Men Against The Whale
Obviously, this is Saturday fare, only recover faculties after feed – Sunday morning I’ll write something fresh, write more fresh meat for the baby.
Crewmen languished upon these pages.
For six weeks the damp paperback skittered [the spine spread] hither,
and thither among towels. Book [skittered over] a flannel, over lavatory paper, of all the indignities. [We, the crew of the book] depended for survival – entirely on family shower scheduling. Would we be kicked to a corner, would we [together] envelope a plug that gurgled so dangerously? Unsalvageable, the front cover became a smear of card lettering. We prayed, relief from the bathroom floor, a day when he, he might read the glossary in one session, [sitting] and we might be squeezed – a distance away – lie, snug against Russian novelists, [the] second top shelf, [the] boating section, and emerge fifty years hence, grey, tatty, illegible [possibly] a doorstop, grandson’s roach. We dreamed of that [great] day.
[Once] I was a minor – character in the lifeboat. Reader enjoyed seafaring adventure, and Author painted me well enough, sturdy, he left me – blank to reader’s mind – he filled my blank, history and my bearing. Cough memorable to [ye] to mention,
‘Atishoo,’ I said once only on page twelve.
Not like Halmutt, he manned a wide oar outside of my berth. Halmutt, golden curls spiralled down his chest, spoke in dialect:
‘Ahoy, I sayeth, see shep on orizo,’ he said.
I stared at him.
‘Shep,’ he replied.
‘You fool, German. There are no shep in the sea. You mean a shep.’
‘Aye, aye,’ he said.
‘Skipper,’ I interjecterupted a wholesome narrative, and faced our distant master at his helm. I spoke [hurriedly] past rows of blistered shoulderblades. ‘Halmutt spies a vessel,’ I said.
The Master stood, masculine-jawed, eyes [sprung] afar, hair streaked ribbons of integrity. The white breeches heaved at the centre-piece, and his fist gripped
the helm. ‘Send flare,’ he cried.
But it was no tea clipper, it was the reader’s backside, greatest Spermatazoa whale bounced low across tiles. Of course Friday night, bathroom dancing; Cossack melodies carried on the breeze meant jeopardy for us, the mere seamen. We heaved oars away from bath mat toward a lee shore of cardboard rollers.