The completed version of a story I started on flash fiction night. This one was meant to be written based on two concepts that were chosen from a list. I chose and island and an odd sock!
Y’ wanna know why they call me Odd Sock Sam?
Well, it goes all the way back to ’25, back when oi were quartermaster on board the HMS St Anthony. We was sailin’ the South Pacific we were, a few days out o’ Panama, headin’ south for the ‘Orn, loaded wi’ tobacco. Now, on’t fifth night, a storm comes up. No’ the worst oi’ve seen, but Cap’n Briggs were worried ‘cos it were gettin’ worse an’ we was nowhere near the mainland.
Now, just as the waves starts gettin’ big, the Cap’n, ‘e spots a few li’l islands threw ‘is telescope, an’ there’s one wi’ a nice round cove we might shelter in t’ ride out the storm.
“Set a course for those islands, Mr. Green!” ‘e tells the ‘elmsman, an’ Mister Green turns the wheel, fightin’ ‘ard against those waves. ‘E knows ‘e’s got t’ follow orders, but whether or not the St Anthony rides out the storm, ‘e doubts we can ever make them islands.
All the same, we gets close t’ the cove, just as the waves is gettin’ ‘uge. Oi’m pitchin’ about on deck tryin’ t’ ‘elp the ‘ands secure the sheets proper when…
The biggest wave you ever saw ‘its the St Anthony starboard side an’ knocks me overboard! Into the sea oi go, an’ oi’m thinkin’ this is the end as oi go under one wave, up out o’ another, gettin’ further an’ further from the St Anthony, an’ try as oi might t’ swim oi might as well be a cork in a river!
“Sam! Sam! We lost Sam Swallow!” oi hear ’em yellin’ on deck, but it’s no use. The Cap’n can’t alter course now; ‘e’ll just have t’ ‘ead fer shelter an’ ‘ope ‘e doesn’t lose another man.
Oi lose sight an’ sound o’ the ship afore long, ‘cos the rain were comin’ down ‘ard in sheets, an’ the wind’s screamin’ like a damned soul. Just as oi’m thinkin’ oi’m off t’ join me old Mam in ‘eaven, I see one o’ the islands comin’ out o’ the fog be’ind me! The waves is shovin’ me t’wards it! Oi might just land there!
Oi kicked an’ pulled an’ ‘eaved in the water like oi’ve never done afore. Some’ow oi get myself onto the beach. Some o’ the debris from the ship’s washed up next t’ me, an’ oi think that might be useful, but first things first. Oi run into the shelter o’ the nearest tree an’ oi wait fer the storm t’ pass.
Well, it passes, an’ dawn’s just breakin’, an’ oi’m thinkin’; maybe things ain’t so bad as they look. Maybe Cap’n Briggs ‘as still got the ship tied up in that there cove, an’ ‘e’s close enough that oi can send ‘im a message some’ow.
Now, in the hollow o’ that tree, there’s a little pile o’ sticks, still quite dry. Another bit o’ luck too; someone’s tinder box got washed ashore, an’ the tinder’s dried out. So, oi lights a beacon fire on the beach an’ oi keeps feedin’ it while I look what else oi can use. Moi clothes are wet through, so oi looks around fer some dry ones. Luckily, oi found some fresh clothes, an’ a few scraps o’ food t’ keep me goin’.
Now, fer four fine days without sight o’ storm nor rain, oi’ve got that fire burnin’ on the beach. Oi’m just about thinkin’ the St Anthony‘s moved on, an’ maybe oi should think o’ settlin’ down like Mr Robinson Crusoe did, when oi see a ship comin’ from the north. Oi recognise ‘er in a moment.
“Ahoy, ahoy the sail!” I shouts as it comes nearer. “It’s me, Sam!”
An’ sure enough, it’s the St Anthony. Mister Green steers ‘er close offshore an’ they send the launch t’ pick me up. Cap’n Briggs is aboard, an’ ‘e’s smilin’.
“Good work, Sam,” ‘e says. “We saw the smoke from your fire leaving the cove. Sorry we didn’t come sooner, but some of the boys were badly injured below decks and we had to make repairs. How did you do?”
“Well, oi managed, Sir,” oi says, “Thanks to these boxes an’ stuff that washed ashore wi’ me. Oi ‘ad everything oi needed fer a few days, though not quite in the proper way o’ things, Sir.”
“Meaning what, Mr. Swallow?” asks the Cap’n.
“Well, while oi got a change o’ clothes, Cap’n,” oi explained, “Oi ‘ad t’ make do wi’ odd socks, Sir.”
“Odd socks?” says the Cap’n, raisin’ a brow.
“Aye, Sir,” oi says, pointin’ downwards. “Oi got seven socks washed up wi’ me ‘ere, but not one o’ them matched the other, Cap’n Briggs, Sir!”
An’ at that, the Cap’n roars wi’ laughter, an’ all the men at the oars beside him laugh together, an’ then oi starts laughin’ at moi own joke. An’ from then on, on the St Anthony, on every port oi came into, an’ on every ship oi sailed on until moi ‘ealth didn’t allow it, oi was Odd Sock Sam.
Buy me another tot o’ rum, an’ oi’ll tell you another one.