Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Putrefying Pus-Bucket

When you say you're going to do something, like write, you had better do it. After all...
you know what happens to liars.

~The Red-Haired Monk of Excess


Do you not remember it? The way the spray would hit you on deck in the morning? Better than any cup of coffee. You'd always say that, and I'd tell you to stow it. That chill I so hated; you seemed to revel in it, always standing at the bow on first watch hoping for a big wave to crash against the hull. Then, when I was on watch you'd turn us windward to hit me with the damn spray too. How you'd laugh and laugh while I'd spew out my curses.

Remember our months at sea? The winds were our shepherds, the stars the only things that let us know there was a way to the end of the vast blue that encompassed us. Remember how we would sit at the helm at night, with the whiskey keeping us warm, and we talked about ships one day sailing those black seas above us.

Christ, man, Marcus used to have us drop anchor anytime there was a beach. It's like he thought anytime we saw a golden stretch of sand it would be some kind of tropical paradise with fruit and native girls. Remember how more often than not we'd come across a couple of coconuts and a bunch of damn gulls. He was so happy though, just to go on land; meanwhile you and me would wait it out, wobbling around and wondering when we'd get back to the ship where things made sense.

And then, I guess, there was that time that Marcus had just walked off without saying a damn word. We followed him into the darkness of that island jungle. After about ten minutes of slapping at mosquitoes biting me I told you we should live without him. You chuckled that maybe we should, assuming I was joking. Sure, I didn't think you would know any different, but I was half-serious. We found him sitting at the mouth of a cave, surrounded by carved stones. You remember them, those ancient things with the strange markings all over them? Then he up and gets to his feet and goes inside.

Then - then you go in after him. We waited for so long, and then, then you come out, remember? All alone? Your eyes were so wide, and you looked straight past us; stared out at nothingness. It took five of us to drag you back to the ship, and you screamed in the night until we made dock, like you were terrified of the ocean. You kept mumbling in your bed by day about a submerged city and a dreaming god.

What did you see? Why are you so scared of the water?

By God, man, we were men of the sea!