THE TEXT

The Life of Henry Fuckit
(1950 - 2015)

 

86   Into heavy weather

'Well, after all, we are now entering the Roaring Forties.'

'Where the Brave West Winds prevail?'

'Yes. One of the meteorologist chaps going to Gough Island was explaining it to me.' Prof Potsherd dabbed at the tablecloth where some of his soup had sloshed. 'From forty to sixty degrees South there is a huge, unbroken expanse of ocean and the Westerlies blow with great strength and constancy here. Here we can expect gales, stormy seas, overcast skies and damp, raw weather.'

'Lovely for a holiday.'

'Actually, we're not exactly supposed to be on holiday, are we? Anyway, my weatherman friend tells me we could be in for an almighty blow. Barometric pressure's been dropping all morning and the Captain's given orders to keep all portholes closed.'

'God, that'll make our stinking cabin even more stuffy.'

'Henry, mate, I take it you know the Whale's been hoisted out of the hold and strapped to the deck?' Fred Kelly was almost sixty and the oldest member of the team. He looked strong enough for his age but was mildly asthmatic and Henry wondered how he was going to cope with whatever lay ahead. An interesting looking type. A grizzled moustache and beard about the chin, full, loose lips, a jutting nose with gaping nostrils, balding, very lined about the wide-set eyes above high, broad cheekbones. When his moist brown eyes flashed wildly Henry wanted to laugh with excitement, sensing he was in the presence of a most unusual vitality. 'Hmm, so you didn't know? That Captain's a no-good, that's for sure. Bastard's a bloody religious fanatic too.' He was referring to the pre-prandial sermons they had been subjected to for the past two nights.

Henry suddenly felt a great draining of confidence, as if a plug had been pulled and there was a good fall on the waste pipe. What the hell was this all about, anyway? Trying to find some non-existent island in the middle of the Atlantic in order to do what? How were he and these four weirdos going to revitalize the earth's life force, for God's sake? Oxyastonishing idiocy! They had barely discussed the project together, let alone devised a clear strategy. It was Harry Bergson's fault, this. Cocksucker! And on top of it all, he had to contend with naked hostility from this Christian zealot Captain Cunt. A purulent discharge on the odious fellow! No man, fuck it, he'd been taking this whole business too seriously. No, tonight after dinner he would have a chat with these nutters, call the expedition off, blame it on the worsening weather, and proceed to get pissed. Jesus, he hadn't been lekker dronk for months and months.

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