Re: Herr D’s CFLs

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Herr D

“–yew swabbies! I wager yew’re thinkin’ about yer lot in life! Some of ye have heard of my former first mate, Squinty McGee. Some of ye have heard he committed mutiny. LIES! Lies, I tell ye! We were lost at sea and not a stirrin’ of wind nor a star to steer by. The very waves seemed to flatten out and die of exhaustion. We’d had no rest for nigh on two days battered about by the sea, so ye MIGHT think we’d all have been GRATEFUL. Old Cap’n Skinner had gone to his cabin right before the storm ended, mutt’rin’ to himself how he just wanted peace. Some of us were thinkin’ to celebrate and sent a cabin boy to ask after some grog when we found the captain had up and died too. It was hot as blazes as we buried ‘im at sea, soundin’ a cannon out of respect for his service. The cabin boy was hysterical as an old dog losin’ its master, mutt’rin’ that ‘e just wanted to be home again. Such anguish he had, that he must have jumped over the rail. We noticed him missing and even cast nets in after him but saw not a sign. Only Skinner’s old pipe was found next to the rail where the boy must’ve dropped it.

Well, Squinty had suddenly found himself runnin’ the ship, and yew might think he’d have felt grateful for that, and the bit of easy weather we were suddenly havin’. Not he. He called for me, just a swabbie like the lot of you and asked me to have a smoke with him. He handed me Captain Skinner’s old pipe, having tamped it full of fine tobacco such as I haven’t tasted since. He asked me was there anything I wanted. I was a bit surprised by this, and I told him that I was grateful for all I had. Then he asked me again.

I was a bit worried then. Perhaps he wanted someone to speak out so that he could punish someone and startle the others into working harder. I thought maybe I would be well served to give him a bit of praise. I told him that I’d like to know more stories to tell, so that I might be as interesting as himself. He scoffed at that, smacking his parrot around and behaving in a very rude fashion indeed. He told me to try telling one, as if maybe to judge what would be wrong with it. I thought then maybe he was afraid of being captain.

I made up a story about a genie. A genie that punished cruelty and rewarded gratitude by turning about things in a sudden fashion. Poisons becoming food. Cruel people becoming beleaguered. Nice people being rewarded. Lost ships becoming found. I don’t remember the story at all, but it must have been a good one. Acting Captain Squinty McGee took the pipe right out of my mouth and said he wished it were true. He stomped around into the captain’s mess as the strangest storm hit us that any of us had ever seen.

Four men were lost right off, carried over by the first wave no one saw coming. The lookout didn’t answer our call, perhaps having dove in to save the cabin boy. I’d swear to you the rain looked like it was falling UP, and when the storm cleared out, we were within sight of a friendly port. The sails were in shreds, and the cook was mad as a hatter. We found out, by the time we made port, that he’d been feeding us gunpowder to keep our strength up. The ship was scuttled, since we had to break up so much of the masts to row ashore to save the cargo. The strangest thing is that we never found Captain McGee. The mess was locked from the inside, and the pipe had burned itself to bits.”