Although it was strange for today’s fashion, Dabs wore a top hat for any occasion. In fact, he wore one the day he stepped off the ship. As part of the Alaska State Ferry System, the M/V Columbia did a weekly run to Bellingham. She sailed through the Inside Passage to the most Northern port of Skagway, Alaska. Dabs had a ticket to Skagway, but at the first port in Ketchikan, he stepped off. The ferry was in port for a couple of hours; enough time for a hike. On the gangway, Dabs filled his lungs. Ketchikan’s air pushed its way to the bottom of each lobe, while his neck muscles released his shoulders. Dabs drank another tall breath.
He had nothing but a backpack and pockets full of money. He resembled a twenty-something searching for summer work, all though the luggage he toted under each eye and the white highlights peppering his dark wisps betrayed him. The top hat covered his dome and added a bit of character; he didn’t really need. Baldness didn’t bother him: the hat gave him a few inches he enjoyed. For his hike Dabs decided to pretend he was someone else, in his own head, so he joined the backpackers he had met up on the Solarium. It seemed like a plan. After all, they had good bud, and had the decency to share.
They ended their walk at E.C. Phillips Cold Storage. As the backpackers turned into the office, Dabs stood and watched. The huge warehouse doors were open, across to the other wall of the building. Daylight glimmered with hope, where tenders unloaded their winnings. The scene inside described something else, where cannery workers stooped over large troughs of fish guts. His nose said, “No”, so Dabs kept walking.
A little sad that he had lost his little stoned beacons, he sighed. Letting out the air, he blinked his eyes and the emotion was gone. He had found himself in the middle of a postcard. Every shade of green pinched him while the blues splashed him. He really should have turned back then: but one foot in front of the other, he stepped further away from the ferry.