Wednesday April 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the sailor.

Seeded some beets and carrots in the garden this morning before marking out the rows where our leeks, onions, and shallots will be transplanted. Kat and I are planning on working on that tomorrow morning while Max hangs out with his grandma.

After we woke up from our afternoon nap I took Max into town to deposit a couple of box program payments (hurray for offering an early bird discount in order to get money sooner) and to check out the park. It was incredibly busy there, as there was a family reunion/get together of some sorts going on. Balls, babies, puppies... Max was pretty much in heaven.

Weather-wise, it felt like an early summer day. So nice.


The constant creak of timber won't let me forget where I sleep. This rocking, swaying, lurching deck will always remind me where I stand. Salted air, fish-filled meals, sweat and alcohol; my nostrils need no further evidence of this place I call home.

Captain says we should see land any day now. So my eyes search the horizon at every opportunity, as though they would spot a tree before the man in the crow's nest could. Old Lucky's eye isn't that poor. But I look anyway. I can't help it.

It's been too many days of nothing but waves and sky out there. I need to see something different. Need to know that solid ground still exists. I want to believe that women still survive, still wear exotic perfumes and pretty dresses. My tongue aches for fresh food.

I need off this blasted ship.


Greg said...

You all took an afternoon nap? I'd never thought of it as a family activity before! The park event sounds nice, indeed :)
Here we had tube strikes instead, so I ended up walking a few miles as part of my homeward journey, because the bus gave up at Hyde Park Corner. My feet hurt a little now -- I wasn't wearing suitable shoes at all!
I have no idea how you got the sailor as inspiration from a day of planting, but you've conveyed the weariness of your sailor rather well. I do hope you're not planning on having the land be foreign, savage, and unfriendly!

The sailor
Madame Sosotris turned the card over, revealing a picture of a soggy-looking man with one leg in a shark's mouth. Behind her the candle flames wavered and guttered in an autumn draught, and the smoke from the incense (sandalwood and cinnamon, sitting in her room was a bit like being inside a baked goods item) twisted into sigils in the air.
"The drowned sailor," she said, with such relish that the client slid their chair back an inch. "The shark indicates that he will bring you something."
Eyes widened in silence. Madame Sosotris turned another card.
"Belladonna, Our Lady of the Rocks." The card depicted a statuesque woman sitting on the rail of a wrecked ship while dolphins and mermaids sported in the water around it. The client was too far away to see clear in the smoky air and yellow candlelight, but... were there more sailors drowning in the water?
"She takes an interest in your life now," said Madame Sosotris, and her nasal, congested voice took on a deeper timbre. There was a sudden smell of rotting seaweed, dead fish, and stagnant water in the room, and the air rippled as though it were suddenly water. "She is sending you the drowned sailor, poor damned Phlebitis, and you will know him by the odour of boiled frogs that follows him where he goes. In the hold of his ship are lilies from the dead land and little stumps of withered time. Purchase one of each and return here."
The client squeaked like a mouse that's just smelled the bacon fat, and the room seemed to pop and return to normal.
"What did I say?" asked Madame Sosotris, looking hungry.
"Phlebitis?" squeaked the client.
"Really? Oh, I'd better go and put my make-up on then!"
Madame Sosotris disappeared behind her curtains, and the client set her tea-cup down and tried very hard not to run out of the house.

Marc said...

Greg - nah, it was just Max and I. We often nap together in the afternoon - it's good for both of us :)

Your poor client. I think I would run, but then again I also think I wouldn't be there in the first place :P

Wonderful atmosphere in this one.