Sunday, July 26, 2009


That afternoon as the sea breeze swept through her hair and the flicks of salty water sprayed her face, Wendy felt completely in place. She had bought a one-way ticket to Glasgow by way of Saltcoats. She made sure to pack some crackers for the trip and a few chocolates purchased from the local general store. This time she carried only one bag and an address book filled with a few scribbles. The outside was worn so much that even the patina had lost its sheen, covered by a layer of smudged grime.

Her third-class ticket placed her at the bottom of the vessel. Her berth had an olive green blanket made from low-end wool, which luckily wicked away sweat faster than it did water. Yet the smell of pungent odors wafted through her chamber’s port no matter the hour, nullifying the use of taking showers when warm, clean water was available. Even the scuttlebutt down the hall lacked a feeling of cleanliness and smelled of salinity and mildew.

This trip was meant to be a getaway – a new start. Even though her friends and family had attempted to persuade her to stay and try again or give it another year – nothing could stop her from leaving. The Post Office eventually stopped delivering letters to her home after her mailbox filled up with pleas and notes. She had decided that she no longer wished to read anything and everything so she had Jack axe the post off and burn the rest.

“No, Jack. Over there, burn it over there,” she had said to him 5 weeks earlier.

The rest of the passengers on board could be seen playing cards, chess and checkers on the deck. There was a couple over on the starboard side giggling away as they played Bryncir, spilling their cheap bottle of gin all around themselves. The man had a peculiar look to his face – one of those miens that you just can’t forget no matter how hard you try. It was a lasting look, which made it a peculiar look and also an ugly look. Every now and then when his companion wasn’t looking at him, he’d turn his head ever so briskly to catch a glimpse of an older dame sitting to his left.

He was probably of about fifty years of age yet his companion seemed to be in her early thirties. Sitting beside the pair were a trio of lads all dressed impeccably and wearing top hats. Each of them had their own, individual yet meek look – with the short, fat one taking the cake. He looked like a pug-nosed, piney prick. But his apathetic energy was what kept him looking more meek than a cheek.

The tall fellow looked as though his name should be Gideon or Ichabod. His light chestnut brown hair was as fine as a baby’s, which caused him great trouble when he took his hat off. He wore a pair of spectacles that were elongated octagons, framed by thin copper wires that were beginning to tarnish. During the conversation between the older man and his companion, Gideon – or Ichabod – would often whisper into the fat one’s ear.

Their friend, the third fellow, wore a shortened top hat with a 3-inch wide, satin red puggaree wrapped around the torso of the hat. On the left-hand side near the front of the brim he kept a bright yellow Buttercup that looked as though it had been plucked that morning. His garments were a bit more refined than his two partners, as his double-breasted coat exhibited brass buttons instead of steel. He had a scepter of some sort also, which in a way challenged the older man next to them in a passive-aggressive manner.

Besides looking over his shoulder every now and then to look at the dame, the older man would also clear his throat and look sternly at the spectacled-fellow every time the spectacled-fellow tapped his scepter on the deck. The fat, short one and the tall one never batted an eye throughout this series of exchanges.

For the first night’s dinner Wendy made sure to find a seat for herself away from the rest of foul-smelling, disease-infested passengers on her deck. She was very proud of her good hygiene so she preferred to converse with them only when it suited her needs. Earlier in the afternoon when the sun was just right on the top deck, she had managed to befriend a young lad who looked to be about her age. He had told her his name was “Peter,” but a tag on his luggage had read “Richard.” Though confused, she carried on the rest of the conversation referring to him as Peter, yet it took some effort for her to avoid blurting out what she assumed was his real name.

However, around dinnertime she had dropped her standards, if only momentarily, in search of finding this said “Peter.” After filling her plate up she roamed around the eating area for a good twenty minutes before grudgingly taking a seat near the exit. As she sat there spading at her plate with tense anger, a young man came up from behind and gave her a tap.

“Excuse me Madame, might anyone be seating beside you tonight?” he asked.

Wendy turned around with a gust of energy hoping it’d be her mysterious “Peter.”

“Oh my,” she let out.

“Well hello.”

Standing before her was a young man in a black three-piece suit and the most flawless smile she had ever seen. His hair was slicked back and combed to the side with a slight curl at the front. She could tell he took care of his body by the way the creased trousers streamlined down his thighs towards his calves and broke right at the crown of his polished black Derbies. His skin looked soft and delectable, even though she could only see his hands and face from where she was situated.

“Lance,” he said, extending his hand.

“And what might your name be Madame?”

Flustered by his imposing aura, Wendy almost gushed out the word “Peter,” but luckily she had to finish the bite she was chewing. Covering her mouth so as not to seem rude or un-ladylike, Wendy took a few more seconds to finish up.

“My name is Wendy,” she said with a bit of embarrassment.

“Take any seat you’d like - I could use the fine company.”


JAY said...

Rocky waters and three piece suits can only mean one thing.

If Lance is up to no good, we all know it, and maybe Wendy does too .

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