Wanted: A Unique Island Rental

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May 1960 when "the company" arrives

The grandfather clock reads 3:29 and is poised to strike on the half-hour, still hours before sunrise. The wind-blown water flickers when moonlight breaks through the clouds. A shadowy figure hurries down the stairway toward the dock. Another follows. They huddle for a moment at the head of the dock and then withdraw from sight. The clock chime marks the half hour. A powerboat flashes its landing lights; followed by more darkness and more shadowy figures at the end of the dock moving about quickly. Then, as if snatched from the shadows swallowing up the end of the dock, a man appears. One, then another until they form a line walking single file along the dock. When the first one reaches land he hesitates, uncertain where to go, and is directed up the stairs. The others silently follow. They hang together at the top of the stairs, nine of them, getting their bearings, getting a sense of their uncertain surroundings, until a tenth man parts the crowd from the stairs behind, says a few words and leads toward the pink path.

By the end of April the island's staff had been sent home, the island readied like never before for its night visitors. They arrived in waves. The processing cycle for each "company" guest lasted from two to three days. According to two of the recruits, they, along with the other 49 in the total "shipment," were on the island from late May until early July. Forty-three years later they would return to the island for a reunion. Not of their own choosing, not all of them would find their way back.


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