Friday, May 21, 2010
Magpie #14 The Old Man and the Sea Monster Named Maeggie*
*(with gracious acknowledgement to novelist Ernest Hemingway. The title's inspiration a tribute to my favorite novelist; Ernest Hemingway. His classic novel "The Old Man and The Sea" mused this prompt.)
Samuel lulled fast asleep by the constant repetitive, lapping waves. Indeed, music to his ears not far from Puget Sound. Gentle waves gradually and unknowingly pushing his outdated trawler closer to the rocky shoals of the BC coast.
The marine radio now squawking akwardly from ship-to-shore, droning garbled words. The distortion becoming a part of the mundane back-ground noise. Sophorically muddled by the midday hum and catatonic doldrums.
The old man insinuated himself leisurely back into the cushioned captain's chair like an old Samuel Clemens' cane rocker. Shifting his weight to become more suppine and relaxed. Wholly comfortable with his new found weightlessness.
Leaning back against the wheel house pilot's panel; Samuel spun yarns of lucid dreams often visualizing "The Big One" as alive as OgoPogo. His mouth hung agape in a gnarled expression with much contortion. The side of his mouth, a puddle of drool; imagined hunger getting the better of him today.
Clearly he could smell the smoked salmon wafting from the distant shore lunch. He could see his buddies anticipating great things to come on the far shore. This tasty meal, his long deserved supper from hours of trolling would provide much nourishment.
His banjo would provide as much entertainment as the edibles, all basting in the sunlight, refreshing for both body and soul. Truly pleasing Samuel's finely tuned dream senses, he grinned and giggled loudly in his sleep imagining things to come.
In this dream state, Samuel's automatic nervous system reacted on cue. His odd body spasms reflected his awakeful state; a man with talents especially for fishing.
As Samuel leaned forward with rod, lashing out his line upon the reflective pool, waiting patiently, then suddenly, pulling back as if all hell would break loose. Somehow, even the jerking motions were akin to the nature of things; all sublimely in tune with the timed rhythm of the sea.
Samuel reliving every souciant moment of his lastest fishing conquest. Always relishing in his many honourous victories throughout the long years. His supernatural powers seducing the monsters of the deep like Circe's sirens. Samuel's intuitive magic would conjure and channel the ghosts such as Poseidon and the many ominformed Ancient Mariners of the past. Fishing was Samuel's life and love, his "raison d'etre". His reason to be and his only place to be one with it all was the sea.
By midmorning, the summer sun was looming closer, like a huge yellow bobber high above Samuel's dreamboat. Nautical signals imprinted on Samuel's brain like the tattoo "Mom" tatted on his right forearm. Other mystical tattoos found their way precipitously upon his body. Morphing and burled now as the floating redwood drifting precariously close to his Mercury outboard.
As Samuel moved ever so slightly back and forth in his perpetual chair, ironing out the kinks in his back. Only his strong jaw and chin firmly planted into the centre of his thick nest of overgrown salt and pepper chest hair.
"Tingle-Tingle!" The small bells attached to his fishing line lured him out of his deep sleep and into the bright stark reality of midday and a possible strike. A lucky strike!
"Yehah! A got another! Oh my...what a dandy". Samuel sprung back to life, his black eyes widening. As a wide smiled with brilliant white teeth beamed while the sunlight many motes twinkled like fisherman's pixie dust. A spell was cast.
All for the love of his beloved trawler and the lifestyle that goes with it. He could hardly contain himself, needing to find the head, but it was too late. Certainly he could tell that this was a doozy of a fish. A Tall Fish Tale. Humongous. The Salmon Derby winner. He smelt the sweet smell of fishy smelt and the rich loam of success in the air.
The line was almost completely bent in half, the sheer weight of the fish would call for an incredible concentrated effort from Samuel. Samuel rushed to bring her in, to quell the seas deepest offerings, a much concerted effort, a sacrifice of sorts, would have to be made to appease The Maker.
He would send the best offering he could afford. A magnificient gift of sound from Samuel to please the Maker's ears. As a loud, rude sounding foghorn bellowed through the airwaves Samuel exclaimed an equally loud "Halleluia!" reaching the hosts of Cheribim; Heaven's resplendent gates opening ever so slightly to let the sunshine in, for today anyway.
Samuel danced and cried in sheer ejubulation as a golden light unleashed and unbound from the heavens above. "And glory shone all around". Samuel was certain the heavens could hear him. He saw the angels dancing on the water. Samuel was lifted to a higher state of consciousness, totally immersed in this golden glow. Samuel shimmered and basked in this golden light, unknown by mortal men.
As Samuel held onto the rod with all his Popeye-like strength, he could not believe the power of this fish. He started reeling her in, his muscles tensing and releasing, displaying much prowess and athleticism of a much younger person.
His faith in his skills as a fisherman far outweighed any physical condition which had previously continued to bother him from time to time. "Oh it's just a touch of rheumatism" Samuel would tell his friends as he tried to straighten up trying to get out of his cabin's rocker. Today he not only felt twenty years old, Samuel was twenty years old once more.
With much skill, and his usual dumb luck, Samuel, ever so slowly, hauled in his catch. Talented though he was, an artist cum fisherman, Samuel knew there was much more to the process of fishing than the act of simply fishing. "Truly the Master's hand is at work here" thought Samuel. "I feel good about this one".
His mind and body coordinated in timed with the constant reeling motion, undulating like a wave as schools of floating fish surrounded his craft. Sheer exhilaration ignited Samuel's mood as fish after fish supernaturally appeared on the deck of his ship. One unusually huge almost massive heap. "What's this? The loaves and the fishes again?" Samuel cried out to the heavens in abandoned astonishment, laughing and dancing; an ordained fool for the sea.
"Click, Click" the fancy reel sounded then "Ssshhhhhwish", as each turn and spin brought the elusive trophy fish closer to the surface and to the awaiting fisherman's net. He knew he had her now. "I've got you my pretty!" Samuel exclaimed to his found nemesis.
Yet Samuel was not satisfied with the recent boatload of fish, he wanted something more; he wanted much more, he wanted the fish the sailors called Maeggea, the Gaelic Witch O' The Sea.
There were more than many tall tales about Maegae, she owned the legend of the deep. The fisherman would pay hommage to her before departing from the shore, so the sea would not swallow them in one large big gulp.
More than anything else in the world, the one thing he had wanted all his life, the one fish, the definitive trophy fish was none other than Maeggie The Great. She was the biggest and the best thing he ever saw with his own naked eyes. She was out there, he saw her many times before, he knew she was out there, somewhere.
He would find her again! He knew the curves of her aquatic body. He sense her proximity to his boat without the aid of fishfinder or gps. He felt her close to his heart, distant now, but close as his spyglass.
As Samuel unbuttoned his cotton shirt to reveal a magnificiently etched fish in the middle of his chest. So carefully etched in India Ink the word "Meag" carefully and superrealistically rendered; as fine a tat as one could find on any old Sea salt.
Samuel could definitely see himself, in his mind's eye anyway, holding the beloved trophy fish so high in the air, above the sway of crowds. All his friends would finally see that his tales were not such overwrought tall tales rather a realized dream of an actual tall and beautiful, a massive, magnificient fish named Maegae, finally realized in the now of it all. No questions, no snickers once Maegae on display for the world to see.
As the talk of the town, the small fishing village where Samuel eeked out a meager existence would resound with hoops and hollers. Finally, he would be admired by all his close fishing buddies from the Cove. Samuel knew there would be lots to celebratate tonight, he felt it in his bones and in the bottom squishness of his rubber waders.
Suddenly, he saw her breach, jumping seven feet clear over the surf, nearly six leagues from the darkest part of the ocean; a sparkling silver with a rosy underbelly. "Maeggie, you're the fish of my dreams!"
Samuel could not contain himself, he was besides himself with great joy, his stomach turning out butterflies and nervous twitches as wishes do come true. Try to imagine the end result, Samuel sweating buckets in the process, his palms as oily as the fish he wanted to catch. Awash with excitment, Samuel swiped his dirty forehead and squinted through his Polaroid Raybans, paying full attention to the prize at the end of the line.
"Oh, Maeggie, you're gonna kill me, but you know, darlin', you're not gonna win this time, Daddy's taking you home!". The two so thoroughly involved in this life and death struggle, Samuel wholly consumed in the dramatic action of the day, blistered and worn, reeling slowly and surely the big catch. As The King of The Sea, darling Maeggie would always be to Samuel, his Sweetheart, The Salmon of the Sea".
Old Samuel held tightly onto his rod, his head and reel spinning, the quickening effect giving off lightening-like sparks. The remains of the day a calming salve, a calm love balm. Save for the battle to come, once fully engaged, patently ensued by proxy aboard his trawler. His neoprene gloved hands aware of the brutality and the tug on his heart from the ominious levithan. A beast worth her salt.
This was the nature of the beast. Like a Mississippi mudpuppy becomes one with the mud Samuel became one with his rod. Like cemented glue, Samuel called upon all his strength to subdue this whale of a fish, his dear Maeggie, hoping and praying his line would not snap in two.
After three hours of Herculean-like struggle, Samuel was beyond exhaustion. His feet were slowly slipping on the boat's slimy deck. He used a wooden oar, in a perpendicular direction to lock onto the plank to secure his foothold on eternity's bestowed gift. Would he soon loose his grip? How would he bring her in? Would he finally claim the trophy? He had waited for so many years, he would never give up. He would never let go of his dream. He must have Maeggie, one way or another. "No one else shall claim her" Samuel repeated to himself, hypnotizing himself, using all his moxy to muster the end result.
After two days, two officers from the Coast Guard finally found Samuel, drifting nearly fifty knots South by SouthWest. "This boat gone aimlessly adrift for two days at least" said the first officer. They noticed the many fishing lines were still bobbing on the ocean, no bells were ringing, no fish in sight.
Samuel was still slumped back in his captain's chair, his chin permanently anchored to his furry chest, a big smile encompassed his face. It looked like he had fallen sound asleep and was dreaming a happy dream. He looked like an angel.
The officers took Samuel from his abandoned station and covered his body with a white sheet. One of the officers noticed something; "Huh, look at this, a picture, probably of the dead guys, er, ah, wife" The officer turned over the photo on the console and read outloud the pencilled writings "To Sammy Love Always, Your Wife, Maggie".
The Officer said jokingly "Boy she was a good looking babe, back in her day. I guess this one didn't get away!" Winking towards his petty officer. The other officer said nonchalantly "I guess not, no, I guess not, Sir."
As a very vivid silvery orange and crimson red sunset faded to smooth and silken brachish blackness found in the deepest caverns along the westernmost coastal archipelago.
This evening on Samuel and Maeggie's trawler, the light's came on as they had every evening on the Captain's galley. Never did Samuel extinguish his love light in his heart for Maeggie, never did he forget her. He never turned off the desire to reconnect to his long lost love. Permanently "leaving the lights on" in their heart of hearts a gathering place devoid of the encroaching darkness.
On their beloved boat, "The Dreamboat" the brass deck bell clang; giving one long ring. The sound in the key of "g" radiated like a sonar love wave far into the deepest reaches of space. Maegie on the deck in this ghostly light looking magnificent as ever.
All lights soon appeared to fade on the skiff, fading to black. The lights from their ship never totally extinguished, a phospherescent glow. Now a tourist's attraction out west, a scenic tour each evening at sunset. "The Dreamboat" a ghost ship, a testament to one old man's love of the sea and the love of his life, Maggie the Magnificent.
And if you look carefully, to the south by southwest on the eve of the Maeggae Festival one can experience this higher level of consciousness. On the evening of the 21st of June at sundown when the spirit is willing; the image of "The Dreamboat" and crew of two.
If one squints carefully, not allowing the to sun to blurr the vision of this place, you can see Samuel and Maeggie holding each other tightly in love's everlasting embrace. Upon the deck the two sup. When this ephemeral ghostly light soon fades, their merging image slowly forms a love knot cloud and like a puff of smoke; dissipates.
As the sunset fades from view and the night outline each form from lights within the heartshaped cloud of the lovers reunit in silhouetted splendor. Their love's brilliant spark becomes the backdrop of the western sky and the everlasting setting sun's final curtain call.
As the image slowly evaporates into the far horizon line's vanishing point, the Summer sun begins the love cycle over again and again. Recounting the many times fisherman's tales kept the hope of many a shipwrecked, ages long ago.
For as many eons as Once Upon a Time, this story is retold for humanity's much needed posterity. The faith in the unseen is the faith in the dream "The Dreamboat" naturally, lives on and on.
This tall tale of "The Old Man and the Sea Monster Named Maeggie" a tale to be read and reread and spoken aloud. Dreams of love can and do come true and never ever die. Remember; Maeggie and Samuel? Their Love is alive for all to see lasting as long as our eternity.