In our own
we were lost in time
in his mercy
would claim us.
"Australia would be a nice place
to visit," said Lovey.
"I might even like to live there."
Dupres said nothing to dampen his
friend's spirits at this most disastrous time.
But he knew that Lovey was thinking
of modern day Australia.
Australia in 1791; Botany Bay,
New South Wales and
Van Diemen's Land (known later as Tasmania)
would not be a good place for
bread thieves like he and Lovey.
They would be prisoners in the new land
and their forced labor would build the
foundation of one of the modern worlds
most interesting places.
The voyage itself would take months and
seeing the condition of the prison ship
this early in the trip made Dupres wonder
how any prisoners ever survived the early journeys.
The prisoners were rarely brought on deck for exercise
and always wore at least one 14-pound leg iron.
Given just enough food to survive, the convicts
began to fight like animals over their gruel. Lovey,
being so gentle a soul, often had his meager meal
wrestled away from him by his bunkmate Edward
who was much bigger and lacked the smallest amount of courtesy.
The situation was desperate but the squirrel had not been
able to find the keys to the leg irons.
After killing the captain's cat, Dupres was considered
a hero by the ship rats and they were all on the lookout for the keys.
They would have to be more aggressive in locating them.
Dupres would search by day and the rats by night.
One night as the captain lay drunk and passed out on his bed,
Dupres sat on top of the rum case smoking one of his cigarettes.
The captain knew someone had been stealing his tobacco and
had angrily blamed everyone he mentioned it to.
He had become paranoid over it and began thinking that
his crew might be disloyal. He would purposely leave rolled cigarettes
on his bedside table and lock his door.
Only to return later and find them missing and his room full of smoke.
On a prison ship with few moments of entertainment,
Dupres relished the distractions that his mild torments of the captain brought.
Just as he finished his smoke and was ready to retire for the night,
a rat jumped on the crate in front of him.
And what was she carrying in her mouth but a key!
There was no time to waste and after thanking the rat, he turned to leave.
A scratchy voice called to him and he turned back to the rat.
" I want to go with you." She said.
She was a mere child and the last thing Dupres needed
was another companion to look after.
"It's too dangerous." He told her.
"Lovey and I will likely die on the sea."
"But I am a good thief!" She said proudly.
"That you are," he agreed.
"But it takes more than thievery to go where we go."
Her childish enthusiasm was undaunted. "My name is Who."
"I have to go now, Who." He said as he turned
and jumped from the crate.
After unlocking Lovey's leg iron, Dupres gave the key
to another rat with instructions to turn it over to one
of the prisoners after he and Lovey were off the ship.
The clone had been sitting in chains for weeks and
could barely hobble as they made their way through
the sleeping convicts. Once they were on deck,
Lovey had to sit down for he was having trouble breathing.
He had become acclimated to the rancid air below deck
and the fresh air pierced his lungs like daggers.
While the clone rested, Dupres went to the lifeboats
to make sure there were no guards.
All was clear and a knife to cut the ropes had been
stashed earlier by one of the rats.
He suddenly heard a raucous and quickly headed back to Lovey.
As he rounded the corner, he caught a glimpse of
two officers pulling Lovey to his feet.
Before he could react, a wooden box came
crashing down, trapping him in darkness.
In about 45 minutes, the squirrel heard a familiar
scratchy voice outside the box.
It was Who.
"I followed you and saw what happened,"
she said. "They are going to flog your friend."
"Flog Lovey?" He gasped.
"They say he stole the captain's tobacco."
Dupres' heart sank. For he had asked Lovey
to carry his cigarettes . . . the captain's cigarettes.
The guards undoubtedly had found them on Lovey.
"Get the other rats," Dupres ordered.
"You've got to get me out of here."
As he waited in his dark cell, Dupres could hear
the commotion on deck as the guards prepared
for the flogging.
They were all drinking rum and the activity
would provide some entertainment for them.
What was keeping those rats?
To be continued . . .
If this makes no sense to you
And you want it to,
There is a link to Time Travel
inside where you can catch up.
While you're here, send or receive a disturbing,
yet free postcard!
You are nut number
The opinions expressed by Stockton Dupres do not
necessarily reflect the views of this website or its creator.
All squirrel animation and photo alterations by b.kee(c)1999
Original squirrel photo (c)Gregg Elovich
Most Music on this site from unknown sources