The Davy Jones’s Locker
DAVY JONES’S LOCKER
Fiction Short Story
A freak accident.
A ghastly death.
A gruesome sight.
The young seaman fell off the ship’s towering main mast — his body somersaulting — tossed around by superstructures and bulkheads — till the seaman’s dead body lay mangled on the deck — neck broken — skull smashed.
At sunset — with poignant naval ritual — we consigned the sailor’s dead body to the Davy Jones’s Locker — at the bottom of the sea — to Rest in Peace — RIP
I rummaged through the sailor’s belongings — and I found his diary.
As I leafed through his diary — it was evident that he meticulously wrote his diary daily.
I read his diary.
It is extraordinary how close you can be to a man — and how little you can know about him.
I knew he was married — but I had never realized how deeply he loved his wife.
I sealed the dead seaman’s belongings in a kit-bag.
Yes — I packed all his belongings.
I packed everything — except his diary.
His diary — I would hand over personally to his wife.
I would visit the seaman’s wife and make a personal condolence call — the next time we berthed at Mumbai — and I would try my best to alleviate her distress.
I owed it to dead seaman — and to his widow — for it was me — who had sent him up the main mast to repair the light — while the ship was rolling and pitching in the treacherous North Atlantic.
Three months later — we berthed in Mumbai harbour.
On the very first evening — I went ashore to make the condolence call on the seaman’s bereaved widow.
After making the condolence call — when I returned to my ship late at night — I found my shipmates waiting for me on board.
The moment I returned — my shipmates asked me anxiously:
You took so much time…?
You found the place…?
Did you meet the seaman’s wife…?”
I sat down — and — I patiently answered their questions.
“Yes. I found the house — and I paid our condolences to the seaman’s bereaved wife…” I said.
Suddenly — they all started speaking together:
“The seaman’s wife — widowed so young — poor thing — so unlucky — such a pity — so sad — tell us — tell us — how has she taken it — is she devastated — what was she doing…?”
“She was in bed…” I said.
My shipmates looked concerned.
“She was in bed…?
Oh My God — she seems to have taken it very badly — it has been three months since he died — and she is still bedridden with grief…?”
they all said — with sadness on their faces.
“She is not bedridden with grief…” I said.
“What…?” they all exclaimed in chorus.
For a moment — they waited for me to speak.
And then — there was a cacophony of voices — as they asked me:
“…why is she lying ill in bed for three months — what happened — accident — fracture — heart attack — stroke — depression — shock…?”
“Please…! Please…! Please…!!! …” I interrupted loudly — raising my finger, “You all please be quiet — and I will tell you everything…”
Everyone became silent.
I looked at my shipmates — and I said:
“The seaman’s wife — she is not ill — she has not had an accident — no heart attack — no stroke — nothing — she is not in distress — she has not taken her husband’s death badly at all.
In fact — she has taken it rather well.
She wasn’t alone in bed when I suddenly reached her house late at night — she was in bed with someone else…”
On hearing this — they all started shouting:
She was in bed with someone else…?
You tell us more — what happened — please tell us…”
“What is there for me to tell you…?” I said, “I went to the address written in the seaman’s diary — but I found out that his wife has shifted to a swanky apartment in the suburbs — so I took a taxi and went there. By the time I reached the house — it was quite late…”
“Posh house in the suburbs…? She must have bought it with the insurance money…” someone piped up.
“Then what happened…?” someone else asked me.
“It was quite late by the time I reached the house — but I had to meet her — so I rang the doorbell. The seaman’s wife opened the door. I recognised her from her photo in the seaman’s diary. She was dressed in a flimsy nightie. I told her that I was her husband’s shipmate…” I said.
“Then what happened…?” they all asked together, curious.
I decided to tell them the full story.
I began speaking:
“I rang the doorbell.
The seaman’s wife opened the door.
She invited me in — so — I walked into the drawing room.
She asked me to sit down on the sofa.
As I told you — she was dressed in a flimsy nightie — and — I realized that she was quite drunk — the way she was walking and speaking.
She offered me a drink — she poured one for herself — and we sat down on the sofa.
I did not see any signs of sorrow and grief on her face — in fact — she seemed to be quite happy and pleasantly drunk.
I was about to speak — when suddenly — a man’s voice called her from inside the bedroom:
“…hey sweetie pie — what are you doing out there…? Come back to bed fast — I am getting cold…”
on hearing this — the seaman’s wife shouted back to the man in the bedroom:
“…someone has come … my husband’s shipmate…”
and — the man inside shouted back to her:
“… just tell him to get lost — tell him to vamoose — just tell him to disappear…”
It was quite clear that I had interrupted their lovemaking session — and I was unwelcome.
So — I bid her good bye — and I came back to the ship…”
I said — concluding my story.
My shipmates heard my story intently.
Then — there was a burst of emotion — and a cacophony of angry voices:
“Bloody hell — she was a two-timing bitch — poor guy — and what an unfaithful wife who was cheating in him — and he was such a nice guy — it looks like she was making a cuckold of him all the time.
Maybe — the seaman knew all about his wife’s affair — maybe — he knew that his wife was cheating on him when he was sailing at sea.
Maybe — he didn’t fall off the mast accidentally — maybe he intentionally jumped off and committed suicide…”
“Maybe…!!!” I said.
Then — my shipmates asked me:
“What about his diary — the dead seaman’s diary — did you give it to his wife…?”
I said to my shipmates:
“No — I didn’t give her the diary.
I threw the dead seaman’s diary into the sea — to join him down there — at the bottom of the sea — in the Davy Jones’s Locker.
May they both Rest in Peace — RIP — the Seaman — and his Diary — in the Davy Jones’s Locker — at the bottom of the sea …”
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
This is a revised version of my story “CONDOLENCE CALL — The Davy Jones’ Locker” written by me Vikram Karve more than 16 years ago, in the year 2006, and posted online by me on my creative writing blogs a number of times at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/flas… and Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… and https://karve.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/fiction-story-condolence-call-a-mystery/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/condolence-call-the-davy-jones-locker/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/the-condolence-call/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/05/20/davy-joness-locker/ etc
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.