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The Cowboy And The Mermaid

College

Although all his friends laughed at him Blake knew that mermaids are real. It was a strange thing for a cowboy to talk about, since he lived and worked, well, inland, away from the ocean. However, after every cattle drive instead of hitting up a cathouse or saloon, he went to San Francisco. He spent all day sitting on a pier and watched the ocean, looking for his beloved mermaid.Blake was a veteran of the War Between the states. He was a Union Calvary Sargent until he was captured while scouting for General Grant. He was sent to Andersonville prison and when he caught the smell of the camp several miles out, he knew he had to escape. He entered through the North Gate at dusk. As soon as it was dark, he found a guard and snuck up behind him. He grabbed the Reb in a powerful chokehold until he collapsed to the ground. Blake stripped him naked and put on the gray uniform, over his blue one. He walked out of the South Gate and never looked back. He planned to steal a horse and ride South to Florida. Once he was at the ocean, he would acquire a boat and set sail to one of the Union ships blockading the rebel ports. It took more than two months to reach the Florida coast. and another three weeks to locate a Rebel port, with blockading Union ships. Being a landlubber his whole life, he had no idea how to swim. Even if he could, the ships were too far out at sea. He did find several rowboats and one canoe. He knew how to use those, but they were too slow. If someone saw him and sounded the alarm, there was no way he could reach the ships. The small fast privateers in port would outrun him. All the other vessels in port were too large for one man to run, even if he knew how to sail.He went into a local saloon, knowing the locals would buy him drinks and food. All he would have to do is spin yarns of Southern victories. As he told lies about battles he wasn’t in, he heard that one of the ships was going to try and run the blockade. He saw a Reb Navy officer sitting bursa escort at the bar. Raising his voice he said, “Well we would’ve won this here war already. Only reason we ain’t is those damn Navy boys can’t get us enough bullets to kill those damn Yankees. All they do is sit in port gettin’ drunk and fuckin’ whores.”Of course, the Navy officer took umbrage at those comments. He stood up and invited Blake to have a short debate on the relative merits of their respective services. The debate ended with three black eyes, two fat lips, one bloody nose, and $50 of broken furniture. The officer also being a gentleman, “You, I say, you, sir, should see how real men fight if you dare. We set sail an hour after dark.” Blake accepted the invitation.Blake’s had no idea what he would do, but he knew he would figure something out. He was a survivor. He boarded the A. D. Vance, a modern steamship only two years out of the Scottish shipyard that built it. Blake planned to break an oil lamp and set the ship aflame. When the Union ships came to investigate, they would pick up survivors, and he could reveal who he was. The night was as dark as closed eyes. It was overcast and there was no moon. Blake held his hand up and couldn’t see it even when it was touching his nose. The Reb sailors went about their work without a sound. The lines pulled aboard and the ship was underway. Blake could see a faint glow in the distance and asked someone nearby what it was. He heard someone sit some tobacco juice then say, “Dem’s those damn yank ships. I reckon dey is five er six miles South West of us.” Then he heard the man walk away. Blake bided his time watching the glow get bigger. He wanted to be as close to the Union ships as possible. When it seemed that the light was as close as it would get, Blake found a lantern and wrapped it in a piece of cloth he stole. He put the bundle on the deck and stepped on it, coughing to hide the noise of the glass breaking. “Hush up ya landlubber,” came bursa escort bayan a whisper from one of the sailors. When no one came to see what the noise was, Blake kicked an edge of the cloth into an open hatch. He went down the ladder, to the sailors sleeping quarters. His exploration of the ship showed him a second hatch and ladder at the other end of the sleeping space. He struck a match and held it to the oil-soaked cloth which caught and illuminated the night. As he dashed past the hammocks he broke every oil lamp he passed.There were screams and curses on the deck. The sailors knew the Yankee ships had started to head toward them. Now they had to fight a fire and the hated Yankees. The attempts to fight the fire were short-lived. A piece of the burning cloth fell into the berthing compartment and landed in a pool of oil. The flames followed the trails of oil, the ship had become a funeral pyre for those aboard. Blake ran up the ladder ahead of the flames. No one saw him since they were too busy launching boats and jumping overboard. Blake could see the fear and panic in the faces of the Rebs as they tried to decide if they wanted to drown or burn to death. Blake got into a boat as it before the flames took the men assigned to lower it. The few lucky souls on the boat were only singed. Several of the men pulled knives, so Blake drew his cavalry saber and cut a rope. Without warning the boat fell into the sea. As the men began to row away from the inferno, they were pulling soggy survivors aboard. What Blake didn’t know, was that several Rebel warships were patrolling the coast. They were closer to the A. D. Vance. As soon as the Yankee ships were in range, the hidden Confederate ships opened fire on them. Now Blake had to deal with angry Rebel sailors and a raging naval battle.Blake was sitting in the forward-most part of the boat, and helping to row so they could survive this nightmare. As they rowed away from danger, there was a resounding explosion. escort bursa Blake’s ears were ringing when he looked over his shoulder to see a cannonball had fallen short. It killed most of the men in the boat. The few survivors had wounds ranging from wooden shrapnel to missing limbs. Blake had a few small cuts on his hands and face. Unsure how he got so lucky he began to look for something to keep him afloat until the battle was over. He saw a fragment of his boat floating a few feet away. He leapt toward it and missed as he hit the water. The weight of his cavalry boots and two wool uniforms dragged him underwater. The water wasn’t very deep where he was. When he hit bottom, he jumped hoping to get to the surface. His lungs screamed and his heart raced as he clawed his way up the briny deep.He broke the surface and gulped in the cool night air. He was something floating nearby and he grabbed it. Whatever it was, it was big enough for him to climb on top of and rest. The battle appeared to be over, and the burning ship was of fin the distance, leaving him in the dark and alone. “Anyone alive,” he screamed hoping for someone, anyone to keep him company. No one responded. Blake’s body had reached its limit. He was mentally and physically exhausted from the fear of capture. He fell asleep. When morning came, Blake woke up to water in his face. He had shifted positions and his face was hanging off the side of… ‘What am I on,’ Blake wonders. He sat up and looked down. As soon as he did he wished he hadn’t. He was on the corpse of a Rebel sailor. After feeding the fish last night’s dinner, he realized the sea had grown rough. There were dark and ominous clouds on the horizon. Blake looked in all directions and didn’t see any sign of ships or land. Not knowing what to do Blake called out for help and got no response. He didn’t even see debris from the battle in the water. around him. About an hour later it was dark as night. Lightning and thunder were almost constant. As the storm-tossed Blake around he fell into the water. The sea was so rough he couldn’t even see the corpse. Blake kicked frantically to keep his head above water while he tried to come up with a plan.

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