Graham exhaled smoke. The toxicity of the past-time creating an odd study in contrast with the robust wholesomeness of salt and sun.
He raised and lowered the Pall Mall with a precise and measured quality.
How anyone could remain so pale in the tropic sun I’ll never know. He truly looked a specter. So profound was his melancholy that he’d earned a nickname. First, it was ‘Gloomy Graham’ then when we tired of alliteration it became ‘Gloom.’
As I approached the railing I announced my presence with the latest iteration.
“So, Glum what’s with this? What do you make of it…?”
The mystery still lingered. Neither captain nor crew would divulge any morsel of revelation more intelligible than a cryptic turn of phrase.
Cold grey eyes regarded me with demonic detachment. They did not welcome, nor did they glimmer with repulsion, neither could their attitude be called appraising. Instead, they simply seemed to drink in everything like a pair of collapsed stars.
“What is it?” He finally answered my question with a question.
“That’s what I want to know. I think it’s some kind of psyop. Somebody organized this show and we’re the first guinea pigs. Fits real nice with the ‘single faith.’”
“I suppose that I should be a touch more specific.” He replied with uncharacteristic urbanity.
“Pray, continue.” I intoned smugly playing along with his antique phrasings.
“What does the captain repeat?”
I chuckled. “The guy’s a friggin reference manual for quirky idioms.”
“What is it?” Graham reiterated with the weight of profound significance placed on the very last word.
I stood silently for a bit as my mind drew blanks.
As Graham lit yet another cigarette the realization struck me.
“It’s a world!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, that’s the one.”
As the thrill of the guess faded disappointment settled in its place.
“So what? You know something Glummy, they’re mighty friendly with ya. And you’re playing their game. You need to be straight with me. Need I remind you that after Schmidt I’m your commanding officer. Where’s your esprit de corps?”
Graham laughed for the first time in nearly a month. It was a cold mirthless sort of laugh but a laugh nonetheless.
“The thing is plain enough if you remember what often follows the Captains favorite mantra.”
“Well, darn tootin feller rekon I’m just a barefoot bucktooth bumpkin with twelve toes cuz I don’ recall and I sure don’t follow.”
Hoyt just stared at me in that expressionless way.
“What does the world do?”
This time I was quicker on the draw. “It’s a weeeeeeeeerld …. it whirls….!” I proclaimed bugging my eyes Reed style.
Though I still wasn’t getting it…. I furrowed my brow.
“Where does it whirl?”
The mantra was now well within the reach of retrievable memory. “Among twisted stars….in depths….far greater than the blackest deep of ocean…”
Graham nodded slowly and I got angry.
“Ugghhhh! What the fuck…so fucking what…it means fuck all Hoyt!” I bellowed lunging for his chest.
Having grabbed the pack from his shirt pocket and put a cancer stick in my own mouth I extended a demanding hand.
Completely unphased throughout my pseudoassault he matter of factly placed a lighter in my hand.
As sparks erupted turning dead leaves into an explosion of smoke and flame I suddenly recalled a lithesome blonde with her arms outstretched to heaven.
It was unpleasantly warm.
The fire, the warmth, the damned sun…
‘The sun ain’t just for tanning.’
‘Whirling amidst twisted stars…that burn and blast and pull…’
I looked up to see a sphinx-like smirk.
“Holy shit…you mean…Roland had it right…”
1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer
Help a Hipster