Veronica admits there was a moment when she thought this was going to be glamorous. Everything was only just beginning to go to hell: walls and checkpoints going up, a scattershot of environmental disasters, self-declared militias on patrol. It seemed like a good plan they had, to be on a boat for a while. It was the kind of idea people had early on, when it still seemed possible that it would end soon enough and well enough, when the present seemed like an opportunity to make history. The kind of story a plucky filmmaker would love twenty years from now: mild mannered booksellers become pirate librarians! A thing they could tell their grandkids.
The pirate business was mostly theoretical. Performance art as much as anything. They raised the money for the boat on gofundme and bought it cheap from a photographer with dual citizenship who had decided to wait things out in Europe. It was a boat and not a ship, even after they painted it and gave it a handmade flag. They were going to sail the great loop, hang out doing banned book readings from port to port, then go home and fundraise for part two, a more elaborate trip involving cutting through Panama and sailing up the west coast. At one of the early read-ins they wore pirate costumes, but only because the local community theatre had donated them at their launch party.
Guns are easier to get now than ibuprofen.
Now, she and Grace are always in leggings and worn out tees, the kind of shirts her husband would have mocked her for wearing even to bed, if she still had a husband, which she did when this started. It has never been as heroic an endeavor as she hoped. They wanted to promote reading and storytelling and art and truth and for three months that was considered safely theatrical because mostly it was, and in the fourth month a border patrol boat shot at them when they tried to pull in to the national harbor. So, no more storytimes.