He's over there whistling. If I ever figure out which of the four of him is real, I may shoot him. It's not that Archie's off key (or is it that I'd never notice if he was?), but how can he make any kind of sound without his head exploding like so much grape shot?
And what's worse, the fact that mine is damn near to doing that is entirely his fault. This was his idea. Shouldn't he be punished for it in equal measure? He thought we should "celebrate" his promotion and our transfer to the Renown.
I used to have a philosophy. One that said that getting drunk is all well and good on shore, when you only had yourself to look out for. I never abided drunkenness on board a ship. Even if it wasn't your watch, you never knew when a French Corvette would come out of the mist or a Spanish Frigate would start launching hot shot into your sails. Men loading canons, being trusted with pistols and cutlasses must have their wits about them at all times. No exception.
So it's little wonder I've never really had a chance to get this drunk. I certainly don't abstain from having a glass of wine when invited to the captain's table and unless I need it as a bartering tool, my rum rations have never gone to waste. But last night… Oh, Archie, I'm going to have to kill you.
I suppose I can only blame him up to a point. It wasn't like I argued over much after dinner when he called for another bottle of wine and filled my glass. And each time after that that I did object, he had yet another reason to raise a glass. We'd never gotten to celebrate my promotion (having gone straight back to prison as soon as I'd been notified of it), we hadn't celebrated his promotion, Captain Pellew's promotion, Matthews making boatswain and Styles as his mate… Every time we drained our glasses, he had something new to toast. And to be fair, I had to admit to some curiosity as to what being falling down drunk felt like.
Being drunk isn't so bad. I don't recall either of us doing anything terribly embarrassing, and the one small blessing that's come out of all of this is that I do retain my memory of last evening. My head felt light and though I had some control over my body, I felt like I was wildly over-calculating my every move. And almost everything was funny. Archie can be pretty amusing when I'm sober, but last night he could have recited the Articles and I would have doubled over in laughter.
Regaining sobriety is god-awful. If I didn't know better, I'd swear we were back on that little cutter that we hired to leave Cadiz the second time. Where even calm seas tried the staunchest stomachs. The gray light of morning stabs through my head if I dare to slit my eyes open even the slightest bit. And when I do, I see four of Archie.
And right now, I want to shoot all four of him.