My flash fiction "After the Storm, the Cement Ship" is the featured story this week at Necessary Fiction.
The cement ship in the story is based on the S.S. Palo Alto at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California. It's a place I've visited with my family a number of times, and I've always loved this ugly ruin squatting in the midst of this otherwise sublime landscape. Its history is one of disuse and failed promise, with a period of short-lived glamour. It was an oil tanker intended for use in WWI, but the war ended before it ever sailed. It sat for ten years in a shipyard until it was repurposed as a tourist destination for dining and dancing; it had a neon sign and a swimming pool. But only two years later the ship cracked and its glamour faded and it just sat there in the water, eventually becoming a fishing pier, and when it finally corroded too much to be safe, was closed to public access. Now it's a habitat for birds and marine life.
This is a picture I took in March of 2007 standing at the gate at the end of the pier:
And a closeup through the gate:
On our visit in August of 2012 there were a lot of birds:
You can read more about the ship here, here, and here.
In my next post, I'll show some pictures from the storm that also inspired the story.