Maybe Flotsam Junk Will Do Just Fine

Maybe Flotsam Junk Will Do Just Fine

A Story by Libby Carsons

Not your average shipwreck.


Maybe Flotsam Junk Will Do Just Fine

It was the first seagull we’d seen in months. Its grey wings looked tired from holding its small body up against gravity. They say that whenever there are birds in the sky, land is near. Or, at least, we hoped there was.

        “Seagull!” The first shouts came from the deck.

        “Flying overhead!”

        “Forty-five inches!” Rivers, the boatswain, liked to estimate the birds’ wingspans to tell if they were adults or newly born. If the wingspan was relatively small, then there must have been a nest somewhere, leading to land.

        The commotion only lasted for a few minutes before the gull disappeared into the horizon. The excitement died down and the few men on deck kept their eyes peeled for any sign of land mass; their eyes wide open, not blinking. As if they would miss something so obvious in a matter of a blink.

 An island would’ve done just fine.

        But there was no land in sight. Not in a few minutes, in a few hours, nor in a few days.

        “Maybre wer not mearnt te go home,” the ship’s cook said one night as he scooped a ladle-full of bland potatoes onto my metal plate. He had almost no teeth left at such an old age and it reminded me of someone talking with their mouth full of Elmer’s glue.

        “Keep thinking like that and we might as well not go home,” I replied.

         I took a seat next to the usual sailors I sit next to and started thinking about the horrible tasting potatoes. I hated baked potatoes. I only like them mashed. Lisa, my girl, made them better than this, much better. It would be one more thing I would look forwards to when I get home.

        From my inner ear, there started a small and annoying buzzing sound. It was as if there were a million of tiny insects buzzing around my head. I was not the only one who noticed. Men were looking out of the circular windows and started pointing.

        “What is it?” I asked, getting up as well.

         From the window, I managed to see a thousand white speckled dots in the night’s air. We all ran outside, nearly trampling over each other to get a better view. At the end of the day, a man is no better than a young boy, fighting over a candy bar.  


          In the sky, there were millions of them. White, grey and orange against black. The buzzing sound turned out to be the echoes of the birds’ harsh wailing. They were all headed in one direction. We followed until morning.

          It was the third time someone had shouted “Seagull!” in less than twenty-four hours. But this time, people were not looking at the sky. They were looking down at the sea. Thousands of lifeless, feathery bodies floated up and down with the current.

         Some men wailed like the seagulls were the previous night. Others were muttering that they would settle for a raft. Flotsam even. Anything to get them off of the ship.

         Above the sailors’ cries of sorrow, I looked over and caught the chef’s misty eyes. He stood in the back, quietly surrounded by the smoke of his cigarette. He looked at me and simply shook his head.  

© 2012 Libby Carsons

Author's Note

Libby Carsons
Short story. Feedback please :)

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I missed something...what happened to them! I like that you're trying to leave room for the reader to think of how things pan out but I think it would be more helpful if you left us enough tools. The story was great and I loved the way you described things...
"Its grey wings looked tired from holding its small body up against gravity."
"At the end of the day, a man is no better than a young boy, fighting over a candy bar. " favourites...
I just wanted a little more, hope that helps :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

Libby Carsons

10 Years Ago

thanks so much for the suggestions! i will keep them in mind when i edit, i appreciate it!
i love how mystical and real your stories are Libby. you truly are a great writer :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

Libby Carsons

10 Years Ago

oh, thank you sooo much! I appreciate the read :)

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2 Reviews
Added on December 2, 2012
Last Updated on December 2, 2012
Tags: shipwreck, death, lost, sea, sailor, seagulls


Libby Carsons
Libby Carsons

Brooklyn, NY

I'm a student studying in New York, studying interior design and trying to find the meaning of passion. On what it really means to feel it, to be affected by it. Wondering if writing is my passion. I.. more..