I’ve had a good look over the boat. It seems to be some kind of old pleasure steamer – the kind you see in those Hollywood films from the thirties with Cagney or Bogart. I don’t know quite what to do with myself to be honest. There’s some sort of library here with what appear to be some very rare books, and I’ve found a storeroom with some art materials but I just can’t seem to settle down to anything. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Well, I do. I’m dead – supposedly, but I don’t see much evidence of it. At least the food’s good. It all just seems so, I don’t know, claustrophobic. I’ve not seen more than a hundred metres out beyond the railings at any time so far, and apart from the fact that I can see the bow-wave and the wake, you wouldn’t guess we were moving. I wonder if the word ‘wake’ is connected to the funeral wake? It’s an interesting thought... The funeral gathering as a trail left after the life has passed. And what about ‘wake up’? Interesting. Sophie would have known. I wonder if there’s an etymological dictionary in the library.
I look at the wall of fog and around at the strange gloomy light and it’s like being in a box. I know where I’ve seen it before – in my degree show installation. I created the outdoors – a scene by the sea, enclosed in a room. I tried to get the light right, but it just felt gloomy and claustrophobic. I had this dream about people living in a city where it never really gets light and the cloud is like a lid on their world. They have moving picture windows instead of real windows – video links to other, sunnier places, or places long extinct but still stored on digital media. And then of course there’d be a technical problem, or they’d forget to pay their bill and there it would be – just a concrete wall. It would have been a really interesting idea for my degree project but the trouble was I didn’t really want to do gloomy futuristic dystopia. I wanted to do current, vibrant life. I wanted to make people care about the future, not give them an excuse to give up on it. Anyway I hope there is a view out there somewhere, because if not I’m joining the fishes. Assuming there are any fishes down there. Oh god, or whoever is out there – get me out of here. Please.
I’ve had a look at the other inmates. I was one of the last to wake up properly (typical) and they all seemed to have formed their little cliques already. I don’t really feel I can intrude now. Ned and the others are a good laugh, but I do feel very young compared to them. It also bothers me that there’s no women in their group. I always think a mixed group is more interesting – the women stop the men getting too pompous and the men stop the women getting too personal. It’s obviously a very sweeping generalisation, but there it is. I’ve had a good look at the women of course. A few seem interesting but I’ve had no indication that any of them want anything to do with me so that’s that. Sue is very sweet – she’s one of the guides. I’ve chatted to her a few times but I don’t think we’re supposed to fraternise. Ho hum. I suppose I should be hanging out with blokes nearer my own age. I look a lot younger than I did at the end, which is nice. I guess death agrees with me. There’s a group of cool-looking surf dudes that tend to congregate by the bar, but they’re not really my type – a bit too young if truth be told.
It wouldn’t be like this if I’d been on a Spanish boat. They wouldn’t have let me mope alone. If only they’d let me die in Spain instead of flying me home to England. I’ll never forgive them for that. What was the point?
I still keep looking around for other people to bother, but no one looks approachable. In Spanish, the word for ‘to bother’ is molestar. It seems appropriate. Nobody really wants to be molested.
Whenever I see a little word slip like that I think of Sophie. She was really into things like that. Anyway, I do another circuit of the deck. The boards are slick and the hull runs with rust and oil and everything drips with salt water. Up above there’s the usual sea-going paraphernalia of masts and ropes and funnels and vents, and, up in the bridge, shadowy figures we never see face to face. Davey Jones et al I shouldn’t wonder. Behind me, there’s the misted-up portholes of the bar, the forward lounge, the library and the games-cum-music room. Down below, the cabins. I can’t complain about my quarters, although they’re small they’re not cramped, and they’re nicely designed in marine ply and William Morris prints. Maybe that’s where I’ll go. I’ll get my dinner and a book and head down to my cabin and then maybe after that I’ll settle down and have a damn good mope.