Stefan leaned back and watched the visitors leaving the ships as he had done for many years. Those leaving the Queen, if they saw him at all, just saw an old sailor, resting against a dockyard bollard. Occasionally in fact quite rarely someone would throw a coin towards him. If by some miracle a individual did walk over to where he reclined and asked if they might offer any help, they would observe his face light up. In fact if they were watching him very carefully, they might even notice that he was really quite young looking.
Stefan enjoyed using his magical powers to play tricks on sailors and their ships. Today his target for mischief was the TS Queen Mary. Yesterday he had used his magic on HMS Sophie, he had caused her crew and the ships captain George French a lot of trouble. First he had sent his imps to untie the aft sail causing it to fall, then they had attacked the mainsail. Sophie had leaned into the prevailing airs, of course the sloops midshipmen had taken the brunt of captain French’s displeasure. Stefan had smiled inwardly, it would serve them right for insulting him, to scoff at a down and out sailor was not acceptable to Stefan. Sophie’s captain had been infuriated and his crew had been exasperated, of course a midshipman had been blamed, why it a typical of them not to check the rigging for faults.
Stefan never stayed for long in one time period, it did not do to get to familiar to anyone watching. Stefan had learnt that trouble had a way of spreading to those nearby who watched for too long.
Being complacent had in the past caused Stefan a lot of trouble, retired time lord or not, trouble was best avoided. However today some of the Queen’s crew had enraged Stefan, first they had cursed him for not picking up the rope and looping it around a bollard, and then the ships cook had thrown slops at him. the cold scummy water had drenched Stefan, now the Queen’s crew were in for a hot time. There was misbehaving and misbehaving, they had gone to far. The mischievous imp inside Stefan was furious, a flash point had been well and truly past. Stefan was howling with pent up anger, a storm was heading towards the TS Queen Mary. Intense emotions ran though Stefan and it led to him loosing control of the imps.
The cook tripped on a loose floorboard and upset a spittoon, sending it’s contents all over the crews mess room . The mess room boy was so mad at having to clear up the contents of the spittoon that he kicked the ships cat, who went into hiding. The second mate of the Queen was a great fan of the cat and so he set the crew to find it. Now it had retreated to the spirit store and when the purser found it he upset a newly opened barrel of the captains favourite port. When the captain heard about this he told the first officer to stop the crews ration of rum for the day. This upset the stokers who anyway saw their ration stopped for no fault of their own. The on going tension led to a old grievance between a stoker and a passenger steward flaring up, a fight ensured so the captain banned all shore leave for the day. The first officer fed up with all the aggravation, called for the decks to be scrubbed. Stefan then encouraged the gulls to visit and defile the newly cleaned decks.
Then Stefan sent the imps in … a derrick swung loose and caused a container full of coal to drop its contents over the ships general stores which were waiting to be taken below. No shore leave, no grog and double deck duties left the whole ships company exasperated. As Stefan had now regained his composure he recalled the imps and concluded his business with the Queens crew. Then he decided it was time to move on, but where, perhaps he thought a short vacation to Southampton, he decided it was not crucial when, perhaps sometime circa 2016. So he spun the dial, time would tell if he would find any entertainment, well what else was a retired time lord to do.
HMS Sophie served the admiralty well and no disrespect is meant my this tale of disparaging woe. Whilst the TS Queen Mary also served the nation well in peace and wartime. All the events in this tall tale are of course fictitious, but the next time when in port if you see a retired sailer nearby, be polite, for you do not want engine failure or an imp up to no good.
I have a printed copy of this