A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Ship board life (unfinished)

Albert sprawled at the end of the chaise lounge, his eyes closed, gently snoring. Through the earphones the lazy movement of Haydns       gently wafted into his steam and brandy soaked brain. His towel and slipped beneath his navel revealing a cluster of black pubic hairs. The other gentlemen in the sauna discretely averted their eyes. Simon leaned forward and indicated a passage in his book to Gerald he reclined in a high backed wicker chair. He was attached to two snaking wires that protruded from the marbled walls of the low roofed sauna. Their exact purpose was obscure to me, but Gerald said he felt completely rejuvenated after an hour’s treatment. A steward opened the door to our chamber and bought inn a tray of drinks. He was clad only in a pair of brief bathing trunks, still considered risqué outside the confines of the gentleman’s only room. Through the opened door we could hear the squeals of delight and the splashing coming from the ladies swimming pool. Through the warm, patterned flooring we could feel the gentle thrum of the huge engines of the trans-Atlantic liner SS Imperator as she surged across the Atlantic from Liverpool to New York at 11 knots. I had been surprised when I had negotiated the gangplank and entered the cavernous entry lounge to this fine vessel. Prominently displayed was a huge sign that read ‘First and Second Class Passengers are asked to refrain from throwing money to Steerage passengers- By order of Captain S.C Baden-Moore SS Imperator.

Deep in the bowels of the ship the twenty-two stewardesses of the SS Imperator lined up facing the Stewardess-in-Charge. Each clutched a balled up kapok lifejacket, a full-length oilskin, and a small first aid bag. Their matching black-trapped shoes, candy-striped overdresses with stark-deep-darted collars, and matching starched hats brightened the mahogany panelled smoking room that had been temporarily set aside for lifeboat drill practice.

“In the unlikely event that the alarm should be announced you are all to proceed to your designated station. Your primary responsibility is to the First then Second Class passengers whom you will reassure and make sure that they are equipped with their personalised buoyancy aids and survival clothing. The steerage passenger gateways are to be securely bolted and will only be opened once all top floor passengers are safely in the water in the lifeboats. You should make sure that passengers under your care are properly attired for the weather conditions and that they are reassured that rescue is only a matter of minutes away,” the stern face Stewardess-in-Charge announced as she nervously fingered her clipboard and motioned toward her own survival kit spread out on the table before her. “Now lets look at what your kit contains.”

Even deeper in the bowels of the SS Imperator, hidden from the imperious top floor passengers the on-board farm readied itself for morning milking. The P&O line had researched potential customers before setting up the trans-Atlantic line and whereas passengers were perfectly content to eat salted beef and mutton (to get that authentic sea experience) they absolutely needed to have fresh milk in their tea or coffee. Hence each liner harboured a small herd of dairy cows who provided fresh milk for passengers who paid the full fare.



1 Comment»

  Idiororappy wrote @

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