I disembarked from the Ship of Fools, and stepped aboard the Weltschmerz Tug that would carry me to shore. The woes of the world weighed down the tugboat’s captain, who would not, or could not, hide his disgust. I was his only passenger, and as he steered towards the Island of Pomposity, he spewed forth a litany of misery, piling one curdled complaint upon another until I had to stop my ears with corks. The sea sloshed, and smelled of rotting aquatic death. I could see the land. It was close enough that I could make out various pompous ladies and gentleman promenading upon the harbour wall, in fustian and crinoline and tweed. But hours passed and the Weltschmerz Tug never seemed to get any nearer the shore, though the engine was chugging away, belching foul black blooms of smoke, poisoning the seabirds. Was I to be stuck forever between foolishness and pomposity, trapped aboard a tugboat with a world-weary captain moaning and spitting and cursing, corks in my ears and bile rising in my throat? Yes, I was, and this, I would learn, was very Heaven.
NOTE : Tugboat Tales, Number One is here.