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Somewhere Above Sea Level by Sky Black

We Could Lose All Our Friends Thanks to Climate Change

by Justin Karcher

Sam’s text read, “Plz come over, its an Emgcy.”

I met Sam in his bathroom. He was sitting in an office chair, his back to the door, and holding a fishing rod. The bathtub was full of water. The only window was wide open and the October wind was blowing in.

“I was on a date,” I said. “Thanks for the text. I was getting lucky and I could use the intimacy.”

“Do you like my new chair?” he asked. “I got it today. It’s ergonomic. Good for the back.”

I had to put my foot down. “I didn’t forgo some thigh licking because you wanted to show me a damn chair.”

Sam swiveled his chair around to face me and the way he did it reminded me of some high-powered corporate CEO about to fire someone. He stared at me while petting the fishing rod. “This fishing rod belonged to my grandpa,” he said. “When he was diagnosed with MS, it ruined his ability to fish. He just couldn’t hold the rod anymore.”

My patience was wearing thin. I kept thinking of Katherine. That was going somewhere. There was playful touching, the batting of eyelashes. My hand rested on her left thigh during the whole movie. “What’s the emergency?” I asked.

“Coastal cities,” he said. “They’ll be underwater within a decade or two. All because of sea level and how it’s rising. Like Noah’s Ark.”

I noticed two empty bottles of Rebel Yell Bourbon underneath the ergonomic office chair. “You’ve been drinking,” I said.

“Aren’t you worried about climate change?”

“I was on a date!”

Sam swiveled his chair back toward the bathtub. “All this flooding made me think of my grandpa,” he said. “The few times we went fishing together, he would always babble on and on about how sometimes you’ll catch a ghost or two. What you do with them separates the men from the boys. You can beat them on the rocks or you can be a Samaritan and release them.”

“I don’t think life is that cut and dry,” I said.

“So I dug up his old fishing rod,” Sam continued, “and filled up the bathtub. I wanted to catch some ghosts.”

“Well, did you?”

“I think so, but I freaked out. That’s when I texted you.”

“Why’d you freak out?”

There were tears in his eyes. “Because grandpa never told me what kind of man he was. I think he beat the ghosts on rocks. He never released them. He bathed in ectoplasm all his life. And pretty soon, the whole world will be bathing in it too.”

All this ectoplasm talk was making me thirsty. “You have any bourbon left?” I asked.

“In the kitchen.”

I nodded and walked to the kitchen.

“Mikey,” Sam yelled out, “I bashed their heads on the side of the tub.”

I poured myself a stiff drink and texted Katherine. It was going to be a long night.

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Justin Karcher (@justin_karcher) lives in Buffalo, NY. Recent works have appeared in Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Mixtape Methodology, Maudlin House, and A Story in 100 Words.