Gentlest Reader: Shy Maiden or Once-Brave Lad,
‘Tis with a heavy heart that I type this post. Your blogger has stumbled upon a maniacal, Australian substance driving our good Sailors shrieking mad. The light in these once-great men’s, women’s eyes was captured, quick in a twirling butterfly net, and replaced with the tired, surrendering flicker of the dead. Cold, lifeless. Waiting for the soil, the shovelfuls of soil to pile, pile after pile, and worms, and even grass, with cemetery footstomps above. And then to hear your name, read with a sniffle, off yer own gravestone: Here lies a once good man. Done in by the dread that best be not uttered. Argggh. Argggh, indeed.
What, say ye, drove our sea-faring lot to such sirenesque despair?
Ah lads, fair maidens, gather ye yer senses, gird yer loins, should you still have any loin t’gird, and cluster ’round this blog for a tale o’woe and shrieking. Gnash your teeth at will, for your smiling days have numbers! And th’numbers, they match your fingers. On one hand. Not including thumbs. 4, 3, 2, 1, argggh. . .You are fingerless and dayless in the forever night. And you, with only nubs, fists to ward off all that bumps and whispers in the willows. . .
The hours of wine and roses, the minutes of milk and honey, they are dead. Our sad yarn, it begins in Australia, that land of petty thieves and knife-teethed warriors. Of nervous, dinkum kangaroos and foxtrotting wallabies.
Oh, how happy would I be to write that it ends there! That her devilish hand stayed put, clenched. But alas, her pestilance has been imported, and t’washed up on our fair, virgin shores. Cheaspeake Bay, San Diego, Norfolk folks, Bremerton, Groton, Jax, Galveston Bay, hey! The invasion is upon us, brothers and sisters, and we fight not back! Where is the waiting for the whites of her eyes? The fire at will? The nuts. The un-stuck on stupid?
What disease is this, what name does our doom harken too?
Acch, before I reveal the substance, ’tis best to relax a slight bit, dear reader. Shake out yer shoulders. Take yerself in a nice dipper of clean, new air. Breathe a nostril-ful, and then out. Ready? Gird ye yet once again.
Repeat after me: our enemy has a name. There are many enemies, but this enemy is mine. And she goes by the title of Musk Stick. Yes, yes: Musk Stick. Innocent name, no?
Well, ’twere not innocent in the slightest. Nay, neigh. Before my very red-veined eyes, I watched grown men reduced to unproductive, pre-pubescent boys with a mere, musky snifferful. One lean in and one quick inhalation and they were gone, years lost in naval training. My neck muscles throbbed, the veins in my very forehead pulsed, threatening to burst as fair lasses became less fair, less lassie.
I suppose the best way to whisper of our tale is to invite in the instigator. Ah, cast your eyes not upon her website! Ignore ye the plucky bear, named Digs the Digger. He proudly guards her blog, waiting and counting the hearts, souls he has scythed, harvested. Perhaps he toils as a digger, a plowman of the rib cavity, of the chest. And the owner of this gargoylish site counts page-views in hearts plucked free. Not unlike mayonnaise jars, vegemite tins in her cupboards. Argggh.
In the days of ol’ when-est a Sailor lost his last, unpolished marble, they t’were lashed to the mast to keep from throwing their body into the cruel, shark-infested seas. The ocean, she has no fickle. She takes and takes. Our best and brightest. And takes. Without thanks. And takes more. The sea, as I have known her, has no discern. Yea, have I groaned: Captain, she do take!
Back to our tale of Oz. So, our supposed blog innkeeper invited me to her site, to rest upon couches of wheat, chaff and stalks and grain alike. She served me great big mugs of grog, brought white-knuckled to my table so heavy were they. And t’when I were relaxed, tired from naval journeys, she started in on the musk. With soft incantations, intonations of words I knew me not. Argggh.
And even though I held, clutching in my innermost mind, that (almost) good men have been driven poor. Driven to bad indeed by this musk concoction.
Yet, I was powerless. She insisted. I did not say no. She insisted again. I did not fight. I did not wait me for the pale pallor of my enemies’ eyes. I surrendered not at first light, but at first night, before the very peeping of the infant sun. I had no backbone, guts, resolve. I did not utter nuts at my own Siege of Bastogne!
As if a gull, the musk sticks arrived on my shore, by my door, and me with a heady post-work allo! Once hale fellow, well met. Soon, very soon: frail fellow, soiled and wet. I tromped her in, the package, like a wayfarer, a good samaritan requiring a nightly pillow.
And off the next day, our innocent Ozzie musks with me, t’work. For your viewing pleasure, I present musk to you in all its gorgonesque beauty. Yea, the bag, livery yellow. Musk flavored sticks, colored pink. The same color as my heart, should I still have one beating. Next to our enemies, lying on my very cubicle table: a roll of life-savers. Life-savers, that American confection. That Benedict Arnold within our midst. And like a mallard decoy bobbing on some ducky lake, eucalyptus candy. Menthol and lungful and koala-like. Yes, poison. One more impish pill not to imbibe.
So I subjected my fellow and fellowette Navy professionals to said criminalish candy. And here is t’what I heard.
Her: I feel like I am at a night-club and some sweaty guy has leaned in too close and I just tasted his cologne.
Me: Hmm, something like Drakkar Noir?
Her: Yes (narrowing her eyes.)
Me: What, everyone’s smelt that stuff!
Him: Pink candy. Never. Well maybe a little taste. (One tiny nibble.) Absolutely disgusting. (Spitting it out.) What do you mean by bringing that crap here?!?
Him: (Looking at the Musk) You always bring in such interesting food, NavyOne. Why?
Me: (Thinking of these very pages, this blog) Oh (whistling.) No particular reason.
Him (a retired P-3 guy): Candy, let me bring it home for my children!
Me (gleeful, so gleeful): Yes, by all means do take (the dreaded curse off my stained hands.)
Him: I could not do it. (Hands me aforementioned, accursed confection.) I can’t give my kids this.
Me: (Head hung low, eyes bloodshot.) I understand.
I best end us there, shipmates. For perhaps yer jumpy tickers cannot take another round. Know this, the musky curse has arrived at our very shores and we are not stalwarted against it.
Pink has never been the color of evil, ’til now. Parents, guard ye yer wee ones, take cover from this pestilence. For musk sticks are on the prowl, searching fer your piker soul to keep. Hug yer children, sob into blankets, bite willow boughs in your gnashed teeth. For tonight, it may be your last. Or perhaps this tale has more tails? Argggh.