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[BBOT] Sailor's home

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posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 01:31 PM
“Baout this time ‘ayear we should be haulin’ em in.” An old sailor held his head in his hands. The smell of salt was pouring from him, it was in his blood. His skin was worn to leather from the years of sandpaper salt water, sea-sun, and work.
He wasn’t sad, he was in shock. His father, his father’s father, and many more fathers of his had harnessed these waters. They were sheppards of the fish. What would happen now? It was all over. The songs he had been taught would never be sun again except as dirges for something weary and lonesome. Not forgotten but forlorn.

The little boat he sat in rocked back and forth with the waves. It was out past the breakers, far enough to be away from the dim lights of the seaside village he called home. The moonlight bounced off the slick water, it looked like plastic wrap over jello. The blue purple horizon was something which had always calmed him at night; when he and his wife had fought, when his father died, when he nearly went bankrupt a few years ago. Tonight it just gave him shivers and a knot-twisting nervous feeling in his gut.

The sailor drew in a long breath. His throat was raspy from smoke and whiskey. He had lived hard, he had worked hard, he was a hard man and he knew it. He was so used to sea smells that he almost didn’t notice that he couldn’t smell the ropes on the boat, and he couldn’t smell the organic salty wind coming off the water.

He coughed.

He could smell something, something new and evil.

Dark as it was he could see the white foam of bubbles on the surface of the water. It was a fizz, like soda or peroxide. He chuckled to himself at the thought of putting hydrogen peroxide on the ocean, like it had skinned its knee.

Something knocked itself against his starboard side; he turned to see a fish floating against his little boat. Its eyes were pearls against the black coat on its body. It bumped against the boat, its mouth gasped in choking agony. The moonlight painted multicolor oil-works across the scaled canvas of the fish’s body. What was left of his chuckle scuttled itself off his face. He sat silent and immobile. Like a stone statue, caught in a moment of complete dread and floating on a sea of absolute misery. He stared at the little dead thing for a long time. He wasn’t thinking, he wasn’t feeling, he was empty.

Two more knocks; he didn’t have to look. His eyes turned to cold embers on a drowned fire. They sunk into his head and closed.

He leaned back and put his left hand across his mouth. His fingers instinctively rubbed the stubble on his jaw. He could smell the rope and wood infused into his hand.

It comforted him.

This work was his legacy, it was in him and it would be in his son, and his grandson. All the way down the line his children would know work, would know the hardships and the pride of it. They would sing the ancient songs only mariners know, they would feel the life of the ocean running through them. Maybe his time as a sailor in the Gulf was done, but he could always move on. His great-great grandfather had done it to come down from New England, and now he would.

Maybe in a couple years, or decades, when this mess was cleaned up he would come back, if he could. Maybe he would be able to teach his son the same routes he’d always known. Maybe he could show his son where the best places to spot the grampuses blowing at 8 bells in the morning were.

His stomach began to settle a little and he let out a long sigh. The skin around his eyes didn’t feel so tight now. He grabbed the oars and before he began to row back into shore he took another deep breath.

The sailor coughed again, something black came up with it.
Three more knocks on the starboard side.
And his head hung low on his chest.

[edit on 4-7-2010 by Mr Headshot]

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 01:29 AM
reply to post by Mr Headshot

This is quite an angle to take on this story line my friend. I liked it although it made me really sad. I felt the old sailor was just going through his normal routines regardless of the oil. Or that he set out on the ocean that night because he knew he was going to pass away. One way or the other it was very descriptive and sad to me. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I enjoyed it.

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 04:47 AM
Thanks man. From the people who've read it everyone calls it sad. I think that's because the situation is sad and I was in a very somber mood when I wrote this.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I mean that.

Thank you.

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 03:12 PM
reply to post by Mr Headshot

I love your use of language. Attention to each word made an outstanding product.

Seems like he just went out to say goodbye to the area he loved, but he wasn't without hope. He looked forward to a new place where life would again be good. Wether here or in another world is left to the reader. Good technique.

posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 04:45 PM
Definitely agree with the above posts.

Excellent story - your use of language is amazing!

posted on Jul, 8 2010 @ 01:21 AM
Thanks for the kind comments guys. I think for a short story (at least one this short) you kind of have to pay attention to each word because you have to pack in a ton of meaning into each thought. If you're going for metaphors anyway.


posted on Jul, 10 2010 @ 04:30 PM
There is something about this story that hit with me.
It felt real and believable. Well done.

posted on Jul, 11 2010 @ 01:49 AM
Thank you a lot.

It's amazing to me when the written word can actually touch somebody in a very emotional way, it's even more amazing when I was the medium for those words to be expressed. Thanks.

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