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Up top, above squatting Crispin Carindale, the reliable sound of dull morning footsteps. It was the galley.  Thick white metal separated the floors of the ship and rivets with hardened paint-layers paced themselves evenly and pushed out.  Other steel bulges sealed up the swirling aroma upstairs and Crispin waived his hand to bring the local spices into the air of his tiny washroom, covering up his own smell in this way.

For days the Jean Bart had docked in Tangier consumed by the exotic swaying.  This back and forth movement had lulled Crispin into an evening sleep the night before, and now he was awake earlier than usual, early with the cooks and the mopmen. He was thinking about the two top shelves of the pantry up there, weighing down a warped white plank.  Crispin knew it would be impossible to find booze once he went overboard.  He went overboard that day.  The night before, in his near-sleep, he had strung together something different:

I’ll pass by twelve men on either side of the deck, with tilted-rifles I’ll pass them to the tip of the Bart.  Twenty-four of them will be in morning drills and I’ll pass them with my sure feet and grin a bit, they wont take notice, if one does, there wouldn’t be time enough for him to catch up to me, and nobody would break form in a drill anyhow.  I’ll pace myself at first, until I close in on the great lip of the Bart, then I’ll quicken up and jump right over.  I’ll float pretty good, with two bottles stuffed into the thighs of my long pants.  But how’ll I keep my smokes from getting wet?  I could leave them.  I’ll leave them.  I hope Cooperage doesn’t see them, he knows I never go anywhere without my smokes.  I could hide them.  I’ll hide my smokes and carry nothing but a few bills in my mouth, and the bottles, I’ll need those when I hit land.  When I hit the water I’ll close my mouth as tight as a teen’s twat and my bills will be dry.  How will I grin?  I’ll look like a fool grinning with a mouthful of green bills.  Oh what does it matter to these Frenchmen anyway?  They’ll see me and laugh, like they’ve been laughing; a month of toothy-French-laughter—toothy toothy, a Frenchman loves his coochie.

He could feel his electricity shooting up in him.  This made him nervous and tight, but he practiced on the bunk his uncle’s breathing techniques.

Once in big for the chicken and the pig.  
Hold it deep for the snails and sheep.  
Once out for the salmon and trout.  

Then back and forth, from bathroom to bunk with firm, looked at steps.  The ceiling fan shot a jaundice shadow up above it, while everything else was left uncolored by plain steel.  Dust on each blade so to yellow it up.

“Where you off to?” It was Cooperage, filling up the threshold with his grey flesh spilling over a pair of issued short pants.  Tips of his hair, even patted down wet, were grazing the top dowel as he rocked back and forth, blocking the exit, the pantry, the deck, the morningplans.  Carindale had also been running through bad forecasts of his bunkmate’s opportunities to stop him from going over.  Something like this scene had threatened him for thirty-days.  He silently called Cooperage The Big Hog.  More than a few times now the Big Hog had sent Carindale into such states of fear that he had used the bunkshade to protect his body and hide his face.

Three nights before this Carindale pushed his back tight against the wall and grabbed the sheets hard so they turned in on his hands.  The few hues that survived on the Bart were sent in by the sun and filtered through a green stained oval window, but it was dark, dark black with his big body shutting up that light.

“Listen up Carindale.  I’m gonna’ come back to the Bart in a couple hours and I’m not gonna’ be comin’ back ‘lone.  And when I do, you better be sleeping, with your head tucked real deep into those covers.  You see what im gettin’ at?  Ha, of course you don’t.  You wouldn’t know nothing about bein’ inside no woman would you?  You wouldn’t know a damn thing about what that feels like.  Well I’ll tell you what, if your good, and you keep your little runt mouth shut, I might just let you peek your head out a bit and see what we’re doin up here.  You can peek just a little bit, but don’t scare her or nothin’.  No, just a little bit and see what we’re gonna’ be doin’ up here.  Would you like that Carindale?  Yeah I bet you would.  I bet you never seen anything like it before, up here.  You better not scare the girl, if you get yourself noticed I’ll goddamn throw you overboard. You got that?  I’ve been savin’ pennies for tonight Carindale.  Well, hoo, if you would believe me, I’ve been pinching a little each day from Remy but you ain’t gonna tell nobody bout that though, ha, nope.  You know what Carindale?  I do like you, maybe because we’re the only ones on this damn boat who ain’t titty-fied Frenchies.  But I think I like you Carindale, I think I like you because I peeked at your Z-card a few days ago, when I was fixing up this place.  God damn you leave your belongings everywhere Carindale, and you need to clean up after your goddamn self, because I’m about sick of doing it.  I took a peek at your Z-card and I almost shit Carindale.  You and I were neighbors back home.  You lived in Columbus. Yeah!  We’ll I lived there all my life till’ this goddamn stink.  We might’ve been playing with each other as kids even, wouldn’t that be something?  I doubt it though,  I think I would remember a little runt like you.  You must have been god damn tiny when you were a kid huh?  We’re about the same age too, you and I.  Cept’ we’ve got nothin’ else in common, you know that don’t you? That’s OK Carindale, I like you enough.  But god damnit you to start pickin’ up around here, this place being small as it is.  I sure as hell aint’ gonna bring no lady up here till you get this place clean.  I was gonna do it myself but now that we’re talkin’, you know, I’ll tell you that you better have this place clean by the time I get back here.  If you do, we can be real nice to each other, just like friends, and when I get to doin’ what I’m gonna be doin’ up there, hoo, I’ll let you a little peek like I said.”

It was when Cooperage finished up that a great stink filled the room.  It came up fast and both of them lifted their heads up so they could rise above it.  It was the galley.  They held like this for a few moments and then Sinclair rushed past their door.

“Yep!  God damned Sinclair’s managed to get some cabbage on board. They heard: “We’re all goin’ up top to spray the flats.  Carindale, get some fresh air in you!  We’re all goin’ up top now, get some air in you!”


Crispin sat on the bunk and began to stare at the ceiling up above him.

“Listen Carindale, I know you’re about to run for it.  Now you don’t need to worry yourself about how I figured you out, but if you were to step outside that little head of yours that you’re always up in and take a look at your habits you know, you’d see that you aint to hard to figurout.  See you got a simple way of doing things Carindale and I can see that.  I know you must have thought I was a big dummy.  Bet you have all sorts of ideas about me.  We’ll nevermind those, but I’ll tell you that I know you’re about to make a run for it, right over the hull of the Bart and you’re gonna do it this morning.  Now you can see I ain’t as dumb as I look.  I’ve figured you right out.  Now look at me Carindale, I aint gonna stop you from running off this ship.  I wouldn’t stop a man from doing what he’s gotta do to help himself.  But Carindale you wont last a half-day out there by yourself.  Those fez’s will eat you up when you hit the ground, and the smell out there, you wont be able to breathe.  So I’m gonna go along with you Carindale.  We’re both gonna make it off the Bart this morning but we’re gonna do it my way, so we don’t get found out.  Now I don’t know what kind of plans you’ve been making in that head of yours but I know whatever you cooked up it aint gonna work.  You leave the planning to me and we’ll be off this ship in no more than an hour.  Now listen to me Carindale, you know that load of greens that Sinclair managed to get on board the other day?  We’ll the crate is still hangin up there in the air, ready to be lowered down in about a half an hour.  I know it too cause I saw Remy this morning and he said that he’s gonna bring another load right up to the kitchen.  So I hand Remy forty Francs and he’s gonna make some room in that crate for the two of us.  Can you believe that Carindale, bribed the frog with his own money!  Now aint that a better plan than whatever it is you got swimming in that head of yours Carindale?  Whatever it is you’ve been thinking about how to get off the Bart would have gotten you killed.  That’s  just it Carindale, you’ve gotta get out of that head of yours.  You know I like you, hell me and you might’v been neighbors back home.  So that’s why we’re gonna get off this ship together and nobody is going to get themselves killed.”


An hour later they huddled together in the big crate and to keep calm in there Crispin did one of his exercises.  That stink was almost unbearable in there and Crispin watched Cooperage breathe through it. Cooperage was strong and Crispin tried to mimic how he looked so he took in even deeper breaths until his face was nearly green.  But soon enough Cooperage poked Crispin in the gut and pointed to his own mouth.  All the breathing had got to him and now he was going to spew.  Carindale tucked himself as far as he could into the corner of the crate and pressed his face against the side, looking for air in the seam of the thing.  He held together pretty good and kept on with his exercises against the flats.

And it had dried up by the time it came down and they felt a shake then a thud beneath their shins.  Crispin was wearing short pants and his legs were nearly raw from sitting that way with his feet bulging red with trapped blood.  The whole crate lit up with a yellow on the wood when Remy opened the lid.  Remy tapped both of them on the head once each like Cooperage said he would and they popped out quick.  It was bright bright outside so when they came out they were both nearly blind and knocked into each other trying to find some cover.  Remy hopped in the crate and went on up but pointed down the way.  Crispin saw him do this and tugged on Cooperages arm and they both went down the way into town, trying to see.

Cooperage was feeling with one hand straight out while his other hand tugged onto Crispin’s shirt back choking him when they got too far apart in the run.  For all else, Crispin’s sense of things was pretty good and he took them near a half block until he stopped for some rest in a doorway where there was some shade there.  Above their heads were reds and blues and oranges from clothmen, canvas above that and this blocked out the Bart.

Crispin kept catching his breath, breathing up really high.  He had never run that fast in his whole life.  Cooperage’s eyes were just coming back to him and he saw that Crispin was struggling and pointed to his belly.

“You breathe from down here, always.  There aint no truth up here, you gotta breathe down here below.  You’re legs’ll feel better that way too.  Breathin down here plants you right back into the ground Carindale.  You breathe up here too much and all that will go straight to your head and keep you there, spinning.  Down here.  That’s it, and slower too.”

Crispin looked at his own belly after listening to Cooperage and began to think of it like it was a living thing that he had a bit of control over.  He figured there could be a separate brain in there somewhere that moved up and down in his stomach.  Once out so I don’t catch gout.  There it was moving up and down in him and he was hungry too.

“I’ll tell you I could eat.  Just to get that taste outa my mouth too.  So’meat.  Carindale I swear if I don’t see another cabbage in my life I’ll be alright. You know that you and I gotta keep movin.”


They followed mostly one line away from the port and found its parallels to give better shade.  For two hours they walked and Crispin’s eyes went wide whenever they passed the men selling their food and he would look over at Cooperage and ask him with his eyes if they could stop and eat and Cooperage would tell him that in a little bit they could once they got settled.


“You eh, gonna eat that?”  Eddie curled right around Crispin’s ear in the cafeteria and whispered into it.  “Carindale, you gonna eat the rest of them?”  Crispin had left his potatoes on his plate but he was going to finish them off last like he had always done.  Eddie didn’t eat with Crispin hardly ever and hadn’t seen before how he ate, finishing one section at a time.  Crispin had a good appetite and ate pretty well for being so small.  Eddie wasn’t so big either but he was hungrier and he burnt up his energy faster than everyone else.  He talked constantly in a raspy low voice that was very fast and sharp at the ends of his words.  He was wild and had opinions on nearly everything and everyone on the Bart and he would run them down for anyone who would listen.  Eddie could be seen all over the ship too.  In this way he burnt up his energy and during mealtimes he would finish up real quick and make the rounds to see who hadn’t finished theirs.  Everyone always finished theirs except the guys who worked in the kitchen because they had been picking since the morning.

“You gonna ehh..hey Carindale.”  Without looking behind him Crispin swung his arms and shoed him off, catching him in the ear.  He kept his face down in his plate and started in on the potatoes.

“Hey ohhh.  Carin-daaaale, Carin-daaaale.  If you aint gonna share just say so.  It’s OK, you come round to me next time I got my chips.  You come round me anytime Carin-daaaale.  Sure do like them.  Sure do like them potatoes yep finished mine.  You know Sinclair’s got some extra milk on board and I bet you knew that.  Taste good don’t they with the extra milk makes em taste extra good Carin-daaaale.  Well alright go ahead now, finish em up.  Hey you heard how Sinclair’s got that extra milk on board or how he’s been getting all them spices lately?  I seen him go off the ship twice a day and come back with a spice-box.  The heavier stuff he’ll haul up the side.  Finish em up now Carin-daaale what do you think?

Penbroke spoke up from the table.

“That way Eddie, make it and let him eat.

“Oh he’d wanna know, maybe he wants to know about Sinclair what do you think?”

“Uninterested.  No interest here.  Make it Eddie.  No interest here at all.”

“You come see me when I got my chips and that goes for all of you.  You heard were makin port another week at least?


“We’re makin port a week or more at least I heard it from Euclid when we was cleaning the funnel-sides this morning and sometimes he gets down there in the holds and you know them guys in the holds know how long were gonna be takin on water and so Euclid is down there in the holds and some of them says another week at least.  I heard it from him this morning Carin-daaale you hear that another week in this shitstink ehh yep that goes for you too.”

“Make it Eddie so he can eat.”

“Yeah and another week for you too birdie, for good behavior cause you’re just the sort aint you Penbroke, yep,  Collars stiff as boards aint they?  You get some of them boys to do your collars special huh?  Carindale how do you figure old Penbroke gets them collars so tight?  You and Sinclaire too huh, hep couple’a birds on parade.  You aint flyin off this ship anytime soon birdie, nother’ week at least we got so settle in.


Crispin and Cooperage had made it such a distance from the Bart even the smell of the Bay had left them.  Cooperage was sure nobody wouldhave gone this far looking for them and he told Crispin that it would be alright if they stopped.  There were three musicians up ahead and they sat down near to them.

“You sit here Carindale and I’m gonna fix us up something.  Just you wait right here for no more than ten you got that?  You happen to see one of them frogs show up you take off quick as ever you got that?  Don’t worry about letting me know or nothing I’ll be find you later.  But you take off quick as ever you see one of them frogs show up lookin for us.  I figure they wouldn’t make it this far and thats the type to give up quick too, but you never do know.”

Crispin sat there and listened to the musicians.  The music calmed him a bit.  It played like some kind of raga and he concentrated on following it where it went.  Once his nerves got settled he began to remember that Cooperage was coming back soon with food. Someone pushed him on the shoulders hard and he twisted his neck around.  Out in front of his face someone pushed a little velvet bag and pointed to it.

Crispin with his eyes looked to the left and right and the pointing  Crispin pulled full out his right inside pocket and there was nothing in there.  The musician still held out the bag and pointed at his other pocket.  There was money in his left pocket.  He tried to pull it out carefully without disturbing the it but the wad of bills fell out onto the street.  Before anything one of the musicians had Crispin’s hands behind his back.  He opened his mouth and shot up his arms but it wasn’t any use.  They took turns at picking up the bills and stuffing them.  Just then big hands began to wrap around the bagmen’s neck; it was Cooperage, and he held his hands there until his eyes began to redden up and the velvet bag fell to the ground.  When the man fell down onto the street everyone began to scatter and the two of them were left out in the open.  Crispin had a flat feeling in his body that left him unable to move and Cooperage fixed his eyes on him for strength.

“Now we’re gonna keep movin Carindale.  Keep movin along with me.”

The two of them sat down under a heavy red sheet that still let some light through through it.  Cooperage pulled out of his pocket some dried meats and then a couple figs and Crispin’s eyes went wide for them.

“How will this do you Carindale?  I’tll do you some good.”

Crispin grabbed everything in one hand and carefully laid out the food on the street, separating the meat and the fruit so that he could take it in.

They ate together and Cooperage turned into Crispin.

“I got some bit of fruit left here too.  This one here is fresh for you.  You know Carindale there is a space here for us that we could settle into if we chose to, I saw it down the way coming back up to you.  A room for us if we wanted to settle for a bit.  I wont tell you what you need, but I could use a good rest. What do you think about that?  Now that we’re fed we could settle a bit here.  And it aint so bad, there’s good color.  Color for me is about enough to keep me happy for awhile Carindale.  After being in stuck around with all that grey you know, it feels like a closing.  That hard metal grey, sick of those rivets punching through the walls, locking us both in really.  And that room, what a smell sometime.  Sometime near worse than today coming down you know.  All those guys up there, not giving one damn about you or I either, hardly any care for us there.  I don’t like waking up cold like that Carindale, with no color or good food or a woman for strength. It got to be a dull routine Carindale, and you know there is no movement in closed quarters.  Today was about movement you know that, moving through and moving past that one back there, the closed down way of it.  I figure the way it works Crispin, is that to move beyond something, any kind of situation, a man has to take a leap.  Just like we did today coming down in the crate undercover.  That was a leap for both of us that had to be took.  The same goes for anything else.  When you’re taking in all that grey in life as a routine and there aint nothin other to look at, then it becomes a dull habit, you form it up.  The way you form it up is in a half balance kind of way, where you are doing some of the work, and also your situation is doing some of the work.  Your mind becomes accustomed to something like that and dulls.  Meeting in those closed quarters each day, with nothin new introduced.  That way is the way of being closed down.  If nothing new is introduced, and what you see is already been seen, you shut down quick to the experience, and your mind just keeps relying on those same old ones you know.  I bet you could draw a map of that ship without lookin back Carindale!  And just think of it, you we’re livin in that thing for all those days.  Actually living in it with nothing new introduced.  Shit there was a few times when I walked down back to our room and I didn’t even need to walk it because I knew the way so well.  It became so dull to me that I couldn’t tell if I was walking it or not, or if I was just using the stuff I already had, seein it all for those days, bringing it up.  Living like that seems near impossible to take any sort of leap out of it, its a stuck sort of way, but then when you do finally have a some movement, you’ve got a new place like we got here Carindale.  Some new sort of food, some new color above us, something that we aint seen before you know?  We got a little light.  When you have a little movement there is some sort of space that opens up, and I think our minds open up to it too, like some new nourishment for us.  The way the mind opens up to it can give a little strength to a man too.  There is something here like when you’re a kid and you go out around evening time like we used to.  You remember going out around evening time Carindale and taking your play in.  Seemed like you had the strength to play until well past dark you remember.  You had a strength that never went Crispin.  Some situation like that gives a boy a bit of strength to play in, almost so you don’t even need any food.  It’s still there too in you.  The same goes for here, when you move past something like we did.  A man gets a little strength behind him for the push, and then a little space.  And I don’t even mean it like you gotta pay for it after, because I do feel good calm, and ready for a rest, a healthy kind of rest after that kind of moving through.  That’s a body thing, something in the body that does some of the work for you Carindale.  Without thinking much we got here.  And I know you sit in that little head of yours Carindale, I know you do it too, because if I were to let you in on something Carindale I’m the same way even though I might not seem it.  But I also know about some kind of strength that is in the body.  When you get that strength, like we had today, you have to forget that head of yours and stay in the body, and you don’t worry you’ll be carried along just fine, long as you stay with it and don’t get caught up in the process, or your opinions on the thing.  You just let the movement work itself out, and follow it.  You’ll be carried right along.  There is a safety and a knowledge in the body that knows, and no good amount of your thinking is going to say otherwise against it because it knows better, so you have to do yourself a favor Carindale and stay out of the process, let it work itself out.  The moving through is in the body, always.  You hear that I know you do.  The moving through is always in the body and not in that head of yours Carindale.  You can prepare and plan and that is good, like we did a little of today.  You can have a good dream and a good idea of something else, beyond what you got.  Then when you get that little bit of wind behind you Carindale, you let loose of those ideas and just get carried right there in the body.  That is the journey.  The journey is always through the body.  What we did back there, to get us this bit of space we got here.  The journey is through the body.

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