Captains Mechanic Suggestion















I pressed a hand to my mouth as the choppy waters bounced the small ferry again, struggling not to vomit over the side. Somehow, I mercifully managed to keep it down, and I smiled at the small accomplishment.

         Four times in one trip would have been embarrassing.

         ‘Ho, there,’ chuckled the captain of the ferry, limping towards me with a pipe in his mouth. He’d left his captain’s hat in his cabin, but his big blue coat and turtleneck made him look exactly like a stereotypical seafarer, like he’d been plucked out of a Dooby-Scoo cartoon. ‘Feeling a bit sick still, son?’

         ‘Much better now,’ I grunted, not even bothering to lie well. ‘Are we nearly there?’

         ‘Another hour or so,’ the captain nodded. ‘Rough seas are slowing this old boat down.’

         I know how it feels, I thought, mentally suppressing another bout of gagging.

         ‘What’s a fella like you doing, heading towards Toowoomba anyhow?’ the captain frowned, scratching at his salt-and-pepper beard. ‘And why didn’t you drive there? It’s not much longer, and you’re clearly not a fan of boats.’

         ‘I’m looking for someone,’ I said, collapsing onto a bench next to the railing. ‘My brother. Went missing out this way a few months ago. Last place anybody saw him was at one of the local mechanics in Toowoomba, so I thought I’d start there and see where it led me.’

         ‘Aye, a noble pursuit then,’ the captain nodded. ‘Say, which direction was he headed in?’

         ‘Which direction?’ I frowned. ‘How do you mean?’

         ‘Was it north, by any chance?’ he asked, fidgeting slightly. ‘Heading out of Toowoomba?’

         ‘I think so,’ I said, trying to mentally project the map I’d been poring over. ‘Why?’

         ‘I don’t think you want to look for him, lad,’ the captain said, suddenly pale. ‘That place in Toowoomba won’t be able to help you, in any case, they’re just mechanic that does suspension repairs – no point even trying.’

         ‘No point?’ I asked, anger flashing away my nausea. ‘What aren’t you saying?’

         ‘Nothing, lad,’ he said. ‘Just… just give up on this hunt.’

         ‘I can’t.’

         ‘You must,’ he hissed. ‘I fear it’s already too late.’