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Proclamation of a Pagan Vegan

- By the Casual Swiss


“I feel wastey.”


The announcement was coming over the intercom system, although I didn’t recognize it at first.  Since I’d come aboard The Haughty Wench in May (in a working capacity, not as a passenger) all of the announcements were book-ended by a parrot squawk.  You would hear, “SQUAWK!  Breakfast buffet being served on Deck C.  SQUAWK!”  Or, “SQUAWK!  Seafood buffet being served on Top Deck.  SQUAWK!”


So, when Seth (who I had just noticed was missing) announced to the whole cruise and its couple of hundred elderly passengers that he was “feeling wastey” I couldn’t believe it.  Though he did have every reason.


Moments before, our boss (aka The Mod) had accosted Seth in the middle of a whip-it hit.  With no patience in waiting for Seth to exhale the hit, let the room vibrate, and recover, he just blocked the poor bastard’s air while grilling him about a room service order.  I wasn’t much help.  And while Seth’s brain exploded I tried to find out why our boss had gone nutty.  I started things off by saying that, “Whenever I feel low, I just say that it could be worse.  I could be Seth…or a crack baby.”  My inquiries were the final straw and our boss confessed everything (a sorted tale of greed and horse meat that was about to be retold over the intercom).


“I feel wastey.” he began as I took a hit of cooking wine and passed it to the Mod.  “I’m, pttph, ooh, um.  I can’t get over the way my voice sounds.  Klow-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh!”


So far his public speaking was limited to gibberish.  A few minutes of animal sounds and he’ll stop.  No real harm done.  “Nomb-de-la-hay-na-nomb-diggy-do.”




“Cow-lickah-necka-minah-weeblo-  You’ve all been eating horse!”




“Yes.  All passengers, if you have eaten meat while on this ship, chances are, you’re a horse eater!”  There was a pause and a whinny as Seth collected his thoughts.  Up on deck people were getting the truth, and below deck people were getting nervous.  The Mod, bottle of cooking wine in hand, stormed out of the Cabin Service Kitchen into the main kitchen area, I thought it would be a good idea to get out of all kitchens.


I was in a narrow stairwell leading up when Seth started to talk again.  He was going on about parts of the horse versus parts of other animals when I met with some trouble.  Diane Zephyr was her name, low salt and allergic to strawberries.  In the Cabin Service Kitchen, we have cards on all of the passengers detailing their dietary needs.  The cards were also color coded, Mrs. Zephyr had a blue card.  That meant she was fat as hell and would be calling down for room service a lot.


Fat or no, she was a darling woman who would come down to the kitchen herself twice a day to “not put us out over a lemon.”  She would suck on the lemon for her throat and tell us about her grandson.  A cordial woman.  Three hundred pounds of cordial woman, and it was blocking my escape.


As Seth reached the part in his speech about how he himself doesn’t eat meat, not because he’s humane but because after a couple of years as a cook he became disgusted by it, I could hear a terrible commotion coming from behind me.  Pots and pans were crashing.  Back in the kitchen people were screaming and swinging doors were bashing against something hard.  I was listening in horror to Seth’s announcement echo cruelly off the ship’s narrow metal stairwell walls.


“I don’t even eat mayo anymore, because it has egg whites in them.  Eggs come out of chickens and I can’t dig that anymore even though I LOVE potato salad.  Still, could never eat potato salad by accident and actually be eating Horse like you Horse Eaters!”


The screams were getting louder and I had to go over or around or through Mrs. Zephyr.  I climbed the steps up to her.  She bore an expression of pale nausea.


“Mrs…” was as far as I got, because as I climbed the steps, she let out a swift voluntary motion to kick me in the neck.  I went to my knees, as she retreated back up the steps, gasping for breath and holding my neck.


I couldn’t stay that way for long.  This was one of the four stair wells which lead to the kitchens.  They’ll be pouring down soon, looking for the kitchen staff (of which I was a known member) and screaming for our livers on a stick.


I came out onto the top deck just in tome to see Joseph (fellow kitchen pirate) getting held down and his extensions ripped out by a couple from Sioux City while an elderly man in a powder blue shirt beat his legs with a cane.


I could smell smoke and deck chairs were being thrown like snow balls.  The passengers outnumbered the crew at least nine to one and I saw Tammy (an activities instructor from Wilmington, NC) spit out a tooth as she ran past.  I saw those passengers who weren’t going after the crew, doubled over and vomiting.  A bartender (think his name was Kevin) slipped on some while fending off eight advancing veterans with a shuffle board “stick” (whatever you call that thing, pole?  Lethal bugger if used right)


It was mutiny on The Haughty Wench, it was more than just the kitchen staff getting railed and it would be more than just my neck getting kicked if I didn’t get out.  I staggered over to the edge and doubled over the railing, gasping for air.  A few screams were mixed with seagull calls.  Bad scene, and I could taste blood.


I heard glass break and wood splinter.  Someone had set off what sounded like the fire alarm and something was making the deck beneath me thump.  I hadn’t noticed, but sometime in all of this Seth got off the intercom, satisfied in what he had done, in vengeance (I supposed) to being held in suspended whip-it.


“Could be worse, you could be me…or a crack baby,” Seth said, appearing nonchalantly behind me, the whip-it volcano almost completely worn off.  I tried to laugh.  I think I just wound up spitting and smiling.

It’s a terrible thing, I now know, to underestimate someone.  People don’t usually think much of the elderly, and even less if they’re wearing Bermuda shorts and fanny-packs.  But it was geriatric Lord of the Flies up on deck and Seth (who the Mod and I had underestimated) had put me there.  But such is human error and Seth was quick to forgive as he pulled me across the deck to where I could see land for the first time in two days.


Only minutes ago, Seth was in as bad of shape as I am in now and he succeeded in creating a world of mob terror in that short time.  Once we got on land it would be my turn to recover and spark mass panic and destruction.  But it would take a few days. 

Copyright©2000 The Casual Swiss