You wonder why were out here on this wretched night. You wonder why I asked your aunt to end your party early. I see it in your eyes. I know.
The Boy is surprised. He looks at the Gentleman expectedly. He has never heard him speak so much.
Ten years ago your mother died laboring to bring you into this world, a wicked world that takes more than it gives. Somedayor some nightyou will know how ruthless it can be. But tonight! Oh, tonight I will show you how a gentleman takes back!
He turns to grab a harpoon and quickly holds it out to the Boy. A storm is approachinglightning cracks the sky some distance off and the Boy counts the seconds in the fuzzy, apprehensive interval before thunder: One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand . . .
The Gentlemans bearing is patrician, his posture perfect and upright. He scans the port side and his mechanical hand rests on the ships rail. It is, of course, his most prominent feature in the normalcy of daily life, but it is even more conspicuous now against the obvious humanity of his grief and his purpose. The Boy sees this, and terror hes never felt before creeps over him. The Gentleman strides to the other side of the ship and surveys the expanse of sky. He continues talking to the Boy but does not look at him:
I wasnt there that night to see youand her. But I dare anyone to say that I didnt try! We were about to sail home when Captain spotted that beast. I was in the second hunting boat and I swear to you, boy, that damn whale turned that first boat into matchsticks right before my eyes! It came right to us after that and a mate of mine lost his leg to it before it turned on me, but when I got home and saw her shrouded, I swore to herI swore to you, to myself!that I would return and take as was taken tenfold.
Lightning flashes, closer this time, and the Gentleman shades his eyes from the glare as he continues to search. The Boy looks up at him fearfully, his mind marking this night as the first time he met wrongful justice. Something dark passes overhead and the Boy exclaims,
Father! The fish!
May go into color.