?User:Serprex 18:54, January 10, 2011 (UTC)

I always knew I'd be a clerk. Nightshift at the docks, watching the Puerto Toro sea. It was nice to be by the water in a pre apocalyptic world. As a child, I didn't know what I'd be a clerk for. But as I grew older, the water called on me. As I grew older, it calmed me. The old man wasn't lying when he taught me this. I've him to thank for showing me my niche as a demurrage clerk. There was a lot of mercury and lead in his water, and he showered enough that it cut his long life short. When he found out he was poisoned, he drowned himself. He refused to die by the mystery that had foiled alchemists in all their toil for gold. He knew that water was the truly miraculous substance of the world

Ticking. Lots of ticking. All I could hear was the ticking. Did it truly tick with every second? My supervisor had a research fund to answer that question. The ship had shown up at midnight, unannounced. Trade has been pretty bad in the past few months, so the docks aren't under too much stress. I needed something to keep me awake, as the coffee rations have been pretty low, so I wrote up the contract and put in that extra bit of effort it takes to make legitimate the illegitimate without my superior's consent. He'd taken to staying at home, bedridden with his dead wife

The ship is always there, drifting. I just kept ticking off another charge every hour. I got to know the day shift workers and the way they came in rested and left tired. I still preferred my night shifts, they gave me time to do my own personal paperwork. I'd looked over the company's terms and found that so long as I was overseeing demurrage, I was to hold overtime or outsource the work to others. I wasn't allowed to claim increased wages if I decided to not outsource my work. Just another charge to tick off every hour

My wife came by. I showed her my prey, the beautiful ship that dumbly floated in the waters. Candlelight could be seen in the ship, though it showed a rather small crew. The captain waved, I ignored him while my wife made pleasentries. Later, I gave my wife forms which would contest to extraordinary circumstances under which my hours were deemed non negotiable for the sake of the company for my supervisor to sign. She seemed to understand, though her eyes had a sadness in them

The crew started unloading. They threw empty boxes off the deck at some of the other clerks whom had decided to investigate my prey for themselves. I went out and told the clerks to get their own commisions; to mind their own business. My supervisor received a bonus today for the spectacular profits being reaped by the difference between the constant demurrage and my constant wage. There was also talk of talking about cutting off his research funding

My wife brought a hammock for me. She decided to stay the night. We placed the hammock by the window, so I could watch my prey from the window. I watched the prey all night while my wife cried for me to look at her. She spoke of how my supervisor had looked so longingly at his wife when she delivered his mail. He's supplementing his research funding with his bonuses, in case the board finally cuts off his funding

I decided to spend the night on the shack roof, watching my prey up close. The captain came out, tossed me a box. I opened it, found two jugs. I passed him one, cracked open the other. Water. He didn't open his jug, just started talking about Antartica and the water. The voices he'd hear at night, calling him to go there. He'd gone there, and came back with water. Keeping the water close kept the voices away

My wife came by. She finally let it out. She wanted me to come home. She wanted me to outsource the ship to another clerk. I couldn't abandon my prey. I gave her a week's pay to settle on a divorce. She knew I couldn't risk having to go to court, as that'd require I outsource the work. She could have forced me home, but either for love of my obsession or a greedy hate which made her want my money over my love, she settled the contract at the shipyard

I was out on the roof again, throwing rocks at my prey. The captain gave me a penguin sandwich, consoled me for the confusion my wife had left me for. He offered me a position in his crew; he was thinking of taking a trip back to Antartica, but he'd need someone to fill his spot on the demurrage. I didn't want to incur his debt, as that would likely garner away my wages, so I had to decline. He got a concerned look in his eyes, speaking of how much every drop of water calls for one's drowning after one has divorced themselves from so much water. There was a lot of water around Antartica. I asked him how much water is in a woman, he only gave me a cold stare

I'd avoided going inside the ship. Something about the crew gave me a stir, like I should only want to watch from afar. I didn't want to know where all the boxes were coming from. Or why even though there seemed to be an endless carting of boxes, fewer boxes left the ship than most unloading ships. I didn't want to ask how much longer they planned to be. But I went, and I asked. I was shown the box of boxes. The kind of box that grows more boxes. Apparently some of the jugs smashed. That led me to be explained to that the captain had been called into Antartica, where they'd been collecting ice to cut up into ice cubes to cool the drinks of rich bastards, towards the mainland. Long story short, the old cook found the fountain of youth. I give the short version because I'm unsure how to explain wrestling with dinosaurs which hadn't gone extinct from thirst for the fountain's water. That explained why they weren't worried about demurrage: they'd never die to pay the bill through life insurance. Except the captain had gone back to Antartica. He hadn't been called back this time, it'd been his own choice. The crew thought he looked pretty suicidal. I know though, he went out to live again, one last time. This ship is a ghost ship without ghosts

My supervisor died. His wife was in a coma, it seems, and awoke only to strangle him. I think he revived her with a time machine. I'd kill someone for reviving me with a time machine. His wife drowned herself shortly after; apparently there's a lot of water in the future. Also, my wife died. The morgue has quite the waiting list

I should've listened to my wife. This ghost ship only serves to haunt me. I've written an appeal to the board to remove the ship from the yard. I can only hope my supervisor's wife didn't destroy the time machine. I'm certain that if it wasn't destroyed, nobody noticed it. That's why nobody reported anything odd. He always had a way of making the extraordinary seem ordinary. His teaching taught me how to keep this demurrage commission under wraps

The board hasn't responded. The queue is too long. This shipyard is still operating, so it's of little priority. They want to expand their horizons, and never look back. The crew has agreed that the captain appointed me captain before leaving. I'll set off and sink this ship myself. I'll find his fountain of youth, I'll see my wife awake by it yet

It's cold. There's too many dinosaurs. Somehow they survived the movement of the polar ice caps towards their fountain, while all the rest died without. I'lln't falter. The dinosaurs are all the same. With every one we kill, it seems there is another

We found the captain wrestling the dinosaurs. He'd die, but only to reappear. At one point he reappeared on deck. I sat him down, and he explained his discovery: Reincarnation is true. The afterlife is the future. I mentioned my supervisor reviving his wife with a time machine, though he only gave a short frown before continuing. The magnetism of the poles attracts souls. A soul is a thing ever changing, and more so without a body. When the body dies in the aggregator, it's quick to resume existence, before too much mutation. We sat in silence for a time before he stirred. He gave me a barrel of water and told me to go home. I asked what he planned to do, and he grinned before stating that he'd died enough times to begin yearning for a long rest at the equator

I returned the ghost ship to the port it'd previously resided in. A letter was at my desk, announcing my promotion to replace my supervisor alongside employment of a clerk to work under me. He learned quick. He took over the ghost ship. I sat at my desk, my prey stolen by my successor

She was so cold to the touch, but she made me feel so warm. I maintained office through letters, asking for all the clocks of my late supervisor

They ticked. Not in unison, not in cycle. Asyncronous ticking that left the mind wondering when the next tick was last heard. The ticking shivered my soul, but my wife's cold body kept me warm. Her hands clenched at my throat, the warmth of draining out of me. There's a lot of water in a woman, and I drowned in her while she demanded I give her the water I'd been given

Man is his own master. Man is his own ship. I am the captain. The board finally investigated my appeal, my clerk sent an appeal to the appeal. It'll last awhile longer, but the incongruity has been signalled. I await the inevitable of this ship of broken clocks. Somehow they still tick. The captain went to the Antartica to destroy the fountain. It's a portal of the past, projecting itself into the future. The past has only one natural hold on the future: The present. This cursed water eats away at the responsibility of men to their future selves. I tried to appoint my clerk to substitute me, but he refused. I had no choice but to abandon my crew, and that killed me more than any past death

What makes a thing alive? For every fountain I kill, some other sprouts. Nothing of consequence matters. The divorce I had agreed to with my wife was never filed. Time is its own bureaucracy of motion's third law. To every past action, the future reacts to counter. The present is locked, moving into the future only by virtue of motion's first law. There is no second law. If the present accelerates into either direction by motion's second law, then will thermodynamics begin playing in with its own second law of entropy. I can do nothing, I am only some string strung out across time and cut, small threads tying the pieces together

I've stated that I'd kill someone for reviving me with a time machine. But whom am I to blame? The board blamed me for the demurrage debt. I tried to counterfeit gold, the ghost ship seemed to have literature on the subject, but now I've only left myself poisoned from an over exposure to both mercury and lead. I never gave the barrel my revived wife demanded to her. Such sweet nectar of some laughing past, I couldn't resist but to submerge myself in its embrace

I always knew he'd be a clerk, but I never knew for how long

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