A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Jules & Jim

Jules & Jim

Two hundred feet below them the Pacific Ocean crashed against the barren rock that was their home. Jules looked out over the wind blown water to the mainland. He could just make out the twinkling lights of Aradine but the storm must have rain in it because they kept disappearing. The mighty light of the Aradine lighthouse cast its Flashing White light every ten seconds warning mariners that they were too close to the reef that extended out from the coast. Jules chipped the last patch of rust off the top of the staircase that led from the light-keepers accommodation at the bottom of the tower to the light at the top and put down the double edged pick. He wiped his rust stained hands on the muttoncloth that hung form his waist and stood back and surveyed his handiwork. A good afternoons work. If the lazy bastard Jim was up to it on his shift he could have the whole structure primed and topcoated by the end of the week and in time for the weekly stores and inspection visit by the lighthouse service. Then again, maybe not. Jim had been in a bad mood since the last visit when Jules had to submit his report. It had simply read ‘ He, (the Assistant Keeper, James Hall) grabbed me by my shirt and drew back his hand and said he was going to, quote, Knock your bloody block off.’ Jims account in the same log had said, ‘He (the Principal Keeper Jules T Holdsworth) had been on my rag for a month, continually complaining about my dress and language. He accused me of being a dullard, and a proll. I pushed my hand into his chest and warned him that this couldn’t go on.’ The Inspector had, of course, believed Jules version. Jim had a rather unfortunate and colourful history in the service and was lucky to have been appointed to the Aradine light. His last position at a northern lighthouse had ended when he was found drunk on duty. This was his last chance to redeem himself. If he failed here he was out of the service.

Jules, in some ways, felt sorry for him. He was physically powerful and that suited him for the job but he was stupid and unadaptable On top of that he had some questionable personal habits and he was a loner. Working on lighthouses you had to be able to get on with others. Often two to three weeks could pass before another human being would arrive. They worked two months on, one month off and the air could get fairly thick if some degree of rapport did not exist. Jules had tried to get him interested in some of his hobbies but Jims reading stopped at Westerns, his music taste was confined to musical adaptations of Banjo Patterson poems, and his political opinions were just to the right of Margaret Thatcher. He continually accused Jules of using fancy words that I can’t understand to try and make me look stupid. Jules inwardly smirked that that wasn’t hard. Jules made his way down to the accommodation.

Jim was in the kitchen and Jules noticed that the pot on the cooker was boiling over. He moved over to move it to the side of the hotplate and Jim suddenly jostled him aside but not before Jules noticed a large chicken in the pot.

“I thought we had run out of frozen chickens Jim?” he started off then he realised that indeed they had. “You haven’t bloody killed one of the laying hens have you?”

“I’m not eating bloody tofu stew again in my life and the old bitch had only given us a couple of eggs a week anyways.” Jim muttered under his breath and picked up the wooden spoon and carving knife in a threatening manner.

Jules thought it through and decided that it wasn’t wise to pursue the point. Jim had a distinct odour of whisky hanging about him and his flushed face gave evidence that his off watch afternoon had not been spent sleeping.

“I’ll have to put this in the log Jim. You know that drinking on the job is not allowed.”

” I’ll throw you off this tower if you make up more stories about me you …..” Jim left the sentence unfinished.

“If anyone is thrown off any tower it will not be me.” Jules said. Jim looked quizzically at him and cocked his head to one side as he tried to decipher the inner meaning in that.

After a few minutes of deliberatrion Jim lurched out of the room. Jules decided that he would finish reading that Sartre play before he caught up on his sleep.



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