The Pleasantries of Life
by Liv

Author's notes: This is an experimental piece of writing but I am not
sure if it has been done before. The idea is AK is standing on the
deck when he starts *daydreaming* about how great life would be if
everything started going his own way (commencing with a rather
confident AK telling Simpson off). I do hope you like it - enjoy!

*****************

The mouth of the wind ravished Mr Kennedy's neck with passionate,
brutal kisses, while its arms wrapped him in a tight embrace as its
cold hands felt under his clothes and stroked his soft torso with icy
fingertips, sending tingling sensations all over his body. But Mr
Kennedy didn't mind, he pretended to enjoy standing very stiff,
feeling the wind numb him and painfully whisper in his ear.

As he stood stiff, he heard the lithe figure of Simpson slithering
behind him.

"KENNEDY" barked Simpson "you are ordered to come with me below deck
AT ONCE."

Enraged, but unperturbed, Kennedy fired back "You call me SIR! And
you treat me with RESPECT! I will not overlook that again, do you
hear?!"

Simpson, flabbergasted by Kennedy's sudden burst of courage, visibly
coward with fright. He began to stammer, as he had made Kennedy
stammer so many times before. "I...I don't know what to say...SIR.
I...I meant no disrespect, SIR. I am an idiot Sir, I am very very
sorry."

It gave Kennedy enormous satisfaction to hear Simpson say those words
and mean them without any sarcasm.

"Very well" said Kennedy. "I shall come below decks at my leisure."

"As you wish Sir" said Simpson, and parted.

*******

The next morning, Kennedy was chosen as one of the select few to join
Captain Pellew to an enormous breakfast buffet consisting of every
breakfast dish conceivable: eggs scrambled, boiled, poached, fried;
cereal oats, wheat, bran and rye; toast with melted cheese and
tomato, toast with cinnamon and toast with all kinds of jam,
including fig jam, strawberry, apricot, blackcurrant, raspberry and
marmalade; fried meat include bacon, ham and sausages; grilled
vegetables including mushrooms and tomatoes; pancakes with gold syrup
and pancakes with honey; buttered scones and choc chip muffins;
hashbrowns and croissants; hot drinks including coffee, tea,
cappuccino and hot chocolate with marshmallows; freshly squeezed
orange juice the list of items just went on and on. Hornblower was
not invited as he was on continuous watch for thirty-six hours for
losing the Marie Galante at sea, and besides, he wouldn't appreciate
such a breakfast, the hollow-cheeked, lanky-gaunt-anorexic wretch,
thought Kennedy to himself.

After breakfast it was time for the shaving ritual. Kennedy and
Hornblower went at the same time to the twin wash-basin in the
wardroom. Kennedy was a very skilled, multi-dextrous shaver,
carefully scraping the razor sharp blade over his sculpted face.
Hornblower was less skilled, and by the end of the ritual it was
quite obvious to the whole ship which of them looked like a vagabond
who had had a bad experience with the razor (judging by the amount of
lavatory paper stuck to his face) and which of them was a true blue-
blooded gentleman.

**********

Kennedy had the good fortune of being asked by Pellew if he was up to
the task of being part of a crew of men who would fight an enemy
vessel double the size of the British ship they would be assigned.

"Certainly Sir" replied Kennedy without any hesitation, and certainly
without ever questioning his own abilities.

So Kennedy was temporarily transferred to the 9th Symphony to take
part in the fight against the French fighting vessel, the Republic.

The Republic was a newly built ship with gleaming cast iron
carronades peering through her portholes. The 9th Symphony was less
new, with all the creaks and groans like an old familiar tune. But
she was still seaworthy enough to do battle with any enemy ship that
dared cross her path, despite her being only a thirty-six gunner ship
in comparison to the double decked seventy-two gunner ship the French
were so fond of building.

Being only a little ship, the 9th Symphony could easily manoeuvre
from one side of the enemy to the other, to attack her on both her
port and starboard side, while the Republic had to laboriously swing
round to get a good aim with her cannons.

Midshipman Kennedy was put in station of the guns, and he took to the
task of giving the order to fire at the enemy quite rapidly. It took
a certain kind of skill and expertise to know exactly when to fire at
the enemy, and to return fire measure for measure.

After each fire the 9th Symphony would circulate to the opposite side
of the Republic, so that the Republic had to complete a revolution in
order to face her enemy. With each revolution the Republic wound
itself up like a clock, coiling closer and closer to the Diamond Cut,
the sharpest and most dangerous harbour shoals in the area. The
Republic had to be careful not to get too close to the Diamond Cut,
or it would surely have her bottom eaten out of her. But it was a
choice between either being wound up closer to the shoals or allowing
the enemy to fire on her unprotected side willy nilly. The Republic
chose to keep turning and use her powerful guns for which she had
been designed.

On the next revolution the 9th Symphony swept dangerously close to
the Diamond Cut, and attacked the Republic's starboard side, forcing
the Republic to make an unprecedented revolution of an unusually wide
diameter. As bad luck would have it, a freak change in wind knots
caused a wave of tsunamic proportions to splatter the massive
Republic against the Diamond Cut; such was the force of the action
that her entire bottom was torn out and she stood by her bow and
stern pinned between the rocks. There was nothing the Republic could
do now except fire her remaining cannons on what was left of her top
deck, in the hope of keeping the enemy at a distance, but it may have
well as lined itself up in the firing squad. The 9th Symphony calmly
came round to face its enemy parallel, and unmercifully smashed her
to pieces with colossal cannon balls until there was nothing left
except the tip of the bow and stern still pinned to the rocks, like
food remains stuck in one's teeth.

*****

Kennedy thoroughly enjoyed basking in the glory of this great victory
after that, for the London papers were singing his praises, and they
weren't the only ones. Kennedy's girlfriends (for he had found
himself in the favour of many more ladies than just one) were most
impressed that their Gallant Hero should have such worldly headlines
written about him, such as KENNEDY BATTLES CRUEL SEA in large bold
font on the front page, and then, underneath that in smaller font
KENNEDY SAVES EVERY MAN OVERBOARD. Indeed, no sooner had the 9th
Symphony totally obliterated the Republic than Kennedy dived straight
into the perilous water several times to save the survivors from both
sides of battle.

For his exceptional bravery, Kennedy was awarded a lion's share of
prize money that was captured, enabling him to purchase a modest
mansion in affluent Chelstertone Park in England. Not long after that
he was promoted to Lieutenant, and ceaselessly received praise from
Pellew and all the crew, including, most notably, praise from
Hornblower. He became a legend not only among his own crew, but also
in centuries to come, when enumerous books were written about him by
famous authors in the league of Plato, Shakespeare, and the like.

*****

Kennedy mediated on all these blissful possibilities as the wind
picked up and was now forcibly trying to tug his clothes away from
him. "Mr Kennedy!" came a loud cry from one the Lieutenants "those
sand glasses need to be run against each other!"

"Aye aye Sir!" replied Kennedy as he came out of his daydream, and
promptly left the deck to find a slate and a piece of chalk so that
he would not lose his reckoning.