Rory and the Mystery of the James River (#4)

Back in the Seventies, the James River was closed to fishing because of chemicals that were polluting the river and tainting the food chain. There was also a rumor that the Surry Nuclear Power Plant was causing the waters around Hog Island to warm and changing the ecosystem there.

Rory, being a man who believed in the truth, decided to attend a conference exploring the relationship between the pollution and the nuclear runoff on the presence of carcinogens in the James River being held at the Seafare. A small group of environmentalists held a vigil in front of the restaurant to bring attention to dangers of the polluted waters.

The conference wasn’t quite what he thought and the vigil wasn’t doing much for the cause, so Rory headed over to the library to check out the video selections. He was surprised to see that his old drama teacher had suggested an old horror film called, “Equinox.” In the movie, four friends were attacked by a demon because of the knowledge they held.

A strange feeling came over Rory and he began walking towards the James River. He got out to the Jamestown Marina and untied a makeshift boat that was nothing more than a motor on a frame supported by polystyrene blocks. The sheriff was at the marina with the owner of the boat and they decided that it was better to let Rory go for they had seen the video of him blowing the Little Sue sign over and feared any combustible air leaving Rory might light whatever flammables were in the water.

Besides, Rory was on a mission. He kept mumbling something about Budassi and the answers to all of the questions about the purity of the James River resting in Budassi’s logarithmic art of the universe. Rory looked to the stars as the poorboy pontoon boat headed for Hog Island. He was thirsty and took a drink from the James and went back to looking at the stars. Everything took the shape of a circle, the planets, the stars, the whole galaxy. He felt aliveness as described by Ficino, the Renaissance philosopher. Rory believed in links between behavior and consequence and with this hallucinating mind, thoughts of karma pervaded his soul.

Then the motor fell off and Rory drifted aimlessly down the river. When he did not return a search party was sent to find him. Rory had gone Gilligan and washed up at Carter’s Grove straight across from Hog Island.

The sheriff asked, “What happened? Are you alright?”

Rory looked bewildered and tried to explain what happened. “The boat came apart and I went in. I thought it was over, but then I found myself on the back of an enormous alligator. I think it brought me here.”

“Some story,” said the sheriff. “Get him out of here.”