Flask

The third mate was Flask, a native of Tisbury, in Martha’s Vineyard. A short, stout, ruddy young fellow, very pugnacious concerning whales, who somehow seemed to think that the great leviathans had personally and hereditarily affronted him; and therefore it was a sort of point of honour with him, to destroy them whenever encountered. So utterly lost was he to all sense of reverence for the many marvels of their majestic bulk and mystic ways; and so dead to anything like an apprehension of any possible danger from encountering them; that in his poor opinion, the wondrous whale was but a species of magnified mouse, or at least water-rat, requiring only a little circumvention and some small application of time and trouble in order to kill and boil. This ignorant, unconscious fearlessness of his made him a little waggish in the matter of whales; he followed these fish for the fun of it; and a three years’ voyage round Cape Horn was only a jolly joke that lasted that length of time. As a carpenter’s nails are divided into wrought nails and cut nails; so mankind may be similarly divided. Little Flask was one of the wrought ones; made to clinch tight and last long. They called him King-Post on board of the Pequod; because, in form, he could be well likened to the short, square timber known by that name in Arctic whalers; and which by the means of many radiating side timbers inserted into it, serves to brace the ship against the icy concussions of those battering seas.

—Knights and Squires

Third Mate. Nicknamed ‘little King-post’ aboard the Pequod, Flask is a small man who stands as upright as the stern-post of the whaleboat he commands. This youthful man sees no poetry in the profession he’s chosen, and when he looks up at the mystical gold doubloon that so hypnotizes his shipmates with its ominous portents, little King-post sees only enough money to buy him forty cigars.

Flask’s depiction in the hunt for whales is always of the feverish yearnings of a violent man. It’s all he can do to contain himself in the stern of his boat when the chase is afoot. Give over to the fury of this young colt and gain +2 for the remainder of the hunt, but open yourself up to attacks on all sides—negations will no longer work when King-post has spurred you into that charmed, churned circle of the hunted whale—your fate now will be decided solely by the flip of a card or a roll of the dice, as you stand as stiff in your boat as the King’s post, not bending, not breaking, in your quest to conquer leviathan.

Original Image Courtesy of the University of Washington Freshwater and Marine Image Bank.

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