Monthly Archives: September 2017

Esowista 3 and 4


At the end of the road, and across a short ferry, is the Esowista Market Barge.


The Osprey’s first sailing was at eight every morning. As always, she was full of visitors to the Esowista. Her sister, the Raven, carried staff, and began much earlier.

This morning, the Osprey’s twin pontoons cut slowly through the morning fog still lifting off of the water. Her captain, Mike Bowman, knew most of the passengers by name. It was usually the regulars that made the morning runs. The tourists would come later in the afternoon.

One group, however, was new.

“Morning,” Bowman greeted them. “I’m Mike.”

The group said a subdued hello. Mike suspected their morning coffees had not kicked in yet.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen you before. Have you ever been on the Esowista?” Bowman asked.

“No,” said a woman that Bowman had the feeling was the leader. “We got up early, because we heard about the bakery.”

Bowman smiled. “Great donuts,” he said. “Also, muffins. My favorite thing to do is take a coffee and a pastry upstairs to Sunshine Coast, that’s the plant shop. If you ask nicely, Sue will let you through the back. She has a ladder up to the roof. There’s a secret garden up there.”

All the regulars nodded in agreement. The garden wasn’t terribly secret. It covered most of the roof, and there was plenty of room to find a quiet space for breakfast.

The trip was short. Before there were any more questions, the Osprey was pulling alongside the floating dock at the base of the Esowista’s port-side.

“Look!” said someone in the new group. “Otters!”

Indeed, two otters were floating beside the dock. They were used to the ferry traffic and blatantly ignored their Instagram fame.

“Be careful on your way up the stairs,” Bowman warned the new group. “This mist will make them slippery.”

His passengers thanked him as they disembarked. Almost all of them headed to the bakery, except for the few that were keen to discover today’s new inventory at Beachcombers thrift shop. Since no one on board was heading back yet, Bowman turned around to return to the mainland dock. The next sailing was scheduled for eight-thirty.



At the end of the road, and across a short ferry, is the Esowista Market Barge.


The rat was running for its life through Eldorado Antique Shop. Pegleg, the barge cat, was in hot pursuit. The rat ducked under a Mid-Century Modern couch, and then raced up the side of an Art Nouveau desk. The cat cut around the chair and tried to cut the rat off at the corner of the desk. Pegleg couldn’t keep his footing in the turn, and slid into the desk’s leg, instead.

“Dang it, Pegleg,” shouted Eldorado’s owner. He started to get up from behind the counter to try halt the chase before the animals ruined any merchandise. “Captain’s got to get some exterminators in here,” he muttered under his breath.

Of course, he was too late to intervene and the action had moved on to the hallway outside of the shop. Since most of the vendors were closed for the evening, there were no screams of startled visitors.

The rat ran past Sunshine Coast and then dodged right, toward the conduit passageway grate that led down to the first floor. If it could make it to the grate, Pegleg wouldn’t have time to go down the stairs at the far end of the hallway and cut back across Beachcombers’ storefront.

Pegleg had anticipated this strategy, and was close behind, despite losing sight of the rat past the hanging curtains at the entrance of Eldorado.

However, the rat was too fast, disappearing down the grate just before Pegleg caught up to it.

Pegleg meowed forlornly at his missed opportunity, but then retraced his steps to track down the French fry from Motor Launch that the rat had dropped near the beginning of the hunt.

Esowista 1 and 2

At the end of the road, and across a short ferry, is the Esowista Market Barge. The Esowista contains in its superstructure, eighty-eight meters long by fifteen meters wide and two stories tall, nine shops of various sizes, and twenty-four vendors’ booths. The largest shop, taking up two units upstairs and one down at the bow of the hull, is Athens’ Books. The smallest, just inside of the port-side boarding stairs and floating dock, is Sage Flower Bakery.

Deck One of the Esowista makes a complete circle around the circumference of the hull, leaving a narrow central courtyard in the middle of the barge. Deck Two is reached by stairs on the bow-starboard side, and stern-port side. It is horseshoe-shaped, with Athens’ Books taking up the entire bow portion. Motor Launch Fish and Chips is in the stern-port side of the shoe, with an open patio between it and The Muse gallery. There is an elevated walkway at the midway-span of Deck Two that crosses over the courtyard.



At the end of the road, and across a short ferry, is the Esowista Market Barge.


Joe Parker stepped through the low door into the main entrance to Athens’ Books. The proprietor, Sally Austin, looked up from her cluttered desk. “Good morning, is there anything I can help you with today?” she asked her customer.

Parker surveyed the shelves. Books were stacked without a discernable pattern from floor to ceiling. The old book smell was mixed with the next-door bakery, and just a hint of salt water. It was pleasant.

“There are plenty more upstairs,” said Austin, recognizing his confusion. “Just up the ladder, or the stairs right behind you. The ladder is more fun, though.”

Parker shook his head. “Do you have notebooks? Something fancy?” he asked.

“Journals or planners?” Austin replied. “I might have some of each.”

“I think like a sketchbook? Real thick.” said Parker. “It’s sort of for an apology.”

Austin nodded. “This apology, it doesn’t happen to be to a Sophia, does it?”

Parker’s eyes narrowed. “How did you know?”

“I know all of my regulars. I keep those in stock for her.” said Austin with a smile. “You must be Joe. What you’re looking for is upstairs, on the third shelf from the port window. Down at the bottom.”

“How much is it going to cost me?” Parker asked. “I know they’re not cheap.”

“Leather cover, archival paper. Limited edition. I would imagine you’re very sorry. But since you’re new, I’m going to give you something better than a deal,” said Austin, with a mischievous grin. “You don’t want the sketchbook. Go to the other end, Deck Two, The Muse gallery. I know Sophia’s had her eye on the little sculpture in the corner, the one by Grant.”

“But you’re not making a sale,” Parker protested.

Austin winked at him. “You’ll make up for it. Once you’ve visited, you won’t stay away from the Esowista for long. Come with Sophia!”

“Thank you,” said Parker. “I’m sure I will.”

“Oh,” Austin sweetly interrupted. “And, next time, bring me a lemon scone from Sage Flower.”

Now it was Parker’s turn to smile. “Done.”



At the end of the road, and across a short ferry, is the Esowista Market Barge.


Alison Granger sat on the small patio outside of Motor Launch Fish and Chips. The wind picked up, catching her napkin and blowing it towards the edge of the table. She caught it beneath her beer glass just before she lost it.

Her friend, Jess Pond, laughed. “That almost made it into The Muse,” she said. “They’d probably put a price tag on it straight away. Probably call it something like ‘Nature’s Triumph over Mankind No. 611’.”

Granger laughed, too. “Worst part is, I almost spilled my beer.”

Pond considered her glass in the sunlight. “That would be a pity,” she confirmed. “This is good stuff.”

“Good old Motor Launch Amber,” Granger agreed. She leaned forward conspiratorially. “You know how they say they brew it themselves?”

“Yeah,” said Pond. “So?”

“Where?” Granger asked.

“What?” said Pond.

“They don’t do it on board. There’s no room!” said Granger.

Pond nodded in dawning agreement. “You may be right. I always assumed there was a basement. What’s behind that hatch beside Beachcombers?”

“I think that’s just pumps or something,” said Granger.

Pond sipped her drink, gaining just a slight foam moustache. “Does it matter?”

“No,” said Granger with a grin. “Not really.” She leaned back in her chair. “I love this place.”

“Cheers,” Pond agreed.