The Cook Tries To Filet Me
A crew's gotta have a cook for a long journey. It could take us several months to get the whale. On a tip from the barkeep on St. Kitts, I stopped off at a boarding house where I found an unemployed cook named Duq (pronounced "Duck"). He was cooking as it happens--lowering a live lobster into a steaming pot, which seemed to give him an awful lot of joy.
The barkeep had told me that prior to joining the vietcong as a kid, Duq had never cooked up anything more than a bowl of noodles. During the war, he became a top interrogator. After the war, the tools of the interrogation trade--knives, cleavers, boiling water and oils--got him a job in a slaughter house in Hanoi. The chance to earn a better salary led him to prep work in the kitchen of a French restaurant in North Vietnam. There, Duq realized he had a flair for the culinary arts, especially dishes that were boiled or served on a skewer. This enabled him to rise to the position of sous-chef. A short time later, the position of Head Chef opened when the previous holder of the job was found lying in the alley behind the restaurant with a skewer stuck through his heart. Duq filled in to some acclaim. In the late 70s he was hired to be the personal chef for some rich guy's yacht. When he heard one of the rich guy's guests comment that the corn was too salty, Duq stuck one of those little corn cob holder things into the guy's face. This began a couple decade cycle where Duq's skills got him hired and his psychoticness got him canned. And each gig was less and less prestigious. When I met him, it had been a year since his last one, manning the deep fryer at a conchburger stand on St. Martin. He was eager to work again, and I was lucky to get someone with his know-how. Or so I thought.
Then the other night he rushed into my captain's quarters with the cleaver. He was after the 50 grand in my desk. And I was in the way. He swung. The cleaver struck me right where the right elbow meets the upper arm. Luckily (in this case), I have no right arm, having lost it to an equally psycho whale. The blade lodged in the oak desk. I then whacked Duq in the skull with the computer. He dropped to the floor like a sack full of crap. For good measure, and to make sure he wasn't faking, I kicked him upside the head. I'm going to dock him a week's pay for this.
P.S. Here's a scrimshaw ( done on a paper plate) of my new cleaver by Flarq, the harpooner, who likes scrimshawing cleavers, I guess: