Shanghaied book excerpt

Posted: November 8, 2011 in Sea stories, Shanghaied

Chapter Seven

“Speak English, kid?”

I jumped a little at the sound of the voice and turned toward the man on the next stool. He looked like one of those guys I used to see in the RKO Movietone News about Hitler. From the neck up like an officer: neat, red goatee, big red moustache, and a crew cut. From the neck down, a bum fighter: no shirt, khaki trousers, thick belt, black boots, and all muscle. The tattoo on his arm looked like a seasick mermaid swimming over the waves of his rippling muscles. His eyes darted like yellow bumble bees ready to sting. He scared me.

“Sure, I speak English. I’m Irish.” I looked around the bar but could find no easy way out. I was stuck.

He nodded. “I’m German, Bremerhaven, name’s Fritz. Give the kid a drink,” he ordered. He made no offer to shake my hand, nor I his. “On the beach, kid?”

“Kind of, Mr. Fritz. Look, I have to go, it’s dark out. Those are my pals just coming down the stairs.”

Fritz turned and said, “Guess your pals are leaving, you prob’ly have to go with them, kid. I’m leaving, too, back to my ship. See you later.”

I was glad to see the back of him. He gave me the creeps, but I gratefully tossed down the drink he bought. It tasted bitter.

Hans and Max paused at the foot of the stairs and said something to Fritz in German as he passed on the way to the door. I wondered how they knew each other.

“Okay, kid, ve goin’ back now.”

Continue reading Chapter 7 here:

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