Chapter 1: Archie
I'm writing this at a coffee shop down the street from our inn. Horatio said that I was writing too loud. And given the apparent state of his head, I wouldn't be surprised if that were actually true. He was pretty drunk last night.
Me, I'm not so fond of getting absolutely blind drunk. Blurring the edges of the world a little is good, but once I get much past that I tend to just end up depressed and eventually pass out.
Yes, I much prefer getting other people drunk. Horatio's pretty funny when he's drunk. He shouts a lot. And when you tell him to be quiet he whispers… just as loudly. I realized early on last night that Horatio hadn't, to the best of my knowledge, ever been really, really drunk. And well. . . I feel that everyone should be at least once. And I learned from my own experience that it's best to do so with a friend who keeps their wits about them to keep you from really embarrassing yourself. Though, I think that if he ever realizes that he had more than three-quarters of that bottle of good wine last night, he may shoot me. But really, every man in the Navy needs at least one good shoreleave story to tell. (and now I have one)
On a very different note, Clayton and I learned that if we could get Jack good and drunk he'd stagger off somewhere and we wouldn’t see him for the rest of the night. He had a habit of helping himself to our rum rations anyway, but we were pretty happy to let him have them. The more drunk he got, the worse his hangover would be and the longer he'd keep from terrorizing the rest of us.
I suppose I should find something to do with the morning since I think it's unlikely that Horatio will be able to find the floor before noon at least. And I might think of having lunch before I head back. I doubt he'll want to eat for days.
Chapter 2: Archie
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.