The Tom Crean Diary of Polar Exploration May14


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The Tom Crean Diary of Polar Exploration

Dear Thelma

You know, with all the walking and looking around, endlessly looking around for something, anything, you forget how cold it is here. And where is “here” anyway? I know I sound negative but it’s hard, so hard. Cooper’s finally collapsed into a permanent low-mood; “He’s not depressed,” Scott insisted; “he’s just very terrified all the time.” “Of what?” I asked. “I dunno,” he said, “but I found him trying to insulate his head last night with a crate.” He returned to his sketchbook into which he draws portraits of his relatives from memory. Unfortunately, all his photographs were stolen. We’ve looked everywhere but not a sign so far. He used to enjoy copying them out with a burnt stick; all our pencils were used up when the kindling combusted. Still, he likes that auld stick.

Scratcher and The Shifter have got old. They used to be thick as thieves, always pulling and tearing at dead stuff and eating bits of Browny. Now they just lick at each other and try to bury themselves alive in the ice. Scott wanted them shot but Cooper’s aunt wouldn’t hear of it so Scott would change the subject to Western man’s reimagining of the snow through adversity which nobody wanted to know about. Bloom’s gone again. He got up yesterday morning and told everyone, “I’m going outside; I may be gone some while. Don’t wait up,” and off he went, nude, except for a huge hat and waving at nothing. “He’ll be back,” Scott insisted. “Feck him,” Tawny Owl grunted; “let him off, mad bastard.”

Tawny Owl came to my part of the tent yesterday and told me he had something to tell me. He looked about him several times and stretched and sang the first verse of “Where’s your Mother From This Time, Maire Óg” before crouching down and confiding that he was thinking of killing Horace. “Horace’s dead,” I told him.

“Hah?” he said, looking up.

“We ate him, remember?”

“That was Horace?!”

“Who did you think it was?”

“I thought it was rations.”

“Haven’t you noticed that Horace isn’t around any longer?”

“I never liked Horace.”

With that he rose and touched his toes and left.