Saturday, July 2, 2016

Somewhere, Under the Sea – Murder at 20,000 Leagues

A beautiful sight to some, a harbinger of death to others

“Happy we’ll be beyond the sea,
And never again, I’ll go sailing.” – Jack Lawrence

My best friend is a woman. I am a man. Should these facts be relevant to the tale about to unfold, I am unsure, but as the flavor of this prose is so frequently flowery and dandified, the experiences and allusions referenced so often asexual, it is possibly a worthwhile clarification.

I love my best friend, as surely as I love chocolate egg creams, the Temptations (original line–up only), my white, shawl-collar dinner jacket, the dear departed Spanky, finest of all felines, being an accepted regular at a welcoming, neighborhood tavern, and a perfectly prepared prime rib. We have each other’s keys, and we all are aware of the seriousness and solemnity of the key exchange ritual. We watch each other’s cats, precious and fragile lives left in the other’s care – sacred bonds of trust.

She’s been as important to my adult existence, maturity and development as anyone who has ever cautiously and carefully, with justified trepidation, pierced the protective plastic armor of my presence. I’m as comfortable with her as I’ve ever been with any animal, vegetable or mineral, and as trusting of her as the little lamb that followed Mary to school one day.


So, after these many eons of familiarity and faithful friendship, why is she trying to kill me? No one could be more aware than she, that I take to water like an anchor takes to water. I take to water like Joe Frazier in “The Superstars” competition took to water (today’s obscure reference). I take to water like the guy from the beginning of “Sunset Boulevard” who, although deceased, somehow still manages to narrate the film, takes to water.  I take to water like a mob stool pigeon, sporting the latest in stylish cement footwear, takes to water. If I have been at all unclear, please allow a little additional elucidation, I take to water like the drowned, dead, bloated, floating corpse, I appear destined to become, takes to water.

nycityman takes a dip in the backyard pool
Once wary toe makes its first move from blistering, beach terra firma, to initial dip into Neptune’s domain, the principle problem reveals itself - by some freak of nature, which I have neither the intellectual capacity, wisdom nor knowledge to explain or comprehend, my body completely lacks buoyancy. Be I alien, artificial intelligence (using the term “intelligence “ with some flagrant looseness), an X-Man-like mutant with the world’s most useless anomaly, or in possession of a physique composed of primarily sand or sponge - unlike Ivory Soap, I’m not 99 and 44/100% pure (and may I say, for that I am grateful) and I don’t float.

nycityman enjoys a day at the beach
One must ponder, then, why is the aforementioned best friend constantly putting me in situations where I’m very likely to succumb to a watery demise – be it a pool deeper than my stubby, old, Italian-American man height, a dolphin cove, offshore on a tiny, little boat that we piloted with no prior boating experience, or on a very large cruise ship afloat in a vast sea with no vision of safe, blessed land ever in sight?

All that was found of nycityman in the dolphin cove
Friends, to the point of all this damp deliberation - should I harbor some suspicion?  Is there foul play afoot? Has a deal been negotiated between beloved bestie and suspicious insurance agent? Will my organs command an abundant bounty on the black market? Will she publish these, now, six years of timely treatises and become the next American Poet Laureate? Should I alert some authority?  A gendarme?  The FBI?  A lifeguard?  The Italian-American Civil Rights League?  David Hasselhoff?  The Coast Guard? The Tea Party?  Sub Mariner? Or, are these aquatic undertakings all, rather, well-meaning, and well-intended attempts to free the self-imposed, land-locked restraints of a far too sheltered and too guarded gentleman, and expand his heretofore limited vistas to what have been new, rewarding, and extremely enjoyable experiences, should I survive them?  

Or, has she understandably had it, and just wants to kill me? Keep a watch on these pages.

nycityman on Celebrity Cruises
And now, Bobby Darin stands on golden sands and watches the ships as they go sailing – enjoy!

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

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