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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Seven Seas Sagas / EPISODE 39: ‘WHIRLPOOL’


The Seven Seas Sagas

EPISODE 39: ‘WHIRLPOOL’




Rear Admiral  Thundertosser’s Log
The Bridge, HMS Rigid

Position - North Atlantic
Somewhere sou'-sou'-west  of Reykjavik, Iceland:

“It’s night, at sea.

And she's blowing harder than a pygmy’s blowpipe out there, on the briny. Told the crew to batten down the hatches and prepare for a big blow. That’s how hard she blows today.

I was tossing all night.

Still, a bad day sailing is still better than a good day in the office still, even when the sea’s a swelling; and one bad night in the hammock is worth two bad nights between a hussy’s sheets, poking the frontage. That’s my motto. Always has been, always will be.

Petty Officer Tongs and Midshipman Stonkly are up the fo'c'sle, man handling their stanchions, keeping a weather eye open in order to repel all boarders. It’s quiet. Too quiet. Well, apart from the howling, remorseless winds and the lashing sea, that lashes them both like the lash of a cat on the back of an old sea dog. Still no sign of the enemy.

In these quiet moments, well relatively quiet moments, awaiting the attack, I often wonder where such nautical sayings hail from. ‘Repel all boarders’. What is a boarder? Someone with or holding a board? Someone withholding a board? Somebody who is bored waiting with a board? We can never know. Only the sea holds such secrets. And she is a jealous mistress, is the sea.

But wait. Who approaches? Is it the enemy?

No. It is Able Seaman Blowpipe with my cocoa.”



Thundertosser:
How now, Blowpipe?’ How goes the night?

Blowpipe:
Sorry about your cocoa, sir, it’s all down my whites. I’ll never shift that stain now. Look at that mess on my trousers.

Thundertosser:
Yes it is a bit sticky, isn’t it?

Blowpipe:
Yes. Brown and sticky, sir.

Thundertosser:
Hmm. I wouldn’t want the enemy to catch you looking like that, Blowpipe.

Blowpipe:
I wouldn’t want the enemy to catch me at all, sir.

Thundertosser:
No. Of course not. Quite right, quite right.

Blowpipe:
I don’t think I could stand all that torturing, sir.

Thundertosser:
Come now, Able Seaman, your naval trainning would allow you to withstand some minor torturing. I’d be there, Blowpipe, moral support and all that.

Blowpipe:
Would the minor torturing be of the scrotal variety? The testicular kind, sir? I’d worry I might crack under the pressure, sir. I saw that James Bond film, sir, down the mess deck. With the carpet beater, sir.

Thundertosser:
Which film do you mean, Blowpipe? ‘Casino Royale’?

Blowpipe:
No. ‘James Bond Gets His Knackers Thrashed with a Carpet Beater’, sir.

Thundertosser:
Ah. Don’t know that one. Get the Chief Petty Officer to pop it into my cabin, will you?

Blowpipe:
Yes sir. When will they get here, sir? The enemy? Will it be soon, sir?

Thundertosser:
Stop worrying about the enemy and get on with washing my officer’s smalls, Blowpipe.

Blowpipe:
Your knicks and socks, sir?

Thundertosser:
Yes, my knicks and socks. Had these on for a week now. They’re getting stiff and salt crusty.

Blowpipe:
Yes sir. Don’t worry, sir, your replacements are in the emergency bridge tumble drier now, sir.

Thundertosser:
Good. But…what’s that? Oh my God, Blowpipe! Look at that Whirlpool!

Blowpipe:
What, sir? Where, sir?

Thundertosser:
There! There! Sound the red alert and get Tongs and Stonkly off the fo’c’sle!

Blowpipe:
You’re right, sir….but it’s too late, she’s going to blow, she’s going to blow! Get down, sir!

Thundertosser:
Er…Blowpipe?

Blowpipe:
Yes, sir?

Thundertosser:
Is it safe to come out yet?

Blowpipe:
Yes, sir. Only a minor fire. I’ve put it out with your cocoa, sir. But, sir…I’m afraid your knicks and socks are completely burnt.

Thundertosser:
Burnt?

Blowpipe:
Yes. In the Whirlpool, sir.

Thundertosser:
Hell and damnation, Blowpipe. I told the Chief we should have got one from 'Hotpoint'.

Meanwhile. On the fo'c'sle

Tongs:
What was the Admiral on about, sir?

Stonkly:
God knows, Something about Zanussi exploding dishwashers I think.

Tongs:
Oh I see, sir. Subtle that. The punchline, sir.

Stonkly:
Shut up, Tongs and mind your stanchion.

Tongs:
Right you are, sir. Oh look, sir. Port side. A whirlpool.