Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Call me Michael. It wasn't education that I sought but rather to live. I wanted to suck the very marrow out of the bones of life and slather myself in experience. I was hoping to make my mark in the history books like Lord Nelson, maybe lose an eye or an arm in the heat of some raging sea battle versus pirates or criminals or maybe the French.

It just so happened that I fell in with a right surly lot on the whaling vessel the S.S. Insurance Adjuster. It was populated with a mean and odorous crew of thieves and beggars. There was a giant tattooed woman named Girlguay that carried a giant ivory spear and if you so much as brought her flowers and tried to ask her out for a spot of tea she’d run you through and leave your bloated bleeding corpse to bake in the New England sunshine. She had a bone through her nose and her face was tattooed in insurance acronyms. Her growl was as fierce as any thunderclap in the sky overhead. It’s rumored she was cannibal, which only makes her more attractive.

Upon my arrival aboard the S.S. Insurance Adjuster I was met by the young chief mate, Deniedbuck. He is a righteous man of worthy build, but yet somehow always suspicious of everyone. He was instrumental in my education aboard this whaling vessel and if it weren’t for his tutelage I surely would have perished.  He is the voice of reason and sensibility among the raging torrents of greedy self entitlement that fills the very waters we sail. It was he who introduced me to the Captain.

The Captain was Mehab. He was quick to tell their purpose and to assign me my whaling skiff. He was of deep voice and unbridled, seething hate for one particular whale. His eyes were twitchy and scanned me up and down. He was a curious man in his stovepipe hat and thick black bearded chin. He told me we were setting sail after a particular whale. A whale named Roger Cock.

It took all my metal not to laugh out loud when I heard the Captain mention his name. Apparently he was a very vicious and devious claimant, who had stolen the Captain’s right leg and replaced it with an elm tree branch while the Captain was napping. It was the Captain’s only motivation for this journey.  I began to wonder if this marrow sucking voyage would just suck.

We left harbor and set out for the Sea of Chicago intent on a course for the damnation of us all. I had stowed my meager gear below and was on deck when the madness began with the Cook and the second mate, Stubby. It seems they were engaged in a spirited debate regarding the statute of limitations of deep resentment and hatred toward the elusive whale claimants. I chimed in with a hopeful note of sympathy for these beleaguered sea creatures only to be rebuked and shamed for having any compassion at all.

 “You’re weak and small”, said Stubby.
“I’m just optimistic, that doesn't make me weak”, I said.
“Swab the deck you scurvy sea dog”, said Stubby.
It was then we heard that familiar call from the crow’s nest.

“Whale! I see its breaching claimant’s back! Whale!”

The sailors scattered to their skiffs, harpoons at the ready and launched from the S.S. Insurance Adjuster, hell bent on the end of Roger Cock. The Captain himself, in his luscious hate, was the first to launch after the beast as it dove and surfaced across the monochromatic waters.

“…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee,”, called the Captain as he lined up his harpoon at the groaning and complaining beast.

The Captain hurled his harpoon, only too late to realize the rope it was attached was wrapped around his good leg. The harpoon stuck in the beast and as it dove, pulled the Captain from his skiff and into the cold, deadly waters. The beast, now enraged, filed a complaint with the Department of Insurance and completely obliterated the S.S. Insurance Adjuster. I was lucky to survive when the ship was capsized and it was only through my love of words was I able to survive to now tell this tale.

“On this day in 1851, Harper & Brothers in New York published Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville. The book flopped, and it was many years before the book was recognized as an American classic.” – This Day in History – The History Channel.

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