Well, past weekend has not been super productive. I had limited time, and more important stuff to do than this challenge. Feeling discouraged, but haven't given up. Here's what I've come up with so far, it's disjointed, and I'm clearly just working out ideas as I narrow in on what the story is actually going to be about. That's the point of a first draft, just defeating blank paper syndrome. The edit is when things get good.
The ocean, at night, is one of the worst places to wake up in the middle of. Every part of the ocean that you cannot see land from is the middle. All of the cartographers and oceanographers I consulted on this issue agree.
The thing about being lost at sea, is that it doesn’t even matter if there are sharks, because as you struggle to stay afloat, the suspicious of sharks is usually enough to send one into a panic. Panic is never helpful. It’s one of the least helpful feelings you can have.*,
Tbyrd wasn’t concerned about sharks. Some of his best fr… best acquaintances were sharks. They were dentists, and could do you a very good deal on new homemade dentures, provided you didn’t mind all of your molars and incisors and what-have-you replaced with sharks teeth, which the had in bulk for low low prices.
*besides perhaps itchiness, which mostly tells you you shouldn’t have gotten bitten by those bugs yesterday.
Tbyrd had always known that his cause of death would involve knots. He just didn’t understand them. Some people just fundamentally didn’t understand gravity, some people didn’t had no clue how advanced banking mathematics actually functioned, but Tbyrd didn’t grasp the concept of knots. Honestly, gravity and banking gave him consternation as well, so he avoided them as much as possible.
So as the water filled his burlap sack, and Tbyrd struggled feebly to untie said sack from the inside, something that even escape-artists magicians struggle with if the bag hasn’t been tied to their exact specifications, the only helpful thing Tbyrd could think to do was to compose a little poem.
He often composed little poems, but not on purpose. Accidental poetry was the only kind that counted in his book, which was damp and all the pages were stuck together, and was due back to the library any day now.
“And now I gurgle down below
I wish I had a boat to row
I hope my friends will truly know
I thought of them as away I did go.
And even though
getting a poem to have the correct number of syllables is tricky
and the thought of my own mortality is so very icky
I am sure that they will build enormous statues of me
in a park in a very fine city
and the children will mourn
and the dogs will howl
and the dog children will do both simultaneously
Is this iambic pentameter?
I am drowning.”
Tbyrd gurgled these last few words, and gave one final thrash, causing the pointiest portion of his head to thrust itself through the loosely woven burlap, and out into the cool night air.
He was laying on a beach, with the tide washing up and down, tickling his toes. His toes were already thrust out the other side of the burlap, which was really quite poorly woven now that he got to inspect it from the outside. Thrusting his arms out though fresh holes, Tbyrd now had a very fetching burlap suit, that he wouldn’t be caught dead in. It’s a good thing he hadn’t actually been hardly drowning at all very much.
And now Tbyrd was faced with the permanent existential crisis that was his old friend, what did he do now? There was no one to talk to on this beach, and his inner monologue was so much sharper when directed at someone instead of at no one.
He scanned the beach, in search of a little restaurant that sold hot dogs to sunbathers, or perhaps some form of edible seaweed. When in doubt, eat. Eating makes everything better. Not eating makes everything worse. It was the the only one of the literally thousands of mottoes Tbyrd had adopted that he ever remembered. He didn’t even have to use his brain to remember it, some of his other organs did most of the real work. But then again, it wasn’t the peak time for sunbathers, being that it was midnight. At least it was dark and the moon was in the approximate middle of the sky, which is midnight enough for people with the most casual of regards for what a clock has to say.
Tbyrd stood, brushed the sand off his legs, brushed the sand off his legs even more, brushed the sand off his hands, and then brushed his legs one more time.
This coast was as rocky as it was sandy, not the fun sort of beach. Up a ways, a colony of elephant seals was sleeping and burping. Elephant seals are the sort of people that bring the family to the beach for the weekend, and stay for six months. Clearly, this is generalizing, and there are some elephant seals that don’t do that, but wherever those sort were, the weren’t here.
The elephant seals were currently moon bathing. This is what one does when one wants to have a really good spot for sunbathing. You can beat the crowds if you are in the pre-crowd. Does this make any sense? I don’t know.
Tbyrd wandered up, poking around for profound wisdom or secret picnic baskets. He ended up snuggling down in the armpit of a very friendly looking bull elephant seal, and was just about to drift off to sleep, when he remembered that his best and only friend in all the world was still on that boat, and he had to get to a trans-oceanographic telegram relay station as quick as possible. He barely had time to remember that those didn’t exist.
Hopalong Cassowary had been spending the evening crammed inside a piano. He was paid 14 shiney pennies a day for the priveledge, since he was both small enough to be crammed inside a piano, and was talented enough to play the piano upside down, inside out, and backwards. Miriam’s had an official piano player of course, one of the best, Miriam’s very own nephew. He looked so very much like what a piano player should look like, all smiley and sparkly in hi tophatcoat and tails. The only problem was that he didn’t know any songs, couldn’t read music, had no talent, or skil, and had two artificial hands. So he looked good at playing the piano, but he didn’t sound good. Hence, the Cassowary inside a piano arrangement. Miriam could have bought a player piano, but she didn’t believe in giving good honest work to a big pile of cogs and gears, when a real life person could do it for cheaper.
The casino boat had been hijacked by pirates of course, but they didn’t even have the decency to look like pirates. They were just the clientele turned slightly more piratical. They had not hats or hook hands or parrots or peg legs to distinguish them as pirates at all. Some of them had beards, but non-pirates could have beards, there’s no law against that.