Escape Pod 351: 113 Feet
By Josh Roseman
“This is a really bad idea, Elle,” Barry says.
“You didn’t have to come.”
“Don’t be stupid,” he snaps. “Phil would kill me if I didn’t come with you.”
Barry is fiftyish, portly and gray-haired. Seeing him take off his shirt is an experience I wish I’d never had.
“I have friends with certifications,” I say. “It’s not like I couldn’t have asked one of them.”
“How many of them have actually been down there?” It’s almost a growl, and I’m actually cowed a little. “That’s what I thought.”
I sit on the hard bench, wood planks covered in thin, all-weather carpet, and fiddle with my regulator.
“How far away do you think we are?” he asks.
“Don’t know. Ask the captain.”
Barry looks up at the bridge, where Al — the captain — stands, driving the boat. Al is even older than Barry, narrow and hard and tanned almost leathery with decades of exposure to the sun. Instead of going up to talk to him, though, Barry goes around the cabin to stand by the bow, leaving me bouncing up and down on the bench as the boat zips across the water. The light chop makes the horizon rise and fall faster than is comfortable. I can take it, though, and if I get sick enough to throw up, at least I know enough to do it over the side.
My guess is that we’re ten minutes from the dive site. Maybe fifteen.
After waiting seven years to get my answers, fifteen minutes isn’t much of a wait at all.