I spy with my little eye, something beginning with S.
Ship? How did you guess. But what kind of ship?
You will never guess because this is a transcendental telescope, one my Nanna gave me.
The things I see with this telescope blow my mind. And yet I can’t stop looking. Even when this telescope feels as though it’s stuck in my mind. Everyone thinks I’m just sitting here, on my capstan, watching the world go round, when really I’m lost on the other side.
Over there, mermaids are angels, with eyes of pearls and wings like fish fins and harps made of oysters sprinkled with rainbows. Over there, wooden ships fly through the sea, their sails flapping like giant gulls’ wings. People fly too. And not just sailors. Ordinary folk. They also walk upside down and inside out. Couples dancing is best. Those ropes dangling from their wrists and ankles remind me of coral reefs. Anchors are dotted about, in the sky and underground. And sailors run between them without moving. Some of the things they do are so comical.
I daren’t laugh though otherwise the harbourmaster will get uppity and demand, ‘What’s so funny!’ When I don’t tell him he’ll snatch my telescope, look through it, see nothing, and confiscate it. Then I’ll no longer be able to see my Nanna, waving at me, smiling at me, talking to me. I have seen this. My telescope has foreseen this.
That’s the trouble with the spirit world. They know what’s going to happen, which is both a blessing and a curse.
Spying the harbourmaster heading my way, I curse. If I ignore him, he’ll go away. Whistling a simple sea shanty, I look towards that lighthouse. A living beacon of purples and golds crumbling into the greyest sandstone.
‘What do you think you’re doing, shipmate?’
My telescope is in the harbourmaster’s paws. My telescope is at his black eye. My telescope is bending over his wooden knee. Smirking, he throws the snapped halves at me then staggers away.
No sympathy, please. Sympathy sinks ships. Say that twenty times when you’ve had too many rums.
I could do with a rum right now to drown my sorrow, make my telescope appear whole again. I’ll have to wait until dusk, though, when Nanna visits. She’ll see me right with another telescope. Hopefully one with a harpoon attached to it this time.
KELVIN M KNIGHT’s first flash fiction anthology FAITH in a FLASH is out now on iBooks and Kindle. He also blogs regularly here.
Image by Kelvin M Knight