There once was a man from Nantucket. Paddy Harnett, the island’s butcher, who took over the shop from his father before him, had never even been on the mainland. A short trip to Martha’s Vineyard as a child is the furthest he’s been from home. That day, all the women wore hats. Paddy wanted to get away. He really did, and he was saving up for just that chance. But (invariably) something would (inevitably) get in his way.
And so Paddy, who kept all his cash in a bucket, had to refill it again and again, the money never reaching the line he marked so many years ago, the point at which he would leave for good.
But his daughter, named Nan, took advantage of Paddy. She always needed a new dress or a ferry ticket to Boston or any amount of cash for any number of things. He couldn’t say no to her – she was his only daughter – but it was holding him back and she showed no appreciation for his sacrifices.
Eventually, she ran away with a man, Clyde, who promised her a better life, away from Nantucket. She let it slip where her father, who didn’t trust banks, stored his savings. A wooden bucket in the root cellar, right behind the old barbecue. She kissed him goodnight and turned off the light. When she fell asleep, he disappeared, returning to Nantucket.
Nan awoke in a stupor, from a dream that felt too real. Upon realizing that Clyde had left, she intuited the next few steps and hitched a ride and a ferry back home. She crept up to her father’s front window and saw Clyde holding a shotgun. On closer inspection, she realized that her father had his gun out as well, and they were in a regular old standoff, with the money, the reason for this confrontation, resting unaware in the nearby bucket.
She stepped on a branch, startling the two men inside, who both began shooting wildly. Nan ran inside screaming to her boyfriend beating her father with his own gun. She was too late. He was dead. But even so the bludgeoning continued, long enough for Nan to snatch the shotgun off the ground and aim it at Clyde. She called him out on his true intentions, insisting he only used her to get to her father’s savings. His motion to assuage her was rejected promptly. Bang, bang, she shot him dead. Her tears washed her face, her screams filled the air. She needed to leave, so she did.
And as for the bucket, Nan took it.