Saturday 26 December 2015

#134 Intermission

I needed a way to stop writing about a bunch of people whose ship had sunk. It might seem as though I could simply stop, for no reason but reason can be important to the human mind. It was easy enough to point out that the story was symbolic: of searching for a new team at work, of my approach to dating, of the restrictively traditional apsects of celebrating Christmas.

Why stop with the story? Because it was too enigmatic. Does that mean that the blog has meaning? That it's meant to represent something? Well, sure. It's usually meant to represent my thoughts on things. Describing the adventures of some fictional characters doesn't represent my thoughts on things very clearly. So it's time for them to return to their source. 

#133 A short break

In the next blog post, I intend to dispel the pattern of using a symbolic story to represent my experiences in a way that I find charming.

There was no point in trying to think our way out of the sea monster's jaws. We were in a sea monster. You can't think your way out of a sea monster.

Our host wriggled deep down beneath the surface of the waves and on into the dark, cold depths. Bouncing back along the creature's tongue, we tumbled into its stomach. Blackness. All we heard was the gurgle of water and occasional groans as the beast swam on its way.

How did the captain and all of us nine crew members end up away from the island and inside the belly of this gigantic animal? The peculiar thing was, I had no idea. It had only been two days and already our adventure seemed unrealistically dramatic.

I woke with a start. It was about noon and having wandered back to the canvas to fetch my hat, I had taken a moment to rest and had quite fallen asleep. Back to the beach now I jogged. We'd be setting off again in a short while to try rowing our way back to land.

Sunday 20 December 2015

#132 Rise and shine

Mark was a quiet sort of chap. Quiet of voice. Loud, on the other hand, of sound. He had effectively been the ship's musician. Effectively, as the ship very obviously could not have funded such a role but he did have a harmonica on which he could play the odd tune or two. I think. I'd never heard him play a recognisable tune, just some strung together notes. Sometimes the music almost seemed to fit the mood of the crew at the time in which he played it.

It was seven o'clock and we were still on the island. Shivering slightly, I pulled the canvas over my head, wrapped the jacket more tightly around me and tried to warm up during those last moments of unknown length before we all roused ourselves for the day. The notes began creeping their way out of the harmonica. Every morning at seven, Mark would play to us a combination of notes he thought would best set us up for the day. As if notes could really do that. He wondered if they could. I think he believed that they could. 

Different combinations, he'd play. Mostly the same sort of mood but I noticed that if we'd had a good night's rest the notes sounded different. I couldn't work out how different because they always were different. Was he playing his instrument differently because he'd had more sleep too? Or did they just sound different because I'd had more sleep?

Mark had been trying for months now, or so it seemed, to find the right wake-up tune. There in that first morning on the island after the ship went down, I felt like I heard it. I could be wrong of course and might find that if it were played to me again another day, it wouldn't invigorate me but this morning, certainly, it had. I got up, took a pencil out from my jacket pocket and wrote down the main notes of the tune on the back of an old rail ticket I had in my wallet. 

#131 Searching for food

The first island that we came across was indeed that, in every sense. Not more than a few thousand feet or so by a few thousand. No obvious sign of any fresh water supply and no long-term source of food. The lads tumbled ashore, exhausted. Pete the deck hand started sharpening his knife. I knew what he was up to but ventured asking him regardless. "What the fuck are you hoping to catch with that Pete?" He paused only to look defiantly at me with what he supposed was a cool, wise sort of gaze and went right back to sharpening. I loved it.

If you've never slept under an upturned lifeboat then you're really quite lucky. I haven't either. We dragged the canvas off of the vessel's seating, having figured that it might make quite an ingenious quilt. Not the most relaxing place in the world to spend a night but it'd do us for now. So we dragged the great thing inland and down behind a slight mound of grass where some tall trees stood. We then heaved the boat up against the trees as a partial windbreak.

"Back later" announced Pete, almost proudly, as he wandered purposefully towards the far side of the island. I knew he fancied himself a hunter but was now really the best time to be trying his luck? Exhausted from the events of the last twenty four hours, probably still in shock and clearly in need of some sleep. What the hell did he think he could find here anyway? I got under the canvas and shuffled uncomfortably on my jacket slash bed sheet. It was time to try getting some sleep.

Sunday 6 December 2015

#130 Can't complain

"Carry on bailing out the water!" the first mate yelled. The large ship had long since become a victim of the sea. All that remained visible was the mast, atop which I fancied sat a green Argentinian parrot.

The captain was hardly surprised that the rowing boat was also sinking. Ignorance in unforgiving waters was ignorance in unforgiving waters. He sat there, shivering in his coat. Go down with the ship? Fuck you mate, if I had that much honour, we wouldn't be here in the first place.

The rowers faithfully heaved in what they thought was the direction of the shore. It seemed unlikely that the crew were completely screwed. It was late but it wasn't that late. Dark but not pitch black. It was cold but not so treacherous as say the Arctic or the North Sea.

Thousands of feet above, a jumbo peacefully made its way across the sky. Its lights flickered as the lights of planes normally do in the nighttime cloud. "What the fuck are you looking at?" bellowed a deck hand, knowing well enough the limited emotional impact of his rhetoric. I put the bucket back down into the water and continued to shovel it out of the boat.