Once rated "Most Charming Harbor" by Armchair Traveller Magazine, the port of St. Francis had grown chillingly quiet this June. Back in March, the town physician, Dr. Stanley Proctor, had returned from a Thai vacation with "one hell of a bug". By April, the virus - undiagnosed - had spread throughout the population. By May, the townsfolk were dropping like flies. Remarkably, Dr. Proctor survived, along with just three others: Tom Bell from The Corner Hardware, Susan Holden from the post office, and Lenny Shore from the harbor authority. To celebrate their survival, the four set sail on Lenny's yacht for a champagne brunch at sea. Once past St. Francis Point, however, a major squall hit - sending the provisions overboard, and turning the happy campers into prune-faced partygoers. Two days later, the provisions - including a bottle of Moët & Chandon - washed ashore on nearby Richter Island, where they were discovered by the resident lighthouse keeper, Sharon Coulter. Feeling blessed, Sharon ran into her house with the bottle and popped the cork. The next day she came down with a "hell of a bug".
© BILL BLAIR 2010