I last saw Mercury twenty nights ago. It was raining. It was always raining, but I never noticed. It was a Wednesday, though it wasn’t always Wednesday. Mercury and I were just walking home from the Fig Leaf, after quaffing our usual tanks of lard, and we were weaving this and that. I must say, just to be accurate, Mercury was, I think, a bit more weavy than I, he having engulfed twelve tanks to my ten. Still, ten tanks of lard is nothing to stand back on. It’s not every or any man who can put himself outside of twelve tanks and still navigate the labyrinth out of the Fig Leaf.
So there we were, Mercury and I. I once called him Merc and got a broken halo for it, so no more. Mercury is a nice enough stout, but I wouldn’t want him on the other end of my cudgel in a bad sea. He tips over at 40 cur, besting me by half, and it’s not all in height, so he’s a right guy to keep happy and on my side of the rail. Me and Mercury were about the best mates I ever heard of. T’wasn’t nothing we didn’t do together, except one or two, if you catch me. We wasn’t like that. We were heading back to the ship, a broad lady of a packet she was, full to the gills with rye and tumbles, hogs heads and pig iron, lances and boils, all manner of stuffs and jargon, that our “benefactors” as we kindly called them, though much worse to their backsides, hoped to unload at dear prices at blazing ports of call all around the perimeter. We knew better, or at least said we did. It wouldn’t do to be caught like party mice at an auction now, would it? So say it all, we did.
Me and Mercury got back on board without much more than a scrape, and tumbled to our cabins. We being senior shippers, and bigger and meaner to boot, got what we wanted from that ship, though not many others. Once in the passageway, I bids Mercury fair night and full sails and goes to my own wee box, and I guess he does the same – though here’s the thing, here’s where the canker ga-naws, as old Hook used to say. I never saw him go into his bunkee, and I don’t know if he ever did. By the time I knew he was gone, I bashed into that locker to find it all neat and pins, even the bunk, though Mercury usually slept standing in the corner, not one to lie down for anything.
So away he went, vanished, lifted into the briny dew as some say, took upon himself a leave, gone trouting, went south. As far as I know, he’s all and none no more. Mercury was a fair right tommy, big enough not to be missed, you’d see his head and shoulders breaking the clouds over any crowd. Where he went, I do not know.