Author: S.T. Lore Client: Discipline Magazine Designer: Ziga Testen Guest Editor: Maria Fusco Pages: 176 Format: 30 x 23 cm, Perfect Bound, Full Colour, Edition of 1000 Year: 2012, ISSN 1839-082X  WATTS' TALE OF ENDLESS ORE  '... There was a ship. A luxury ship. An Ocean Liner over ten stories high. It had a room like this, a view like this, though slightly different. There was a private balcony, 24-hour room service, an indoor cinema and catered dining hall. Everybody, everywhere, was suntanned. I was on an assignment for an industry magazine, basically a hired-gun for pensioner tourism.  I had been hired to document life aboard the ship; life for the passengers and for the staff. It was a slow-paced gig compared to my usual but one I was happy to take due to my recent fear of flying. Rarely do I speak to anyone of these commerical projects, but unfortunately, I am willing to discard anything — ideology, logic, values — in order to upkeep my gambling lifestyle. Most days began with me reluctant to leave the room. I despise the noise of crowds you see. I shot several rolls of film from my balcony, seated alone, over the remnants of a recent breakfast. I took dozens of shots of the endless expanse of the blue ocean and some of the interior suite Eventually I ventured into the routine of the ship.  Finally, I became accustomed to life aboard.   Mostly I was alone, apart from the odd fling, and yet soon I met a drinking companion ... 

Author: S.T. Lore
Client: Discipline Magazine
Designer: Ziga Testen
Guest Editor: Maria Fusco
Pages: 176
Format: 30 x 23 cm, Perfect Bound, Full Colour, Edition of 1000
Year: 2012, ISSN 1839-082X

WATTS' TALE OF ENDLESS ORE

'... There was a ship. A luxury ship. An Ocean Liner over ten stories high. It had a room like this, a view like this, though slightly different. There was a private balcony, 24-hour room service, an indoor cinema and catered dining hall. Everybody, everywhere, was suntanned. I was on an assignment for an industry magazine, basically a hired-gun for pensioner tourism.  I had been hired to document life aboard the ship; life for the passengers and for the staff. It was a slow-paced gig compared to my usual but one I was happy to take due to my recent fear of flying. Rarely do I speak to anyone of these commerical projects, but unfortunately, I am willing to discard anything — ideology, logic, values — in order to upkeep my gambling lifestyle. Most days began with me reluctant to leave the room. I despise the noise of crowds you see. I shot several rolls of film from my balcony, seated alone, over the remnants of a recent breakfast. I took dozens of shots of the endless expanse of the blue ocean and some of the interior suite Eventually I ventured into the routine of the ship.

Finally, I became accustomed to life aboard. 

Mostly I was alone, apart from the odd fling, and yet soon I met a drinking companion ... 

 Over the next few days we would meet around NOON and again at 5 and 8 PM, to drink, but to talk about life also. She had been aboard for a record 2342 continuous days and never left the confines of the ship ... even when in Port. Everything was at her disposal: top-notch medical facilities, luxurious shopping boutiques, a parade of new companions and troughs of exotic food. On the board the ship she enjoyed a minor celebrity in this transient community and this seemed to occupy the vacant spot deserted by her late husband who died some 7 years prior. In my opinion, she was a well-kept woman, quite elderly, but also quite vivacious and friendly. We would drink and talk of her earlier life. She flirted openly with me but wanted nothing in return, just the dying hints of nocturnal seduction were enough. We danced once, briefly. She was quite graceful despite here restricted movement and it was actually how we had met.   The widows’ dance occurred once a week, on a Friday, from seven until ten p.m. I thought it a strange event, perhaps in poor taste, and yet I learnt it had been initiated by a travelling couple. The wife had been dismayed by the loneliness of the widows aboard - her dining companions and her bridge partners - and so she organised this weekly dance. A dress code was strictly enforced and the widows wore evening gowns. When I first entered the room I was struck by a veritable museum of fashion: a floating time machine of gowned widows twirling and laughing. Out on the floor, the other men, although mostly married, cordially escorted the ladies in the dance routine as best they could. Almost immediately I spotted her in the corner. She was holding court at dinner time, like a countess of the sea and I confess I was moved to approach her by the atmosphere and the display of loneliness and conviviality. I do not dance well and yet I do not lack confidence or charm and she followed me onto the floor. Despite all the ports and cities we were to visit, the wealth of parties and dignitaries, I shot a single image of the dancing widows and used it for my article. It was a perspective of genius and one that has further enhanced my journalistic career. I selected a photograph blurring legs and colours and forms of fabric as they swirled across a backdrop of the deep blue oceanic backdrop. Despite the sun having set, the light was perfect, and I captured a beautifully composed shot. Everything about the image suggested movement and grace and defied those unrelenting elements of nostalgia, of gravity and of age. Readers responded to the article in their hundreds ... "  Entering the dining hall downstairs we approached the Roulette table. The man behind the wheel looked unlike any other croupier aboard the ship: unshaven and with a long, scraggly beard, his thinning hair was tied in a loose knot. His clothes were also mismatched and his fingers stained a deep tobacco brown.  Zola did not pay attention to him and held out her hand to receive some chips.  "Shall we bet on black or red? On thirds? Or shall we gamble all on a single number? Go on choose a number", she encouraged.  I placed a stack of chips on  Red 19 .  “What is set upon the table sits upon the table ... ”, the croupier uttered under his breath.  “Excuse me?!”  “What is set upon the table sits upon the table ... ” He repeated again.  It was the statement from the note I found under my door earlier. 

Over the next few days we would meet around NOON and again at 5 and 8 PM, to drink, but to talk about life also. She had been aboard for a record 2342 continuous days and never left the confines of the ship ... even when in Port. Everything was at her disposal: top-notch medical facilities, luxurious shopping boutiques, a parade of new companions and troughs of exotic food. On the board the ship she enjoyed a minor celebrity in this transient community and this seemed to occupy the vacant spot deserted by her late husband who died some 7 years prior. In my opinion, she was a well-kept woman, quite elderly, but also quite vivacious and friendly. We would drink and talk of her earlier life. She flirted openly with me but wanted nothing in return, just the dying hints of nocturnal seduction were enough. We danced once, briefly. She was quite graceful despite here restricted movement and it was actually how we had met. 

The widows’ dance occurred once a week, on a Friday, from seven until ten p.m. I thought it a strange event, perhaps in poor taste, and yet I learnt it had been initiated by a travelling couple. The wife had been dismayed by the loneliness of the widows aboard - her dining companions and her bridge partners - and so she organised this weekly dance. A dress code was strictly enforced and the widows wore evening gowns. When I first entered the room I was struck by a veritable museum of fashion: a floating time machine of gowned widows twirling and laughing. Out on the floor, the other men, although mostly married, cordially escorted the ladies in the dance routine as best they could. Almost immediately I spotted her in the corner. She was holding court at dinner time, like a countess of the sea and I confess I was moved to approach her by the atmosphere and the display of loneliness and conviviality. I do not dance well and yet I do not lack confidence or charm and she followed me onto the floor. Despite all the ports and cities we were to visit, the wealth of parties and dignitaries, I shot a single image of the dancing widows and used it for my article. It was a perspective of genius and one that has further enhanced my journalistic career. I selected a photograph blurring legs and colours and forms of fabric as they swirled across a backdrop of the deep blue oceanic backdrop. Despite the sun having set, the light was perfect, and I captured a beautifully composed shot. Everything about the image suggested movement and grace and defied those unrelenting elements of nostalgia, of gravity and of age. Readers responded to the article in their hundreds ... "

Entering the dining hall downstairs we approached the Roulette table. The man behind the wheel looked unlike any other croupier aboard the ship: unshaven and with a long, scraggly beard, his thinning hair was tied in a loose knot. His clothes were also mismatched and his fingers stained a deep tobacco brown.

Zola did not pay attention to him and held out her hand to receive some chips.

"Shall we bet on black or red? On thirds? Or shall we gamble all on a single number? Go on choose a number", she encouraged.

I placed a stack of chips on Red 19.

“What is set upon the table sits upon the table ... ”, the croupier uttered under his breath.

“Excuse me?!”

“What is set upon the table sits upon the table ... ” He repeated again.

It was the statement from the note I found under my door earlier. 

 “Who are you? Where does that saying come from?”  He ignored my questions and span the wheel. A kaleidoscope of numbers flickered before my eyes.  The number 19 was passed over for Black 31.  The widow had placed a stack on black and collected. She encouraged me to try again.  Placing my chips again on Red 19, I could not let the croupier pass unnoticed.  “Have we met before? Have you always been here? Here on the ship?”  The impostor, the croupier, ignored me and watched as other hands placed their bets. When all is done he makes a signal, but before spinning the wheel, he quietly speaks to me again.  “(this and that) put (here and there) out of sight of Polaris”.  The greedy crowd continue ignore him. All eyes are on the wheel. It was me alone who couldn't believe it.  "Polaris? Is that the name of the ship?"  He refused to answer me and, infuriated by this incipient insubordination, I jumped over the table. Chips were knocked everywhere and the wheel come crashing down. I seized the Pervert around the neck and was squeezing the very life from him.  "What are these statements? What the hell do you mean? I need to get out of here man. Polaris! Fucking Polaris! You mean the star? Listen up arsehole! I was born in the city. I don't look at the fucking stars!"  Staring directly into his eyes I could see nothing but dark circles; they were vacant, utterly vacant.   I sensed no feelings of malice nor pain from him: just egoless circles staring back. His only reaction was to blow tobacco smoke in my face and like a sea fog it enveloped me. I began coughing and had to release my grip. Desperately I reached out again for him, knowing he had answers to my endless questions, but I found only a solid wall. With my hands I felt the edges of hexagram tiles in the darkness all around me. Somehow I had been transported back into my room, plunged into the darkness of before. Slumping against the tiled floor I curled up into a ball and gently rocked myself back and forth like a child abandoned in a war-torn and borderless country. All authority had deserted me. I looked upwards for any sign of grace or of love.   I released my hands around my knees and stopped rocking, then calmly lay flat on the ground. I was willing to tell my interrogator all my knowledge of the gold.  "You have won," I yelled. "You have won."  Yet there was no response. 

“Who are you? Where does that saying come from?”

He ignored my questions and span the wheel. A kaleidoscope of numbers flickered before my eyes.

The number 19 was passed over for Black 31.

The widow had placed a stack on black and collected. She encouraged me to try again.

Placing my chips again on Red 19, I could not let the croupier pass unnoticed.

“Have we met before? Have you always been here? Here on the ship?”

The impostor, the croupier, ignored me and watched as other hands placed their bets.
When all is done he makes a signal, but before spinning the wheel, he quietly speaks to me again.

“(this and that) put (here and there) out of sight of Polaris”.

The greedy crowd continue ignore him. All eyes are on the wheel. It was me alone who couldn't believe it.

"Polaris? Is that the name of the ship?"

He refused to answer me and, infuriated by this incipient insubordination, I jumped over the table. Chips were knocked everywhere and the wheel come crashing down. I seized the Pervert around the neck and was squeezing the very life from him.

"What are these statements? What the hell do you mean? I need to get out of here man. Polaris! Fucking Polaris! You mean the star? Listen up arsehole! I was born in the city. I don't look at the fucking stars!"

Staring directly into his eyes I could see nothing but dark circles; they were vacant, utterly vacant. 

I sensed no feelings of malice nor pain from him: just egoless circles staring back. His only reaction was to blow tobacco smoke in my face and like a sea fog it enveloped me. I began coughing and had to release my grip. Desperately I reached out again for him, knowing he had answers to my endless questions, but I found only a solid wall. With my hands I felt the edges of hexagram tiles in the darkness all around me. Somehow I had been transported back into my room, plunged into the darkness of before. Slumping against the tiled floor I curled up into a ball and gently rocked myself back and forth like a child abandoned in a war-torn and borderless country. All authority had deserted me. I looked upwards for any sign of grace or of love. 

I released my hands around my knees and stopped rocking, then calmly lay flat on the ground. I was willing to tell my interrogator all my knowledge of the gold.

"You have won," I yelled. "You have won."

Yet there was no response. 

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