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The Inner Workings of Billy Budd

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Alas, my weakness shows most definite. The cursed trembles in my voice alludes to my guilt even though I have none. Once easily hidden under my Handsome Sailor facade shows itself most visibly without fail. In my being refrained from the woes and organization of English, words cannot be my refuge. Words against kindred natures on Claggart's part spun me to paralysis. “There is no hurry my boy.” A large hand like that of newborn chicks gives me a motherly touch. A hand most dominant yet callous imparts a patriarchal bond on me. To find this connection extinguishing by the fires of Claggart before my eyes stuns me. Where does his hatred find its source?
My presence in the service, a most involuntary presence, is the ship and demise is the port I approach with each tick of the clock. Is it the words of the wise man, my sage, the reason? Jimmy Legs has indeed got me down. These words, “Jimmy Legs”, if anything, should have warned me.
Mutiny is what he hungers to charge me for. A most wrongful sentence. My arms open up to move for but a second. In this second, my fingers grab the palm with the thumb acting as the seal of approval. My fist darts out like the marvelous cannons stored below deck. The body on duty when needed and the body a boon to me when I arrived now fails me. My clenched fist hunts a relief, a way to relay the frustration. Although it points towards air and only air, my hand shoots rightfully at Claggart. Although without intending, it points rightly.

Claggart, like the nails holding a ship, fell back without the usual spin of a collapsing nail on a rocking ship. Gazing into the coldness of his judgmental eyes requires a focus most sincere. An anomalous shape most inconsistent with my fist lay there on his forehead. “Fated boy, what have you done”, the words of Captain Vere floated past as me like a bottle passing a ship. I saw in his eyes, the color left and the space for me in his liking shrunk into nothingness. Captain Vere, the Royal Navy Dictator made his debut just then. I knew by the flare in his nose and his upward posture that my fate would not be mine. Had it ever been mine to decide? His index finger pointed to a room. My ears deaf to his voice knew where to go. Away. No place in particular but away.

Locked here on the confines of the ship, I am insecure. Despite this, I must stay. To rest here is to prolong my life for but a few minutes, hours, or days if fortune smiles upon me in this dismal ship. My legs, bound for the sea, are cut by the knives of jealousy and wickedness. Without these legs, my walk on the supposed plank of freedom is cut too short.





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