StoryRhyme After Dark: Saving the Hoboken Ferry

"Gladys Worthington of Hoboken, New Jersey may have saved as many as 20 people from a watery grave this morning – and then again, maybe she did not..."

Now, we all know that characters give the world flavor and make life just a little bit (or a lot) more colorful and that the fourth Sunday in January is, by tradition, Garden Gnome day. In "Saving The Hoboken Ferry," we meet (our heroine?) Gladys Worthington, local clairvoyant...

We're fortunate that our friend Harry Buschman sends us some of his wonderful short stories. Read another Harry Buschman story “Old Folks at Home” in our StoryRhyme Originals section, or browse our StoryRhyme After Dark section for more of Harry's whimsy.

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Saving the Hoboken Ferry

By Harry Buschman

Hoboken, New Jersey, May 10 – Gladys Worthington of Hoboken, New Jersey may have saved as many as 20 people from a watery grave this morning – and then again, maybe she did not.

Ms Worthington, a local clairvoyant, appeared at the River St. ferry slip in Hoboken dressed in a floral print nightgown, a terry cloth robe and her hair in curlers. She stood at the passenger entrance to the Hoboken ferry to 14th Street in Manhattan and predicted that it would sink on its next passage across the Hudson River on its way to New York City.

The police were summoned and attempted to remove Ms. Worthington from the passenger entrance of the ferry, but some 20 passengers, fearing that the well known telepath and mind reader might have information not privy to Captain Lucas Hock of the ferry “Calliope,” and they convinced the growing crowd to hear her out.

Ms. Worthington informed the gathering crowd of commuters and police that a gnome had entered her bedroom by way of the French doors to her butterfly garden a few moments before dawn and predicted that the tide would be abnormally low that morning and the “Calliope’s” keel would be ripped open by submerged rocks when it left the dock and would sink in the middle of the river on its way to New York.

“What about that, Captain?” the passengers asked.

Leaning from the window of the wheelhouse, Captain Hock assured the gathering crowd below that he had made this voyage thousands of times in all kinds of weather and tide conditions without losing a single passenger or crew member. “My record is spotless,” he shouted, “and no loopy old broad with a gnome in her butterfly garden is gonna keep the “Calliope” from making her morning run!”

As if to punctuate his blunt denial of Ms. Worthington’s warning he let go a blast from the ship’s whistle and shouted, “All aboard, next stop 14th Street New York!”

All but 20 of the passengers filed on board as they did every weekday morning. The trip to the city across the Hudson was uneventful, but those who stayed ashore insist that if they had filed on board with the others, their added weight would have increased the ferry’s displacement in the water, lowering its keel and bringing it in contact with the submerged rocks alluded to by the gnome from Ms. Worthington’s butterfly garden.

Ms. Worthington and the 20 people who remained ashore in Hoboken then went to McDonald’s for breakfast, after which they accompanied the clairvoyant to her house to search for the gnome in her butterfly garden.

(c) 2010 Harry Buschman


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