The Book

Arthur Jenner
26th February 2009, 02:01
Here is a little more fiction

The book that changed my life

“This is the book that’ll change your life. Come on, Arthur. Listen to me. This is the book that’ll change your life.”
“Shut up Snowy. I’ll change your bloody life for the worse if you don’t be quiet. I’m trying to read a serious book.”
I was reading a paperback western and Snowy’s voice was interfering with my enjoyment of a gunfight between a sheriff and a gang of outlaws. It was the beginning of the trip and I was only just beginning to realise that the bloke I was sharing a room with was a raving bible basher. Snowy had just come off the four to eight watch and instead of lying on his bunk with a good story like most of us did, he had to go around preaching about the bible.
“ When you’ve read this one, you’ll never want to read any other book.”
“Listen Snowy. I had that book drummed into me at school and that was enough of it. Also, I don’t want to change my life. I like it the way it is.”
I think Snowy must have been a recent convert to some branch of Christianity because it seems to me that it is only the newly converted that are so determined to bring the rest of the world to their way of thinking. Those brought up in a religion generally seem take it more for granted.
“I’m sure that if you would listen to me, I could make you see the good book in a different light.”
“I don’t want to see it in a different light. I don’t want to see it in any light at all ever again.”
He continued to nag me about his good book at every opportunity for the rest of the trip. Fortunately it was a comparatively short trip and I prayed, no sorry, hoped that I would never sail with him ever again.
My next trip was on a tanker and I was very wary about getting a reasonable room mate. Unfortunately, I became stuck with a fellow from Glasgow who seemed quite a reasonable bloke at first. He had the top bunk and mine was underneath. He didn’t appear to be particularly religious but he was, as I was to discover later, a fanatical follower of sport of all kinds and in particular boxing. He would lay on his bunk chattering about all the top boxers of the day in a way that assumed I must surely be as interested in them as he was. The more I tried to convince him that I wasn’t interested, the more he tried to persuade me that learning about his heroes would change my life. He even had a book about them that he threatened to give me for nothing. Absolutely free. I did manage to survive that trip. I don’t know how.
Then came a long trip right around the world. Casablanca, Suez, East Africa, Singapore, Fremantle, Sydney, Japan, Vancouver, Panama. A very long trip and the very worst life-changing book fanatic of them all.
His name was Christian but, of course, he wasn’t one. Quite the opposite in fact. He was committed communist. A devotee of Karl Marx whose book, Das Kapital, would, he assured me, change my life for ever. Once I had read it, I would see the light and never look back.
I suffered as never before. At every opportunity, he would bash my tired ears with his propaganda. While we were lying on our bunks, when we were working together painting, chipping, sugeeing, battening down, tying up or whatever, his voice would persist in trying to implant his beliefs into my tired brain. It eventually became too much to bear.
It was when we were homeward bound from Panama for Liverpool. I had managed to avoid him to some extent by volunteering to be the day-worker. Which meant I worked a five and a half day week and had my one and a half day week-end free. He was on the eight to twelve watch and one night I was on my way to the second mate’s room to return a copy of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary that he had lent me. It was just after two bells, nine pm to you, and I saw Christian walking along the deck, coming off look-out and heading aft for smoke. The sight of him must have turned my brain. I crept up on him and hit him as hard as I could with the heavy book He staggered but didn’t fall. He turned and saw me and a surprised look came onto his face. Before he could recover I hit him again and he fell. As quick as I could, I bundled over the rail and into the sea. As he fell I thought I heard him say faintly, “Why, Arthur, why?”
I continued on my way, hoping I hadn’t damaged the book, that wonderful book that has changed my life. Now I always take a copy of that book on all my trips. Actually though it isn’t quite the same book. I hollowed out my copy and filled it with lead. It has come in handy a number of times. So you lot had better watch out.


John Briggs
26th February 2009, 04:16
You can be a frightening bastard at times Arthur!

Sister Eleff
26th February 2009, 04:44
I must remember never to cross you Arthur (EEK)

26th February 2009, 09:58
Another nice one Arthur, keep them coming.

Arthur Jenner
26th February 2009, 11:30
I aint reely like that; jest pritendin'.
The sport bloke was real though. He nearly drove me mad with his addiction to boxing.

PollY Anna
2nd March 2009, 23:07
That was one of the things about being at sea you met some real characters. Some you had to stay away from, yet on a ship where could you hide. I was lucky as I picked up the 12 to 4 on most ships so a lot of the time I just had fellow watch keepers and the 2nd Mate, so had a quite life.
Any way Arthur I will buy your first book of short stories when you have them published. I got to keep pushing as I think that you have a great talent and it should be saved for future generations. It would be good to let the young know what we went through in a different time and era and yet it was only 40 to 60 years ago. Such a short time in the time of man. You have gained a few extra friends since you joined this site.

Regards Ron

27th March 2009, 21:27
Usually my first "viewing" in the morning - "Tales from Arthur"

Keep them coming Arthur.



28th March 2009, 00:53
Hah, that was a good story though I confess to being a little apprenhensive whether it is true or not. Actually you'd have done far better bashing your tormentor over the head with the full volumes of Das Kapital as the full work, as opposed to Volume 1 which is the most widely known and read, runs to six thick and heavy tomes. Many would argue that the contents are more dangerous than physical work itself, however, as my Scotch ancestors would have said, if its certainty that your after, "Ye'll nae gae far wrang wi a guid bash o'er the heed."

28th March 2009, 10:02
It matters not whether it cometh from the pen of Arthur or from the quill of Nelson - still a good yarn.



10th April 2009, 10:03
'ere' Arthur the greatest books of all time must be our own discharge books.
Open one up and the memories come flooding back. Hard times good times
and the times you do not tell her in doors about. A time when there was no
e'mail or mobile phones and every thing was recorded on paper.
Thanks to she who must be obeyed every letter is numbered and filed in order
right up untill 2003 when e'mail took over. Keep the press rolling ,on on .