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Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum

bseed(charleskratz) 30 Jun 99 - 04:30 AM
Steve Parkes 30 Jun 99 - 07:45 AM
Roger the zimmer 30 Jun 99 - 08:10 AM
Fadac 30 Jun 99 - 10:42 AM
Steve Parkes 30 Jun 99 - 10:55 AM
Peter T. 30 Jun 99 - 11:07 AM
Alice 30 Jun 99 - 11:08 AM
Bert 30 Jun 99 - 01:39 PM
reggie miles 30 Jun 99 - 01:47 PM
Winters Wages 30 Jun 99 - 03:37 PM
Fadac 30 Jun 99 - 04:05 PM
Fadac 30 Jun 99 - 04:07 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 30 Jun 99 - 10:27 PM
Craig 01 Jul 99 - 12:16 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 01 Jul 99 - 01:20 AM
Lonesome EJ 01 Jul 99 - 02:39 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 01 Jul 99 - 03:49 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 01 Jul 99 - 03:58 AM
Steve Parkes 01 Jul 99 - 03:59 AM
Fadac 01 Jul 99 - 10:37 AM
Steve Parkes 01 Jul 99 - 10:48 AM
Steve Parkes 01 Jul 99 - 12:29 PM
Fadac 01 Jul 99 - 12:55 PM
Fadac 01 Jul 99 - 01:11 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 01 Jul 99 - 03:06 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 02 Jul 99 - 02:48 PM
Steve Parkes 03 Jul 99 - 06:04 AM
Peter T. 03 Jul 99 - 01:16 PM
Steve Parkes 05 Jul 99 - 03:32 AM
Steve Parkes 09 Jul 99 - 06:09 AM
Den 09 Jul 99 - 09:13 AM
LEJ 09 Jul 99 - 05:46 PM
Fadac 09 Jul 99 - 06:35 PM
Lonesome EJ 09 Jul 99 - 09:47 PM
Winters Wages 09 Jul 99 - 09:58 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 09 Jul 99 - 10:40 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Jul 99 - 01:45 AM
Peter T. 10 Jul 99 - 10:51 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 10 Jul 99 - 07:54 PM
Fadac 11 Jul 99 - 05:23 PM
Fadac 11 Jul 99 - 05:23 PM
Steve Parkes 12 Jul 99 - 03:52 AM
Peter T. 12 Jul 99 - 09:33 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 12 Jul 99 - 09:50 AM
Steve Parkes 12 Jul 99 - 11:27 AM
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Subject: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 04:30 AM

Here's the way I see it: The S.S. Possum in 1953 is a 30 year old cargo ship with a few tiny cabins for passengers. It has passed throught the Panama Canal en-route from Charleston to Jakarta. It carries a crew of 20 plus 8 passengers. A few hundred miles west of the canal it loses its electronics--radio, navigation equipment, radar, everything (sabotage?). One of the crew is capable of repairing some of it, but doesn't have the needed parts (can he improvise?). There's a hurricane it takes the ship 24 hours to fight its way through, then, just as the weather clears, one of the twin diesels breaks down (would a freighter have twin diesels?). The ship can continue, one of the mates can navigate with a sextant (?), as can the captain, when he's sober. There is a series of murders and disappearances--I see a very claustrophobic, paranoid atmosphere developing early, even before the storm, with tensions between members of the crew, between the passengers, and between members of each group. Let's make it creepy and melodramatic, with--of course--the absurdities of True Detective.

We need a writer with technical knowledge of the sea to start us off, just before things start going bad (Fadac?).

--seed


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Subject: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum - Chapter I
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 07:45 AM

Call me Ishmael - there are three guys on this tub named Steve, four guys named Ahab, and five guys named Moe. I signed up with Captain Scourageous on the Possum after running away to sea at fifteen. That was twenty-one years ago, before Scourageous started hitting the bottle, before - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Ive seen some bad voyages, but this was one of the worst: we were sailing out of Charleston, our black bottom desperately in need of scraping, with a hold full of tiples. We had seven supercargo - eight, if you count the mate's wife: he was taking her back to see her family: he told me he'd brought her back from the East Indies just after the war. I asked him, "Jakarta?" He slowly took his cigar from his mouth, spat tobacco juice over the taffrail, pulled out a wad of chewing gum, and said, "No. She came by boat".


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Roger the zimmer
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 08:10 AM

...we hadn't wanted to load up with tiples, we were hoping for a load of great guitars but the Man from Larivee never showed up and we had to catch the tide. The skipper had served on a whaler with the only female hunter in the fleet, they called her Harpoon Girl, but she was just a Catspaw in his hands and he couldn't keep his hands Offer .It all ended in tears when she Ricked her back and had to go ashore so he turned to this damned dangerous cargo- its ruddy 'ard, tipling....


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 10:42 AM

The old ship rolled on in the restless sea. The sky is clear, but there is still a lot of mixed waves from the big storm. On a ship this old, she would be steam, however we are down to one boiler. (ok?)

Steve is our Engineer, he and his crew are trying to get #1 back on line. The storm also took out our electrial board. Poor Moe, He was wearing one of those stupid shirts of his, when the ship took a big roll and it tossed him into the pannel. He's burned real bad, we coated him with grease but it don't look good for him.

It's now two hours into the afternoon watch, just past four bells.

I'm getting ready to take my first afternoon sun shot. I'll use this for my LOP, (Line of position) I'll take a couple of more as the day goes on. It looks like clear weather tonight, so I'll be able to get a fix then.

Oh, let me introduce myself, I'm Fred, the second mate of the Possum. Possum what a name for a ship, Heaving Pig would have been better. She was built in the early 30's, sort of a Liberty Ship Prototype. We're about 450 feet long, and about thirty feet wide. We draw about 20 feet, loaded. This trip we have 42,000 Tipples in the fwrd hold. Tubbles & Banjows ('bout 35,000) in hold #2, then aft of the house in hold number three, we have 17435 accordions. The last hold, number four, cotton, took five days to load all that cotton, pack it in then screw it down. Then when we were in Qubec we loaded some timber on the deck.

We have a few passengers on board this trip, what a bunch of down and outers.

I'll tell you more later, right now I have to check the chromerters, we have five, and I check them against each other. Navagation by sextant is the only realiable navagation now. Oh you hear stories about LORAN, it works great, developed during the last war, but it dosn't work everywhere, and not here.

Hmmm, lets see, they are all set to Grenwitch mean time. So they are right on the money if you lived in Grenwitch England. They are on the 0 longatude. Here is how it works. We just left Panama. If it's midnight in England, we are about five hours behind them, So it's 19:00 hours at Panama. Now this morning we were at about 120 degrees west Lon. Or about 8 hours from Grenwitch. We have been making about 12 knots per hour sence this morning. So thats about 96 knotical miles sence 06:00, ships time. (or 4 bells in morning watch) Each degree of latatude is about 60 knotical miles, so we are at about 121 degrees and about 36 min. Each knot is about one minuite. This isn't real accurate, but it gives you the idea on how it works. This sort of works because we are near the equator.

The clocks look OK. Each is off a little bit, but I have a chart with the error rates, so I can get down to the second. Today, I'll use #3 and set my hack to that.

Ok, I have to go to work now. Are you in the pool for the noon to noon run?


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum in normal text
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 10:55 AM

No! I've just worked one noon-till-noon shift, now the rest of the day's my own!

What a terrible cargo - if one of those accordians was to blow ...! Still, it's not as bad as the one million bales of old billy goats' tails, two million buckets of stones, three million sides of old blind horses hides, four million packets of bones, five million hogs, six million dogs, seven million barrels of porter, and eight million bags of the best Sligo rags we had on our last trip.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 11:07 AM

I have put on an elegant, if dilapidated, after deck!

Although the throbbing of the boat's engines troubled the night air, the great carpet of stars hovered unmoved. At the distant horizon where the dark blue of the sky met the dark blue of the sea, a vast sliver of moon like a gold-and-silver brooch clasped them momently together and then began to rise higher over the endless space of Southern sea.
"Eliot?" Her voice seemed to come at him from somewhere out there, moonstruck.
He smiled. "Verry big, oceans. Might make one feel verry small, if not for you." Eliot Carstairs himself shimmered impeccably in his dinner jacket. He looked over his shoulder at his new wife, the improbable American beauty.
"Eliot, what are we going to do?"
He shrugged his shoulders in his own improbably elegant way.
"My dearr, if I knew that, would I have even started, would I have brought you all this way, would -- would I have married you?"
She looked so unhappy, that he finally turned around and held her in his arms. "My dear Eliza, it will all be fine. How many millions have I already lost, and how many years have I already wasted without you?"
There was a cascade of music from inside, like the scattering pearls from a broken necklace.
They kissed passionately. Eliza freed herself slowly from the embrace. "Will you come inside and listen to my show?"
"No," Eliot said. "It will be all so much morre beautiful out here, your voice, those stars."
She smiled, went inside. After a few moments there was applause, and the beginning of her theme music, the music that had made her so famous, so long ago.
Eliot smiled, and turned back to the ship's railing. Feeling slightly uncomfortable, he reached inside his jacket, and readjusted ever so carefully the gun holster. They did such terrrible things to the lines of one's clothes.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Alice
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 11:08 AM

woof woof, I'm the captain's old dog. They call me Rover, the Irish Rover, that is. I'm a survivor. The way this crew looks, I doubt if there's any survivors among 'em. Well, there might be one, but I'm not sure who it is. At least they didn't bring any cats aboard this time... but I smell a rat. There was a Giant Rat I came across in Sumatra one time... well, that's another story.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Bert
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 01:39 PM

NOT to be confused with that other Rover on the Good Ship Venus.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: reggie miles
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 01:47 PM

Another silly sea story is posted in the "Spoons" thread, prompted from me by an inquiry from Margarita.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Winters Wages
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 03:37 PM

The real problem is when they found the real "crew members were actually the "Son's Of The Buccaneers"...The Skipper...well err What can I say...he was hired by falling through a trap door a Quinn's after a taste form "Larry's" five gallon Jar...He thinks the spoons are used for navagation.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 04:05 PM

Freddy Fadac here, second mate. We are course for Jacarta. Plenty of oil in the bunkers, at least we don't have to shovel coal.

Sparks is working on the wireless. He got the reciever working, but won't be able to get the main transmitter on line for a while yet. The Radar is hopeless, as is the depth finder, so we might have to sling a lead like in the old days.

Steve did get the power on, so we have the lights back. Good thing we kept the old oil lamps.

The Captian, well, I havn't seen him all day. He usualy showes up for the dog watches. By the way, it's almost time for the 1st dog watch. Moe the first mate will come up for a couple of hours so I can eat, then I'm back on for a couple.

-----

Break; This is the old time four on four off watch system. This was used under sail. Some ships, like the Polar Duke that I sailed on used a differant system of six hour on, the six hours off, repeat untill you make port. Switch at 12 and at 6.

Here is a web page that explains the bell time. Thanks to the Sea Scouts: http://www.melborponsti.com/seascouts/bells.htm I'll try the blue clicky thing:

---- Hope that works.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 04:07 PM

Here goes again: BELL TIME .

-Fadac


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 10:27 PM

I'm sittin' back here in the stern at a little table a couple of feet from the Liberian flag, smoking a reefer: we're sailing into the wind and no one else is around, so I'm not worried about getting caught; besides, the captain likes his maryjane too, if the smell coming from his cabin is any clue. It has been an eventful trip: we just finally came out the other side of a hurricane a few hours ago, a couple of months (so it seemed) after we sailed into it: we stayed near the southern edge to keep sailing into the wind. I don't know how much difference it made--the tub would nose up into these gigantic waves, then slap down so hard I thought we'd break in two. I made the mistake of doin' a doobie just before the storm hit, thinking it would be a real gas. It wasn't. It was no fun at all, unless you think really dying is the ultimate thrill.

It sure had my life flashing in front of my eyes. I swore I'd give up the dope, but now, in the sunlight on a smooth sea, it's great. Back to my life--you don't really think of your whole life, at least I didn't--I spent most of the time thinking about the things that happened to put me on this boat (awright, I know it's a ship). I thought about the early retirement I took and my plan to spend a year or so gaining experience, and then getting down to serious writing. And I wished I was still at the old academy, teaching a bunch of snotty rich kids. The teaching was all right--it's the reading papers that does you in. You can take only so much of reading stories told from the point of view of a dog--or a pencil eraser (Actually, that one was kind of cool: the eraser thought about what it was erasing, judging it against what it didn't erase or what replaced what it erased. The writer was kind of self-conscious but had a couple of interesting insights). One of the boys wrote from the viewpoint of a chair--he placed various of the girls in school in the chair and evaluated their asses close up--that one really disappointed me. I checked out a few of the asses he wrote about, and most of them were worth much nicer treatment than he gave them.

But after twenty-five years of teaching writing, you get pretty damned tired of faulty parallels and non-restrictive modifiers without commas. And it got worse through the years. After all these kids started spending half their lives in front of a television set, their ability to write went downhill fast: people who don't read can't write. It's as simple as that. And then, one of my students of a few years back wrote a novel that ended up in the New York Times best seller list and I decided time was running out on my dream to write the great American novel so I bailed out. I decided to start learning about life (I'd missed the war because of the leg I lost when a drunk driver knocked me off my bicycle in 1938). Most of the male writers of my generation had at least one war book which got them started--Jones and Mailer and Hersey and so on.

So, anyway, when the hurricane hit, I knew I was going to die and I hadn't really started to live yet. I wished for thousandth time that I hadn't lost my leg, that I had been able to go to war, and that I'd died a hero so at least my mom would have been proud of me. I spent the storm either on the tiny bunk in my four by seven foot cabin or in the head with the dry heaves, miserable and terrified. When I'd bump into one of the other passengers in the companionway going to or from the head, I was too ashamed of the way I felt and the way I probably smelled that I avoided looking at anybody. I don't know who I passed: I'd see a door open or some movement down the hall and I would sidle along, hanging tightly to the rail with both hands, facing the wall to avoid breathing on anyone. Now there's an experience I can write about. Ugh.

But now everything is peachy: Now I eat meals in the captain's mess with the captain and the off-watch mate and the other seven passengers (in seamen's language that's "supercargo"--talk about being objectified). Those other passengers? First, there's the first mate's beautiful Indonesian wife (why'd she ever marry that asshole?). There are three other women, a pair of middle-aged (that means about my age, but they just don't seem like my contemporaries--they seem old and hopeless, though they aren't all that bad looking). And the other woman says she's on the boat for the same reason I am--she claims to be a writer but I've never seen her do anything but watch the sailors.

The other men include a Missionary--kind of creepy, how pale and ephemeral he seems, an engineer for a mining company who says he's headed for a huge copper discovery, and a middleaged guy who says he's a salesman. He gives me the creeps, too. I think he's a spy.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Craig
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 12:16 AM

Sure is tight down here with the engines.Wish they had yanked out that old number three boiler when the had put in these diesels. God, what a racket. The fan in the corner hasn't been able to blow a breeze down here since the wires cought fire. Stupid idiots. What was Moe thinking grabbing the ends like that. Fried himself silly. I thought the stink would never go away. Should have just dumped him overboard instead of putting him in the freezer. Glad that's still working. The captain must be crazy to keep him in there. I here the cook is thinking on making kidney pie.

Wish Steve would get down here and fix that fan. The sweat is pouring off of me.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 01:20 AM

As for the crew, Captain Scourageous stays drunk whenever he's at sea. Ishmael, an able seaman--whatever that is, says the captain drinks to hold off his demons. They're in the shape of submarines and kamikaze planes. The poor battle-fatigued boob. Why doesn't he just stay ashore--he's supposed to be fine with earth under his feet. It really gives you confidence in your future, sailing with the old bastard.

The first mate is a true son of a bitch, but he gets away with it because the captain is afraid of him, afraid he'll tell the company about the cap'n's boozing. The men all seem to hate him, but they're afraid of him, too. And his poor wife, beautiful but haunted; I saw him hit her once, and I'll bet he's done a lot of that. I heard he also kicked one of the sailors down a stairway (what the hell do the sailors call stairs?). When he's at the cap'n's mess nobody says a word; if anyone tries to start a conversation, he glowers at them, his dark eyes seeming to have a physical power, peering out from under black, bushy eyebrows. When I first boarded, I tried to meet him eye to eye, but about five seconds was all I could take. He's the only man in the crew who's over six feet tall, and his shoulders are so broad he has to turn sideways to get through a door.

The second mate is a good guy, smart as hell, top of his class at the Merchant Marine Academy in California (Valayhoe, Ishmael said, but I don't know how it's spelled. Without him this ship would be in deep trouble-- he listens to the men, sympathizes with them, and has probably talked some of them out of mutiny. He was at the helm through most of the storm: the captain was as sick as I was, probably more, and the first mate was in and out of his wife's quarters, screaming at her for being such a sissy.

Ishmael, who's my main source of information on everything about the ship, is the only sailor I've talked to. He's a pleasant type, but there's something a bit creepy about him, too. Maybe it's the fact that he changed his name to Ishmael just before this voyage that gets to me--it's as if he has a premonition about this ship. I hope I haven't taken passage on the Pequod. Ishmael was the only survivor of that one. Of course, we don't have an Ahab chasing whales, although Ishmael calls one of the sailors Ahab because the guy has a thing for fat women.

seed

The second mate


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 02:39 AM

What I need is a good goddamn game of Poker. I'm a hell of a poker player. I've been playing this bluff since we left port and nobody's called it yet. I'm a tractor salesman with two valises full of catalogues. I'm going to help Mao bring the new China into the twentieth century and make a bundle doing it. You shoulda seen the glazed eyes of that goofy Second Mate when I laid the story on him- took 5 bucks off him at the same time playing Draw. Kept dealin myself 6 cards and he was so high he never got wise. Wonder what they'd say if they knew what I really had in those valises...250 grand in new bills.But I'm Sam Carter to them... they have no idea who the hell they are dealing with. If they heard the name Carson Whitley they might put two and two together. They might remember something about the disappearance of a little old lady in Richmond 5 months ago. Or maybe there's not a full set of marbles among the lot of them to figure it.

This is what I know- Sam Carter is going to take his little suitcases and head for Bangkok, where you grease the right palms and nobody asks any questions. He's going to live in a palace, and have all of the finest that Siam can offer. I laugh and toss the butt of a Chesterfield into the wake of this rumbling scow."See ya, Carson," I say.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 03:49 AM

I had a feeling I was living in a mystery: almost everyone here seems like a potential murder victim. Someone could push the captain off the ship and everyone would think he lost his balance and fell in, or maybe jumped in because the demons were too scary. I've told you about the first mate--everybody wants him dead, especially his wife, and even I think the world would be a better place without him. The second mate? Lots of friends, at least one enemy--but I figure him for the hero of the story. The missionary? Maybe just because he's a missionary, maybe because he knows something--he's returning to Indonesia after a year's furlough. I've seen glances pass between him and the first mate's wife. I don't think there was any sexual innuendo, but there was some familiarity. I've also seen him stare at the first mate's back, his eyes full of hate. Of course his quarters are next to the woman's, so he's certainly heard more of what goes on there than I have.

Me? I hope not. I have to tell the story. But the first mate may have it in for me just because I tried to stare him down, or maybe he knows I saw the evil there.

The mate's mate? Her most likely death is from a too hard slap from her husband, maybe a broken neck.

The two sisters? The more I see of them, the more intrigued I become. Both of them could be damned good looking, even stunning, if they didn't project that old-maid hopelessness. They're always together, but there doesn't seem to be any warmth between them. Actually, that's it. They are without warmth, directed toward each other or in their dealings with others on this ship.

The "writer"? She doesn't just watch the sailors, I've seen her disappear into the aft hold with a couple of different swabbies. Maybe she's providing shore leave while at sea. Just gathering material for a story, I suppose--maybe doing research for Henry Miller.

I began these observations by saying that I had a feeling that I was living in a mystery. I chose those words carefully, particularly the past tense of the verb to have. When I started writing it, the feeling was in the past tense--I knew I was living in a mystery. Everyone's favorite murder victim, the first mate, was found dead in the head, a three inch dart with short feathers forming a ring around the shaft protruding from the back of his neck. The missionary says its a Maori blow dart...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 03:58 AM

Hey, will someone please inject a little humor into this turkey? --seed


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Subject: A vignette in the style of Dudley Pope (almost!)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 03:59 AM

"Qu'est-que c'est, 'load of crap'?" asked Jean-Paul le Clerque, the French-Canadian engine room rtificer.
"Cor, stone the crows, me ol' china," replied Steve-Ahab "Smudger" Smith, the chirpy cockney steward, "See, yer Airnglo-Sexon word 'crep' meant 'charff' right - that's, like, yer rabbish, innit, see? Then, in the nineteenf cent'ry, along comes this geezer Thomas Crapper, right? An' 'e invents yer flashin' wa'er closet, dun 'e? So, nair yer got yer dabble-yew cee, right, wot sez "Crepper" on yer cistern. So, by a process of, like, association, right, it gets called yer crepper, right? So nair, by the sime token, right, wot goes in the crepper becomes crep, see?"
"Mais oui,"
"Yeah, an' that an' all. So, nair, yer crep, yer charff, right, h'artickerlites yer noo meanin', like, innit, know wot I mean, see, right, innit?"
"Ah -  how you say? - not 'alf, n'est-ce pas?"

The purser's head appeared in the doorway, followed immediately by his body. And his arms and legs.
"Where can I find Number Two?"
"In ze crapper, ah expect!" replied Jean-Paul. He and Smudger looked at each other, then burst out laughing, to the puzzlement of the purser, who went on his way, a quizzical expression playing over his tanned features.
"F*cking stupid tw*ts"


With apologies to Dudley Pope.
Glossary available on request


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 10:37 AM

Good morning, I see that we made it through another night. Looks like we got a card sharp aboard this trip. I lost five bucks. Not too bad, but he had six cards on a five card draw. Hmmm, last time that happend, well the guy just wasn't there in the morning. These old ships don't have much in the way of deck lighting, gets real dard out there...

Whats the weather today. Well the sea is what we call oily, real smooth, only about an eight foot swell, Boiler #2 is back on line, so we have enough power to run the rest of the ship. We are also up to 14 knts. the old girl has a bit of spunk left in her after all.

I'm in the wheel house, Anderson in on the wheel. He likes the southern routes, sence his hands got frostbit so bad. (See Ring the bell.) The ship is rolling about twenty degrees on each swell, nice and slow.

Wait. (Ringing of ships telephone) Me: Bridge. Voice: {Something is going on in back of the ship. It's awfull.] Me: Who is this? This phone is for offical ships buisness. Voice: [Heeeellllpppp] (click)

AW Shit!, Anderson, hold this course. I ring the intecome. Voice; Moe Here. (The boson) Me: I got a report of something going on back aft. The report came from #4 phone. Check it out. Voice: OK, I'll get right back. (mumble mumble) (click)

I sit back in the chair and gaze out over the bow of the ship. Pick up my coffee cup and take a swallow. Oh, Crap, here comes Rover. Headded right for Andersons leg.

Damn Dog, don't they teach you anything.

Rover is humping Andersons leg. The dog has a glazed look in his eyes. Anderson is hoppin on one leg trying to get the dog loose. A big swell comes and the ship takes a big roll to port. Anderson falls down spinning the wheel on his way down. Now there is a pile of Anderson and love starved dog in the corner of the wheelhouse. I get up out of the chair and head for the wheel, when I slip on one of the Captans old beer bottles. I land right on my butt. The ship leans over some more.

I hear one of the passengers screeming.

Slowly, too slowly the ship begins to right herself.

As I get up on my feet, I think, 'Gad, I hope things are ok back in passenger country...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 10:48 AM

The captain burst onto the bridge in a cloud of whisky fumes. Clutched in his left hand were the ever-present ball-bearings, clicking an obsessive counterpoint to his words.

"I know what you're up to! Don't think I don' know wha's goin' on!" he slurred.

He lurched across to the engine-room voice-pipe and uncorked it. At the third or fourth attempt he managed to blow down it, sounding the shrill whistle at the other end that could be heard over the noise of the engines.

"Gimme revolutions for twenny knots, Mr Scott!"

"Ah can give ye emergency power for about a quarter of an hour, cap'n, but Ah canny answer for the prop shafts after that."

"Goddammit, gimme the revs, Scotty!"

"Ah'll try. Cap'n, but she won't take it."

"For Chrissakes, Scotty, the U-boats are blowin' their tanks! The 109s are over us! We need every ounce of power for evasive manoeuvres!"

" And we can't keep steam up long for that kind of speed, either. Ah canny change the laws o' physics, Cap'n!"

Scourageous staggered back from the voice pipe, tripping over Rover and Anderson.

"Infamy, tha's what it is! Infamy, infamy!" His voice rose to a crescendo, "You've all got it in for me!"

He began to slide slowly down the bulkhead, his balls dropping from his hand and rolling across the deck. Moe, the officer of the watch, bent to lift him to his feet. Supporting him by one arm, he began the familiar stot back to his quarters. Putting his face close to Moe's ear, the captain mumbled indistinctly, "you're my bes' mate, you are," as they struggled through the door and down the companionway, as sailors call stairs.


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Subject: Technical note:
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 12:29 PM

Guys, you know I'm not a picky person, but, Seed, Craig: if you want diesels, you'll have to join the MV Possum; this is th SS Possum!

Ishmael


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 12:55 PM

Ishmael, They are damn lucky that they are oil. Otherwise they'd be loaded down with coal. 1952-30=1922. Most low cost ships of that era were coal fired steam ships. Two boilers and one tripple expansion engine. The ship would be wired for 110Volts DC. (Just ask poor Moe.) The pannel would be open kife switches. I'm basing the Possum on a WWII Liberty ship called the O'Brian here in SF. The Liberty ship was based on an 1890 British design, so it is about the right era for our story...

-Fadac


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 01:11 PM

"She's handling like a slug", reports Anderson at the wheel. I ring for 2/3 speed, there is a long pause and the telgraph follows. The ship slows.

There is a flahing red light on the status pannel.

The first mate arrives on the bridge.

"What's up?"

"I think we have a problem with #4 hold.", I report.

We can feel the ship bounce a bit. The ship has taken on a bit of a shimmy as we roll along.

"I'll go back and check it out." I offer.

"OK. I'll stay here, call me and tell me what's going on."

"How about the Capt.?", he just looks at me and rolles his eyes.

I go out the side door and go down the gangway to the main deck. As I pass #3 I can just start to make it out.

'Oh, God, not again', is all I can say.

The hatch to #4 is open, the passengers had broken in and the accordions were all over the place. Bellowing out that God awfull tune. All the passengers were in a circle, Waving their arms and jumping around like a bunch of Kansas City Faggots.

I don't get too close, the pull is almost irresistable, I crawl to a phone and ring the bridge.

"It's the worst I have ever seen. Even getting sunk off of Tonga during the war isn't this bad." I report.

"What's going on? Just don't tell what I fear the most."

"Yes, they have the accordions out, they are doing the....Hokey Pokey"

"Crap! were doomed."

I can't help it, my feet have a life of their own, I slide to the circle and put my big foot in....


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 01 Jul 99 - 03:06 PM

"Good thing I had that anti-frog venom injection before I went to the head," first mate Moe Bligh said, as he picked his teeth with the dart he had pulled from his neck. "Now, as for that weenie reefer-head who's always writing in a notebook...I think he needs a swimming lesson." Bligh stepped out in the moonlight, and there, at his usual table under the aft running light, was the writer, Dylan Dylan, his hair windblown into a semblance of a halo around his round Welsh face. "I wonder if that's his only notebook he's writin' in," Bligh wondered. I'd better check his compartment before I give him a lecture in the carnivores of the deep."

The hulking mate led with his right shoulder and ducked his head instinctively as he went through the port towards the supercargo compartments. Pulling a ring of keys from the pocket of the pea coat he wore at night, even in tropical seas, he moved to the writer's door, opened it, and entered one shoulder at a time (he laughed when he remembered the old "dozens" joke, "Yo' momma so fat that she have to go th'ough a doah one cheek at a time." It took about thirty seconds to find a stack of spiral notebooks, two of them already filled with barely legible handwriting under a stack of clean tee shirts in the writer's steamer trunk. He neatly replaced the tee shirts and unfilled notebooks, closed and relocked the trunk, using another of the keys on his ring. He also pocketed a glassine bag full of reefers ("I'll put these to good use when we make Jakarta," he thought, becoming aroused at the memory of endless nights in brothels around the pacific).

Leaving the compartment he was surprised but not dismayed to find the writer, key in hand, reaching for the door. He lowered his head and charged, intending to drive Dylan into the bulkhead, but the writer dropped suddenly to the deck and Bligh went headfirst into the steel frame of the compartment door across from the writer's, proving that irresistable forces have no chance against immovable objects. His skull split right down the middle.

"Gawd," Dylan muttered, "I never thought I'd be glad my prosthetic tends to come off when I move backwards." He saw the notebooks sticking out from under the obviously dead mate's right side, and as he pulled them out, the pocket of the pea coat opened enough for him to see the familiar glassine bag. "That son of a bitch," he thought, irrationally thinking that stealing his stash was a worse offense than trying to kill him.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 02 Jul 99 - 02:48 PM

I guess I killed this thing off with my long narrative of the hurricane plus my characterizations by the writer of his fellow passengers and key crew members. Nobody seems to have noticed that the story has taken a decided turn toward the preposterous. --seed


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 03 Jul 99 - 06:04 AM

Whaddya mean?? It started off preposterous!!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Jul 99 - 01:16 PM

Actually, although we all just sort of drifted into this kind of game, it is very interesting how finely this sort of thing has to be judged and managed. Collaborative communal writing is very strange. Sherry Ames was killed off (1) by the too bizarre wrecking of the conventions; and (2) by my overdoing how I wanted it to go. You get sort of wrapped up in your version of things. It has to be open, and inviting, and everyone has to keep it short, and either contribute like a separate piece of a jigsaw puzzle, or building on other people's material to keep it coherent. But you have to give up going into author mode, which is hard for writers (or quasi-writers like me). You get caught up in how the structure ought to go. I am reminded of Thackeray who always hated to end his novels because he wouldn't see his characters again. It is a very strange form/formulaic. Fun when it works.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: Contibutor's note (nothing to do with the story)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 05 Jul 99 - 03:32 AM

I understand what you're saying, Peter. I haven't tried to do anything with the plot, really, just throw in a few funnies (well I thought they were funny!). I haven't got a good enough memory for plots to do anything constructive; I'm quite happy to let others do that. And anyway, they're going to pull in different directions: if you're British and listen to the Archers you'll know what I mean!

Any road up, this ain't getting the baby washed!!

Meanwhile, back on board the SS Possum ...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 06:09 AM

What is this, the Mary Celeste?!


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Den
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 09:13 AM

Psst, psst over here, yeah you. The names Bustard, Robin Bustard. I'm a stowaway on this friggin' tub. What was I thinking when I sneaked on board...more to the point what was I drinking? Anyway I bring with me to this excursion from hell a terrible secret...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: LEJ
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 05:46 PM

..I contracted, while in Charleston, a very rare and highly contagious strain of the St. Vitus Dance. If I don't knock back at least a quart of rum a day, I'll be up on my feet stringing together a cluster of spins and combinations that would give Fred Astaire the heebie-jeebies. The last three days in port were like a hazy dream to me; I dimly recalled tap-dancing my way down Serone St to a grimy little dock-side bar, where I performed the Overture to Swan Lake for drinks and tips. Then it was two plies and a jette' down to Filthy Frank's where I performed the Sabre Dance with some rusty cutlery I borrowed from the cook. By now I was half in the bag, and emerged from Frank's into a heavy downpour. I still managed to pull off the entire puddle-stomping routine from Singing in the Rain before I collapsed into the first dry shelter I came to- the hold of the SS Possum.

I knew one thing- once this wacky disease started to spread, this entire ship, crew and passengers alike, would look like one gigantic Busby Berkley Musical from Hell.

Suddenly a voice cried out "Hey You!" I turned...it was...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 06:35 PM

The Possom. An evel sort of man. He had strange wistling flatuance. He was standing there, wearing a muddy trench coat. He looks at me (LEJ) and says in his musical voice. "Bud, I've been looking all over for you. I have the cure to all your problems."

He reaches into his trench coat with his right hand and pulls out a....


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 09:47 PM

a tiny clay ocarina. A tear comes to his eye as he turns to me. "Bustard," says the Possum, interrupted momentarily by another outburst of his trademark whistling gas." This here musical instrument was give to me by a very dear friend, He used to play this on it..." and the Possum launches off into a rather lively version of The Irish Washerwoman .

"No! For the love of..." I warned him, but it was too late. I launched full speed into a staggering Irish jig. Out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of the drunken Captain, playing a fairly skillful bodhran. To the right, the pale Catholic Priest suddenly stands bolt-upright, and starts step-dancing like a maniac. The three lewd spinsters emerge from their cabins in varying degrees of undress and start a Maypole Dance around the mast."Where the Hell did that mast come from!" shouts Dylan, toking on a humongous joint,"This is a freakin' Steamship!!" By now the Priest is dirty-dancing with the middle-sized spinster. Just as things are really looking bleak, up comes Ishmael, yelling "....


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Winters Wages
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 09:58 PM

small revolver. he pauses, then says....This whole thing has been a dream...I have the magic bullet to end it all....it is over.... you have all been great.......The story ends...if you imagine in your mind..a sunset with a small pick up truck traveling down a road with a sunset in the foreground.......then the credits.......(if you dare)


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:40 PM

Driving the pickup in the direction of both sunsets was a lanky, long haired redneck wearing faded blue jeans, an old blue jeans jacket with the sleeves missing, and impossibly shiny leather cowboy boots. His heavily tattooed arms ended in knobby hands, clutching the steering wheel so tightly blue veins bulged oave and around the tendons running from his wrists to his fingers. Around his neck he wore a silver and turquoise pendant in the shape of a dead possum, its feet sticking up stiffly, a tire track running up its side. On his head, shielding his eyes from the two setting suns, was a dusty black stetson which looked like it may have been trampled in a cattle stampede. Under the brim, the eyes were as tense as the hands on the wheel and kept darting up to the rear view mirror, checking on the progress of a column of dust moving in the same direction about a half mile behind...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 01:45 AM

...She was a tall slender blonde wearing a halter-top and a pair of very short cut-off jeans.The Supra convertible was sliding like a snake underneath her, the tires roping dust off the one-lane dirt road and spinning it into the air. Ninety five miles per hour suspended on a cushion of earth and air. Ahead, the road curved hard left, threading into a rock canyon. That's where she saw the Jeep's rear end slide right, then left as he over-corrected. He was revolving in the eye of the dust storm he had created. She held the brake down as she saw the truck rock to a stop,and then she heard the whimper of his tires fighting for a grip in the sand."God damn it!" he growled. She found what she wanted in the glove box, holding it down by her side as she walked to the driver side window of the truck.

He was hunched over the wheel, still spinning the tires against the loose dirt."You can stop now," she said,quietly. He looked straight ahead through the whorls of orange powder on the windshield as she lay the blade against his throat, sliding it forward. He gasped as he felt the leather cord strain, then snap under the razor edge.The possum was tight within her fist. Her lips were touching the lobe of his ear when she whispered "nice try."

As the suns slipped beneath the desert rim she pointed the convertible toward the north star,passing the cool air through her hair, counting galaxies to pass the time. At her throat, the Possum glimmered in the feeble light of a quarter moon."Now," she said with a smile,"let the magic begin."


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 10:51 AM

Some distance away, Sherry Aims, Veterinary Nurse, was chitchatting about this and that with her good horse friend, Hank.
"Oh, Goddd, Sherry, whisper to me again, whisper the way Monty Roberts does!!!"
She whispered in his pointy ears. and he whinnyed ecstatically.
Then she looked up. There was something in the air, something from the sisterhood! She checked her Palmpilot. Nothing from 1-800-COVEN. Hmmh. What could it be? What would The Great High Cowgirl Witch Dale Evans have done in a case like this?
She leapt onto Hank's vast ripplying back, and they rode as one towards the disturbance.
(Music swells up: "Ghost Riders in the Sky!" as sung by Britney Spears).


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 07:54 PM

The second sun dipped behind the horizon just as Hank pulled to a halt alongside the Jeep. The cowboy looked up at Sherry, the terror still in his eyes. When the blonde in the Supra had stabbed out with the knife, he had been certain that it was his throat that had been the target, not just the possum on a rawhide shoelace he had taken from the drunken broad in the motel room across the street from the Bide-a-Wee Taverm back in Dustberg. His relief that the knife hadn't been meant for him, except as a message, was shortlived when the Greek goddess in a too tight nurse's dress rode up, a Winchester carbine slung across her lap. The urine stench in the cab of the old Jeep pickup got worse when his bowels let loose.

"All right, stinky," the horse snarled, "where's the goddamned possum?"

--seed


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 05:23 PM

He looks at the talking horse, and says, "If it was up your big horses ass, you'd know!" Then he stomps down on the gas and the jeep spins it tiers and the jeeep lurches forward. Hanging on and trying to control the jeep, he dosn't see the big, very big, like real large, humungus rock. He hits the rock face at about 30 miles per hour. The force flings him through the windshield and smack in to rocks eye. This sort of ticks off the Rock. She screams and takes flight.

Meanwhile back on the old tramp steamer...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Fadac
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 05:23 PM

He looks at the talking horse, and says, "If it was up your big horses ass, you'd know!" Then he stomps down on the gas and the jeep spins it tiers and the jeeep lurches forward. Hanging on and trying to control the jeep, he dosn't see the big, very big, like real large, humungus rock. He hits the rock face at about 30 miles per hour. The force flings him through the windshield and smack in to rocks eye. This sort of ticks off the Rock. She screams and takes flight.

Meanwhile back on the old tramp steamer...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 03:52 AM

Has anybody seen our ship?


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 09:33 AM

The ship, the S.S. Possum has become caught in the Summer Doldrums, between the upper and nether currents that stall ships for long periods in both Atlantic and Pacific. Heroic efforts, and patience, forgiveness for shooting the albatross, or gin and tonic may be the best answers.


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 09:50 AM

Second Mate Nick Fadac was the only officer conscious when the PB-Y circled the Possum twice then set down gracefully on the oily sea half a nautical mile ahead of the ship. Fadac ordered the power from the one working steamer cut down to twenty percent and the vessel slowed to a couple of knots. Two crewmen on the seaplane slid a motorized kapok liferaft out the rear cargo ramp and a tall blonde and one of the sailors boarded the tiny boat. The 60 horsepower outboard engine quickly powered the raft alongside the old freighter with its curious cargo, and the mate ordered the captain's chair lowered to pick up the passenger. The blonde stood in the raft to step into the chair, then held tightly to the line as the winch raised her, legs dangling, up to the deck. "Permission to come aboard?" she said in a husky but melodic voice. Fadac reached out a hand to assist her from the chair. She whispered something into his ear, he nodded, and they headed up the companionway to the bridge, watched by the ubiquitous writer, Dylan--who had awakened when the ship's engines slowed. Dylan looked at his watch, then jotted the time and a few brief notes into his notebook, including a reference to the silver possum pendant dangling between the blonde's ample breasts...


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Subject: RE: Last Voyage of the S.S.Possum
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 11:27 AM

PB-Y? Must have been a MudCatalina!


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