(Because I just can't stop myself)
I wake to the sound of the ship docking and the feeling of something warm dripping down my chin. I lift my hand to feel my face. My last three teeth are gone, I have a hole in my cheek, my nose is broken and my eyepatch is missing. I open my eyes and I look around and I'm on a brigantine and there's no one near me. Someone's slipped me between two six pounders and I can smell the smoldering gunpowder of a recent battle. I look at my clothes and my clothes are ripped and dirty, just rags now, they're covered with spit, snot, urine, vomit, blood, phlem, and black and yellow bile. I reach for the rigging above me, rope connected to a mast, and I touch it and I pull it and I try to get up and a pirate sees me and he comes over.
Aaaargh. How are you?
What's going on?
You don't know?
We're headed for Zanzibar, sir.
How did I get here?
Aaaargh. Doctor and two men brought you on.
They say anything?
They talked to the Captain, Sir. We were told to let you sleep.
Am I a slave?
We were not told, sir. The Captain spoke with the Doctors.
Where are we now?
Port of call. Mogadishu.
I hear chains and irons clank and I feel the pull of the boat sliding against the riggings. I look around for anything I might have with me, but there's nothing. No dagger, no canteen, no ventilator, no hogshead, no Pieces of Eight. I sit and I wait and I try to figure out what happened. Nothing comes. I smell the salty air of the African port and my head throbs. I try to stand and make my way to the pier. After about five steps I sit back down. Walking is out of the question. I see another pirate and I raise a hand.
Aaaaargh. What's wrong?
I can't really walk.
If you make it to the plank I can get you on a gally.
How far is the plank?
Aaaargh. Not far.
I stand. I wobble. I sit back down. I stare at the floor and take a deep breath.
You'll be all right he says.
I need glog.
He laughs and his tri-tipped hat shakes in the stiff but welcoming breeze. He holds out his hand and I take it. I stand and I list against him and he helps me toward the plank. We pass the mizzenmast, the main sheet, the lugsail. My mind races. I'm still loaded to the gunwalls and I need to get off this brig. We get to the plank.
I'll be right back.
I let go of him and I sit down and I listen to the cries of the gulls. Their shrieks echo in my head, my head, an empty canyon, a void, housing not thoughts but just simple desires. I need a nipperskin of Nelsons folly. I feel squiffy.
The pirate returns and laughs and I watch him walk away and I close my eyes. My head hurts, my mouth hurts, my eyes hurt, my hands hurt. Things without names hurt. There is a black hole in my soul and it hurts. Inside the black hole in my soul is a negative number generator generating negative numbers and all of those negative numbers hurt. Nothing hurts. Hurt has lost its meaning. Hurt is like a word in an ancient language.
I rub my stomach. I can feel it coming. Fast and strong and burning. No way to stop it, just close your eyes and let it ride. It comes, the old, rancorous salmagundi, and I recoil from the stench and the pain. It all flies into the ocean, and the gulls circle overhead.
My God. What has happened to me. I am a slave on a pirate's ship and I am sick and I need glog and I have no soul and the soul I do not have does not hurt for that word doesn't exist.
I punch myself in the face.
Just to feel alive.
Oh my God.