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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

High Cotton by P J Dunn @pjdunn49

9:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Scooter called loudly to the sentry at the top of the gangway, “permission to come aboard, sir.” The sentry looked closely at Scooter, and then replied, “Come aboard, son.” Once on the deck, the sentry looked Scooter up and down. “You look familiar, young man. What is your name?” Scooter smiled slyly and said, “My name is Scooter. I was named Scooter because of my size. I was told I resembled a pickaninny.” Scooter and the sentry both laughed. “Well Scooter, what can I do for you?” the sentry asked. “Is Captain Hannibal still the Master of this sailing vessel?” Scooter questioned. “He is. And may I ask how you know the Captain?” the sentry said as he struck a match to light his pipe. “Wait a minute, wait a minute.” he said as he reached for the whale oil lantern hanging on a standard behind him. Holding the lantern close to Scooter’s face, the sentry declared, “Holy Mother Of God! Your name isn’t Scooter. Manni, its Manni. I am Seamus, the boatswain.” Scooter remembered him. “It used to be Manni, but I was renamed by the slaves at Mt Pleasant Plantation.” Scooter explained.

 

“You were just a child when you were sold on the auction block.” Seamus hesitated. “The Captain was most regretful that he had let that happen. He still regrets it to this day. So, you are now a free man Manni, I mean Scooter.”

 

“I would like to see the Captain. Do you think he would want to see me?” Scooter asked. “Oh, I am sure he would. You wait here, and I will go to his quarters and inform him you are here.” Seamus said and left. Scooter looked out over the harbor, turned and looked toward the crow’s nest. The hurt welled up inside his chest as he thought of Jalani. Tears filled his eyes. “It’s me Jalani, I’m back.” Scooter whispered.

 

Seamus knocked on the door of the Captain’s quarters and he heard a gruff “enter!” He opened the door and stepped just inside. “Captain, there is a young man at the gangway wishing to see you. He is looking for a job.” Seamus said as he glanced around the Captain’s cabin. In the dim light he could see on the desk next to the charts and nautical instruments, the stocking cap the Captain had given Manni, so he would look more like a sailor. “Have him come back in the morning,” the Captain said gruffly.

 

“But Captain, I really think you may want to talk to this young man. I think he would make a good crew member.” Seamus was almost begging. “Seamus, when did you start telling me what I need to do? Alright. Bring him here, I will speak to him.” The Captain seemed agitated. The sentry hurried out to get Scooter and bring him to the Captain’s cabin. Seamus again knocked on the door and again the Captain bellowed, “Enter.” They entered the cabin. “What is it you want?” the Captain asked of the young man. “I am in need of a job,” Scooter answered. The Captain turned to look at Scooter, and sensed a familiarity, but He couldn’t determine what it was. “What is your name, son?” the Captain asked. “My name is Scooter.” he responded. The Captain asked the young man to come closer, into the light of the dim lamp. He stood there for several moments, not speaking. Tears formed in the Captain’s eyes. Picking up the stocking cap, he felt the material for several minutes. He turned back and said, “Manni.” He tossed the stocking cap to Scooter, and said, “Now you will once again look like a sailor.”

High Cotton

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Genre – Historical fiction

Rating – PG

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