Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)
TITLE: Fantasy, Reality, and the Like
By Sherry Curtsinger
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“Fair lady, what would you do with that doubloon?”
“Of this I am not certain, for I think it wise to worry about surviving the Pequod and Moby first?” I countered.
“Ah, yes! It does seem as though Ahab sent us on a fool’s quest; with no regard for his own, or anyone else’s, life.”
We shared a chortle and returned to maneuvering the harpoons and ropes. Ishmael looks at me, pats me on the shoulder, and speaks: ‘How it is I know not, but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other, and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts’ honeymoon, stand I and you -- a cozy, loving pair.’ (Moby Dick, ch 10)
“I give you my gratitude for such kindness,” I shyly retorted. Never would I have imagined Ishmael felt bound by the strings of friendship as tightly as I. With only the two of us surviving this pursuit, I look out over the tumultuous sea.
Determined to conclude what we began, I said, ‘Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! And since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou darned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!’ (Moby Dick, ch 135)
With one last burst of energy, I shoot the harpoon deep into the whale’s underbelly. The sea creature screams. Whether it is from pain or the agony of defeat is insignificant. “Victory at last,” Ishmael’s voice pierces the now silent deck. We give each other a quick embrace. He struggles with his words, ‘I know not how to tell thee who I am. My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself Because it is an enemy to thee. Had I it written, I would tear the word.’ (Romeo & Juliet act 2, scene 2, page 3)
Suddenly, I am transported to another place and time. I no longer feel the sting of salty sea water on my face or the effects of days without bathing. I am dressed in a fine, blue velvet dress of the renaissance era, and all this time Ishmael has been my husband. He, too, is now dressed from this era. I respond, ‘My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words Of that tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound . Art thou not Romeo, and Montague?’ (Romeo & Juliet act 2, scene 2, page 3)
Wow, I’m enjoying this. If by simply reading, I can experience new things, go new places, meet new people…then I have discovered something truly remarkable. Only I truly know how the story ends, and whether it’s fantasy or reality. The best thing is - there is no right or wrong! Just let your imagination roam free.
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