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Sunday, 8 March 2009

image for 'Below Decks' Chapter Five: The Ship Doctor's Journal! All Was Not Well Below Decks

Below Decks - Chapter 5

The North Atlantic

Recap: Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four

Must have taken a bit too much rum last evening. First gunner's mate Pissgums arrived with a complaint of an infected leg and I cut his peg leg off by mistake. Carpenter Clik cleverly attached it to my operating and writing table which now has a fifth leg. Pissgums appears not to be qualified for his position as he applied for first gunners mate by virtue of the fact that he is infected with gonorrhea. Captain Morse seems to have misunderstood when Pissgums said he got "gonorrhea first, mate'. Captain Morse has been through many a battle and may have experienced some hearing loss due to cannon fire.

Pissgums lack of experience with cannon may compromise our ability to defend ourselves in battle and brought this to the Captain's attention. The Captain has warmed to Pissgums however who he thinks is a jolly soul. I am treating Pissgums with sulfa drugs which are making the patient flatulent and would be more successful if the patient would drink less. Fortunately first gunner Birbee though still a novice is a first rate shot and has the confidence of the Captain and crew.

Two convict swabbies arrived at the infirmary for treatment for rope burns. I diagnosed them as suffering from excessive masturbation and instructed Captain Morse to steer clear of the coast of Brest on the return voyage. Midshipman Earl Grey was mortified at their misrepresentation and called the beasts scallywags.

Removed cannonball from midshipman Limbaugh's head today. Limbaugh appears to have made an astonishing recovery and is speaking three hours a day. Although it is complete rubbish the crew seems to agree with every word he says. I believe the Captain's parrot Phil makes more sense. I have documented the case and hope to present it to the Academy on my return.

Two more swabbies arrived at the infirmary for treatment for rope burns. I diagnosed them as suffering from excessive masturbation again and instructed Captain Morse that Madame Dora Piebottom had exposed her petticoats on deck causing the affliction. Captain Morse reprimanded Piebottom for her whorish behavior, told the sultry tart she was distracting to the crew and offered to discuss the issue in his cabin over a bottle of port and some figs. Despite being becalmed that evening the ship strangely rolled and swayed as if we were beset by a strong gale.

Captain Morse was uncharacteristically cheerful in the morning and seemed to have had a respite from his usual dour disposition. The lemon tonic I have been prescribing must be working.

Once we had been at sea for several weeks the daily use of our provisions revealed a Moorish stowaway named Henman in cargo who had been hiding between barrels of salt pork and hominy. While the Captain was inclined to toss the man overboard on the spot he showed kindness to the intruder who earned his keep by proving himself a first rate entertainer regaling the crew with his humorous anecdotes about chickens and skill at hand shadows.

Ensign Robin Locke assigned to me as assistant has been quiet of late. I suspected that the lads voice was soon to change but young Robin developed breasts instead. I have kept the young thing in my cabin since then to protect her from being ravaged by the crew.

The Battle of the Bilge

The long voyage is taking its' toll in all on board. I complained to Captain Morse that my skills were declining due to lack of practice. He offered to send me a featured crew member, Jack Van Gump, who was new to sea to have his leg sawed off to keep me in trim which cheered my spirits. I proceed to cut off seaman Gump's leg in less than thirty seconds while smoking a pipe.

Coincidently the crew has noticed that Cook Skoob seems to make leg of lamb every time I amputate a man's limb. While not complaining of the quality of the victuals Carpenter Clik commented that he has never seen a sheep with a thirty-four inch inseam.

Conjoined twins Percival Pissgums and his brother Buck were directed to visited me on orders from Captain Morse on account of the condition of being overly flatulent. Not certain of the source of the malady I temporarily directed them to station themselves aft in order to assist in propelling the vessel forward towards our destination and to avoid distracting the crew.

I proceeded to join the crew for mess to investigate the source of the twin's malady. Right off the start I knew something was out of order.

Instead of cook Skoob ringing a bell to announce meal readiness Buck farted like a bosun's whistle and the crew came running to the table.

Rather than serve the crew cook Skoob had laid our the meal on either side of the table for the men to serve themselves.

Immediately Buck and his brother Pissgums headed in alternate directions, one for the hard tack and one for the salt pork and cabbage, balancing on their peg legs for a moment and then falling down cursing each other. Cook Skoob kept a cool head and moved the food all to once side. The twins bent over the groaning table, smacked their lips loudly and farted in the direction of the crew with obvious pleasure and delight.

Madame Dora Piebottom, who has traveled in society, was clearly not amused by the brother's roguish antics but politely held her tongue.

Able bodied seaman Fergus McCarthy was not so polite

"Put a cork in it."

"You're spoiling my dinner, ya buggers!"

A melee then ensued as Fergus's comments caused the crew to quickly turn on the brothers. It ended with Piebottom sitting on the not quite dead man's chest on the floor with the twin's legs up in the air and the crew tossing doughnut shaped biscuits over their peg legs

The Caribbean

A hard sail across the Atlantic is almost behind us. Captain Morse and Hal A. Peno reckon we will be entering warmer waters soon. The sun has made us a shade darker already with our hearts darker yet.

Continue to chapter six...

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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