Discussing Captain Crab

Captain Crab, recently retired as ‘Officer n Charge’ of the stationary dept at Slumpdown Barracks, could claim, in secret anyway, that whatever the situation faced by British troops worldwide, regardless of the weaponry at the enemies disposal, the men supplied by him would never be without a biro.

Now in his mid-fifties and with a largely faultess record he could boast both a long-service medal and paper clip to wear at ceremonial occasions.  Lets be candid, which those with any kind of life behind them know can be unsettling, despite his record, which was safely resting in the file marked “Bland,” in Whitehall,his departure from the military had not been cloud free.

Some reckless soul had introduced him to the subtle pleasures of JD and coke after a decent luncheon involving an analysis of a challenging fish pie: we don’t know why, but those smooth, gentle yet titillating flavours had sung to his mouth as if they were being conducted by angels. As someone used to working with logistics, he had felt required to try this new pleasure “Across the ratio range” which he told his commanding officer at the subsequent enquiry, had demanded the consumption of an entire bottle of “this holy nectar.”

He had been found standing in front of his mirror with his smooth and gentle cheeks, “As soft as doughnuts” as his wife would say, displaying an unusual redness of colour;  looking at his reflection and saying, “The name is Crab: Crababababa, then switching to “Crabuley, the Crabster, Crabunicious and other impressive variations when the Colonel in charge of ordinance paid him a surprise visit: for reasons which were never fully explained he, Captain Crab that is, was wearing a ballet skirt.  Given his previous exemplary record, they decided to pretend he’d had a nervous breakdown and discharged him from the army on medical grounds with immediate effect.

His wife, who luckily never got the full story, was unsettled by his appearance at their army lodgings, with the news that “I am now retired” and that they would be moving, forthwith, to their holiday home at Belchering on Sea, which nestled in a small cove on the south coast.

He swore to avoid all contact with the JD and coke concoction, and returned to his normal habits apparently untouched by the abrupt ending to his career. His only problem, as it had always been, was explaining his record in the army. “Can’t say too much” and “Better not go there” normally sufficed with new acquaintances met through his wife’s sea-side hobby of thistle painting, or the weathered locals often found nestling in the corner of the bar at ‘The Reckless Gull” where he and the missus might seek refreshment after their Saturday shop.

Not everyone was satisfied with this elegant brush off unfortunately so he decided to reinvent himself as an artist. Here luck was with him, having been christened with the name “Cornelius,” Those of you with marketing pretensions can see immediately that, in the seaside environment, any painting signed with the name “Cornelius Crab” was bound to sell, just to have  that name on your wall when you returned to some boring dwelling deep inland and far from the coast where myths are created with a wave of the hand.

So well did he do at his new calling that he dropped the word Captain, and took to boasting that he never fired a shot in his entire army career. Surprisingly canny for one who spent most of his working life  in stationary, he realised that a hint of pacifism, combined with his army background,  revealed that inner turmoil which gives edge to the most casual of  seaside painting careers.



About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, employment, Environment, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells, recreation, Relationships, soldiers, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Discussing Captain Crab

  1. It comes as no surprise to me that this is a wonderful story, Peter. It is packed with humour and witticism, yet retains the perceptive observations that I have come to expect of your writing. A most entertaining and enjoyable read, and let us not forget that it is, after all, the small things like biros that keep the world turning!


  2. “Deep island.” Is that possible in Britain, Peter? 🙂 Loved it – i delightful morning wake-me-up.


  3. catterel says:

    Your inner world is populated with delightful characters – thank you for introducing us to yet another one.


  4. Deficio says:

    i will find myself saying “…soft as doughnuts…” without knowing why for the couple of days.


  5. Ina says:

    Oh this made me smiel Esp. smooth and gentle cheeks 🙂 but I now realize you mean his face right? Otherwise he could not see them in front of the mirror 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ina says:

    smiel = smile! 🙂


  7. You have made my day Peter!! 😄😄


  8. The wife painting thistles tickled me particularly, Peter, in another charming tale.


  9. Al says:

    In spite of Captain Crab’s momentary lapse in military bearing, the reinvented artist, Cornelius Crab, may someday find himself listed in the book of fame right next to another famous Cornelius (Vanderbilt. that is), provided they list them alphabetically by first name, of course.


  10. OOOO,
    to be inside your head for a mere minute would be a delightful KICK)))!! xxx


  11. genusrosa says:

    I was captivated by the first sentence, but it was that last one that was perfection; a sublime summation of many things near and far from the adventures of Cornelius Crab.


  12. Love the ending. It is true, innit–‘pacifist soldier’ is an appealing character. I think we just got one back from the enemy recently…


  13. Whenever I read from your blog my day is changed. Completely. I was having such a weird day and you’ve made it brighter.. thanks my friend.


  14. A vivid write … a visual was painted in your words. Great !!!


  15. nelle says:

    Love these explorations of fictional anybodies!


  16. 🙂 This unexpected retirement must have been hard on Mrs. Crab. Might she have discovered the palliative effects of JD and coke? 😉


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