Moby Ben

Moby Ben

Heart thumping and racing, I ran from the one eyed harbor thug. A quick turn to the right, and I ran up the gangplank of a tall sailing ship. An overly dressed man in a tall hat was sitting at a table with a quill in his hand.

As he wrote in a large book, I could hear him bark questions at the first man in a long line of sailors. I got in the line and kept my face turned away from “one-eye” as he tried to locate me in the chaos of the dock. I saw him turn and retrace his steps, slowly searching.

This ship smelled different than the one from which I was running. It smelled of ambergris and burned whale oil. A ‘whaler’ heading out to the hunt was signing on a crew. The ship I escaped from smelled of slaves kept too long in the hold. I think the memory and that stench shall never leave me.

I was shanghaied in Portsmouth, forced to work as a deck hand on that slaver, and made a promise to myself; I would escape first chance I had, wherever I was. This is the place, Nantucket!

The gentleman hollered, “Next!” as the line shortened one man’s worth.

I heard him tell everyone, “This ship leaves on the tide,” which was around ‘Ten’ tomorrow morning.

Realizing I was not ready for another eternity at sea, an internal battle ensued. Should I stay on this ship and be safe from the slaver, or should I pursue my fortune inland where I have never been?

Needing time to think, I cautiously walked down the gangplank looking left and right. I need to move, make a decision, so I let my luck lead me to the right, past the name on the bow of the ship.

“PEQUOD,” A strange name I mumbled to myself.

“What’s the worst that could happen if I chose the ship?”

Having given ‘luck’ the tiller, ‘luck’ would have this day! I walked smartly past the gang plank, still thinking about the name, but never looking up.

I turned landward, west.


About Ronald D. Drobeck

I've read, learned, been discriminated against, patronized, lied to, laughed at, laughed with, and ignored. I'm not a minority, not tall, not good looking, not skinny, not hairy, and can see 10 miles, but not two feet. I've been a paperboy, college student, licensed nursing home administrator, professional musician (country swing drummer), duck and goose hunter, fisherman, conservationist, Eagle scout, camp counselor, canoeing instructor, lifeguard, comedian, restaurant owner, licensed exterminator, insurance agent, warehouse manager, carpenter, conservative, father of 4, baseball coach, husband, worrier, writer, embryo gardener, photographer, and nice guy. now, old.

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