The year is 1824, and a humble shipping rig, the S.S. Constance, is nearing the coast of Newfoundland after a beleaguered journey by way of Ireland. Just after midnight on the morning of June 8th, three weeks into the voyage, the young ship’s boy spots a mysterious glow off the port side, too far up to be a shiplight or lighthouse and to intense to be a star. The boy stands, frozen in place, mesmerized by the fiery presence, as more and more men assemble on deck, drawn to the light. Eventually the entire crew are clustered, in awe of the ever-nearing spark. Their inattentiveness to their duties draws the captain to the deck, where he becomes the only one to recognize the glow for what it is: a meteor.
In a loud rumble he shouts his men into action, sending them scrambling for a chance at evasive action from the imminent impact. The men work with fevered intensity, every muscle strained as the seamen work to finesse the wind and water into doing their will, hoping desperately to escape the fiery fate descending into their midst. As the meteor falls closer and closer, an eery quiet falls over the men as every hand clasps in silent prayer to every sailor’s god whose name has ever been uttered. The jib gives a final creak in a moment of dark solitude before the world catches fire.
The meteor rips through the hole, leaving an ashen path and claiming the ship boy’s foot, but not his life. In the moments following the impact, the Constance’s crew realize that, thanks to the captain’s swift action, vessel, crew, and cargo have all been saved. The deck rings out with shouts, back slaps, and nervous laughter as each man ponders the fate that almost befell him.
Three hours later and the crew all sign in at port, confirming that the freak astrological event took no casualties. There was one minor disparity, chalked up to a clerical error by the sleepy ensign on duty at the time. The ensign, worse for the wear due to a good deal of rum that had been transported, undocumented, in the Constance‘s hull, accidentally counted the ship boy’s presence among the crew twice. The thing which the ensign could not get his lips, heavy with alcohol, to communicate, was that only the second time was the ship’s boy missing a foot…
And that’s why they call me Bzecca.