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Bosco

The container ship was too large a vessel to bob and sway in the swells of the North Pacific. At 20 kilotons the Bosco did not have much to fear in its long trans-oceanic journeying. Fully loaded with shoes, cars, televisions, and toys from the Orient it would be another week before the Bosco reached the ports of Vancouver. From there it would head south to San Francisco dropping off and picking up cargo along the way and then it would turn westward again into the setting sun. For two decades the Bosco had trod this route, dropping off and picking up, always moving, carrying, and bringing for the little people who had created her. Tonight, however, they allowed her to rest for awhile at an imaginary place and an imaginary time, they were going to have a party. It was a birthday of sorts. The little people wanted to watch the birth of a millennium.

The captain of the ship had ordered the Bosco to a full stop in the afternoon. When the anchor had dropped he announced to the crew and the passengers they had brought along that they had arrived at the end of the world. It was a pretentious thing to say, the blue ocean lay all around them as far as the eye could see.

The captain secretly resented this fact. As a child he had dreamed of finding the edge of the world and going beyond it to discover the great mysteries of life, but as a captain the ocean had continually thwarted him. Here and now, however, he could feel the barrier coming upon him and a thrill raced up and down his spine.

The mess hall was richly decorated in accessories they had picked up in Kobe. Gold and silver strands of foil hung from the ceiling and iridescent streamers arced across the room. Guests in airy evening gowns and black ties mingled with the shorts and sandaled crew along a spread of sushi and caviar and banks of televisions displaying other parties in time zones across the world. Champagne and laughter flowed freely while bright island music gave the revelers excuse to converse loudly.

The cameraman registered all of this and funneled the celebration into his palmcorder with occasional commentary from the smiling host the network had provided. The moment was upon them but he didn’t feel a part of it, he was just along for the ride, behind the camera, spectating. Wonderment of a clock striking midnight eluded his sensibilities. You’re all making this up, he thought, everything is made up. The cameraman was immune to spectacle, but the clock kept on ticking and the planet steadily came into alignment.

The satellite told them they were in the right place, along 180° longitude of the IDL, and the clock in Greenwich, accurate to a trillionth of a second, told them it was the right time. So the little people cheered, cheered for everything they had made up, and the crescent moon sunk low, the heavens turned around the north star, and the waves lapped slowly against the ship. Out went the old and in came the new.