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A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

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A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tide Evans on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:15 am

It was the gunner who finally brought the present matter to the officers' attention. The officers, in turn, issued an order that the deck-hose be rigged and all ship's boys to muster in the waist. The surgeon, Mister Farley, was present. So was Colburn with his starter. Tide Evans, despite not having been expressly named to the duty, found himself unofficially appointed to take charge of the buckets of soap and the soft brushes.

The boys standing in a ragged line eyed those buckets fearfully. Tide took care to keep his face blank, but he was hard-pressed to it. None of those lads were going to enjoy this, least of all the two grimy boys who assisted the gunner.

"Right, m'boys," Mister Colburn barked, taking his cue from the officer of the watch. "Strip!"
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Tide Evans
Midshipman

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:25 am

De Guarde had made dead sure that he was last in line. He had also made sure that he had a pair of taller boys standing in front of him, keeping him well out of view. The reason was not, that he was shy about following the command he expected. Well, that too. But there was another, that could have him have no reason to worry about the first. He glanced sharply towards his left. He couldn't see the buckets where he stood, but he knew them to be there. Mister Colburn issued the despised order and the boy turned again, chewing on his lip.

He was just waiting for the right moment to bolt. Was it now? Or perhaps he had just missed it? He ducked down and made an attempt to sneak off, dropping low to the floor.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Terry Button on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:47 am

They weren't serious! They couldn't be serious.

They were serious. Weren't they?

Whatever happened, Terry was not going to make the first move. Maybe if he waited long enough, they'd get bored and leave him be. Maybe.

Those buckets and the wash-deck pump looked innocent enough, of course. If you ignored the fact that the buckets were full of water and the sailors by the wash-deck pump were grinning their heads off.

Fat chance they'd be able to get out of this.

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Terry Button
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tide Evans on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:55 am

"Stand fast, boy!" Corporal Johnson snarled, appearing late on deck with a Shepherd held tight by the collar in either hand. The twins had matching thunderous expressions and there was a growing bruise on the left cheek of one of them. Tide grinned. The drummers had tried to sneak out of this, but there was never any eluding Johnson.

Mister Colburn glared at the reluctant, hesitating line of boys. "Strip, I said! No dawdling!"
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Tide Evans
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:11 am

Stand fast? Tough chance! De Guarde measured the corporal with a glance. Left arm, occupied by holding a Shepherd. Right arm, occupied by holding the second Shepherd. Johnson, very much disabled of grabbing a hold of another boy, unless he thought to let go of one of the two sullen lads first.

De Guarde scoffed. "Captain Bolitho 'bhind you!" He suddenly shouted and ran. He ducked around Button, pushed between Smith and Brightwell, slid and nearly tripped and was up again, running. If sneaking did not work - blasted Johnson! - maybe running and hiding would.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tide Evans on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:16 am

Tide lost his grin. There was halfhearted attempting to skiv out of this, then there was outright disobedience. He palmed his own starter and slipped neatly around the ungainly trio of redcoats.

"Stop there!" Tide cried. Two seconds, and he'd bawl for the Master-at-Arms.
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Tide Evans
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:25 am

It was cruel to make one scrub in front of everyone else. It was very cruel to tell one to strip and stand there awaiting to be dosed down, all in a state one was born in. De Guarde thought so. They could concentrate on those other boys and scrub them down all they wanted, but he would prefer waiting somewhere dark and preferably well hidden.

He may have heard Tide yell after him, but he did not really listen to it. "I'm clean!" He shouted back. "Don't need it!" He hoped his small size and agility would beat the longer legs and thus greater speed of his prosecutor.

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Mathew De Guarde
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Terry Button on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:34 am

Terry had already started to reluctantly untuck his shirt when de Guarde's attempt made his jaw drop, his hands pausing right where they were. The sheer cheek of it made him let out a gasp.

Good to him if he made it - though he wouldn't, of course, not with the number of sailors and marines who'd come to watch.

He really was an idiot if he thought he'd get away with it.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tide Evans on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:42 am

"I'm clean! Don't need it!"

Flaming. Cheek.

"Master-at-Arms!" Tide thundered, forgetting in his flash of temper that there were also officers on deck.
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Fingers Smith on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:54 am

This was the last thing Fingers wanted to have anything to do with. He was not dirty! Not badly, anyway. He scratched at his head and eyed Mister Colburn suspiciously. That older boy De Guarde was kickin' up a loud fuss about this, which was distracting Mister Evans from his scrubbing-buckets. Maybe, if Fingers was quick enough, he could slip away from this too.

He glanced at the boatswain's mate and started inching fractionally away. Just had to be casual about it...

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Fingers Smith
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:55 am

Master-at-Arms. Master-at-Arms? Why did he call for him? That was really making a mountain out of a molehill! Could he not see that he was clean and really did not need to get stripped for the Tar's entertainment. De Guarde was taking it too personally, forgetting that all those boys were in it too. They were probably as unhappy about having to take part in the bathing.

He stopped and looked over his shoulder. Torn between giving up the run and taking that chance, he had only considered turning around because of whom Evans called. He cursed and slipped onto the ground trying to crawl his way through a bundle of legs, of the men in his way. It was stupid. Stupid. Stupid! That Tide Evans should have let it drop, and not go out calling for the cavalry when the battle had not even started! "C'mon. Let it drop. Let it drop! No need fer 'im!" He was not just panicking, was he?

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  George Thompson on Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:57 am

Thompson had headed up on deck, intrigued by what was going on. He had to suppress a chuckle as Corporal Johnson pushed past him, holding one Shepherd twin by the collar with each hand.

It was a bare moment later when there was a shout in a familiar voice and a lad darted round one boy, pushed between two others and dropped to the deck, trying to get away. Unfortunately for him, Thompson was in his way. The Marine stooped and grabbed him firmly by the collar before realising who it was that he'd caught.

"You ought to set an example to the others, you ought," he said, looking at his captive.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:00 am

"Lemme go! This instant or I'll!" De Guarde protested kicking at Thompson. The man may have been a wise company usually, but right now he was in his way! He was holding him back. "Lemme go!" He kicked at Thompson's shin as hard as he could, with his bare feet. Ouch. That actually hurt him too.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tide Evans on Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:04 am

Tide made it through the sullen-faced line of boys and the loose gathering of smirking Tars in time to see his quarry literally collared by a Marine.

"Good catchin', Thompson," he said to the Marine, grateful for his intervention.

The Master-at-Arms appeared then, his heavily-tarred coachman's hat pushed back on his head. "What's all this?"
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Tide Evans
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  George Thompson on Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:10 am

"Stop that, you," the Marine replied, actually giving de Guarde a shake. He seemed determined to get away at any cost.

"'S all right, Mister Evans," he said and nodded to the Master-at-Arms. "Tain't nothin' we can't cope with," he replied. De Guarde was still squirming and kicking at him and he gave the boy another shake. "We all got to do things we don't like, times," he said. "Want me to come an' sort you out?"

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:18 am

"I'll bite you, so I will!" He kicked at Thompson's leg again. He twisted around, trying to get his teeth onto the fist holding his collar and even when his mouth was not as close, he did try to bite once or twice. The shaking hardly helped matters.

He glared at the man newly arrived to. The Master-at-Arms. Feared and loathed and to hell and back, why he had to arrive so soon! "Let me go, you traitor!" He hissed, looking more sullen and somewhat more tame. Though there was always quiet before a storm, and it could also have been because of who was there now.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  George Thompson on Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:26 am

"Just you try it," Thompson retorted. "You'll only make things worse, y'know, fightin' it. You ought to be settin' the others an example, like."

None of the other boys seemed to be putting up this sort of struggle, and even the Shepherds' attempt had only been half-hearted. This was something else entirely, and de Guarde had to back down soon or risk getting into real trouble.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tom Oxley on Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:22 am

Even Oxley was there, though he didn't want to be. He was too old for this sort of thing, really, and it wasn't as though he was dirty, either, not like some people he could name. He glanced in Fingers' direction. Now, there was a boy who needed a scrub.

The commotion made him grin, despite his own predicament, as de Guarde ran for it, trying to get away, only to be collared... by Thompson, of all people. Oxley let out a low whistle.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:29 am

"You c''n set an example in me place. Be m' guest if yer want! I'll be there watchin' but I ain' doin' it! I's clean as a.. a.. .clean thing!" He glared at Thompson. Even when he looked subdued, he was just as alert as before. If he waited long enough another opening would be had. Just, that damned Master-at-Arms came. He was trouble. Evans really could have thought better than to call him. Stupid thing.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  George Thompson on Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:40 am

"I ain't lettin' go of you," Thompson replied. "It'll be good for you to clean up. Jus' look at your hand an' feet, that's all. An' even Tom Oxley's here, so there's no way you'm wrigglin' out of it."

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tide Evans on Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:46 am

"Give the scamp here," the Master-at-Arms said curtly, reaching out for De Guarde's collar. "No more of this nonsense!"

Tide kept his starter in one hand as he too stepped forward, ready to help drag the stupid boy back to where the others were waiting.
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Tide Evans
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  George Thompson on Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:48 am

Thompson hesitated over relinquishing hold of de Guarde's collar. "I'll scrub him down for you, if you want, Mister Evans," he said, wondering if it was such a good idea to make the offer.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:01 am

De Guarde looked from one man to the other. He tested the hold on his collar, but it remained the same. Not letting up meant clearly he was stuck unless he would have tried to wiggle out of the shirt. That would mean however, doing something that they would have wanted and he was damned if he wanted to part with his shirt!

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  Tide Evans on Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:06 am

"You an' me both for it," Tide said, thinking that Corporal Johnson would also want to lend a hand.
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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

Post  George Thompson on Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:09 am

Thompson nodded. "All right, Buckles, lad, we'm goin' over to the others, nice an' easy, all right?" Whether de Guarde agreed or not, the Marines was going to take him over to where the other boys were standing, all with varying degrees of misery in their faces.

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Re: A Good Bit of Scrubbin'

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