“This *arm* of the lake,” he spoke to me, well aware that his own arm represented the other at the moment, “is private, say, from the elbow down. But the shoulder to the elbow, where it’s glued to the rest of the body?: well, that’s something else. That’s where *I* fit in. And a good deal of others like me.” He looks to the water with this, and others of his kind dotted here and there. Like these fishermen, good men all, except for the one they call Blackbart staring in a different direction from the rest.
“Any of you boys got any… coke?”
“L-leave us alone, Blackbart,” spoke the stockier fisherman on the pier. Trying to ignore the just arrived renegade seaman, an ex special op naval medic discharged for mechanical reasons some say wrongly, didn’t work for the pair and now they would have to interact. “We’re just simple fisherpeople. We don’t deal with *cans*.”
“Or bottles,” spoke the other fisherman in a thinner voice to his counterpart. “It comes in bottles in this part of the country still. Bottles too,” he doubled down.
“Okay, okay,” exasperated Gemini Roadhouse McCutcheon Sullivan O’Reily. Most just call him Al, as will we. He was eager to keep the story moving, going past the whole bottle vs. can war of the 50’s and perhaps the 70’s as well, hard to tell because time was slipperier back then and had more variant arms to it. Like this particular arm of Starfish Lake, which some call the Starfish Sea because it is a pretty big lake, and could logically be bumped up on the scale of water body names. Up here, say, it’s the 70’s still, and cans are all the rage. Go past the elbow and suddenly you’re in the 50’s and the only Elvis singing on the radio is the white one. Bottles everywhere; they just threw them on the ground when done with their sodey pop back then. Littering was okay back in the day. Heck, they even made posters touting the benefits of such. Don’t have to hire garbagemen, a whole arm of the city workforce deemed unnecessary. An arm for an arm they said back in the day, which is still today past the elbow again mind you. Luther, the other fisherman was from up near the
head hand of the arm (Hand o’ Arm), what they call Fingerboro, another fantasyland, then, I suppose. His mother father’s house was actually made from bottles, discarded waste put to use. The farsighted fisherman had glasses made out of bottle bottoms; his first hat was bottle caps stitched together to make a whole. Basketball? Try bottleball: it was a heck of a sport to try to keep up with with all the cracking and cutting. You’re lucky if your star kid came back from such a war with both his arms intact. But of course they could just grow another one if so.