially emptied beer mug of his own.
Xavier asked, “You see anything interesting from your ‘very powerful connections’, who run that website?”
Quin smugly read what he saw on the screen, in a condescending tone. “’The Left is right, and the Right is wrong. The Left is always right, and the Right is always wrong.’”
Xavier told him, “You know that isn’t true, and so does whoever wrote that thing.”
“What is ‘true’? Quin asked him, “What is ‘truth’?”
Xavier pointed at the lap-top. “Not very much of what you read from whoever runs that website.”
“Whether it is or isn’t, we’re just supposed to go along with it.”
Xavier snorted in disgust.
“We’d all better go along,” Quin told him, “with whatever they choose to post on this website.”
“’Better go along’?”
“If we’re ever in need of their help, we’d better.”
"I see." Xavier asked, “Beyond ‘The Left is always right, and the Right is always wrong’, is there anything else we’re expected to ‘go along with’?”
Quin scrolled down the page, then stopped and read the headline from the first article he came across.
"'Floating Communities Endanger the Marshlands'"
He Challenged Xavier, “Tell me that isn’t true.”
"We don't argue. We go along."
Then he returned to reading the article aloud.
“‘When global warming melted the polar ice caps, raising the sea level by 30 feet, it was nature’s way of establishing justice, by reclaiming the coastlands from humankind’s total destruction, and by setting up a natural barrier against any further damage. The vast majority of the people living along the coastlines did the only enlightened thing, and moved inland.
“However, millions of the backward thinking masses, refused to move. They listened to the unenlightened saying, ‘When the water’s rising, get in a boat.’”
Xavier interrupted, “How is that ‘unenlightened’. It makes good sense.”
“Sometimes,” Quin again spoke with condescension. “what seems like ‘good sense’ can be the most unenlightened thing that anyone can do.”
He continued reading. “Then that’s just what they did. They actually built hundreds of thousands of boats, barges and all kinds of nautical craft, and constructed floating communities just so they could stay where they were, and continue their thoughtless damaging of the environment.
“The time has come for the Floating Communities of the unenlightened masses to be removed from the Marshlands, so the ecology can finally begin to repair itself.”
Xavier laughed. “Remove the ‘Floating Communities of the unenlightened masses? Yeah-right.”
“You’ll see.” Quin told him, “Sooner than you think.”
Andalib came down the steps.
They both looked at her.
Quin said, “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where Xavier’s girlfriend is?”
“Hey!” She glared at Xavier. “I’ve had enough of your jealousy! If anyone saw the way you were glaring at the two of us in the restaurant, they might have wondered what was going on.”
He growled, “Quin’s right. It is very early. You hardly ever settle for a quickie. What happened? Couldn’t you satisfy him?”
She spoke sharply. “That isn’t what happened! Believe it or not, he and I just spent almost two hours attending a Bible study!”
Both men looked up at her and chuckled.
Xavier repeated, “’Bible study’?”
“Which included a prayer for a ‘Binding of the Devil’, so no one else will be harmed here in Shellfish Shoals."
“I believe it.” Quin told them both, “Shellfish Shoals is like any other typical small American Community, whether it’s afloat or on dry ground. We’ve come to the middle of Yahooland. Just another benighted Rubeville.”
Now Xavier spoke to Andalib, “So you’ve found yourself a benighted yahoo to play with.”
She said, “Hey! None of us is here to play! Tomorrow morning, he’s taking me out to see the oyster farm. I’ll have all the information we need, by the time I get back.”
Quin asked, “Has he told you anything yet?”
“They’ve hired a guy who traps alligators. He’s supposed to arrive the day after tomorrow. The gator could be back guarding the pearls within a few days, so we have to act fast.”