Frog Bottom Boat

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Benson, a boy from London, wakes up on a boat in Hong Kong.

Submitted: September 15, 2014

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Submitted: September 15, 2014

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Benson walked through the Manor house struck with hunger. Traversing slowly through the halls and winding down to the pantry. He Exhaled with contempt, as his efforts for menial tasks such as fetching and preparing foods had recently increased. This had been since the house maids had been let go, causing him great affliction. His fathers firm had received several “Crashes” and according to his father were caused by “peaks in the market”. This jargon meant very little to Benson in the forefront of his attention. But as time gradually unravelled, he realised how it effected his daily life. So of course all house staff had to be temporarily dismissed. It was not to be discussed amongst the family.

He reached the bottom floor and searched immediately. After inspecting the first two or three cupboards with much dissatisfaction, he grew impatient. Desperate for food, pulling draws outwards and leaving them half shut, to remain like the sagging lower lip of the kind of man his father would not employ. He aggressively opened another cupboard. In doing so a large open bag of flour fell to the ground. The kitchen could be likened to field in November, the fog was endless and seemed to engulf him. But this fog wasn't damp, it wasn't damp at all. It was suffocating him. Standing in the same position, Benson looked at himself. And as the last few grains floated down, he began to sneeze. His head collapsed into his hands, and his body sunk to the floor. Lying in an insecure shape, something similar to a question mark, Benson had experienced a mild aneurysm. Triggered by the sneeze or the flour or stress.

As he woke, some unknown period of time later, he began to recognize the change of his surroundings.

His mothers black and white tilled floor was now a speckled bile like green, with patched areas of wet. There was no flour under his finger nails, and his tongue felt corse on the roof of his mouth. He couldn't hear anything singular. The details of individual sounds merged to form one drone, which progressively faded outwards. He lifted his head slowly from the ground, and made his eyes parallel to the vast like floor, looking forwards and across in a 180 degree sweep of vision. He was on a large cargo boat. Certainly not the kind of boat he had seen before in London. The bulk of the space was inhabited by mostly blue metal containers, sat upon rigging which was fixed to the green foundation, which ran along all floors of the boat. Still laying, propped up by one arm, he read a sign that wasn't in English. It was written in an Asian language, and the people were Asian. Everyone ignored him. The workers on the boat seemed completely unaware of his being, which made Benson assume this must absolutely be a dream. As he'd never witnessed such an event which he was engaged in. But looking inwards as a voyeur, as apposed to having control or knowledge about the situation. He straightened himself, and began to walk through the mass, murmuring only confused syllables. he stood still, letting people pass him. He turned and saw the boat had recently left the harbour. It was carrying an unusual amount of people for a cargo boat. 'Maybe they're just travelling.' he thought. It was early, before mid day. The date of his setting was unknown to him. The frantic ants in the harbour where now lice instead of ants, and now germs through a scope and so on, until even the germs could not be seen.

He stood for a minute or so more, coming to terms with what he felt would make for ideal activities. 'Maybe I'll fuck one of those younger women. Or I could kill someone' he smiled at the unlikeness of his own ideas. Even within a world he thought he had control of, something as outrageous as sex and murder were not something he would gamble upon. For the stakes of the situation seemed to be higher whilst on a boat. Benson thought there would not be much room for error if failure had occurred.

He proceeded with haste. Walking towards what seemed like the front of the boat, looking for the captain. He decided it would be best to try and interpret his dream whilst within it. Avoiding men smoking and playing dice, who only tilted their head a notch to watch him walk past, and women who seemed to nurse children and crying babies in abundance. Crying from babies seemed to be the soundtrack of this boat. As if the boat workers, or maybe even some officials from the dispatching company had hired women or hired babies to cry on this boat. The babies where in cahoots, they all play in a symphony together, they would be named The Salt Water Symphony.

This all seemed amusing to Benson as he wondered north through corridors, inside and outside of the boat, through damp and dry.

As he began to reach the end of the boat he realised the captains quarters would be located towards the rear of the vessel. He ventured back, through the same corridors, this time much more attentive of his surroundings. He saw an old sign written in a variant of languages. The sign was instructive for the use of a fire alarm, which was clearly broken as the yellow handle had been snapped off. In which case the boat was doomed if swamped in flames. The english portion of the sign read:

“lift small flap to reach lever. Pull lever upwards until alarm sound is produced. Call will be sent to Hong Kong fire safety rescue.”

The alarm neither had a 'small flap' or a lever, which allowed him to judge the quality of his mode of transport. He studied these three sentences to fully understand what they were dictating. He had gathered much information from this humble sign. He was in Hong Kong.

With this newly acquired information Benson continued backwards through the gloomed interiors. People seemed to gravitate towards the opposite side of the boat and Benson started to relax because of this distance. A few minutes just to float by would allow him to adjust to the factors of this rather peculiar predicament. Looking through windows of empty rooms, mostly with cracked glass and sat dimply lit, the thought of entering these rooms and wandering the boat seemed oddly unexciting to him. In fact the rooms themselves began to de-entice him from his original amazement. The mystery that possessed him from when he first awoke laying on the boats floor had entirely left him. His urgency for locating the captain, knowing the details of his location or the outcomes of this dream had faded. He walked with no enthusiasm, less so than before in the pantry. Such a loss of appetite could have been concluded to the endless unsanitary details of this vessel. Or perhaps general teenage disinterest.

It was unlike him to mope, so he continued, with no expectations or illusions as to how he would conclude this mirage. Benson said aloud, in a monologue dedicated to himself, 'Maybe I'll get stabbed by another man'. He stopped, and laughed. 'Maybe, I'll get stabbed by another man, and he'll miss the important organs and I'll be fine. I'll sew the wound up quick, and maybe socialize with a girl my age. Surely in such an illusion, I could just force her to speak english.' He paused 'Is that racist? I could invent a language that we are both fluent in speaking, and we could chat for hours. That'd be just fine.'

As Bensons morale gradually lifted he began to reach signs of other inhabitants of the boat and in the distance what looked like the captains office. He walked through the crowds of people with a blank expressionless face. Although, the corners of his mouth started curve just a little. It could almost be deemed a smile. Even though the time which had passed since waking was merely 20 minutes or so, his activities seemed to be dragged into the spectrum of hours, and loomed in that vague spectrum. He may have pitched a tent and slept for 3 weeks on the very spot in which he stood, but this was all wash and may or may not have happened.

All of a sudden Benson was knocking on the captains door, without realising what questions he may ask or resolutions he may propose.The door to the captains office opened. A surprised Chinese captain, in white overalls and a black hat appeared and he leapt into action. He shouted with more spit than sound. No direction is his arm movements, just frantic swinging. It seemed to him that he had interrupted the captain whilst he was engaged in some important business. The room was messy, littered with old magazines and the smell of sweat. In the centre of the room was a foreign looking pulley system made of thick rope, which ran into the floor and presumably steered the boat somehow; there was no other official looking equipment in bensons eye sight. Benson stood in amazement. The ball wasn't in the captains court, and it wasn't in his. He left. He walked away speedily, back out onto the deck, into the fuzz. With no real direction of where to go, or any single person who may assist him. He looked around, several yards in front of him stood a vendor. A man selling what any normal being would assume was hot dogs or toasted nuts, like he had seen in movies set in New York. He walked towards the vendor, to inspect his these hot dogs or nuts. The man scooped small black raisin like things with a small hand shovel, and patted these raisin like things together into balls, roughly the size of a cricket ball. There was a line of children. With arms twitching to receive his efforts. As the children where handed the black crumbly treats they ran to the edge of the boat, and tossed them over the railing, into the sea. Without even taking a bite, all of these children threw them into the water. Naturally Benson was dumbfounded, more so than from the brief episode with the captain. Who's spit remained on his jacket in small spots. The line of children grew smaller and he managed get a closer look into the vendors large metallic container. Thousands upon thousands of dead flies lay in this drum. A dark mountain of insects. He reached the front of the line, the man smiled and handed him a fresh ball of flies that he had crafted. With his mouth open, and eyebrows almost touching, Benson slowly took the ball of flies and still in confusion said 'Thank you'. He wandered over to the railing, following suit with the other children. He didn't want to seem like a maverick, being the only one to not through his ball of flies.

 

He approached the edge of the boat, looking directly downwards. Through the frothy waves and dirty water, huge dark limbs pulled the vessel forwards. These limbs where connected to a torso which ran along the bottom of the boat. This torso belonged to a frog. A frog bigger than the boat itself, built into the sheet metal body and framework. The Boat continued to glide powerfully as the children launched the frog feed, soaring through the air and descending into the froth, to be consumed by the amphibian engine. The hind legs of this creature sprung out continually, with such grace and unexpected elegance. He had never seen such a spectacle in his life. This one frog alone surely could feed ten thousand french families. Benson threw his ball of flies upwards towards the frogs head, which could only be seen slightly through the water in the distance. An ominous dark green hub. The ball hit the water and sank immediately, and the frog pressed on through the growing current. The sun was high, and the babies where still crying. As the children laughed around him, Benson looked at the frog, for just a few moments more. 


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