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Aye, Capt’n Bush, 'Tis Not Only The Storm But The Navigation


“What a night to be at sea!” shouted brave Captain Bush into the rain-slashed, wind-whipped Middle Easter that had suddenly come upon The Good Ship USA.

“Yar, yar, ya got that right, Cap’n,” returned his faithful and once jocund first mate, Rummy, now hunkered down as he, too, braved the ceaseless wrath of the oncoming tempest.

Just then yet another mountain-size wave, black as the turban of a radical Muslim cleric, upturned and dumped its chilling contents on the creaking deck. The ship heaved under the impact, and even sure-footed Rummy lurched off balance. He quickly grabbed for Captain Bush’s arm, which was stalwartly clenched on the rebellious wheel.

“Careful, mate!” the captain cautioned.

“Aye, it’s a slippery deck, sir,” Rummy returned. “More slippery than I’ve seen in all me born days! And worse news yet!”

“What's that, mate?”

“The crew, sir, is threatenin’ mutiny.”

“Mutiny, you say?” Captain Bush asked, squinting with intense concern.

“Yar, sir, I’ve heard mention of it.”

“Do you think they need a talkin’ to?”

“Well, Cap’n Bush, I’m afeard they had enough of talkin’ to. Their ears is overstuffed. They’re upset, sir, mighty upset!”

“But, mate, certainly they know I didn’t ask for the storm to come upon us? It just came howling down out of the blue.”

“Yar, yar, sir, they know that but," Rummy dared to mention, "there’s scuttlebutt you took the wrong route through it.”

“No, Rummy, no, don’t they understand? I had no choice! Suddenly, the storm was there and mine only to respond.”

“Aye, it did indeed afflict us. And yet they say we could a takin’ safer passage." Then he offered a bit of consolation. "Well, sir, ya steered us as your best lights told ya. And that’s all a fragile, dumbstruck man can do." Then he lamented, "As Cap’n Blood said in the old movin’ picture, ‘Faith, 'tis an uncertain world entirely.’”

“Aye, and faith it is, mate. But I’ll tell ye, I done right, Rummy, I did. And never doubt me when I say safe harbor’s just beyond the cursed wind and waves.”

“Yes, sir, but if ya don’t mind me broachin’ the subject, just now the prospect a safe harbor seems a tad unlikely.”

“I understand, mate. And I respect disagreement, even if it does bestir me innards. I myself wish I had a better angle on the storm. It would make my weekends as a landlubber in Texas more pleasant. But finally, Rummy, loyalty. I do expect loyalty.”

“Ya got that, sir, every last ounce me briny body and wit-quick mind can give ye.”

“Good, Rummy. Hate to think a you gettin’ rambunctious on me, too. Aye, but, in confidence, whoever thought the storm would rage as it has?”

“'Tis the very devil of a tempest-tossed time, Cap’n. Why, and look there, sir. That cloud that’s just blown over the bow. Why, it has the very face of Osama bin Laden, blowin’ up the wind like Neptune gone Mad Hatter!”

“Pay no mind, pay no mind, Rummy! The frightful and unnatural monster will be blown to an airy nothingness in time, as all clouds, filled with nothing but rain on my bonny ship, must.”

“Aye, sir, and the next moment’s not soon enough. Yet I doubt the fiber of the crew, sir.”

“Mutineers, ya figure?”

“Many a one, sir, I’m afeard to say.”

“I need time, Rummy, time to get us through this hellish night of cloudy climes and starless skies.”

“But how much time, sir? I myself have already endured their rough talk.”

“Don’t worry, Rummy, I’ll stand by you.”

“Much appreciated, Cap’n. And yet November’s on the way.”

“Aye, you’re on spot about that.”

“I hear tell the crew at large may be plannin’ something for then, sir. What should we do?”

“There’s only one choice. We have to convince ‘em we have no choice.”

“No other choice at all, sir?”

“Look ahead! Do you see a way out of this terrorizin’ typhoon but straight ahead, into its oncomin’ fury?”

“Not I, Cap’n. Why, if even a bright light such as you can’t, how might a poor grain a sea salt like me?”

“Or anyone, Rummy! Let the mutineers, if they will, take the wheel. Dems or rebs more our own ilk! Let all that dare. Where can the sodden blokes steer I haven’t?”

“Point sharp as Ahab’s harpoon, Cap’n, but they might want a go at it nevertheless. It’s a powerful appealin’ thing to take the wheel, sir, and devil take the outcome. But, yo, look, sir, over there!”

“Where?”

“On the port side. Sea monsters!”

“Monsters, in this day and age?”

“I’m afreard so, sir, and deadly serpentine ones. Why, look at that un! It’s got two heads – one that’s the very spittin’ image of al-Zawahiri and the other lookin’ for all the world like Mullah Omar!”

“Whiskers like ‘em both, too.”

“And there, sir, on the leeward. A sea serpent with an aspect very much the unmanageable image of Ahmadinejad!”

“Aye, and sly like him, too. A creature of frightful mien. Watch him slither and curl on the treacherous waves.”

“Yar, yar, and lookee there, sir, lurkin’ just behind that oncomin’ immensity, sprung from the very depths a Davy Jones’ locker, one with a patient, calculatin’ aspect like al-Sadr.”

“Sink, monster, sink into the fathomless, sandy-bottomed sea!”

“Treacherous waters we’re in, Cap’n. Mighty treacherous and tryin’ of a man’s self-reflectin’ soul.”

“Yar, yar,” Captain Bush replied, and slipped a bit himself. Righting his wrenched body, he pointed to his feet, and commented, “And tryin’ of the soles of a man’s shoes, too. But we can’t just surrender to the damnable storm. That’d be the wreck of all our hopes – with an Iraq left behind.”

“You’re right, Cap’n. No choice, now. Can’t go back. But beware the tides of November.”

“Aye, that’s a month to try a man’s soul as well as the soles of his shoes. Just remember, Rummy, November or any other month a the year, straight ahead. Into the waves, mate, onto whatever awaits us in the dark and dangerous unknown. Here, in the thick a the storm, we got no other choice.”

“Still, sir, as I ventured afore, there are them that says our troubles is due, not only to the storm, but the navigation. ”

“Yar, yar, in hindsight over blind-site. Afore then who knew a Middle Easter like this would be awaitin’ innocent, right-minded us?” Then he raised a hand against his tempest-tossed destiny. Vanish, clouds! Sink, monsters! Let me steer The Good Ship USA handily into port.”

“Straight ahead then, Cap’n, as yer lights tell ya,” Rummy agreed. “At least, till November brings what it might.”

“Aye, November. A month a fearsome challenges. Why, the very thought of it rattles me very bones.”

“And only weeks away!”

“No choice, Rummy. Just remember, no other choice available to us. Or havoc, mate, havoc will rain down upon us and all those aboard this selfsame ship.”

“Yar, yar, sir. But a saving grace.”

“What’s that, mate? I could use a grace by any name.”

“After November’s trials and tribulations, can Thanksgivin' be far behind?”

“Aye, and thanks for that! I can’t wait to forgive this year’s fortune-graced turkey – as I hope to be forgiven in the same month as well.”

“Aye, and if I had a keg I'd raise a toast with ye to Thanksgivin’ and better days ahead. Now, onward into the waves once more, brave Cap’n Bush.”

“Yar and, though port’s afar, I know that somewhere over the rainbow is an emerald sea and smooth sailin’.”

Then onward, Cap’n, onward to it!”

“And remember, Rummy. We have no choice. The storm’s to blame.”

“And not the route?”

“Never the route, mate. The storm, Rummy, blame the storm. Make that din and our misadventure might yet win.”

So on the determined duo heaved, against the darkly rising, toppling cliffs of the watery main, while safe harbor – which captain, mate, and all did long for with every thought behind their fretted but ultimately puzzled brows – for The Good Ship USA and its rancorous crew seemed even to their brave hopes an age of anxiety away, away somewhere beyond the salt-encrusted tendrils of the furious sea that lashed at them, they thought, undeservedly.

Submitted by:

Tom Attea

Tom Attea, humorist and creator of http://NewsLaugh.com, has had six shows produced Off-Broadway. Critics have called his writing "delightfully funny," "witty," with "great humor and ebullience" and "good, genuine laughs."





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