the decision

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Submitted: March 24, 2017



“King me” I said. I was aboard the Titanic playing checkers with a guy I met in the Parisian cafe when I heard a terrible screeching sound I decided to go investigate. Most other people probably would have just passed this sound by and kept doing what they were doing. But I was different then most people. I am a skeptical pessimist that will always assume the worst things are happening. I can be the stereotypical old guy sometimes but on the inside I am a nice guy who loves adventure. I was traveling second class aboard the Titanic on my way to America to see my kids and grandkids.

I got up from the table saying,”I have to get up for a second, to um, check on my granddaughter,”

“If you say so Robert,” He replied. Though really, my granddaughter wasn’t even on the ship. I was just very interested in the loud noise that sounded like rusty gears turning coming from the deck.  Decided to go investigate. As I got to the deck there were large shards of ice that felt like liquid nitrogen. By design I am, a  very curious man, so I would stop at nothing to make sure I found the answer to what was happening aboard the Titanic, April 14, 1912. I strode towards the bow of the ship where the captain's quarters weresuddenly realizing that I would never be able to get into his room. So I compromised and decided to wait outside the door until he came out.

Luckily, he came out within the next few minutes so I took my chance and without introducing myself, I asked him politely, ”Did we hit something?”

“No, I can assure you that all that you heard was the machinery of the ship groaning. Totally normal,” He replied, though it almost seemed rehearsed. Like he had been told exactly what to say if someone asked that exact question.

“Alright,” I said discouraged. I knew there was something up, I could just feel it in my bones. But, there was nothing I could do, so I had to go back to the pub and tell the guy I was playing with,” I gotta hit the sack, it will be a long day tomorrow.

As I walked back to my room, I was still pondering, Man, there was really something up with that captain. It almost seems as though what he said was scripted. Like he had been told exactly what to say if someone asked him that question.  Nevertheless, I had to go back to my second-class room where I laid in my room to read my favorite book, The Night Land.

Right before I started to fall asleep at 11:39 I felt the Titanic come to a stop gradually like a drag racer coming off the runway and I knew at that moment the captain had lied to me and there was something wrong. Infuriated, I stomped up top the deck the adrenaline pumping. I hated having people lie to me. I grabbed the captain by the shirt as he was going back to his quarters and said to him in the way you would talk to a kitten slowly inflecting an angry tone into my voice,”You little liar, you told me that nothing was up. Now the ship is stopped. What do you say to that!” The captain replied calmly,

“I can assure you that nothing bad is happening,” He said unusually calmy I walked out of the captain’s cabin not discouraged but downright enraged because I saw on the deck, crew members and people all scurried about trying to get into lifeboats. Most of the lifeboats were already in the water. Fearing for my life, I sprinted as fast as I could in my old body. As I got to the front of the line, there was one lifeboat left, with one space left. That one space could have been occupied by one of two people. Me or a small girl. None of the girl’s family had gotten on a lifeboat and yet I was traveling alone. So I decided to get on the lifeboat and leave the girl and her family to die. As I would later find out, I was very lucky that the crewmember getting people onto the lifeboat did not see that I was second class and that the girl was first class. Because of this, only eight percent of second class got onto the lifeboats.

Six Days Later


I arrived in New York six days later on the Carpathia safe and sound still with the melancholy feeling that I chose my old life before a little girl’s. As I got of the Carpathia I hailed a taxi for Buffalo, New York where my kids and grandkids lived. During the taxi ride, the driver fell asleep and we ran into a tree killing me and the driver. Hitting the tree felt like falling on a bed of spikes.This does not make me sad because I knew it was the right fate for me. As I look back on the last few days of my life, I think of the old saying, “What goes around, comes around.”


© Copyright 2018 Owen Olson. All rights reserved.

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