Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Davy Jones’ Locker - THE SEAMAN AND HIS DIARY

One of my new readers, Seema, feels that my stories a bit too long to read on the net. Thanks for your feedback, Seema. I agree. Blogging is different from writing. Whereas longish stories may be okay to read on paper, on the screen it is brevity that is important. So for a change, here is some flash fiction, a story I wrote for a flash fiction competition quite long ago. The theme of the flash fiction competition was "diary" - so here is my story about a Seaman and His Diary

The Davy Jones’ Locker  


A freak accident. A ghastly death. A gruesome sight.

The young seaman fell off the ship’s towering main mast, his body somersaulting, tossed around by superstructures and bulkheads, till it lay mangled on the deck, neck broken, skull smashed.

At sunset we consigned him to the Davy Jones’ Locker at the bottom of the sea to Rest in Peace. RIP.

I rummaged through the sailor’s belongings and found his journal, a diary he wrote daily. I read his diary.

It is extraordinary how close you can be to a man and how little you can know about him.

I knew he was married but I had never realized how deeply he loved his wife.

I sealed the dead seaman’s belongings in a kitbag. Yes, I packed all his belongings, everything, except his diary.

This diary I would hand over personally to his wife, and try my best to alleviate her distress, the next time we berthed at Mumbai.

I owed it to dead seaman, and to his widow, for it was I who had sent him up the main mast to repair the light, while the ship was rolling and pitching in the treacherous North Atlantic.

The moment we berthed in Mumbai harbour, at the first available opportunity, I went ashore to make the condolence call on the bereaved widow.

My shipmates waited for me on board when I went to make the condolence call.

The moment I returned they all asked me anxiously, “What happened? You found the place?”

“Yes. I found the house and paid our condolences to the bereaved wife.”

Suddenly they all started speaking together, “His wife… widowed so young…poor thing…so unlucky…such a pity…so sad…tell us…tell us…how has she taken it…what was she doing?”

“She was in bed,” I said.

“In bed? Oh My God…she’s still bedridden with grief…?” they all said.

“She’s not bedridden with grief,” I said.

“What?” they all exclaimed in chorus, and then a cacophony of voices, “lying ill in bed for three months…what happened…accident…fracture…heart attack…stroke…depression…shock…”

“Please! Please!” I interrupted loudly raising my finger, “She is not ill, she has not had an accident, heart attack, stroke, nothing, she is not in distress, she has not taken it badly at all. In fact she has taken it rather well. She wasn’t alone in bed when I suddenly reached her house early in the morning – she was in bed with someone else.”

“What? Impossible…tell us…what happened…tell us…”

“What is there to tell?” I said, “I went to the address written in his diary, but she’s shifted to a swanky apartment in Malabar Hill…”

“She must have bought it with the insurance money…” someone piped up.

“I rang the doorbell. She opened the door, dressed in a flimsy nightie. I told her who I was,” I said. 

Then what happened? they all asked together, curious. 

She invited me in, when suddenly a man’s voice called her from inside the bedroom:
hey sweetie pie, what are you doing out there? Come back to bed fast, I’m getting cold’ 
and she said to him:
‘someone has come ... a shipmate...’ 
and the man inside shouted back to her:
‘just tell him to get lost, tell him to vamoose, just tell him to disappear...’ 
So I bid her good bye.and came back right here,” I said.

“Bloody hell…two-timing bitch…maybe the seaman knew all about it…maybe he didn’t fall off the mast accidentally...maybe he intentionally jumped off…poor guy…” there was a cacophony of voices, and then they asked me, “his diary, the dead seaman's diary, did you give it to her?” 

“No,” I said, I threw his diary into the sea, into the Davy Jones’ Locker. To join him down there at the bottom of the sea. May they both Rest in Peace, the seaman and his diary. RIP.” 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To order the book please click the links below:

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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