Lost and Found
the living breathing JAMES BROWN
There, I stared across the green, gleamy waters. The coldness, I will never forget and then I did. Yes, there, I stared. Me, a nobody, a very much a nobody. And yet, I thought I had worked so damn hard to achieve all that a man could want-a car, home, wife, and kids. And my work took me to many Countries and yet, I was in none. I think that is the best way to say it. Yes, a man with many and then with none. And on my trip to to Asia, I was supposed to be there to make a deal. Make a deal. A fine deal. The best deal that would let me kick-back the rest of my life. I was excited and then they arrested me as a spy and then they said I was an orphan and they put me in isolation.
Isolation was a strangest of times. I had sheets on my bed and then I looked again and only had straw and I was then happy to not have any bugs in the straw, but then I saw the fat rats in the corner washing their hands. I think they were waiting to dine with me, but I had no food at all. I was in isolation for two months, then one day, I was in isolation for three months and then for two days. But the days were not sure of me, nor of them. I was blind, yet I could see very well. I was dead, but I had only died three times and I don’t know how of that either. I had my legs amputated and then I sewed them back on. And I am not sure of that either.
But then, I was sold and I was sold to a big fat man who said I looked the weakest of all the vagrants he had ever seen. And I told him that he stunk like a fat person that never took a bath or showered. And he then said, I know I hate you now, you are but a stupid person that I will use to your dying day. But I tried to tell him of how many times I had already died and it now seemed I died every day and he didn’t care. He just had the money to pay for me and it is my story. I think it is a story or a tale, but I am rarely sure of either.
Then, I was taken aboard a West Indies Ship, a freighter, and I still don’t know here where I was in it, but I was in it for now.
The name of the ship was the USS SURIVANORAC. Or did it start with some other funny sounding alphabet letters? I remember, but I was never told. I saw, but I never did see. It was many sounds and then it was none. I could hear, but I was completely deaf.
As the days and nights rolled on, I often time took my 5-minute smoking break just on the top deck where I could wish very much that I was somewhere else. I was not happy, but I was not terribly sad. I was not dead and I was not alive, but I was okay because I could know. And what I knew I still don’t remember.
And after 45 days on the ship, I was staring again across the green, gleamy waters, I could see for miles and then I could only see for inches. But there was no fog today. And I thought of my life, my wife, my kids, and all that I once had and I wondered was to have come of it.
I had no plan, yet I did have a plan, but then that plan was lost here in the ocean or these stormy seas.
Stormy seas, stormy waters, and all I saw was water. I stared at them and they stared back in an unforgiving manner and then I forgave them. Or did I not? I knew that we were close to land, but then we were far for land. The birds were all gone now. I think they were now too far away to come out and have a smoke with me. Yes, they loved to just fly in front of my face always seeming to ask for a smoke. But I had none to give. And I still am not sure who gave me one or who gave me the light for the smoke. But I did lie and come to smoke telling all I loved to smoke, I had to smoke, that I would die for a smoke. But they did not believe me but there was always a smoke for me. But who gave them to me, I do not know, but I had to have them or I would die and I had already died three times and two days. My bones were even brittle, but they were strong because I always was given milk to drink and I did not like milk, but that is what they always gave me.
And on this one day, I had stolen the captain’s binoculars and
I was looking across the stormy waters and then I saw what I did not see. I saw a hand go up and it was way, way, way out there. It was far away and yet it was so very close.
I yelled, but the crew of these Scallywags would not pay any attention unless I used the only phrase that would shrink a strong man’s courage-MAN OVERBOARD! Especially if you be that man. And I was and I wasn’t. And then, after I yelled, MAN OVERBOARD, I knew that the only hope for the person that I could barely see was to jump in and begin swimming towards them. Yes, a split decision or one that took the length of my cigarette to decide? But I did decide and then I had made no decision. And this I did, yes, I jumped into the Cold Waters, the every so cold waters, and yet, I did not do it. I did nothing, but then I was swimming to keep the sharks from eating me. And the Sharks all had smiles on their faces now.
Where we were there were lots of hungry sharks and they loved sailors and junk food like me. I was big and yet I was small. I was weak, but I was strong. And I swam and I swam and I swam to where I had seen the hand go up. I swam and yet, I swam not at all. And the men on the ship yelled-Man Overboard!
They all yelled-MAN OVERBOARD! Over and over and over THEY YELLED and the captain threw his big stinky hat straight on the deck floor in front of him and he then gave the order to stop the ship. I saw the Stormy Sea in one single image, but then I saw none. I counted the Waves, each and every one of them, but I did not give them a single name. I had no names to use. I had lost all names. But there was the big fat stinking Captain stinking all the time.
I think he wanted to just see the sharks eat me and that is why he really stopped. He did not care for me, but he had begun to like me. We had unbearable differences, but always in these stormy seas, we somehow come to an understanding, but then we had none. I still thought he was a big fat stinky man and he was. He stunk something fierce. The stinkiest man I think I had ever smelled, but he did give the order to stop and then, they all came out from all of their positions all over the ship.
There must have been 5000 sailors tucked away on that ship and all came to the one side to see the sharks eat me. And there must have been 20,000 rats that came out from everywhere to cheer the sharks on to eating me. It was a miserable sight to see, and I saw it and turned to see it, but I did not ever turn to see it. I thought I had, but I was never sure if I had or not. I could think, but even thinking wasn’t allowed on the stormy seas.
And then I looked again and all I could see was just one fingerprint barely above the waters now. And I wondered if it was a full fingerprint or just a fingernail. I wasn’t sure, but I was in it now. Was it painted or not? I swam, I swam, and I swam.
And I could hear the rats and all the sailors now cheering for a pack of sharks that were now surrounding me. And each one of them took a big mouthful of me and bite me and then they put the piece of me back on. I wanted to sew it all back, but I only had a carpenter’s hammer-who gave me the hammer? I did not know. So, I just swam on. And I swam long strokes and I swam short strokes. I used a backstroke. I used a breaststroke. I used them all because I swam and I did not know how to swim or who taught me? And they continued to bite me and they ate all of me and then they put me back together again. It was a most horrible feeling, to be eaten alive and then to be put back together again, and then I felt absolutely wonderful and I had no reason of why I felt that way. And I saw Waves and Waves and Waves pounding their coldness all upon me.
Then I was there. I was now looking at the man that was barely alive and he and I looked at each other. He was a man. He had green eyes, blue eyes, brown eyes, hazel eyes, and he had no color in his eyes at all. Yes, I stared and saw he was a young man, an old man, a boy, then no, he was a she and she was a young girl, a teenager, and then she was middle-aged and then she was older than dirt. NO, NOT A FLIRT. And then he was a man again. I knew who I saw, what I saw and I will claim it until my dying day, but then I forgot I saw no one, but then I saw someone. The confusion was there and then it was gone again.
As I stared at him, he stared back at me and it was strange to see him and he could barely speak. But he was silent and then he gently said with a slightest of grins-we’re catching waves now! I told him I guess so and then I saw he was standing on a surfboard. But the board had sunk, but he was still standing on it. It was there under his feet.
And as I looked down into the waters, he said-nice isn’t it, my own design, homemade and all. I made it because I had nothing better to do. And I guess he was right. But in the end, he was wrong. But then he was right again. And I said-sure, it’s nice but I didn’t know what nice really meant. I had not used that word in a tons of days, way past Wednesday for sure. Or was it Sunday? Was it a ten year period or maybe a twenty year or thirty year since I had used the word and I wondered what it really meant and if anyone still ever used it and meant it. I used it and I did not know its full meaning or if I meant it.
But as I looked down into the waters, I could see that there was a green slimly layer covering all over the man from his armpits to the bottom of his feet and his surfboard was almost fully slim green as well. But it wasn’t blue or black or white or pink or yellow or brown. It was what is was. It was a slim green and that is the story I am sticking to.
And then, the launch boat was now bumping onto my side and six of the crew soon were pulling both of us out of the waters and then we headed back to the ship. And they all stared at the two of us and I still do no know why. I saw them staring at us both, or were they blind? I cannot remember, but I saw it and then I forgot it. And they rowed and they rowed and they rowed.
Once, we were almost capsized due to on rogue wave that had meanness written all over it. But it was not so mean, but it was big and then it was a tiny wave that barely came into our boat. But it was a lot of water in our launch boat as more waves were now coming with a familiar sadness and not happy faces at all. It was a terrible feat of getting back to the big ship, but we somehow made it and I am not sure how we made it. But all of us did.
And the sailors and all the rats on the top decks were now booing because neither of the two of us had been devoured by the big monster sized sharks. And all the sharks waved as we climbed back on the ship and I could tell that they were not waves of goodbye, but waves of we can’t wait to see you again. Ya’ll come back again, ya hear! And I know that is what they said and I do not know why I heard that, but I guess I could hear shark talk and understand it. Or was it just the way they looked at us.
But then, the captain said I had gained a pardon from his contract or theft of me and I was happy to hear that and he said I could have a job with him anytime. But I was not happy to think about that because of how bad he stunk. I could smell him fifty feet away and I knew when he was always coming. But I got used to him stinking so bad because he fed me. He gave me a place to sleep and the rats didn’t eat me, so they must have gotten fed well too.
But when we finally got to where we were going, the man in the stormy waters flew back to Oahu, Hawaii and I went back to Texas where I was from. I was from Texas but I knew I was from all the states in that united place. But I still did not know how I knew. But I did and then I went to the coast to wave goodbye the only ship I did not like. I did not love and I will always remember stinky captain man who I was happy to see leaving. I was happy to see the ship finally leaving and it was a good feeling, but I was still numb from the all of it. But I knew happiness would one day be found. Found like a lost coin, a lost ring, a lost smile. Yes, all was to be found again.
And as the ship went by me, I waved goodbye and it was a permanent wave. The type of wave you give to someone you never wish to ever see again. But then as I watched the ship bow come by, I saw a mysterious transformation take place. It was the name!!!! I was shocked!!! I was disturbed!
The USS SURIVANOROC suddenly changed right there before my eyes to US CORONAVIRUS. And the story, the tale, no matter the most or least of it will be told for Hundreds of years and so will this silly tale of no, don’t you go there. Huh? To Laugh or To Cry? To know to deny? Lol.
And I was so happy to see it finally leaving…and so were you.
I hope that you enjoyed reading the above tale that was meant to help you come to a better place in your life and in your mind. Yes, we will all get thru this and lots of other repeating phrases will come along with it.
And I pray that you and all in your family and all in the Country where you live will not be afflicted with death from this Virus. And always, thank you for coming to my Blog to read what I Post. And this one tale is a special one for you to read to your kids and then you can all have fun trying to figure out all the metaphors and twisted meanings and such. Yes, I loaded them down by the wheel barrel full. One way to have fun with this tale is to have everyone read it in a gathering of folks. Then ask everyone the meanings of everything that was written. Every emotion is right there. But do enjoy…and get ready to find how this is affecting others and then, help them…and see yourself too. A lot of folks drinking would be hilarious hearing how they interpret the tale.
But in the end, yes, the Virus will leave and then all of us will be happy again.
God Bless…the living breathing James Brown, US Army Veteran, author of A Panther’s Father Book Series.