by Sophie Wereley
The day they found Joey Takamoto's body washed up on Oyster Beach, Yuan and I had been
drinking up by the bridge to the mainland. We didn't know what was happening until the sirens
"Someone died," Yuan said. Her beer slipped from her fingers and exploded in foam on the sand.
We started running, all clumsy arms and legs, toward the sound of the sirens. I had this feeling in
my chest like I'd swallowed a fistful of smooth pebbles, and they were clogging up my throat
We came around the bridge and I saw Mrs. Takamoto's car in the parking lot. That's when I
knew it was him. Joey was dead.
Mrs. Takamoto held me and cried. Yuan covered her mouth with her hands. Her head swiveled
back and forth. No, not again.
And the police didn't even say, "Have you girls been drinking?" They just took our shaking
bodies and led us to the parking lot of Marsh Bro's Seafood, into the arms of parents and siblings
and tourists who pointed from underneath their floppy hats. People without important faces
patted my back and told me everything was going to be all right.
It was the two of us, drunk in a sea of liars.
Two weeks after they found the body, Joey's brother Jordin came back from the University of
Virginia with a secondhand revolver in his luggage. He bought a motorboat and fifteen yards of
trammel net, which he weighed down along the edges with copper washers. He went out on the
water every day. Even though there were lots of stories about what happened to Joey, Jordin had
already made up his mind.
"He thinks Joey got killed by the mermaid," I said.
"He's also an idiot," Yuan said. We watched him from the kitchen window. Marsh Bro's
Seafood backed up onto Oyster Beach - the little blue crab statue on the roof sometimes looked
like it was scuttling out of the water, if you came at it from the right angle - and we'd been
watching him boat up and down the channel between the island and mainland for hours.
"Jordin's going to get himself killed out there, too," she said.
"Yeah," I said.
"He's not going to find it."