appreciate a present, same as anyone else, but it was a bit difficult to feign delight with the signed first edition of Moby Dick. My sister Edith had found it, of all places, at a garage sale.
had to agree, finally, that such sales were not ‘recycled junk’ as I’d always espoused. In fact, the book was probably worth thousands, and she’d arranged an appointment for us at the Boston
Museum to have it evaluated.
didn’t get many chances to enjoy her company so I enthusiastically agreed; almost rolling my eyes heavenward with memories
of my own encounter with a mega whale and wished Lee were here on leave with me for a little unspoken support.
had all begun when the government wished us to assist the Bryce’s in their heart research. The gist of it to record
its EKG to discover how it could avoid a coronary or some such thing that we mere humans incur if we only have a few excess
first expedition had been devastating. His research boat, one could hardly call it a ship, smashed by the whale, resulted
in their son’s death, and his own severe injuries.
was not amused by our mission, nor was he exactly thrilled to have Ellen aboard. Sometimes Lee can be a little dense, even
now. We’d had three women aboard before this mission and only one had been a problem. Why he considered a marine biologist
of Ellen’s stature a potential headache is anyone’s guess. I really will have to have a little talk with him about
any case, we searched for and met their ‘Moby Dick’; a huge whale which decided it didn’t like us and rammed
us. Lee, and rightly so I can see now, wanted to get the badly damaged Seaview ‘the hell out of Dodge’, so to
speak. But unbeknownst to us, Walter had jumped ship with a barbed spear gun. When we found out, Ellen admitted he was insane
and only wanted to kill the creature in revenge for their son’s death.
wasn’t going to turn Seaview around to go back for him. Not even at my order.
Believe you me I was so angry at his refusal I almost (‘almost’ being the operative word) wanted to fire him right
then and there. But there was no need for me to voice it. Ellen’s eyes had started to tear up, and all bets were off.
The saying’s true, ‘never underestimate the power of a woman’. That solicitousness common to most men regarding
the weak and helpless, (well, she was at that point; weak in that Lee was the Captain, and helpless that as the Captain he
had the last word), kicked in, and he ordered Seaview to limp back to Walter’s (and the whale’s) last known coordinates.
could only idly stand by as we witnessed with our cameras that he was being dragged under by the whale, tangled in his spear
guns lines. And then he was out of view…
Dick, my sister said, bringing me out of my reverie, was an imaginative classic, the ‘perfect bedtime reading’
for her big brother.
course my own experience with an outsized whale made me think the better of it and I’ll have to take it back with me
to Santa Barbara where I’m sure it will find a nice home in my office bookshelf, not in my bedroom or cabin.
am also reminded that I’ve never apologized to Lee for wanting him to go
against his better judgment regarding our own ‘Moby Dick’.