Alas though it is true that many men of sailor persuasion enjoy a cold watery grave, for the ironically named Fortunato, it was the twin liquids of wine and sea that was to end him.
While shored in the little port of Amaretto, the sailor quite by chance met the youthful fairheaded James Fitzgerald, a solictor who had a practice in this bitter little sea-town. Prone to an acuteness of sensitivity, Fortunato fell desperately in love over a shared pint of ale and a wink. The pair mantained a week-long torrid love affair conducted mostly in the alleyway between The Salty Hook alehouse and Moby Dick Laundry.
But! While for our fair-haired solictor it was a very secret fling (he really intended to marry Miss Elizabeth Clare who came with a dowry and station) for Fortunato it was love.
One night Fortunato spotted Mr. Fitzgerald and Ms. Clare by their carraige, in the light of the gas lamps. Well doused in Ma'am Esme's famed gut-rotting homemade rosé from the Salty Hook, he launched into a heart-rending proclamation of love that drew an amused crowd of lookie-loos from the alehouse.
And oh what treachery ensued! The youthful solictor denied any knowledge of poor drunk and swaying Fortunato, he denied even ever having seen him! After launching some well-placed and witty insults in poor Fortunato's direction, he scooped a bewildered Miss. Clare into the carraige and shot Fortunato a look of such disdain as would have felled even less sensitive sailors than our ineptly-named protagonist.
Rocked with woe and ridiculed by his fellows from the alehouse, Fortunato wandered to the pier and took to drinking more and more rosé till in drunken folly he fell in and never rose above the surface. Vito McCarthy, who watched it happen from the alehouse's grimy windows, swears he saw the tentacle arm of the local seamonster curl about Fortunato's ankle and pull him in. But he was well in his cups and some say, even on his sober days, he's never really there, you know.
All they ever found of Fortunato was his hat washed-up on the shingle, and it it is said that his ghost roams Amaretto still, so that he became something of a celebrity in death. His hat was sold at an impromptu auction in market-day, and was bought for stupid amounts of money by a mysterious cloaked and hatted solicitor, to be lamented and wept on later in private, no doubt.
art of a new series I am working on
This is largely airbrushed, with some photo texture. Done in Photoshop CS II.
Get a print, signed, from my Etsy shop! [link]