Sailor Just Back From a Life at Sea - 28 (Denver, the Sea)
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Date: 2008-10-15, 12:57PM MDT
Good day, ladies. Allow me to Introduce myself: my name is Aldous Quincannon. I've been at sea now for several years, having been just discharged from the merchant marines. Because of my predicament, I have not been able to be intimate with a woman for some time. The sundry whores and painted-girls of oriental ports gave me no pleasure, their affections as hollow as their affected, tittering geisha laughs. Nor have I ever wished to go Greek, as many of my shipmates did during long stretches at sea.
Like many people, I gave my life to Neptune when things were not working well for me. My father died in a coal-slurry flood near Yorkshire, and I was unable to wrest restitution from the robber-barons of the coal concern. The legal fees drained away my meager savings, leaving me destitute and homeless. A month later, I was nicked for thievery, pickpocketing, and distribution of pamphlets containing caricatures lampooning the queen. The magistrate fined me thirty crowns, a sum I could not ever hope to pay. Facing debtor's prison, I hastily decided to join the merchant marines and escape my troubles by running towards the bosomy embrace of the sea.
I managed, over the first few years, to work my way up from lowly cabin-boy to second mate. It was not difficult, as the life is fraught with peril and much of my competition was removed by the capricious whims of the ocean. I have seen with my own eyes countless first and second mates thrown into the foam by violent pitching of the ship in stormy seas. One I have seen decapitated by a loose rigging. Two of my captains have perished, one having evacuated his bowels to the point of death from typhus, and the other slain in a mutiny. The latter of these two finally spurred me to quit the sailor's life. He was a kingly man, the only captain that ever treated me with fraternal respect. As he was tied to the ship's mast, awaiting his fate at the hands of the reprobate Swedes and Corsicans who had so ungratefully revolted against his authority, I threw myself on his breast and begged his captors for mercy. They did not listen, and for my lack of support for the mutiny I was lashed twenty-five times, with talk of keelhauling thrown in for good measure. Eventually, I was thrown in the brig where, for months, I became nothing more than a caged animal. Only intervention from a Malay slaver regained my liberty, thoughat the horrible cost of being shanghaied into his service.
I have recently moved to Denver to be as far away as I can from that cruel bitch, the sea. Her siren song still haunts me. At night I jolt awake, having dreamed of the northern lights dancing across the sky in wavering arcs like the reveling children of Eros. Still I remember the mythical Kraken, how it passed neath' the ship as a shadow impossibly large; how it brought a tear to my eye before one of its squamous tentacles grabbed a man from the deck and dragged him screaming into the abyss. Yes, she calls to me... but I must resist. She who spawned Scylla, Charybdis, the Kyklops, the sea, the sea, the womb of monsters! Why does my heart long for you, even as you batter me with waves, freeze me with howling squalls, and roast me with furious cyclopean suns? Why must my pains of missing you be like those of the opium-eater gone weeks without chasing the dragon? You cruel bitch!