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Another Shitty Day at the Office

A strong gale force westerly wind blows down onto the ship that plows south, dragging her rail when she rolls; Captain, “We must keep sailing south, we are on edge of the hurricane and cannot afford to get sucked in.”

“South-by-south-east” shouts Captain Brian to Cookie who is strapped to the helm holding on to the 8-foot-wheel with all his strength.  A shudder runs though the ship. Her stern begins to elevate as a thundering sea sweeps her up and then pulls her down. The sea strikes the rudder and wheel bucks violently putting a shudder through Cookie’s torso. The sea splits both sides of the stern as the ship’s bow goes soaring skyward.  The crest itself 25-feet high breaks over the Taft rail, engulfs Don and Teresa in tons of sea water and spray.  They hold on to the rails, hands and fingers in a grip lock, knuckles white, every muscle in their arms tight as steel wire. Their yellow oilskins barely obscured by the green sea as the force of the water drives them onto their knees. They rise stunned from the wrack of the solid wall of water we call a wave. They continue to reduce sail, hanging on to their life lines. The motion of the sea tosses the Pair of Dice, a large two-mast schooner, like a child will throw a plastic duck around in a bath tub.  The duck comes upright only to be tossed again testing the integrity of construction. The wind howls so loud the normal creaking of the vessel, like the squeak of a duck, drowned out and overlaid with rigging that flaps with a stinging rage and smites the hands and arms of all who venture too close. To converse, nigh impossible with a screaming mouth pressed against an open ear, all one can really hear is the weather’s deafening defiance and contempt, a thunder for such an attempt.  Twin torrents of sea pours in over both rails, filling the long main deck with what captain Brian calculates could be as much as two hundred tons of water.

Eight bells, midnight; sounds of the hurricane, the relentless roar of the wind running through the shrouds, a growl of seas astern and abeam; ahead the ship shudders from the lowest point of the keel, to the highest point of the mast. The black night gives no sense to the position of the Pair of Dice. They look out into the tempest that refuses to yield identity or leniency. The deck thrusts upwards under the soles of their feet as if their vessel rests on the back of a huge sea monster. Relentless, never ending: Their only hope of escape, to sail south out of the grip and off the back of this giant into a docile sea where the crew may return to harmony with the elements and live without fear.

In the bows on the lookout, Captain Brian, arms braced on the head of a capstan, sucks in his neck and closes his eyes with spray running down his back, he turns, shouts, to Teresa and Don which they must lip read; “You can say what you like, but you got to admit we are living the adventure now if we can only find paradise!”

A Few Years Before

A knock at Brian’s office door, a mature woman enters with the confidence of tenure. He was having a turbulent week, employee unrest and shipping problems, sales figures that lacked luster. Seated at his desk contemplating the usual drudgery and the mundane, Susan would now be the messenger.  A life change Brian could not imagine at this moment.  Arthur’s smart, loyal secretary for more than twenty years, exclaims. “Your father just called. He wants you and Teresa, and the grandchildren, to come to the hospital tomorrow morning at eight sharp.”

“My father shipwrecked my life before we got on board.

From that time on, my family rescued me.

CAPTAIN BRIAN

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