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Starbuck

Tell me about your life.

  I am a whaler, a Nantucketer.
  My last voyage was aboard the Pequod.

The Pequod!

  So, thou hast heard of the accursèd voyage.

Cursed?

  From the day Ahab set the ship's course for destruction.
  From the day the Pequod's crew swore allegiance to his white madness.
  That moment did the sails slacken, and I knew.
  But to my worries, Ahab heeded not.
  How many omens portended the disastrous end of Ahab's chosen path!
  The muted horn of the Albatross heralded our doom,
  As did Gabriel, who also walked the realms of madness.
  The squid spoke of monstrous danger,
  Ahab's splintered leg of splintered lives.
  God's wind would fain have blown us home to safety,
  And blew its mightiest against our course.
  Even the Parsee returned from the depths of the Ocean to turn Ahab's harpoon
    away.
  All such omens did the Pequod see;
  Dost not the voyage seem accursèd to thee?
  And still Ahab threw true--into the bowels of his own ship!

  St. Elmo's fire did conspire with the compass-needle to point us home, 
  But Ahab was too sharp for such trickery.
  Oh, White flames aloft! Thou wouldst burn fear into the Pequod
  And chase her back to harbour. 
  But wert thou the flames of Hell itself, Ahab would be thy greater. 
  The harpoon, imbued with thy strength, did he control, 
  And though when extinguishing thy light he 
    blew not out the fear of thy power, 
  He blew in a still greater fear of Ahab.

Tell me about your family.

  I have a wife--Mary--and a son. 
  They wait for me in Nantucket.

  I had a father and a brother, but they were both killed in the fishery.

You still go whaling after all that?

  Their deaths did not increase the dangers of whaling.

You're not afraid, though?

  Aye, I have my fear.
  Any man who goes whaling without fearing the whale is a fool, and dangerous.
  Yet thinkest not that I value a lack of courage,
  For courage is not in fearlessness, but in conquering fear.
  And so have I conquered fear--
    of storms, of whales, of death itself..
    But not of Ahab.
    I fear his rage. The rage of a madman knows no reason.

Did you get along with Ahab?

  No. I could not accept his mad quest--and he often forgot his
    responsibilities.
  If I reminded him, he took offense.
  Ah, Ahab, while thou drownest in a sea of madness,
  The salt of thy pride stung thy eyes,
  Blurring them. Thou couldst not see that I
  Never wished to be thy enemy.
  Thou soughtest scorn and contempt where there was none.
  Look at thyself, old man! They are thine, for thy poor mortal crew--
  Aye, and for me as well! Yet never would I take thee, my captain,
  For the coasting smake skipper that thou falsely ascertainedst in my
    thoughts.
  Thy compass alone points unerringly to thy intelligence.
  But consumed as thou art by thy monochrome dream,
  Thou dost not see the true colours of thy ship.
  When I would tell thee of what my eyes--and those of the rest of thy crew--
    saw,
  Thou wouldst send me away.
  But God gave me patience, that I might bear your temper
  And forbear to strike back at thy mettle, though thou didst strike at me.
  How gentle was I with thee! I dared only to entreat thee to see
  And thou but threatenedst me with death.

  Later stood I behind thy door, contemplating that same death--for thee!
  Wrested within me the devil and an angel,
  But blinded, I could not see who was who!

  

  I had come to report that the foul wind had turned fair,
  A fact that itself helped to shake my resolve,
  But in truth, as Ahab's heavenward glance would soon reveal,
  The fair wind was ever foul.

Why didn't you kill him?

  I, avowed of war, to kill this man, my captain, while defenseless in his
    sleep?
  To commit not mutiny only, but foul murder upon the high seas?
  Would that Ahab had been a lesser man;
  Binding him alive, I could then have placed my fate
  In the hands of crew and landed justice.
  But Ahab was great, boundless in his madness--
  And as fearsome in his rage as the White Whale in his.
  How could I bind him alive?

  No, Ahab must come of his own volition; I can but lure him away from his
    mad desires. 

  Lookest thou, Ahab! Reason, I offered thee, and compassion also. Thou
  refusedst both. How I persevered! Reaching even that third and fatal day.
  Yet thou again threwest back the hand that would save you.

  Turn back! For even if thou wouldst not listen to reason,
  Pip, too, calls thee back from the abyss.
  But thou heedest not and plungest forward into the gorge,
  Dragging with you all of thy ship.

  Ahab, thou once likenedst Stubb to fire--as fearless and as mechanical.
  But thou art more kin to that element than he.
  Thou, like flame on a ship, consumest all to thy one purpose to destroy
  And art destroyed thyself, quenched in the waters of the eternal ocean.

  Yet thou art human enough, if thou turnest thy glance from the furnace to
    the clear skies.

  
  One day did the benevolent sun shine upon old Ahab,
  The gentle wind did caress the rippling ocean and brush away Ahab's madness
  And so reveal his person.
  But so filled with pride was Ahab 
  That its inertia curbed his turn towards safe harbor and instead 
  Carried him to the maelstrom of his own monomania
  And the doom that awaited at the bottom of its swirls.

  Only Ismael, exiled even from death, lived to tell our tale.



Davy Jones' locker room, 
Medical Services, Psychiatrist's desk.

(c) Copyright 2001 Fyrna Ela'eren
    All rights reserved.