In the last two days I wrote the first four chapters of Jack: Book Three in the Trilogy and began the book 3 plot in a way in which I am totally pleased. There were many possible scenarios but I came up with the ideal one this morning. I am slating Book 3 for publication in December to give myself enough room but it may be published as early as late September. Please share to teachers. It is very difficult to get a novel on an approved list such as the New York City list from which teachers can purchase using school budget funds, even though I taught English in New York City for 13 years. However, teachers can independently purchase unapproved books with their own funds or teacher’s choice funds or they can have an administrator approve a purchase such as a class set. I was able to do this with many of my English Literature classes. In NYC, there are private vendors who control who can get books on the approved list. Indie writers such as myself are not a high priority for these vendors. Thanks! – Gary L. Dorion
Note: I started writing The Jack Trilogy in 2004 in my fourth year of teaching in Manhattan schools. Book one was published in August, 2015, and book 2 in May, 2016. Enjoy!
Books 1 and 2 can be purchased on my Amazon site, both in Kindle and print format: Dorion’s Amazon Author Site. Purchase both Jack 1 and Jack 2, email me confirming your purchase at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a free PDF of Jack: Book 3 on the release date. Just write in the email subject line: Purchased Jack 1 and 2.
Chapter 1 The Prayer
Jack called for a meeting of everyone on board the ship to be held a couple of hours before sunset on August 8, 1860.
We had passed along the easterly edge of the storm which was headed in a north-westerly direction – Jack had ordered the ship to turn eastward and chart a course towards Africa, a move that saved us as we gradually put distance between us and the gale which we had been fortunate enough to have just skirted. Had we continued our westerly course we would have hit the storm head on and undoubtedly we would have all perished.
“What made you turn the ship at that moment, Jack? What an incredible piece of luck,” I said.
“It wasn’t luck,” said Jack. “Although I am not a religious type as you well know, I said a prayer that if the good lord would save us from the hurricane I promised I would return the darkies to their home as long as that was what they wanted. Then I thought, well, I made the promise, why not show my faith in praying that I just had done, and start immediately making good on my promise. It was like a little voice in my head that said, ‘Well, what the hell are you waiting for? Turn the damn ship toward Africa!’ So that’s how it happened. Wasn’t luck, sonny boy! It was, destiny.”
“Wow Jack! That’s amazing! But are you just making up a story so as to go ahead with your new adventures without consulting any of us or even to see if the darkies do want to go back? After all, maybe many of them were sold off by their chiefs to the slave traders and don’t ever want to go back – I have heard stories about how this has happened,” I said.
“Didn’t you hear what I said, moron?” said Jack. “I said I promised in my prayer I’d take ‘em back to Africa if that was what they wanted. So now, we have to have everyone meet on deck before we head much further east, and determine what the darkies want. Maybe they don’t want to go back. Maybe they want to go to Mexico or Costa Rica or even to Hispaniola where slavery is illegal.”
“What happens,” I said, “if some want to go back but others want to go to Hispaniola?
“Well, in that case, we’ll have to establish up front of any discussion that a majority vote will win so that if 51 percent want to go back to Africa, that’s what’ll happen,” said Jack. “Call the meeting of everyone on deck, except of course the good Captain Pendleton. Lock him up ‘til we have decided.”
“Aye, aye, Captain!” I said. “But, if some want to go to Jamaica with us – we are going back to Jamaica right? – then let’s take them back with us after dropping the others back home in Africa? Sound like a plan?
“Sometimes kiddie you can be amazingly smart – just that it doesn’t happen very often,” Jack said. “Okay, so they’ll have some choices.”
Chapter 2 Home
When everyone assembled on deck, Jack announced that he called them all together to decide where the ship should go. The choices, he said, were to go the free island of Jamaica, the free island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), Mexico or back home to Africa. He said that, if the choice was Africa, the ship would land all of the darkies in Senegal, Guinea or another country but only one country and the people who were stolen from nearby countries would have to make their own way back. The great danger, said Jack, was that all of these were countries where slave-trading was practiced and they could easily be enslaved again on slave ships headed to the Caribbean Islands. Those who did not want to be returned to Africa could make the journey back with us to Jamaica and make a new start there. Mauricia and America interpreted in several languages so that all of the darkies understood the choices they were offered.
The other problem we faced was, if all of the darkies decided on Africa and Jamaica, we would have no-one to help sail the ship to Charleston. But we could not ask escaped slaves to help us sail to the southern United States. Even Mauritia and America planned to return to Jamaica so that would leave just Jack and me.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Jack said.
“Okay then,” said Jack. “With a show of hands, who wants to go back to Africa, to Senegal?”
We counted 71 of the 110 original slaves. The rest said Jamaica except for nine darkies who said they wanted to go to the USA with us. That presented Jack and me with both a problem and a solution. They could help sail the ship and we could drop them off in a free state such as Delaware.
So it was agreed. We continued our course toward the African coast – to Senegal.
Chapter 3 Captain Who?
America and Mauricia took control of the domestic needs of the ship, assigning every person a job. There were lookouts fore and aft, starboard and port; cooks; dish washers; general cleaners; deck swabbers who washed the deck; painters; meal distributors; sail menders to repair rips that might occur in the canvas sails; carpenters; coopers; those who maintained weapons whose job primarily was to keep the two cannons free of salt, and oiled; laundry workers to heat up hot salt water to clean clothing; those responsible for dumping garbage into the sea; those who cleaned the privies and dumped the waste several times each day; and fishermen who cast nets and used hooks and sinkers in the more traditional way. Everyone had something to do. Everyone worked. It rapidly became a self-sufficient community.
Even Captain Pendleton contributed without complaint as he had by then accepted that his fate for the time being was to “wallop the pots and make them shine” – just as Jack had ordered.
But after a week at sea, Jack ordered Pendleton to the forecastle.
“Morning there Captain Pendleton. How ye be doin’ today?” said Jack.
“Well mister, let’s say I’ve seen better days before the mast!” Pendleton replied.
“How’s the pot-wallopin’ coming along there captain?” asked Jack.
“It’s coming and I’m doing what I need to do right now,” said Pendleton.
“Fine, fine!” Jack said. “Nothing like some good old hands’on work to make a body ‘ppreciate things,” Jack said. “Hey captain, ya makin’ any friends down below in the kitchen with the darkies?”
“Friends, hell no! But I like Morris and Andrew, they actually look out for me and keep me safe – you never know ya know on a ship like this who might be an enemy. And they also help me to finish my chores. I’m not as young as I used to be and after seven or eight hours washing dishes and pots and pans, I get tired. I must say that I really appreciate the help that they give me then. It’s very surprising to me. Me a slaver sea captain and they former slaves who are kind to their former enslaver.”
“Well, life’s ‘bout learnin’, ain’t it sir?” Jack said. “Glad to hear you’re getting along so well.”
“Ya know where we are a’goin’?” Jack asked.
“Course I do! Do you think I don’t know what I’m about here in the mid-Atlantic? Why I’ve sailed these waters many times. This ship is going back to Africa as sure as the sun’ll come up in the east tomorrow morning! You are going to send the darkies back home to their countries of origin.”
“What do ya think ‘bout that?” asked Jack.
“It’s a fool’s errand. You’ll never make it. The pirates by now are on to ya plans and there’ll be more than one ship a’coming after you once they have figured out that you tricked them and doubled back behind them, which they no doubt have done by now. You won’t be able to pull the wool over their eyes again! That’s for sure. That’s for damn sure! You have no-one on this ship experienced enough to evade the pirates and other slavers – especially as you approach the African coast, they’ll be a’hunting you down sonny. You’ve done amazingly well so far for a young whipper-snapper, but you’re luck’s going to run out there lad! You have no-one experienced enough to captain the ship through all of the adversities that this ocean will throw at you!”
“Well, that’s not quite true thar Captain Pendleton, sir! We’ve got you!” said Jack.
Chapter 4 Pot-walloper or Navigator?
“Well there Captain Pendleton, sir,” said Jack. I thought that maybe you could put some of your maritime skills to work on behalf of a good cause there sir? You know what I’m a talkin’ ‘bout?”
“Do I look stupid to you? I knew as soon as you turned the ship east that you’d be a’knockin at my door a’looking for a way to use my skills, there sonny boy! You’re a resourceful lad and not afraid to take some risks but you are an arrogant son-of-a-bitch! What makes you think I’d help you steal my profits by sending the darkies back to where they came from?”
“Well,” said Jack, “I’m not only an arrogant son-of-a-bitch but I’m a believer in the goodness of human nature and captain, I know you deep down to be a good man. I know you don’t much like slavin’ on the high seas and torturing those poor folk, breakin’ up their families and even killing some on the way to the cotton fields and sugar plantations. I think you would rather do something good for a change and so there, Captain Pendleton, that’s why I called you up here this fine morning sir, to see if you can guide us sir to the African coast and back, in fact, sir, all the way back to Charleston. I can’t say I’d ever give the ship back to you, sir, because I’m afraid the slave trade would be a bit too tempting for you just as it’s been in the past. No, this ship will be turned over to the federal authorities in Charleston when we arrive back there a few months down the road. But I’ll not have you arrested and will allow you to go free before we anchor in Charleston Harbor, sir. You can even jump ship in Africa or Jamaica, if you prefer. I’ll make sure that you get enough of the gold you’ve stored in your cabin to help you get a new start. The other choice, my good Captain Pendleton, is to continue pot-walloping all the way to Africa and all the way back to Jamaica and all the way back to Charleston where, I’m afraid sir, you will be arrested for murder and for illegally importing African slaves into the United States of America. Now sir, I hope you’ll agree, ya just don’t find a deal like that every day!”
I had remained silent throughout the entire exchange as we three sat in the captain’s cabin. I was totally unconvinced that Captain Pendleton could be trusted. Jack, I thought, was being totally naïve. Pendleton would turn on us at the first opportunity. But I said nothing and observed Jack’s clever but foolish offer.
“What makes you think I’ll be true to my word if I do say I’ll go along with you,” said Pendleton.
“That’s easy sir, your good friends, Morris and Andrew, who I assigned to watch you like a hawk but also to help you when you needed help, will be with you 24 hours a day and they have my standing order to throw you overboard if, at any time, you do something stupid like try to signal another ship or in any way try to prevent our return of the African people aboard this ship. And sir, Morris might not throw you overboard. He may, with my blessings, choose instead to snap you in half. Are you hearing me sir,” Jack said.
“I hear you there whipper-snapper!”
“Aboard this ship thar Captain Pendleton, it’s Captain Jack”
“Captain Jack then,” Pendleton said.
“Back where I come from we shake hands to seal a deal,” Jack said, extending his arm toward Pendleton.
“It’s a deal then,” said Captain Pendleton, shaking hands with Jack.
“It’s a deal then, Captain Jack!” said Jack.
“Yes, it’s a deal then, Captain Jack!” the former captain said.