A message to you, my son. Remember these words, and pass them to your children one day.
Dear, Jason Wilson Faulkner,
Time. The enemy of narcissists and arrogant fools, who feel entitled to the throne of existence. The pinnacle of nature bows before their feet as their false confidence appears real in the face of the universe. When they’re young, they feel they can live forever, battle any foe, overcome any disease or malady, that they are indestructible in the face of a system that has preceded and transcended time. Ah, time. The enemy of the truly exceptional mortal. The one who comes across an ideology that rises to the precipice of pure utilitarianism, the good of the people. Time, the enemy of the artists, musicians, writers, and the like. How it gradually strips humanity of those who produce sweet melodies and even sweeter words for our eyes to feast, so that humanity may suck the nectar from their souls and receive added sustenance, the true sustenance that guides them to higher levels, exposes them to greater pasture and reveals the possibilities of vast achievement.
Time, the enemy of our existence in an indifferent universe. The need for humanity to be needed, wanted, cherished. Has been embedded into the fabric of our psyche since primordial creation. Time, the all but gentle guide into the arms of death, and the chauffeur of fear and anticipation. The concierge of pain and suffering, and the courtier of damnation. Passing throughout the skies every day through the eyes of the most exalted animal, the symbol of freedom. The symbol of strength. Though the human mind conceived time as a concept, it has always existed in form. Time, as it appears, was just distorted, and concealed. Time, how we all crave it when the clock starts ticking faster than we progress. How we crave more as our youth begins to leave us when the hair begins to gray, the body begins to deteriorate, and the mind becomes absent, time becomes our sole objective. It seems the ones time doesn’t affect, are the ones who truly understand its nature, that time is nature. What comes must also go, and what goes, must also return. It is the cyclical aspect of nature that gives time its sense of omnipotence, everything goes and everything returns.
Your Father, Jedidiah Wilson Faulkner
* * *
That letter there was written in 1765, boy. That’s when your great-great-grandfather used to sail the seven seas and five oceans. He’d come across monsters like squids and octopuses that’d give Moby Dick a run for ‘is money I’ll tell ya that! Ha Ha Ha! Anyway, boy. Don’t you be falling ‘sleep on me naw, I’ll wax ya upside the head wit’ this club! Lissin’ her’. . .
* * *
The storm was ragin’ like Zeus done been cheated on for the third time. The thunder cracked like a whip to the back of a slave. I didn’t particularly like slavery, taking an indigenous people from their land and making them do your dirty work, and eating from the trough while doing it. It just didn’t sit right with me. However, that’s not why I write this tale. This tale is about a crewmate of mine. This man was as tough as anything I’d seen across the seas, braving the storms with unparalleled confidence, the indestructibility of Achilles, the aura of Hercules.
His name was Stalley, Capt. James Stalley. This is a tale about how he lived and died by the sea, on his own terms even to the very end. I remember his last words to me, “Everything goes and everything returns Faulkner! Let time do its deed and ye’ll all be home safe, I promise ya that!” We were all wet, bruised, and beaten. The forces of nature handed our tails to us once again, reminding man that it stands no chance against a system that’s transcended time.
The tale begins on the docks, just before we were about to leave. I’d just made love to my wife for the past three nights, enjoying every moment of it. Time at sea and a stiff cock don’t go well now, do they? Capt. Stalley had just finished drinking up a storm at the bar, flirting with the local women, out drinking the regulars, and making the place merry. My wife made me a small lunch, she didn’t like me sharing food ‘cause I was too generous fo’ my own good.
Capt. Stalley wasn’t a very large or imposing man, but he had a presence. A presence that made you wanna follow him to the ends of the Earth if necessary. I’d first met him on land in the year 1735. I’d acquired a less than public way for attending a wealthy ball, no peasants allowed. I had my wife sew up a discarded suit I’d picked up on the street. The size would have to do but I was used to wearing discarded clothing. We weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination nor did we pretend to be, well, my wife didn’t pretend to be. I saw no shame in it.
I went to the party by my lonesome, the wife didn’t appreciate being deceitful, even if it got you what ya wanted at times. That’s why I love the woman, that’s why I need her. Upon entry, I saw him galivanting and quintessentially running amok, flirting with the women, batting his eyes, staring at them in that way that gets them warm under the dress. Trust me, I know.
To my surprise, he didn’t have on aristocratic clothes or anything of the like, he had on his captain’s outfit, the sailor’s spirit emanating off him like the shine of a king’s jewelry. I tried to make myself scarce, examine the room, like a wallflower. That was when he saw me, I didn’t know it then, but Capt. Stalley was coming in my direction. I’d been looking left when he came up to me.
“And who might you be?” My head turned quicker than a soldier takes his last breath in war, “Haven’t seen you around these parts, have I?”
“No, you haven’t,” I replied gently and tried to walk away but he wouldn’t let me.
“You have the look of a sailor, has anyone told you?” His eyes searched for mine, but my eyes didn’t wanna be found. My presence was too weak and meager to stand against his, “Why won’t you look at me, matey?”
“I’ve only come to observe aristocracy at its finest,” I made up a response on the fly, “nothing more.”
“Bullocks!” he wrapped his arm around my shoulder and walked me to the middle of the crowd for all to witness. “Ladies and Gentlemen! Lend me your ears for a most humorous moment. . .”
All that wealth just staring at me, their presence alone made me feel small, insignificant in this vast world we all called home. I knew the universe was indifferent to all of us, but, why did it have to be so cruel? A have-not amongst so many haves, it was beyond shameful . . . a disgrace.
“I asked this gentleman why haven’t I seen him at previous gatherings, and he tells me he’s here to watch aristocracy at its finest, nothing more!”
The whole room burst into laughter, I was near ready to kneel and kill myself if I’d had the weapon in my person at the time. My insignificance weighed heavy on me, it was at this moment I hated the man until . . .
“Matey,” he chuckled and handed me a drink. I looked at him, bewildered, “You are aristocracy at its finest!” I took the drink and we toasted, he put his glass up and the room followed suit. I didn’t think he understood back then, just how wrong he was. I wasn’t aristocracy, I was just a simple tradesman, with a little land and little money. Occasionally I traveled the sea, but it was only the same strip of water, over and over. I downed my drink in one gulp, perhaps to fuel my fragile ego with false confidence.
“You’re comin’ with me, Matey!” He said suddenly, “Together we’ll sail the seven seas!”
“Beg your pardon?!” I looked at him quicker than a stick-up man mugs a passerby, “I’m no sailor!”
“You are now!” He waved his glass around the room and laughed heartily, “We’ll put some hair on your chest yet won’t we, Matey?”
The only thought that crossed my mind was how to tell this to my wife. I had no qualms about traveling the seas. It was traveling for extended periods of time, not being home to tend to what little land we had. Who was going to help her? We had no children at the time, perhaps, not yet.
“I must tell my wife, sir,” I whispered, using the utmost discretion.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, did you not hear? He must tell his wife!” The room burst into laughter a second time, it didn’t feel as shameful as the first I must admit, it was annoying if nothing else.
I went back to the house after a long night of debauchery and merriment. My wife was asleep like she always was. I took to my study which was only one room, for we didn’t have children and the extra space had no purpose, so I converted it. I’d let her read books and attain some knowledge, though it was near illegal and women had no rights, still don’t. I found the lantern, lit it, and sat it by me while I picked a good, lengthy book to read, or was it the newspaper? I forget.
While I was reading, I heard a tapping by my window. I didn’t pay it mind at first, but the tapping grew persistent over time. The sound drowned out my thoughts, so I got up to address it. When I reached the window, Capt. Stalley was standing in my yard. I walked over, grabbed my lantern, and went to the back.
“How did you find my home? Are you mad?” I whispered as not to wake my wife from her slumber.
“And a lovely home indeed, Matey!” He shouted for the heavens to hear, it was clear he was drunk. “Come now, we must prepare to depart. The crew is already at the ship.”
“What?” I was stunned, he was serious. “You’re not serious, are you?”
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