Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2009 19:59:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: pokernight on the lusitania
you were headed to liverpool. your sister’s sons were sick of working in those bloody wigan coalmines (and of being harassed by the bloody english), and she’d asked you to help the boys get a new start in america. you’d been six days at sea, and were looking forward to seeing ireland for the first time since you were a child (if only from the deck of the ship.)
you, of course, had no idea that the vast majority of the ship’s cargo was munitions, and that your ship was being stalked by an u-boat.
you’d had your lunch and, with nothing better to do, had sat down to gamble away your meagre wages and guzzle the swill that passed for beer down in the third class holds. you’d just dealt the cards to your shipmates when the ship shuddered and shook. 14:10. cards went flying everywhere, and as you all bent to pick them up, a second explosion shook the ship. a moment of silence (and you could hear water, somewhere, and the groaning of stressed metal), and then bedlam reigned.
people went running everywhere, grabbing what they could, screaming about lifeboats. they didn’t get far, though, because there was a slight – no, a definite – no, a pronounced list to the starboard. someone shouted down the stairs that they couldn’t free the lifeboats, that the lifeboats were swinging free over the deck. somewhere nearby, kapitän walter schwieger watched through his periscope as the ship listed further – further – and less than 20 minutes after the torpedo hit, sank beneath the sea.
and where were you through all this? why, you’d gathered the cards back up, re-poured your spilled beers, and tried your damnedest to finish one last hand, because, well, because it was…
XX xxxxxxxxx xx
somewhere at the bottom of the atlantic, near the coast of ireland
bring your cards, your beers and your fatalistic attitudes. women and children first.