Story Go Round 03/15/2003, round 1, #2

"Vegetables Are Not the Enemy"


"I Have Seen the Enemy, and It is Not a Rutabaga"

The wrath of the typhoon having spent itself at last, the crew set about making repairs. Moral was low, and spirits flagged as one day passed into another with no sign of progress. The crew was put on half-rations for the first time under Captain Crowley's command - a thing he had sworn to himself never to do to his loyal and courageous men. There were signs of scurvy starting with the O'Hare cousins, and he felt personally responsible for the young one. If only he'd studied his mathematics harder. He'd been a fighting captain, could steer the ship on a dime, knew her and her guns to every quarter inch. But with the war over, and the emphasis in peacetime on exploration, it meant long distance sailing into the unknown, and he simply kept messing up the charts. Who would think that a few transposed digits could be the death of a man? He contemplated. They were about to find out if seaweed counted as 'greenstuff.' He'd heard the natives in the western Pacific ate it, and only the direst circumstances would lead a civilized man to contemplate doing the same. And that was what lead to the toughest decision of his command. If he starved his men enough, theoretically they would eat anything, maybe even a few vegetables or a piece of fruit. The name Crowley might not go down in history, but he would have a healthy crew come hell or high water. Most of them would rather eat mildewed meat than a carrot.

Except for Roger. Here he came, skin flawless and gleaming, toothy smile and a hallo for any dispirited mate. He had flesh as springy as fresh bread.

He was also a vegetarian. He took hard knocks for that among the crew, but the law was the law. Roger had taken on Buddhism on a two year jaunt in the Pacific just after the war. It being a religious conviction, he had to be accommodated. He was eating leaner than the rest of the men, even, which made his cheery disposition all the more annoying and baffling. Crowley had heard that his kind fasted or something, so maybe he was used to it...Faith could save a man, he allowed, even if it was a weird pagan cult.

He heard the cook's trademark shuffle approaching, and made a dash for the brig, where he hoped the cook wouldn't look for him. There were only so many times he could bear to say, "no, you'll have to make due with what you have."


"Let me out, Beefy, I would never have expected mutiny on this ship, not from them, and especially not from you. Have I ever flogged you? No. How many cooks can say that? None. Vegetables are not the enemy, Beefy. No, they're not cursed. And no, the Poseidon did not sink because the crew had two vegetables side dishes one night..." Crowley's voice was getting hoarse.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Terry is orange; Habeeb is grey