Captain Eye-Patch

I made my passage with the good ship 7192 again on the four-aught-four route today, from the port at Edmond's Town to the harbor at Wye. She's a heavy old ship, but as wheel-boats go she's got it where it counts. Captain Eye-Patch was playing his county-and-western music loud and proud, but that's not quite enough for a crew to mutiny over.

Old "Patchy" (as we like to call him), he's got a way with that boat. He's got eyes like a sea-bird, and he never misses a beat when it comes to avoiding obstacles (though we've often wondered how he manages to keep her keel down when he turns her like that.) He's also steady on the helm around those corners, but those street curbs (and other sandbars) must be taking a terrible toll on her hull.

Patchy, he's got a taste for that Virginia leaf. I can't imagine how dry his lungs must get, already dessicated by the biting winter air, but he still manages to drag them back, one at a time, every time we make port. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen Cap'n Patchy without a cigarette somewhere on his person. Those white torpedoes are almost as much a part of who he is as that eye he's missing isn't. I've heard some of the crew say he'll smoke two at once on a bad day, but for all I can tell it's just a legend. That white smoke's done wonders for his larynx, though. I've often wondered how you'd classify his sort of voice in terms of the octave scale; he doesn't really fit any of them. Is there an entirely separate category for "gravel in a barrel?" Luckily we don't need to understand him much. When he turns down the music, you know he wants your attention; what exactly he wants is hard to say, but it's usually something to do with the stop coming up or a detour for an accident, and you can see those things well enough out the portholes. He always rasps out a scratchy "yea[gh]p" in acknowledgment when you thank him for the ride, and I suppose that about as much as any man can ask of a Bus Captain these days.

Here's to Patchy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How delightfully eloquent! Seriously, you should go into writing something somehow. . . wait you're already there - you're studying English :) Good choice.