The Northville Review
an online literary journal
The Resistance

Joseph Murphy

The resistance bought a retired cruising ship. The previous owner was sobered up and taken from his shack so a notary would acknowledge a legitimate passing of hands. The notary nodded approval with the signature. Without delay, the ship, Imagination, was re-christened Resistance with a crack of champagne on its hull. The previous owner wept at that sight. The resistance piled aboard, each of its members claiming a room; the rooms that had portholes went first. The good ship Resistance was large enough to house seven hundred comfortably, though they hardly numbered four hundred. The resistance hired a chef and assistants for the chef so that the resistance would be well fed, healthy. It was important to appear sound in the face of oppression. The chef swore he could make anything in the world because he prayed at night and every morning. The resistance couldn’t tell him otherwise; among the resistance was at least one member of every major religion in the world, along with several who claimed religion was a figment of the world’s imagination, and some others who believed it wasn’t worth discussing at all. The resistance hired a crew to take them around the world. In this way, they moved at a comfortable speed. They could look ashore and take in the sights of the islands and continents and all they passed without losing perspective. They hired guards for the swimming pool on the upper deck and for the heated indoor-pool as well. Birds from around the world flew in through the open portholes, became trapped, and became pets of the resistance. The captain’s turtledoves were prized above most others. A peacock had been seen in the engine room but appeared and went like a phantom, engulfed in the engine steam. The resistance docked once a year to invite women into the resistance so that there would be a resistance forever. The women of the resistance needed only to blink at men ashore, without even having to leave their position at the railing of the ship, and the land’s men would wade deep into the water until they were very tired and a deck clerk would have to pull him aboard with a rope, thus assuring another generation. The men had to do some convincing and often had to return women to the shore after a short stint aboard because the men of the resistance were not good-looking men. They rarely broached six feet and, when they did, they broached nine. They were the filthiest men in the world; landlocked pubs had a saying about them: they shower less than they bathe and wash even less. But the resistance wasn’t about cleanliness or good looks. The resistance pulled ashore in troubled times, dispersing inciting notions like a sack of seed. Occasionally, the good land people hadn’t even realized how awful it had been before the resistance arrived. And after they could hardly remember what it was like before they came, this good resistance. Then the ship moved on, in search of other lands in spirals.

About the author

Joseph Murphy lives in Kennett Square, PA. His writing has appeared in PANK, The Legendary, Prick of the Spindle, and Everyday Genius. He writes at Letters to the Famous and Dead Composed at Work: