Gray ocean… gray buildings… dirty white cars are gray on the roads of a slow gray city…

        Unhappy waves slam and pound into the rough stone cliff under the Boulderground dock. The fishermen drag their mellow moribund wood boats to the port, weighted from buckets of flippered catches and their long silver tails. Bulging yellow jelly eyes peer past a tin horizon, choking and flapping desperately. The smell of the sea is infectious, masking the old chicken and beef smell from the meat factory towards the east. Finn smokes a cigarette and watches the roughly calloused hands of the town’s sagging older men handle pails with metal handles, the village’s dinner special still fresh and not skinned. Finn watches and laughs, still a little buzzed from the past hour at the pub where he scribbled down lyrics into a mildewing brown notebook, sampling flights of mead that really weren’t that great, but he had it all anyways. He smelled a little, stinking like weed, but mostly like fish now. All the puddles around him reflected a profligate drinker, a young man with cropped hair growing out, two semi-thick jackets layered over one another, a dark brown bomber under a green consignment jacket he scrapped up recently. Washed dark jeans sag a little from the back, somewhat thin but strong legs filling out the denim. A tasteful brown leather belt with a large Weslandian flag buckle tops off the bottoms, military boots and a Hoot-War era canteen accessorizing his portrait of an alcoholic artist. A couple battered rings are on his cig-dragging fingers, dark eyes and a chipped tooth complimenting his cheeky, boyish smirk, which he doesn’t seem to shake when under the influence — which is almost all the time. A ziploc bag of relatively fresh bud sits in Finn’s army satchel, accompanied by crumpled papers of disowned drunken verses, a dishonest wallet, stolen flasks, and the old journal he’s been lugging around since last Independence Day, the one filled with all the girls reduced to musical sonnets. This man, this disheveled and lonely apparition of a musician and sometimes a stoned author… It's easy to get bored wandering these streets of Brasstown, Weslandia when you’re like this. There is no excitement in the cobblestone roads that carry grunting old cars under skies that seem to rumble all day and night, gunmetal gray clouds following Finn’s mocking laugh everywhere he goes, fog that never shakes. Staring out at the lighthouse landed on the north shore, across the rocky tides, Finn saunters over to Old Man Jimbo, who scrapes the scale off of a fat mackerel into a small blue plastic scuttle. Old Man Jimbo, who was known as the village alzheimer, remembered only one thing on any given day, which was his business at sea and how to conduct it. This made him a popular butt of Finn’s jokes.

        “Jim,” Finn began, startling the ever-focused Old Man from his duties skinning the plain fish.

        “Young man,” Jimbo replied, dropping the partially naked saltwater creature into its morosely childish pail, “Do I know you? You’ll have to forgive me, this Alzheimer’s disease has shit my mind away.”

        “Of course, Jimbo, I could never forget. Do you ever wonder how your memory began to escape you? Do you ever?”

        “Do I ever!” Jimbo exclaims, a scratched throat to accompany his rough sailor’s hands, “Do I ever! Let me tell you, son, I have no idea, but there’s a faint thought in my head that this came from my father, who, Lord forgive me, I can never forget, and if I ever see that sonofabitch again…”

        Old Man Jimbo’s father, a cynical and self-indulgent arcade owner notorious to the town, had passed away with dementia just a few years prior, withered and finally succumbed in his coffin at eighty-eight, arthritic as his son at fifty-four, who still spends days out past the coast. Finn knew that was where Old Man Jimbo had inherited his condition.

        “Nonsense,” cries Finley, grinning and slapping a hand on the thick and stained denim jacket that Jimbo wore, “I can’t believe you don’t remember me! Don’t you remember the war, captain, when you and I were naval crewmates aboard her beautiful majesty Maria Santaria St. Clair! You and I, I was under your wing! Don’t you remember the man who took the brunt of an enemy bullet to save your sorry, ugly ass!” He jabs at the Old Man, busting balls like a long-time pal…

        A smile of chipped and stained teeth begin to peer from under a carpet of bristled silver hair. “Oh, maybe I do remember, but I was awful young… Son, how could you have been there?”

        “No, not the world Weslandian war, no, the Hoot war… Oh, I can’t dare get you for this one, I know you must have forgotten. I come by here every day, to see the game you catch each noon and keep my old mentor company. No one else seems to visit you much, isn’t that?”

        “Well, I wouldn’t remember…”

        “I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s true. And I’m sorry to tell you once again, like I do every afternoon, that after that one incident by Retard Tree, when they tried to take all of us out with one of those damned grenades… well, I pushed you out of the way and it basically blew everything after my flesh off of me. That’s why I look so darn young now… the surgeries they had to do.”

        “Is this true? You saved my life? How could I not remember that war, that bastard war…” Bewilderment and terror were characterized on Jimbo’s face, his haggard old-man wattle hanging far down his sun-spotted skin, mouth agape, eyes wide and yellowed.

        “I’m sorry to say, it is true, and ever after that, you’ve been this permanent shell-shocked thing, all we could get you to do after that is fish. And fish you do. Still nice talking to you though, Old Man.”

        Old Man Jimbo, who had a rather large fortune leftover from his old business in oil rigging, no longer had the capabilities to appreciate or understand his money, so Finn, ever eager, has always helped him to share the wealth. Jimbo’s bait shop ballcap, weathered and patchy, lowered from his head to his chest, scraggly and spaced-out wiry fuzz receding to his scalp. “Sir, let me pay you something, to a good friend,” said Old Man Jimbo, and he fished out a thick brittle wallet.

        “No, I’d never ask for that…” meekly comes Finn, who had already offered his hand in preparation to receive.

        “I insist, for a good friend…” murmurs the Old Man, who places a crumpled stack of bills in the jester’s palm. “Visit me again, I assure you, this time I’ll remember.”

        “Let me go get us some beers, wait here, Jimbo,” claims the man who stands trimmer, who had no intent of purchasing Old Man Jimbo a beer at all, but didn’t quite care, because it’s not like he’d know any better to come chasing after him, anyways…