It was after dinner. It was dark. The fog had rolled in early and was as thick as a Canadian senator’s sense of privilege. Looking out from the balcony was just a grey blur and we could barely see to the shore below. About 100 feet. The dogs were going crazy. So Sal and I ventured out to stare into the gloom with them.
What could possibly have set them off?
Just as we were about to go in, Sal spied a shape emerging out of the mist. A big herring skiff with a small aluminum boat tied alongside was slowly approaching the beach. It was Alvin-the-floating-junk-man.
Alvin and his partner had promised to drop by to pick up the inevitable scrap metal pile consisting mostly of somewhat valuable dead lead batteries and stray steel and aluminum that seems to collect at remote homes like broken glass on the side of a Mexican highway. We had a ton of metal or close to it and they were making their last stop for the night.
They were pretty late. But at least they showed up!
I fired up the big yellow iodine floodlight we have on the lower deck so as to cast an eery glow over the shore and they gently bumped up alongside. We helped them load the stuff aboard the large rectangular skiff piled to the brim with old refrigerators, car parts, batteries, cable and miscellaneous junk.
They climbed across the skiff from the small power boat, scrambling over the junk in sneakers and jeans and torn hoodies like creepy night creatures, to receive our offerings. Both fellows are older and thin as rails. Skeletal. Skin like darkly tanned leather. They were the very image of the junk collector with the added cachet of looking vaguely pirate-like at the same time. Arriving late and leaving in the dark thick fog like ghosts of Marley simply added to the bizarre marine Halloween scene. Scrap collectors? Or trick or treaters? You be the judge.
It would be hard to make this stuff up.