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Jack Finney

Assault on a Queen

Eyre 1960
Jacket design Christopher Macartney-Filgate

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Jack Finney

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FROM THE LOBBY OF THE LITTLE RESORT HOTEL ON Fire Island, New York, a man in blue swimming trunks walked out onto the big veranda. Under one arm he carried a large, cylindrical metal tank wrapped in a tangle of canvas webbing and rubber tubes; dangling from his fingers by their straps was a pair of green froglike flippers. In his other hand, held by the heavy cord which bound it, was a bundle of rubber, a small deflated one-man raft, wrapped around a short paddle. Strapped to his strong hairless wrist, like a watch, was a pressure gauge. For a moment he stood at the head of the brief flight of stairs leading down to the sand, looking out over the wide beach at the green-white Atlantic ahead; then he glanced up at the sun, narrowing his eyes. It was nearly noon, the sun almost overhead in a clear sky, and he welcomed the warmth of it on his un-tanned white skin. He was a short man in vigorous middle age, his straight brown hair thick and ungreyed. His body was thin and paunchless; his calf muscles bulged strong, though corded with varicose veins; his feet, on the sand-gritted wood floor of the porch, were very fiat.

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