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Paraffin Pigeon Down

By Ironteeth Rum Spigot (UK)

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Paraffin Pigeon Down

No clouds, no birds, no wavelets.  Breezeless, unruffled, blue.  The Mediterranean winged smoothly away to a clear, magnificent horizon.  A broken horizon.

Poised gently on the surface relaxed one of Her Majesty’s paraffin pigeons, settled agreeably upon her air bags with her aircrew settled even more agreeably upon her airframe.  The aircrew a happy bunch having just ridden out a fall from the sky a la Icarus, with no wax to blame.

They toasted their Skipper with their survivors’ orange juice cartons, discoursed the pros and cons of their so recent adventure, and toasted the Skipper again.

All was good. The Mother Ship was coming.

Thirteen and a half thousand tons of slim grey messenger of death flew through the water full ahead, starboard 240 degrees, heeling hard, with deliverance preeminent, apprehension of consequences secondary.  A look out saw the impending and was quick to relay such to those of authority who characteristically discharged same upwards.  Anarchy issued, and with it, the usual clamour of commands.

In the ensuing salmagundi an acerbic discordance arose, strident tones waxed and obloquy waned, and yet the external circumstance had still to reach its apogee.

As a vessel makes its way through the medium of the deep it pushes before it an intumescence of water to glissade along its sides and behind it unto the cruised sea.  All’s well in a straight line. But, on turning, this glissade becomes a swell of its own which sweeps away from the comfort of the ship’s side and subsumes to the vector laws of natural science.

If the turn remains a constant, not a variable, then the swell accords itself with beautiful nonlinearity, defies Kelvin’s wave system, retains a substantial part of its wake energy, and leaves the world of narrow ship’s wakes to become an entity of its own.  In this case it became a hunter and hunted anything within its ever decreasing concentricity.

As the hydrodynamic pursued its intent and the altercate behind it altercated, an aircrewman, alight the Pigeon, orange carton in hand, beheld the inevitable.

“Fraggle rock! The Fishheads are gonna sink us!”

All those imperilled on the sea could do was wait, and watch.

Drenched aircrew in the rescue whaler, pigeon descending Poseidon’s Realm, brannigans on the bridge, all was not well with the Andrew.

Starboard side offset the bridge windows, elevated above the pack, sits the Captain’s Chair.  In it sat Mike Lawrence.  Distinguished of appearance with a well kept head of grey hair, he surveyed his horde.  By his side, keeping the Incident Log, a young sailor record book, with pen, in hand.


To the agitation of censure, with culpability seesawing from pillar to post, Captain Mike attended, demeanour serene.  Turning to the sailor at his side, hiding a smile, he said:

“Oh, Scribes, what a concatenation.”
“Officer of the Watch.”
“I will be in my Day Cabin.”

Captain Lawrence then quietly left the bridge.

Once the commotion settled, the sailor left the bridge and hurried between decks.

Five decks down, aft, near the Wardroom flat, he opened the Ship’s Reference Library bookshelf; after all, he was the Ship’s Librarian, took out the Oxford English Dictionary
 and riffled through to the Cs.

A smile split his face from ear to ear as he neatly wrote down, in his notebook, the OED’s definition.

Fennessey had happily added to his Armorium.

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