Here are some short stories I wrote when I was a seafarer during the 1970s and early 1980s. All of them were previously published in The Seafarer magazine.
You can read them online or download them here:
“There are times when you think you’ve got the better of the sea. You can go on fooling yourself for years. It’s safe up in your Space Age bridge, mile after endless ocean mile, mechanical monotony cutting nice straight lines from port to port. You lean on the bridge front and watch the ship thrusting the waves aside, technology dominating environment.
You don’t get like that straightaway. It’s a feeling that grows up in you. It’s born of disillusion and fed on boredom. When you wobble fearfully up your first gangway you carry with you, along with far too much other luggage, a romantlc vision of the sea. The sea is something mysterious, an element of storms and surprises. You are embarking on a life that will set you apart from lesser men…”
The End of the Shah
“Just before Christmas 1978 the 30,000-tonne bulk carrier Rupert arrived in Bandar Shahpour. She had come from Japan with a cargo of steel plates, destined one day to become gas pipelines. Most of the crew were due for relief so the company chartered a B Cal 727 to spirit us 25 shivering souls from a foggy Gatwick to a humid Abadan. That was the last plane in or out of Abadan for many months, though no one suspected this at the time.
Hot, overfull minibuses rattled us across endless miles of muddy salt flats, decanting us after several hours at the end of a vintage wooden quay. We struggled, luggage laden, aboard the ship and decimated the stock of cold beer whilst the leaving crowd melted smugly away…”
The St Martin’s Day Massacre
“The first pig is all right. The second one is much harder to catch. He hears the squeals of the first one and runs in shrieking circles round the uneven stone yard while the men get in each other’s way, trying desperately to pin him down. Hemmed in by the brown stone walls of the barn and the heavy wooden gate, he can’t escape.
There is a crescendo of squeals, crashing bodies and strange, oblique oaths which see him held fast on the heavy killing block.
By nightfall he will be four hams, miles of sausages, a spicy pate and a tub of lard. He’s had his day.”