Contraband

Log of the Arthur:

 

18 April, 1701: Yams and other foods tayken aboard at Cross River have proven rancid. We are forced to put the captives on the crew’s provisions. Almost half of our captives are showing signs of white flux, also four crewmen. Five captives have died of flux, two have died of consumption, one has jumped overboard, and one of the females miscarried and bled to death, another’s foetus rots inside her. I fear she will also soon die. – C. A

Contraband Memoir: The Triangle, 1701

 

In all the years that have passed I have not been able to eliminate the stench of contraband from my nostrils. The memory of it comes to me in the night when I am resting and in the day when it is light. Even now in this thick fog of rhum I can smell the rotting flesh of those who were murdered for another’s greed. Their vacant eyes seek me out in the morning when I wake and in the darkest corners of my daily existence. I am tortured by the knowledge of them and the knowledge that there are many more who have suffered the same fate, and suffer it still.

In every aspect the black market for illegal contraband is but a tiny reflection of the greed that dryves the larger infernal machine. For Nwoye, the victim, the innocent boy I once knew, as well as for myself, whose innocence goes unremembered, greed is the flayme that seared our souls and drove us lyke dogs for all the rest of our lyves. This practice, this trayde in souls must come to an end before our own souls are condemned to eternity in a fiery hell. This trayde, this triangle is most certainly well named of the Devil.

 

Collin Aldworth,

Williamsburg, June, 1719

Excerpt from: “Triangle: A Memoir of Black Caesar”

GM-Cvr6

… For Collin a vicious cycle had developed. As the sick grew in number there was less time to tend them individually. The worse the conditions in the hold became, the fewer of the ship’s crew could be coaxed into going below to help. Keeping the hold clean had been impossible from the beginning, but it became increasingly so, as Collin felt compelled to feed those who were too weak to feed themselves. Not just as a moral obligation, but also as part of his duty to the company’s profits. When the seas were rough, he could not feed or care for the sick at all. In truth, all his efforts, regardless of motivation, produced little to ease their sufferings. He became so frustrated at one point in the voyage that he wished they would all together die and be done with it. All, that is, except the boy, Nwoye, who’s life seemed to have been a little improved by all of Collin’s exhaustion.

 

… “Contraband.” Richardson stated flatly, wiping Collins face with a wet cloth and holding his head by the hair over the sloshing bucket.

“It ‘appens every voyage.” He added, with resignation.

Collin lifted his head from the bucket. “Whot do you mean?”

Richardson hesitated a moment. “I mean, lad, that th’ officers an’ men o’ the crew likes t’ make a little fer themselves, now and again, so they ‘ides Negroes aboard ship t’ sell fer their own profit.”

Until now Collin had believed himself so numbed by his experience on this voyage that nothing could ever shock him again, but, hearing Richardson’s explanation, his eyes narrowed and he began to quake with anger.

 

 

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