A local news story this morning made me think of novels, or potential novels, or truth being potentially at least as strange as fiction.
Three days ago, this 28 year-old man rode his bike to the pier in New Bedford, boarded the 1:30 PM ferry to Martha's Vineyard, and hasn't been seen since. Surveillance cameras show 26 passengers getting on board in New Bedford, 25 disembarking on the Vineyard. A Navy veteran and Merchant Marine, he is a strong swimmer, trained in cold water survival. It is assumed he went overboard, but nobody knows precisely where. Buzzard's Bay is chilly but definitely survivable this time of year. His mother is asking people to walk shorelines and help look for her son.
So what happened? Suicide seems unlikely. Alien abduction? Foul play? Meticulously planned escape (from gambling debt? blackmailers? an unbearable personal life?)? Is this guy hundreds of miles away with a new identity by now?
And who should finish this story? Sue Grafton? Stephen King? John Grisham? Whoever's riding Robert Ludlum's coattails these days? Creative Writing 101 at a college near you: "Write this story in the style of your favorite contemporary author"?
The simplest explanation is usually the likeliest, but I'll be kind of bummed if this turns out to be a stupid alcohol- or drug-influenced accidental drowning instead of the tip of an intense and complicated international espionage iceberg. Or something.