In this award-winning short story, a pregnant woman witnesses an unsettling moment of violence at a model yacht race in Golden Gate Park. Inspired by the story of her famous great-grandfather, a man of strange aquatic gifts who disappeared on Lake Michigan many decades before, she decides to commit her own act of heroism.
Michelle gives an overview of the book:
I was in Golden Gate Park watching the gentlemen race their model yachts on Spreckels Lake. I used to go there a lot to take my mind off things. The scene was always the same: a dozen or so men in their seventies, eighties, even nineties, decked out in fishing caps and khakis and sneakers, pacing the sidewalk, remote controls in hand. The men were always in a hurry, scurrying to keep up with their yachts, but the yachts themselves never went very fast. The yachts were so slow, in fact, not even the ducks seemed to be bothered by them.
It was a small lake, manmade and gracefully shaped, seductively curvaceous like the amoebae one studies in grade school. The lake was surrounded by a wide sidewalk. Along the edges of the sidewalk were several wooden benches with little brass dedication plaques in loving memory of this or that person; there was even a bench devoted to someone’s cat. The character of the lake changed from day to day, depending on the weather. On this particuar afternoon the placid surface was covered with a thin green film.