By Wit & Whitby
[Complete] Hope You Can Swim - Printable Version

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Hope You Can Swim - Somniac - 07-07-2019

He’d hired a few ragamuffins – some ruffians off the docks, and some orphans off the train – after a couple fishermen had died of whatever that awful cough had been and another poor sod who had fallen overboard. Shame.

One of these guys, though. He was starting to hope he’d take a dip real soon.

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Bill Green - 07-14-2019

Bill sat there, staring at the water. The fish weren't biting today. They hadn't bitten for him all day. He wiggled his fishing rod back and forth, tracing figure eights in the water with his fishing line.

This was the most boring job he'd ever taken. The captain was worse than the old schoolmaster, insisting on "quiet" and "order" and not even letting him talk to his friends.

He softly kicked the side of the boat.

"Psst!" his friend John said, elbowing him.

Bill jerked out of his reverie and looked around.

"Captain's gone belowdecks," his friend Robert said in a half whisper.

"Hope he hits his head and knocks himself out," Bill said - probably too loudly, he realized too late.

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Somniac - 07-20-2019

There was a loud thud and clunk below deck.

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Bill Green - 07-20-2019

Bill, Robert, and John looked at each other for a long moment.

"Do you think -" John said, then opened his mouth as if to continue, but no words came out.

"Naw, there's no way," Bill said confidently.

"Go down there and see," Robert said. "Just to be sure."

"What do I say when I see him awake?" Bill whispered.

"You tell him you were just making sure he was all right," Robert replied.

"That's the daftest idea ever," Bill said. "I'm going to get fired or worse as it is."

"But if he is knocked out..." Robert said, looking around to see if any of the other fishermen were eavesdropping. "We can, er. We can try to revive him! Go on and see."

Bill took a moment to realize what Robert was implying. A devious smile appeared on his face, and he got up and walked across the deck, as quietly as he could. Which was not very quietly, as his boots (which he'd found in the street) were too big for him.

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Somniac - 07-22-2019

It was dark, it was dank, and the captain had a killer hangover.

Wait. He didn’t taste gin, or vomit, or even more tellingly: both. No. This wasn’t a hangover.

Boots clomped down with more noise than he’d previously imagined possible. Maybe it was a hangover. Or worse – Oh God.

It was one of the ragamuffins.

Maybe if he kept his eyes closed the bastard would amble uselessly off the side of the deck without him having to lift a finger.

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Bill Green - 07-22-2019

Bill stopped a few steps back from the captain, seeing if he would move. He was breathing... but he didn't seem to be awake.

He gingerly took one step, then another.

After seeing that the captain remained still, he squatted down and reached for his pocket.

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Somniac - 07-22-2019

Ugh. He hadn’t played dead since 1862.

Imagine his surprise when he felt fingers in his pocket. Green might have been chubby, but the captain was tall and chubby. He grabbed hold of Green’s collar with a vicious scowl.

“What in tarnation do you think you’re bloody doing!?”

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Bill Green - 07-22-2019

Bill found himself grabbed by his collar. He struggled and squirmed, trying to think as fast as he could.

"I, er, captain, sir," he choked out, "I was looking for smelling salts, sir!"

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Somniac - 07-22-2019

“What’s that?” he snarled, pulling him down as the captain staggered to his feet. “You wanna smell salt?!”

There was by a morbid little tally board that listed men who had drowned, narratively convenient in its placement behind his head. (Then there was Pete’s death, but Pete is not part of this story.)

RE: Hope You Can Swim - Bill Green - 07-22-2019

"P-p-please, sir," Bill pleaded. "I didn't mean you no harm. Honest."