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Call Me Scholomo

An astonishing tale, my fortunate friend, but I fear the learned minds of our benighted age are far too jaded to give it much thought. Writing it down may entertain those very few with the time, income, and disposition to read about adventures on the high seas. I fear, though, there is neither money nor fame to be found through publication. On this, I speak from experience. That said, I do think that setting it to paper will aid you in coping with the anxiety, the nightmares you speak of. That is reason enough to write, Ishmael. And, please: call me Schlomo. Doc Schlomo."

I paused to take a slow draw from my cigar. I do not really care to smoke anymore, not since I fell away from circumstances that permitted me to enjoy the finest examples of the roller's craft. Tobacco has a lure as strong as the sea, though, and when my share of Cloudwolf's take is a box or five of Cuba's finest, I pause to savor it. But if someone ever tells you a cigar is a cigar, whatever you do don't partake of their humidor.

"As to your other question, after our conversation I am quite comfortable referring you to the Bosun regarding a berth on Cloudwolf. I recommend you consider it - the Captain will work you, but I would not call him a monomaniac like this last fellow you describe. The occasional bout of narcissism, yes, but that's a symptom of the breed, wouldn't you say? You cannot ask for finer crewmates. No matter what may be after you, they will have your back and they will have it well. I have even seen them put paid to automaton brutes and shadow assassins both."

And a good thing: both were after Mama Amalie's oldest boy -- namely me. Hence I find myself in some American port city or another on shore leave from my berth as ship's doctor on what the Captain politely terms the "Merchanter" Cloudwolf. I had not originally thought neurology would be a deadly endeavor - not to the neurologist in any event. But the human mind holds secrets, and there are people who very badly need those secrets locked tightly away. Woe betide we who stumble across them, like the pirate caches still secreted on the islands hereabouts. A treasure to be sure, but always the promise of someone who will put you in the ground... as they did poor Bruer... to keep it themselves.

I should have been a lawyer.

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