Queequeg

January 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Posted in The Knave | Leave a comment
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Queequeg was a professional harpooner from a savage place known as Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.  Born and raised in the town of Kokovoko, which lies between Quidnick and Quonochontaug, Queequeg was the son of the revolutionary governor Thomas Wilson Dorr and also the inventor of clam chowder.  It was this invention that caused him to be run off of the island at the age of sixteen.

During a particularly filling cannibal feast upon fifty captives from Connecticut, Queequeg joked that he liked his Nutmeggers so fresh that the last bars of “Yankee Doodle” had just barely left their lips.  After his fifth rare Connecticuter-kebab, he came down with a bad case of indigestion.  To ease his stomach, he replaced the Nutmegger captives in the human chowder with clams, which, when they discovered the switch, infuriated his fellow Kokovokoans.  They drove Queequeg from the town, throwing Hartfordian leg bones and skulls at him as he ran away.  He traveled to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he opened a small shack on the pier. He mainly sold clam chowder to sailors and townspeople alike, but when his stomach was feeling calm, he would on occasion sell “long pig” chowder as well.

One day a New Yorker saw Queequeg hurl a spear at a five-year-old boy who had skipped on a tab, impaling the child through the center of the back at fifty yards.  The man suggested that if he could hit a small boy at that distance, he could certainly harpoon a whale, and then introduced himself by saying, “Call me Ishmael”.  Queequeg said that his friends called him “Q” and the two decided to take the ferry over to Nantucket to sign up with a whaling vessel after they first ate a delightful meal of young Bay Stater.

Q and Ishmael joined up with jolly ol’ Captain Ahab on the whaler Pequod.  Ahab was quick with a joke and was always praising a particular sperm whale with a white hump that had saved his life. No one on the crew was ever to injure this whale whose name was Moby Dick.  Q quickly became fond of the captain and soon thereafter became jealous of the white whale.  He determined to kill it if ever he saw it.  When another ship, the Rachel, informed them that the white whale was nearby, Ahab decided to bring it some particularly delicious squid he had been saving.  Lured close by this tasty treat, Q had no trouble driving his harpoon deep into the beast.  Furious, Ahab ordered that Queequeg be sealed in a coffin and set out to drift at sea. Starbuck, the first mate, spoke up for Q, while Ishmael only said, “The drama’s done.  Write me Queequeg, if you survive and learn how to write.”

Q and Starbuck were set adrift atop a coffin as the Pequod sailed away.  They eventually came to land in Elliott Bay.  There they opened up a coffee shop together named Queequeg’s Qoffee Qafe in one of the Duwamish villages, but Q was more interested in working on a novel of his adventures than serving coffee, which led to strife in the friendship, especially since the former first mate continually insisted on pointing out that Q was illiterate and that no one would ever buy a novel told only in pictures.  Q proved him wrong, sort of, by agreeing to front the money for his book with a vanity publishing company.  Thus Giant Sperm Whale was “published” and one hundred copies went to friends and family in Kokovoko who had forgiven him for the “clam chowder incident”.

In 1853, Queequeg decided to leave Seattle and gave his worthless shares in the cafe to his partner, who renamed the place Starbucks Coffeehouse, which eventually became successful enough that he was able to buy a large stake in a ship called the Galactica.  Queequeg traveled to England to pursue writing and the ability to read.  Finding himself a poor student at adult literacy, he decided to go to Australia, where gold had been discovered.  He booked passage out of Liverpool on the RMS Tayleur, a fully-rigged iron clipper chartered by the White Star Line.  It was the largest passenger ship in the world and Q was sure it was unsinkable until January 21st 1854, when it sank on its maiden voyage.  Ninety-seven of the hundred women, forty-seven of the fifty children, and two-hundred-sixteen of the five-hundred men aboard died, including Q, who is today only remembered as a character in Herman Melville’s adaptation into an actual novel of Queequeg’s self-published graphic novel. – The Knave

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