Anarchistic musings from the end stall on Float 'A'
By Ed Sasser

The most subversive book in America today

Eddy’s Chuck,* Alaska: Heavy fog, today, here at the end of the shortest fjord between Ketchikan and Skagway. Nothing’s been flying in or out for days.

The cruise ships appear to be floating in space without the benefit of waterline. They don’t stop in Eddy’s Chuck, of course, but as I row across the channel they emerge from the fog like alien spacecraft. Of course when you meet some of the departing "float and bloat" passengers you realize the analogy is not too far off.

I awoke, this morning, to the silence of no aircraft followed by a 15- second blast from a cruise ship foghorn. This reverberated among the hills for a full 90 seconds until it dissipated into the sounds of eagles, ravens and bonaparte's, who, for once, have the skies to themselves. It was a good thing, of course, that while preparing for my row I could hear where the cruise ships were. I never care to repeat being in the dark rain in a wooden boat with no RADAR signature craning my neck to read A-R-C-O M-E-R-C-H-A-N-T one letter at a time.

All is moist. I am moist. On these mornings I find it's hard to believe that there currently is a place where the sun bleeds orange bobolink and the grass sulks. But I've been there this time of year and I know it's still like that today along some desert river, floating along with the ghost of Ed Abby and looking for the SPF 40.

Not here. No Airplane Bob today. He’s started another business but still gets the mail here three times a week—unless we have a spell of fog like this one. His new business is called “Adios Charters.” I don’t actually think he’s gotten anyone just where they said they wanted to go yet but he’s gotten most folks some place and nearly all of those back. This is sort of keeping with the motto on his t-shirts: “Adios Charters: Eventually we’re likely to get you someplace you probably should have seen while you were visiting Alaska anyway."

The mail can take forever. I got a Christmas card last week. Between weather and the conspiracies to stop certain mail from getting to town, we never know if we are getting what we are supposed to get. For instance, it came to light last week that an ad hoc committee had actually put pressure on both the postmaster and Airplane Bob to stop delivery of what they called “the most subversive book in America today”. 

Airplane Bob, of course, is one of us and tipped us off. The postmaster is one of our sympathizers even though she is a frequent victim of the inundation of paraphernalia that is the result of the book. The committee, lead by Ken of Ken’s Marine, tried to convince the postmaster that destruction of the books would be a community service. Such a selfless act would stop the senseless addiction, incessant dreaming, idol speculation, exposure to hazardous fumes and community arguments.

But the book got through; the only day last week we received mail.

People are reading and plotting as I row today. Futures will be determined by the detailed plans they make tonight. The official title of this subversive text is “The Complete Guide to Boat Kits and Plans, 14th Edition” but dog-eared copies pass from citizen to citizen who whisper its underground title: “The Noodler’s Wishbook”.

Ken tried to get the preacher to do a sermon on the evils of fumes, dust, wishful thinking and addiction. The preacher listened intently and Ken thought he had made his point. But Sunday came and the sermon was on hope, self-sufficiency and God helping those who help themselves. I happen to know the preacher has a half-done Joel White kit in his guest room.

At last report, Ken was looking at a Bayliner dealership on the mainland. If so, that’s it. Nobody sells new boats in Eddy’s Chuck. There are just us noodlers. More every day in fact.

“We’re here!
We drink beer!
Get used to it!”

(*Eddy’s Chuck, Alaska is a fictitious place populated by real Alaskan Noodlers.)

Copyright © 1999-2000 by Ed Sasser. All rights reserved.


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