Anarchistic musings from a SE Alaska harbor
By Ed Sasser email@example.com
Next Stop - Mexico
Eddy's Chuck, Alaska* I watched as the local taxi negotiated the gravel on the “S” curve and turned up the drive to my boat shop. I knew by the uncharacteristic swerves that Mavis was not driving. Belgo slid out of the driver’s seat and tipped the spot where the cab driver should normally sit if there had been a cab driver. Mavis often leaves a note on the cab indicating that if she’s indisposed (or too drunk) customers are free to take the car anywhere on the island as long as they pay the posted fee and notify her voicemail of the location. She manages to fetch the car later in a variety of ways. With so few roads, she rarely has difficulty finding the vehicle. Except for that time when the location was listed as a “lat and long”.
Belgo is new to Eddy’s Chuck; no one person knows very much about him. The “Code of the North” is still reasonably active here at the end of the shortest Fjord between Ketchikan and Skagway so, unless he volunteers much about his past, we likely will continue to know very little about him. Of course, since he volunteers little bits to each person he meets, we have eventually pieced an entire story
together - conveniently filling in with conjecture as needed to aid in the continuity.
He needed a thru-hull fitting and had some trading stock. I suppose we should have been suspicious of his trading stock: bolts of nylon, bobbins, sewing machine parts and other manufacturing plant fixtures. But lots of folks quit a business and wander into Eddy’s Chuck. It’s sort of a waypoint that way. We also should have been suspicious of his luggage. It’s the first time I’ve actually seen anyone using a bag with a sign on it that said:
“Check your luggage carefully.
MANY BAGS LOOK ALIKE.”
Of course the sawed-off handcuff on his left hand might have set some city folks off as well but when I first saw him I thought it was a fashion statement. Turns out he was like many folks who drop into Eddy’s Chuck. He was just laying low for a while.
This is what I have pieced together so far by listening to loose talk on the dock and filling in as needed with conjecture to add to the continuity when I share the composite information: Belgo had some inventions that went sour and was on the hook for a couple of dot catastrophe IPOs that went south. They opened at $18 and went to $50 on day one. Then he had to bug out when they hit 9 cents. His inventions became popular but he couldn’t ship them in time and ended up being charged with consumer fraud.
Belgo had been enthralled with infomercials for exercise equipment. He was sick of the ab-roller, the ab-stimmer, the ab-puller, the ab-dominizer and especially of his ab-ject poverty so he jumped on the invention bandwagon and bought blocks of time on Hallmark, A&E and TNT. The idea was for a product appealing to those who wanted to stay out of shape and watch TV. He wanted them to feel good about themselves and save them work. So, Belgo invented the ab-organizer. The ab-organizer was a tuff nylon belt with pockets big enough for chips, dip, TV and VCR remotes, and the Dallas cheerleaders.
Belgo sold 2,000 of them before the contractor in Paraguay decided he would need a deposit to rent the manufacturing spaces. Belgo couldn’t deliver. “It became a consumer protection issue,” according to a quote from Belgo’s attorney that I overheard from Stan who said he saw it in a newspaper clipping stuck to Belgo’s calendar book.
As everyone in Eddy’s Chuck will agree, the measure of people isn’t whether they have previously failed at some endeavor but whether they picked themselves up and gave it another shot. Belgo was going to recondition a boat and get on to the “next big thing.” He said if he can’t make a go of it here, he’d head for Mexico.
Good for him, I thought, as I parted with a fitting in exchange for some industrial bobbins that don’t fit a machine within 592 miles of Eddy’s Chuck. If Frank Sinatra had sung about Eddy’s Chuck instead of New York, his lyrics might have been more along the line of: “…if I can make it here I probably tried someplace else first; It’s up to ME, EC…EC.”
Next stop –Mexico.
*Eddy's Chuck Alaska is a fictitious harbor populated by real Alaskan
Copyright 2000 by Ed Sasser. All rights reserved.