SEA AND SAD VOICES
FROM ARGOSY vol.30 no.12 DECEMBER 1969
• IF VARIETY of experience is rated highly
among a writer’s qualifications, Jack Trevor Story gets top marks.
Leaving school at 14, Mr. Story worked in such varied places as a coal
office, a slaughterhouse, a radio factory. Finally he became an
electronic instrument designer.
“In the 18 years since,” says Jack Trevor Story, “I feel I’ve
wasted a lot of good time and good writing on screenplays and television
series; but I’m now giving it all up to concentrate on novels, short
stories and essays.”
Sea and Sad Voices
is one of
two short stories he has written recently to see if he has “lost the
knack”. His novels include the best-selling Live
Now, Pay Later, and Dishonourable
Member, published in August this year.
I DON’T KNOW if you know the pub at Gunnyhole.
One night into the pub at Gunnyhole there came this fellow with dark
sailor's clothes and a big moustache and a foreign look about him.
be a Dutchman off the collier,” said Mrs. Addison.
The while he was standing six feet away and
didn’t say a word, so she could have been right; for he didn’t
seem to know much of the language. Just enough to ask Jenny for a
something funny about him,” said Mrs. Addison. Herself is six foot tall and had three
O’Leary, can I have a word widger?” called Jenny. She reckoned
this fellow was after a night’s lodging and he was.
don’t know if you know the rooms at the pub at Gunnyhole. I put him
in number three. It’s a nice big room looking out to sea but the
floorboards creak like new shoes. He carried his own bag up though I
would have done it.
be taking his money in advance,” said Mrs. Addison.
just pushed the dart in the double-top before I got back.
seven, there was three locals in for the evening with their pint each.
At half-past seven, there were three pretty young English girls and a
young chap with a horse and caravan outside. They had a cider and a
tomato juice and two halves and wanted to stay, but there’s nowhere
to put a horse at Gunnyhole.
should think not!” said Mrs. Addison.
I win I take her home, but if she wins she doesn’t go.
harmless enough, Mrs. Addison,” I told her.
a man of the world meself and not easily shocked. I worked three years
on the motor roads in England and you can’t do that without learning
something—if it’s only tolerance. I come back with enough money to
tenant the pub at Gunnyhole.
Did you see that!” Mrs. Addison said.
missed the double that would have finished it. This time however it
was not a ruse. She had turned quite pale and excited, and was only not
pointing because it was rude. The Dutch sailor, if that’s what
he was, had come down and was getting some cigarettes from Jenny at
the bar. There was something different about him, and what it was was
his face. He had taken off his moustache.
Saints!” said Mrs. Addison.
only thing holy about it was ‘the miracle of how he’d shaved with
the amount of luke-warm water available at the pub at Gunnyhole.
the polis!” said Mrs. Addison.
was in her mind, briefly, for her conversation is not worth recalling,
was that the young feller was a criminal on the run. Booking into a
lonely pub on the Cork coast with his seabag, then disguising himself
(she called it).
now he’s going out!” said Mrs. Addison.
was directing him, her pretty hands going like a windmill so many were
the places she could recommend.
pop up and look into his bag, O’Leary,” said you-know-who.
was very upset about that, for the truth was she wanted a sight into
where he’d been and what he’d been at, and all with a good
laudable and legal reason behind it.
be sorry when it comes out at the trial!” said she.
you let me get me last double?” said I.
don’t know if you know the difficulty of getting a last double.
it would never have got into court had it not been for that ten
minutes after the young foreign feller had gone out two young coppers
come in from out of a shiny new white Jaguar cop car.
was I right!” said Mrs. Addison.
of getting a double-one, I was getting double this and triple that and
even bouncing them back off the motor tyre.
said Mrs. Addison calling their attention. “Are you looking for
young coppers laughed and said, oh, aye, they were always looking for
somebody and tonight it was Jenny; and she blushing and giving them
you looking for a young foreign fellow with a moustache and a seabag?”
said Mrs. Addison.
coppers said they were not.
such a question was bound to remain poised in the saloon bar, as it
were, and while I got my last double the conversation between the two
policemen and Jenny slowed down and stopped until they drifted over to
the dartboard, where Mrs. Addison was waiting for them and waiting to
fellow is this then?” said one of the young policemen.
fellow is that?” said Mrs. Addison, who was now concentrating on the
game for the first time tonight.
Addison told them all she knew with a fine reluctance, and after a
word with Jenny about the beauty spots she had mentioned the young
coppers went hurrying out to look for the young fellow with the dark
sailor’s clothes who had shaved off his moustache.
* * *
don’t know if you know Gunnyhole Bay.
the young fellow was standing when the two policemen started running
towards him and shouting at him in a language he didn’t understand,
was where the only path drops down to the only beach, this being shut
in from both sides by black rocks. It was not quite dark yet, and a
lovely sunset was picking out the islands with red light and the sails
of the one or two distant boats.
wasn’t there and neither was Mrs. Addison for we were playing the
second leg and waiting for the police to bring the foreigner back.
What they did was, they came back alone and soaking wet to the skin.
“He took off his boots and jacket and ran slap dash into the ocean!”
said one of the wet policemen.
had his ‘boots and his jacket with them and were now searching through
the pockets. They had swum after the young sailor as far as they dared,
and given up and swum back. They had radio’d for help and even while I
was conducting them to his room and watching them search his seabag, we
could hear the Coastal Rescue helicopter flying near.
was nothing in his bag but souvenirs and clothes and nothing to show who
he was or where he’d come from; and, I daresay, if I was found drowned
like he was the next day, there’d be nothing in my bag either—for
I’m a wanderer now.
don’t know if you know Mrs. Addison at Gunnyhole. “That’s ‘the
polis for you!” she said, on the day of the funeral. “Chivvying a
young feller to his death. They never let you alone!”
it’s all fated. We don’t write the book, we only turn the pages.
But for that young fellow with dark sailor’s clothes and a big moustache and a foreign look about him I might have married her.
Copyright © the estate of Jack Trevor Story 2002. Not for reproduction. Copyright in all work by Jack Trevor Story is the property of the author's heirs. Permission for use of this material can be obtained through Jackie Edwards (Story), Peter Story, Lee Story or Michael Moorcock. Reproduction of copyright material whether in text, visual or audio form by unauthorised sources strictly forbidden.