Sundry ships are crossing the seas, bringing us to the new wild shores. On each ship a cook, a baker, a captain, a whore. I swab the deck—wiping the footprints of each away in what I hope is a fluid and efficient motion. I love the whore but she is above my class.

I am a cabin boy, as my father was before me and his father before him. All of my ancestors have been cabin boys, even the women. It is our fate and our plight. We never set foot on land, but wait patiently on ships while the pilgrims unload themselves and their provisions, make there way into the wilds, with axes and guns and slide-rules.

My captain is a cruel man with a wooden leg and a plastic arm and an ear made out of tin foil. He likes to shout “Save you’re pennies lad,” whenever he sees me, sometimes taking shots at me with his sidearm. I don’t know what it means or why he does it. He also shouts: “Hedge your bets, laddy.” And “Don’t let the moss grow greener on your bum than the tree.”

I suspect the captain of growing madness. He mutters in his sleep about rendering plants, his wooden leg jerking like a dreaming dog’s tail.

At night, the ship anchored well off shore, we hear the screams of the new pilgrims as they meet the natives.

About the Author

Grant Bailie

Grant Bailie is the author of the novels Cloud 8 and Mortarville, as well as numerous stories online and in print. His latest novel, New Hope for Small Men is available in e-book form under the auspices of Necessary Fiction, where it was first serialized. His book TomorrowLand--an illustrated novel of sorts--is due out in the fall through Red Giant Books Mr. Bailie currently lives in Lakewood, Ohio, which is a stone’s throw from Cleveland. He knows this because sometimes the people in Cleveland throw stones.

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