15. Close Quarters

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"Have you heard any of Tom Waits later works?" the Captain asked

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"Have you heard any of Tom Waits later works?" the Captain asked.

Captain Eugene didn't seem like she'd be a die-hard Tom Waits fan. Geoff hadn't considered the captain's music tastes but based on the animal skulls and black metal wheelchair he would have guessed something a bit heavier.

She looked back and forward across the blank faces of her newest ship helps. Geoff raised his finger and then lowered it, embarrassed, he wasn't a schoolboy.

"I have," he said.

"I've listened to what Geoff plays," said Naomi

"Bit after my time I'm afraid," said Jamieson.

Geoff turned to look quizzically at Jamieson.

"How long have you been down here?" he asked the, apparently much older, man.

The captain continued, cutting off Jamieson's reply.

"In the song 'get behind the mule' Mr Waits sings this verse,"

"Pin your ear to the wisdom post
Pin your eye to the line
Never let the weeds get higher than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind
Got to get behind the Mule
in the morning and plough"

"Do you know what that means?" The Captain asked.

She continued speaking before anyone had a chance to guess.

"It means you've got to work to keep your head clear. It means life is pain, but there's a kind of beauty in that. It means young Naomi and Geoff here are required in the kitchen to help out with some chores," she pointed in the direction of a wooden doorway, "and it means I require Mr Jamieson for a discussion in the Captain's quarters. Are we clear?"

Everyone nodded.

"Are we clear" the captain repeated, louder.

"Yes captain," said Naomi.

"Yes sir, I mean ma'am," said Geoff.

"Crystal," said Jamieson.

Geoff didn't feel like working his way anywhere. He felt like resting. RIP had - so far - stood for Run Into Problem. He would settle for Rest In Pieces. Maybe in the world of dust, he would stop thinking, stop worrying, stop wanting.

 Maybe in the world of dust, he would stop thinking, stop worrying, stop wanting

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