Many of us have that urge from time to time to run away from it all. Everywhere I’ve gone in the world I’ve found those sorts of people, either hiding out solo, going native, or in their own little community of fellow cultural refugees. Square pegs at their port of origin who find solace or purpose in a foreign land. Tropical islands and Margaritaville may work for some, especially the winter burnouts of the Upper Midwest. “Small Hope Bay” is set on a small island in the Caribbean with a protagonist from Minnesota seeking love in paradise found. There is an actual place called Small Hope Bay in the Bahamas and a great song of the same name by Marianne Flemming (with whom I’ve played and recorded music much over the years!). It’s a perfect name for the story of uncertain hopes.
My very first book collaboration was in 2005 as one of several co-authors for Rough Guide to the Caribbean 2 (that’s me “et al” or “plus 5 more” so if you expand it twice, you’ll finally see my name). So began my full-time travel-writing career. While I’ve loved visiting the islands, and once spent a fantastic month hosted by friends on St. Croix getting some writing and head-clearing done while learning to make Pain Killers, I am not really an island person. For me there is a sense of being trapped. Can one be trapped in paradise and it still be paradise? Did God do Adam and Eve a favor by bum-rushing them out of the Garden of Margaritaville into the larger world? The short story partly wonders if a loss may be a gain on the other side. Depends on your dominant eye, I suppose.
Here’s an IPA from an island in a different sea from the story. Kona Brewing’s Hanalei Island IPA pairs nicely with “Small Hope Bay.” Brewed with a bit of guava, orange, and my favorite, passionfruit (also appropriate for the story?). I suppose a Corona and lime or a Pain Killer with Pusser’s rum and Coco Lopez would work alright too.