Picked Up to Fall Down

“Eur awl a bunch of cowardss… A creww o’ sorry toona fish.”  His voice was raspier than usual. It crackled with the flaring of the clay pipe he clenched to his wretched face. I was a pirate; he was the captain, the guy I took orders from endlessly. Yarg.

I left for change with onlymy cap, some coins I saved, and some scrap linens. My small town had out grown me and the weather was viciously harsh. The ships going south were at the end of the dock where it’s the busiest.

That day I scurried onto the first ship that seemed headed to warmer weather. I saw a guy struggling with some deck supplies, some rope, hooks, and the such, so I quickly jumped in to help him, then acted naturally, and after that, it didn’t make a difference if I were in the crew or not, I worked, not like a dog, but like a pack mule or a the cows that till the farms.

It wasn’t like the little bit of schooling I had, where we’d work day and night with the occasional break every hour and a half or so and days off. It was non-stop, weather proofed, sympathy-less work. If someone bigger or higher up told you to do something, you did it, without question, day and night. Once one gruesome request, that tore the flesh off your hand or snapped your muscle fibers like an old violin bow, was over and made you feel accomplished, there was another to put you back on your buttocks and in your place, like being picked up just to fall down again, and it never seemed to end.

I had to keep tugging along though. For it was my plan to escape once we hit land. It didn’t matter where. I was scared to see what awaited. But I was scared just waiting. Everything I thought I knew about where I was going, I learned from reading or hearing stories. Now, I was doing the real thing and I had no idea.

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