“Heh heh he- cough.”

“So, you’ve come back to see old Gibil already have you? My company is free as usual to anyone who wants to listen to an old windbag cough, heh heh heh.”

“You’ll want the news of the day eh? It’s been a good ‘un, not something Gibil has seen in a long number of years. A proper ding-donger. But Gibil has work to do, places to clean and floors to sweep. You wouldn’t want to get old Gibil sacked would you? Fired from his job, no pension, living on the streets, eating porridge from soup kitchens? Nah, I’m jus’ kidding with you youngster. You’re good and I’m having a break anyway.”

“Ahh- that’s better; resting good and proper now. So young one, what happened today then? Oh what a mess. All the talk is of that old Officer, you know the one. Fisty boy that one; anyway he was talking to the men and such like and things got heated. He wanted to know who was behind him if he mutinied. Mutiny? Don’t that only happen on ships? Heh heh heh.”

“Gibil likes the sea and water. It’s clean is it not? Clean and pretty, the sun, the beach, the girls heh he- cough. Serves Gibil right; he’s too old for that nonsense. And mutiny, that old officer, he was too old too. Not with the times; people need the money and they make a mess. Gibil comes and cleans and it all starts again.”

“No. Mutiny is who pays the most; causes least suffering. That is the times and the officer; no one would help him in his hour of need. He’s an idiot. Heh heh heh. Take the hint my friend; open your eyes muy amigo. Nah he’s an idiot alright, he argued with the men about loyalty and integrity. They pushed back; survival and family. A very difficult conundrum for my not so brainy soldier man.”

“Gibil watches the argument; the officer waves his arms about. Very animated; he cares a lot. The men are unhappy, stooped shoulders and worrying faces. It is very dramatic is it not? Heh heh heh. Gibil likes dramas; he especially likes the dramas of men. Real life, fly on the wall documentaries. Also, anything that involves the sea. Dramas at sea are clearly the best, no?”

“Ach! You young ones are all hurry all bustle and business. Take a moment and breathe in Gibil’s second hand smoke. Look around you, at the dramas of men. They are most exciting and the plot- meh, sometimes good – sometimes bad. Gibil has some homespun wisdoms; made generation by generation. Like a patchwork quilt yes. Some of what I say is pattern less; some making the most sense you’ll ever hear. Gibil is hard work and I shrug. I am what I am. And what I am is old heh heh heh.”

“That officer? No-one would follow him. And when the commander came; that little Napoleon, he ran at him and tried to strangle him! The little donkey went blue, that old officer ain’t so old when he wants to be. It took eight men to drag him off. Eight! He put up one hell of a fight too! He wasn’t for going down until he got blindsided; hit in the back of the head by a rifle. Well, face down he went out cold. The commander was crying and shouting at the same time. They handcuffed the old officer and took him away to a prison cell. Picked him up and carried him carefully like. The men were ready to join him you see.”

“Did you ever hear of the mutiny on the Bounty? A ship sailing the ocean, adrift and lonely. The crew restless and scared take over the ship and find an island. They move to the island and their ancestors are still living there to this day. Interesting, no? heh heh he- cough. So many years later and they still live. The place is not so bad no, Gibil has seen it in books. Remote and lonely. And they live on. Gibil has no truck with gods, but he wonders of heaven and hell. What is the island?”

“You live your life and then you die and sit with your gods. So why make such a mess all the time? Short-term thinking, my friend. Short-term thinking. And when you talk to the gods, they listen. Gibil knows young one; when you talk, you talk with the correct respect.”

“Messes and such like. They come and they go. The officer, he has made a mess now. Gibil his friend will help him clean up. You see, there is a pattern to life. Go look at the island I told you about, heh heh heh. See if you would live there! I would if to get some peace from cleaning. Goodbye for now, young one. Gibil has work to get on with otherwise, he will not be paid. Ach! My knees have gone stiff, help an old man to his feet if you will.”

“The gods they do listen my friend, the gods do listen.”

To Chapter Forty-Five – Grow Up, Be a Man

Picture: Fletcher Christian and the mutineers seize HMS Bounty on 28 April 1789. Engraving by Hablot Knight Browne, 1841
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