It was an average winter Monday evening in that small city on the west coast of Finland, the small city was silent and dull as it usually was by Monday night; especial on a winter day when its two main streets; wich was called as; upper street and lower stereet by loacal usage, both of them run along by the canal towards the estuary, those main street were empty oftraffic in that Monday with the exception of few young who were driving by their noise mobile
There had been many bad news in this small town. The first blow that hit the city was the bad news that declared the shipyard ending its operation and shortly after that notice all work were caesed in the shipyard and there were lot of unemployed men walking and bicycling aimless along the streets.
Sadness grown over the city and more sadness come with the second bad news that told the plant that had been manufactured cars for export made now everyone known that it will reduce the folk in the factory and the two shift of worker will have their last payment in their hands within two weeks, the result was an angry city of fourteen thousand people.
The unemployment rate jumped up in the city and the welfare office got many new customs to be taken care.
A pub near the canal was named as ‘Calkas’ it reffered to a name of the one well known sea births of this area. The poor lighted pub was nearly empty of men; just two drunkards with their shabby clothing sat beside the bar, and in the far corner of the room at a single table could be seen a man sitting with his coffee.
A man wearing black leather jacket and dungaree entered the pub; the man wasn’t more than forty five of his age with pale complexion and a goatee. The man halted on middle of the room and glanced around, his eyes wept past the two drunkards and fall over the man sitting at the table in the corner, then went over and still standing asked,
” Mind if I join the company?”
“Just sit down”.
“You are drinking coffee”.
“Yes. I am with my car”.
“I see. You’re not from here”.
“I’ve been living here long ago, now just stopped for moment to see old places.”
The man in black leather jacket dug his pocket and fished out pence. Holding them in his palm he said.” Not enough to one pint” then added. “Do you have some change I could have a beer”?
The man at the table passed three metals peaces over the table. “This is enough for a beer?”
“Yes. Thanks,” the leather jacket said and rose then went up to the bar holding the money in his palm. The bartender had vanished due to little crowd in pub and the man in leather jacked tapped the desk his hand and a woman appeared from back of the bar.” the long one to me ” the man said and the woman filled the glass by pumping three or four times the handle. The man took the glass and carried it to the table. No one had put the music playing and there was easy to hear what another was saying.
The man sat down the pint before him and said:
“Thanks for the beer” he said, then held his hand over the table. “Tim is the name.”
And I am Henry” the other said.
They shook hands over the table.
Tim dug up a bag of tobacco from his pocket and started roll a cigarette, he talk to the other at same time. “I am seaman, some sort of seaman you know, for I have had no change to sing on any ship for two years. I have been thrown on the beach like a marooned pirate and sing on dole for some money, not enough for living but poor. It’s difficult to get any job aboard a ship. There are not jobs anymore for a man like me. There even not exists the labour exchange office for sea folk. They told me to write direct to the companies’ office, to make some CV as they call the application. Well, I will not write anything anywhere. I have my discharge book, the seaman book, its have been enough to be certificate my ability to be a sailor.” Tim shipped his beer and continued.
"They just avoid telling to you right that you have been too long at sea and there are young candidates to come, and they are much cheaper employers to be sign on a ship.
You tell me what will happen when thing start goes wrong aboard a ship. I have seen the mate sitting on bridge in his comfort chair watching the electronic chart and the ARP radar. Many of them even not recognize the lighthouses by names that they are making past.
I am dam a buggier if I will write one of those hopeless CV for nothing.”
“I know that all what you are talking about”. Henry said. , “I am seaman too. Now I am making my living for sifting boats and small vessel from place to place or from port to port, transporting a tug or something like that. There is just a trip or two.”
“You might need couple of able hands there”. Tim said.
“Sometimes yes but not just in this time. There is nothing to offer and I am at dollgum myself with no job. But perhaps I could help you to find another job.”
Henry fished out of his pocket a small Red covered notebook and started leafing it through. “Here is one phone number that I would like give to you.”
He tore out one white page of the notebook and took a pen and wrote something to the paper, then he past the paper over the table to Tim.
“Make a phone call to-morrow and ask Harold.” Henry said. “Harold is the owner and director of this firm. He will no ask if you have document or the CV. I have heard they are operating with some ship and there could be need men.”
Tim looked at the page torn off the notebook. “I have heard about this company. Thanks anyway. I will call there to morrow.” He shipped his beer and said. “I will invite you to my humble home. There will have nothing but coffee to drink. You can drive to morrow. Couldn’t you`?”
The front door of the pub slammed and a red hired woman appeared in the doorway. Lingering no time she came over. “Where you got the beer?” she asked.
Tim without lifting his eyes from the table nodded toward Henry. “This friend paid and I have invited him to our home”,
“You will invite every bugger you meet to our home”.
“Shut up. The home is mine and I will invite whom I ever wanted”
“I too live there”, the woman snapped.
“Please, don’t make abuse. I will not come”. Henry said.
“Sorry about this but I really hope you come. We will have lot to talk”,
Tim sipped his glass empty and packed his tobaccos into pocket and said, “Shall we go, all together?”
They walked up to the parking lot where Henry’s car was stopped. Henry opened the doors and Tim said. “Wolswaken, Golf”?
“Yes, an old one”.
Henry drove out from the parking lot and took the lower street. He allowed the direction of Tim who said:
“Go along this up to the first cross road and then to the left hand”,
“Along this, then to the left” Henry repented.”
“You repeat like a helman at a ship’s wheel,”
“Yes it’s the habit, rooted in mind”.
It had started snowing and the side of the road shone whiten in the headlights. The drive ended under line of trees and Group of flat roofed apartments was seen on the right side the road.
“Better stop the car here.” Tim said. “There is no place for a car in front of the door.”
The apartment was little with two small rooms and kitchen. While the woman was in kitchen cooking coffee Tim showed a room to Henry for rest over the night. It was small room and its walls were covered with oil painted pictures. Henry took close look at each of them and was seen pictures that describing about rural people in their daily duty: Henry inspected that picture one by one; they all were no bad, actually they were pain with care and by skilful hand and eyes, but something there was, in each of them. There was something unhelpful and sad. “Who is the painter of these pictures?” Henry asked
the woman came into room and said.
"Are you gone to sale them?"
" No, They aren't good enough for selling them somewhere",
" They are",
"You are the first who like my pictures, I want to be good artist but I feel I can’t be good enough."
"Tim cam and said, "That pitiful stuff",
There was silence for a moment and then Hary said “I like them”
When they were sitting in the table drinking their coffee the woman said. “My name is Lisa. I am awful sorry what I said in the pub”,
“I was called you as buggier. It didn’t mean anything”,
“Tim treated my so cruelly: He even threaten drive me out, and I have no place to go”.
“I am from Kaliela and have tradition that women must be silent in the church as the bible says”.
Lisa bowed toward Henry and whispered” He is so cruel but he is wonderful on bed”.
Henry said nothing, he felt being outsider of this little family where he temporally have visited
Next morning before ten o’clock Tim made phone call to the number he have got from Henry, He could hear the dial sound like three long toot, then woman’s voice said “ Western charter company”,
“Could I talk with Harold”?
After awhile there was man’s voice that says.“Harold”.
Tim had no manner to be or show very polished man of him and he went as always, right into mater and told he was without a job and was looking for a ship.
Harold listened and then ask,” Have you been before afloat? What sort of certificates your bear?”
“My second mate ticket has run out course too little sea times within last five year, so I have my A/B still in my pocket. It will never run out as the rule says.”
“I see. I see. Harold said. “So. You are ready working as a/b aboard a ship.”
“Sure I will”.
“The vessel arrives at Calmar in Swede andI am waiting info there from to come. The captain hasn’t given a ring yet .Could you made a call to me at afternoon. Then I will know more about the matter.”
Tim walked that three kilometres that was the distance up to town and went into ‘The old Master’, the second pub in the city that was meeting and lolling place for jobless seamen and the shift worker of the local chemicalfactory.
Tim found a couple of men sitting at table near the front door; they saluted each other by hailing hello and were cheered up for pasting moment from their dull for seeing someone entering the pub hopping involuntary the newcomer carrying some news.
One of the two men sitting the table by the window was an elderly man and had a large bulk, blonde bear and he was sitting his back toward the window and his undressed jacket was lying on the bench beside him.
He was a painter and well known in the region even he hasn’t sold any of his pictures. Actually he has worked with the same idea and the same theme during the last twenty years. It’s was the unfinished formastted barque which have haunted in his main and kept him going with the theme. There were numerous pictures of the vessel in his flat, among the many other things and lot of painting were lying against the walls which he never got complete. In theevery work he begin he soon found something beingwrong,It could occur in the direction of the light or in the sails of the vessel, so the unfinished barque continues her sailing at a moderated sea on her endless voyageall the sails set, toward the sunset
This man who was known as ‘artist’ was a talent not only with the paints and his pallet knife or of his work which he never got ready but for the way he was speaking. He spoke as a best preacher ever could speak, as an orator, though there was sometime much theatre in his articulation.
The other fellow sitting opposite the table was slim and weak voiced former chief engineer and he had his English styled hat on his head all the time.
He had been service on board large tankers and when been on last of them, have fell in fit of paralyse with the result that was now retired. Now his dull and unmoving life was filled just with these daily visits in that pub, rather to see the fellows’ seamen and join the discussion than to drink for he didn’t drink more than one, just a beer.
The painter too wasn’t very profitable for the pub for he used drink water from long glass. Seeing Tim entering, the artist said. “Who is that sophistically young man that is approaching our table?”
“There is change of job”, Tim said ignoring the joke and sat down.
“Where you are going to”? The engineer asked.
“ To Harold. I have to give a ring once more and I think there is no problem...”
“Harold.” the chief engineer said. “Good men, but not start speak about payment, he will get mad at once when you start talk about something like money”.
“Lady Mistress, The artist hailed out calling the waiter. The female waiter came over and picking the empty bottle of the table asked.
“What the problem here. Are you going to start drinking something else than the water you have held all the night ?
“Not at all, my lady. But I would ask you be kindly enough to bring a beer for this young officer which kindly will join our company. The bill of that service you could address to me” this saying the artist took out his purse and looking into it for a moment he very carefully picked out a bank note of it, and passed it to the waiter,”
“You have got money”? The waiter said.
“Never fasten with the money. The time is money; how much you have time the much you have money, and let me say this – time I got more than enough,”
It was half past thee when Tim phoned again using the phone in pub enquiring the matter of a job and again the female voice said;” just a minute”, and the Harold came onto line.
“There is one man paying off and you could be replaced him. Will you come out here to our office and have fare to travel to the ship to be joined. Let’s say around one ‘clock to morrow at . take a bus and drive to Ramón, then take a walk along the main street towards the harbour and when you come near a lofty block you could see the number 1, com in andelevator yourself up to fourth stories there you see the door of our office with a label on it here read ‘ The Western Charter agent’ ,”
“I am ready, just packing my things and then I will be underway at once.”
Tim hung up the phone and retuned to the table.
“I have got a hint of a job”, he said to the company at the table, “I will join to-morrow then finished up his beer, rose and lifted his hand up he said, “I am leaving now. There could be lot of water blowing in the canal before you can see me here again.”
“What ship that is”? Asked the chief engineer.
“Some old rust perhaps”?
The artist tossed up his both hands and singed out a part of an old scanty:“Out to the world we are going by our endless road. Good luck and Bon Voyage.
“So long”, Tim said and went off.
It was well past high noon as the bus arrived at Raumo and Tim took his walk along the main street, and after a short walk he came up a multi storey whitewashed block showing number one on the corner and towering well over the other building around.
Been driving by elevator up on the fourth floor he easy found a door where read the company’s name: The office of the’ Western Charter Company’,
A man opened the door. It was the director, Harold himself and with no more question he invited Tim to step in. They went into room and Harold gestured Tim to take sit in front of the writing desk and took out a paper and said: “Better make the contract here so jut not need do it aboard the vessel. You can take a copy of this with you.”
A woman came into room and said”, I have arranged all the fares and the ferry is going tonight at . This is two hundred for the travel experience.” The woman handled an envelope over and less than half an hour Tim was underway again, taking a buss and then the ferry. All the fares were paid and in order, including a cabin aboard the ferry in which he spent no more than a couple of hours.
When he at last arrived at Kalmar it was morning and he took the nearest taxi to be found and drove towards the port ending his drive beside a vessel, it was the vessel where he ought to join as an a/b. He paid off the taxi and taking his gears he embarked.
The Lesound was the vessel with the capacity of 3400 ton and with length over all 46m. She was build in Fredrikahawn in Denmark 1973 and was one of those pox shaped and after housed vessel which was not build as a sea boat but just for carrying the cargoes and whose ages couldn’t be longer that ten years.
Upon embarking Tim came across a man standing on the deck, the man was the/b which Tim was order to replace. The man led him down into the cabin and as he laid his gear down still holding his muster roll in his hand to be given to the master, he asked of the man. “What kind of ship this is? And who’s the skipper?”
The man shook his head. “The skipper Leonard, he is brother of Harold as everyone knows. We call him as little Harold. He is ok, but this vessel... ah, you will see. The deep tanks, some of theme is leaking and no one knows where the water comes in. This is working ship. Indeed. You will get to know.”
“What the next port”?
“Bound for St Petersburg. Russia.”
When retuned on deck they went into mess room where there were sitting four men at present. The atmosphere of the mess room was very typical for every coater mess room. It was warmth and thick of cigarette’s smoke and as it was and the men at present were drinking their ‘ten’s coffee’.
The oldest man in this mess room was man, who was sitting at the outer end of the oval shaped table, and though there never have been style or habit in a Finnish vessel to introduce each other among the ordinary sailors, Tim knew that man. The man was the well known tug master who has lost his towing business and has lost his old tugboat, too.
He was well over sixty and was known by name as Janson and was earning his reputation by sheer courage to do his work without aid of any education of a navigation college. Now he was holding post as the second mate on board this vessel. He wore always his leather jacket and there wasn’t anything like seaman in his outlook.
A hail raised from the crowd as Tim entered the mess room, it was Carl who was two weeks ago disappeared from the group which permanent visited in the Pub Master, disappear of Carl first caused speculations until one could told Carl have had a job in some ship, but didn’t know the name of that ship.
Carl cheered an old buddy and wished him welcome on board. Carl wanted to know how is going there without him, in his home city. “They try to come along without you Tim said, sat at the table.
“Where is the captain”? He ten asked.
“Up there in his cabin I think”. Car said.
“Jus want to give my papers. Tim climbed up to boat deck and tapping fir on a teak door and getting open it he found a lanky middle aged man which he took as Leonard, the captain.
On 28th February there was a news on the papers, It told a ship been sinking in bad weather off the coast of Norwegian. The crew of the ship, eight men, all told have drowned and went with the ship with the except of two crew members whose bodies were found drifting wearing their survival suits. The same new told the ship been briefly called in Copenhagen in Denmark wherethenew captain have took over and after that the ship was reported sailed out of the Skagenand on 27th February 2125 asking for help the last words of the captain was heard; “ I have seven men aboard”,