Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"He Tasks Me, He Heaps Me"

Aboard the Pequod.

Soon his steady, ivory stride was heard, as to and fro he paced his old rounds, upon planks so familiar to his tread, that they were all over dented, like geological stones, with the peculiar mark of his walk. Did you fixedly gaze, too, upon that ribbed and dented brow; there also, you would see still stranger foot- prints—the foot-prints of his one unsleeping, ever-pacing thought.

And, so full of his thought was Alphonso, that at every uniform turn that he made, now at the main-mast and now at the binnacle, you could almost see that thought turn in him as he turned, and pace in him as he paced; so completely possessing him, indeed, that it all but seemed the inward mould of every outer movement.

"D'ye mark him, Doug K.?" whispered Leinstery; "the chick that's in him pecks the shell. T'will soon be out."

"What's a binnacle?" asked Doug K.

Suddenly he came to a halt by the bulwarks, and inserting his bone leg into the auger-hole there, and with one hand grasping a shroud, he ordered Joe FOB to send everybody aft.

"Sir!" said the mate, astonished at an order seldom or never given on ship-board except in some extraordinary case.

"Where's aft, now?" asked 13bit.

"Send everybody aft," repeated Alphonso. "Mast-heads, there! come down!"

With bent head and half-slouched hat he continued to pace, unmindful of the wondering whispering among the men; till El Duque cautiously whispered to TheWinWarblist, that Alphonso must have summoned them there for the purpose of witnessing a pedestrian feat.

"What are the mast-heads?" warbled TheWinWarblist.

"Look ye! d'ye see this Spanish ounce of gold?—holding up a broad bright coin to the sun—it is a sixteen dollar piece, men. D'ye see it? ALL CAPS, hand me yon top-maul."


While ALL-CAPS was getting the hammer—


—Alphonso, without speaking, was slowly rubbing the gold piece against the skirts of his jacket, as if to heighten its lustre, and without using any words was meanwhile lowly humming to himself, producing a sound so strangely muffled and inarticulate that it seemed the mechanical humming of the wheels of his vitality in him.

"Neil Walker," we discerned presently that he was saying.

"Neil Walker?" asked ranger_lp, "Ye mean the man who can play three positions but none of them well?"

"D'ye know him then, ranger?" shouted Alphonso.

"Aye! And does he have a curious way of swinging his bat, so he never hits a thing? Like a corkscrew?" added Parson Tom.

"Corkscrew!" cried Alphonso. "Death and devils!" Men, it is Neil Walker ye have seen—Neil Walker!"

"Alphonso," said Urban Farmer, "I have heard of Neil Walker, but it was not Neil Walker that drove thee mad?"

"Who told thee that?" cried Alphonso; then pausing, "Aye, aye, my hearties all round; it was Neil Walker that dismasted me; Neil Walker that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now. Aye, aye," he shouted with a terrific, loud, animal sob, like that of a heart-stricken moose; "Aye, aye! it was that accursed Walker that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day!"

Then tossing both arms, with measureless imprecations he shouted out: "Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round the whole Stadium, and round the whole league, and round the Norway maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up."

"Aye, aye!" shouted us all, running closer to the excited old man: "A sharp eye for Neil Walker; a sharp lance to cut him from our roster!"

"God bless ye," he seemed to half sob and half shout. "God bless ye, men. Austria's only baseball fan! go draw the great measure of grog."

He continued like this, as we broke out the grog

"That Walker. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous incompetence, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be he the worst hitter we have ever seen, or be he no worse than Chris Carter, I will wreak my hate upon him."

"Uh-huh. Say, be there any of that salted fish still, to go with this grog?"

 "Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. "

"Right. So...we're hearing there's nothing to go with the grog? Not that we'e complaining! In fact, if there's more grog..."

"What was that whole gold piece thing about, anyway?"

"Did I see some women in bathing suits? Or were those mermaids?"

And so it was that Neil Walker escaped being pitched into the briny deep for another night.

Happy Fourth of July, all you Yankee Doodle Dandies!


13bit said...

Glug glug glug....aye...burp....

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Oh hoist up the John S Sails,,,,, Happy 4th Everyone!

TheWinWarblist said...

[sniff sniff] I'm not crying; I just have something stuck in my eye!

So endeth the JuJu.

ranger_lp said...

LOL and nobody got keelhauled....LOL.

Anonymous said...

Moby is not the dick. Alphonso is

TheWinWarblist said...

Is that Puckered!?! 😃

Anonymous said...

What IS a binnacle?

Doug K.

Alphonso said...

We are all honored.

Raise a glass.

Trim the sails.

Two years before the mast.

Full fathom five thy father lies.

Walk the plank, Walker.

KD said...

Aaaarrrrgg! Where’s me mention, scribe? I wants me mention, I do.