Darlene Foster's Blog

Three Sheets to the Wind

Posted on: September 29, 2019

This is my entry into Stevie Turner’s short story competition for the month of October. The story was inspired by this photo I took during my travels n Spain. It was suggested I write a story about this scene when I posted it recently. Let me know what you think. And why not enter a story yourself.


Three Sheets to the Wind

by Darlene Foster

Stan woke with a terrible taste in his mouth. Trying to stand up, his head spun and he slumped down beside a large container.
“I swear, I´ll never drink again.”
He wanted to retch.
“My God, what is that awful smell.”
He rubbed his eyes. Through the dim early morning light, he could make out he was in a back alley leaning on a barrel filled with rotten vegetables. He glanced down.
“What the hell am I wearing?”
Instead of jeans and a T-shirt, he wore a baggy pair of pants that stopped at his knees, a wide sash and a loose shirt.
He couldn´t remember being at a costume party.
Two heavy-set men appeared out of the mist.
“Here´s another one,” said one fellow with a heavy accent, wearing a similar outfit.
They picked him up under his arms, dragging him along the cobblestones. “Captain said we should collect as many able bodied men as we can. We ship out tomorrow and need more crew.”
“What the…?” Stan struggled.
They tightened their grasp. “Shut up your mouth. You are now in the service of the Queen.”
He lay in his bunk feeling seasick as the boat left the dock. Perhaps it wasn’t the motion of the ship, but maybe the putrid smell of boiled cabbage, urine and stale air that was making his stomach churn.
He wandered over to the porthole. Looking out he saw two other ships. On the side of the one closest, he made out the name, Nino.
“What is going on? It must be a re-enactment of some kind, or a film set.”

He thought back to the previous day, the start of a holiday in Seville, Spain, where he was taking in all the sites. He met some other young guys and they had a few drinks at what used to be an old tavern. But that´s all he remembered. A knock on the door took him out of his thoughts.
“Time to swab the decks.”
The boat lurched as he climbed the stairs. He stumbled.
“You best get your sea legs.” The sailor behind him slapped him on the back and presented a toothless grin. Even though he spoke English, it wasn’t any dialect Stan was familiar with.
“These guys are really taking this serious,” he thought.
The rest of the motley crew sported beards, eye patches and even the occasional peg leg. He thought they did a good job with the costumes but why was he still clean-shaven and all in one piece?
A bearded sailor handed him a mop and a bucket. Stan shook his head. “Excuse me. I think there has been a mistake.”
The sailor stared at him and walked away.
He shrugged and began scrubbing.

“Wait ‘til I tell them back home that I ended up on a replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship.” He stopped and looked around as the land disappeared behind him.

“At least – I think it´s a replica.”
A dazed and disoriented fifteenth-century sailor wandered the streets of Seville. Everything appeared strange to him.
“Perhaps this is the afterlife,” he thought. “Probably hell.”
Large metal objects hurtled down the streets. Should a horse and rider happened along, they would both be killed. People dressed in a very odd manner. Men and women wore tight trousers and tiny tops that didn´t cover their arms and stopped at the waist. Just like the ones he found in the alcove by the cathedral.
He glanced away when women walked by looking immodest.
He had to put something on as he had lost his clothes sometime the night before. It was his last night before going with Captain Columbus to find India. He had been promised riches if he survived the journey. A humble sailor, he could only dream of wealth. After many drinks and fun with the whores, he stumbled out of the tavern and fell asleep in an alleyway. He woke up stark naked. After a wander up to the cathedral, he found clothes neatly rolled up in an alcove. They fit but he felt strange in them, until he saw everyone else wearing the same uniform.
He had to get to the ship or he would miss his chance.
He noticed a man with long hair and tattoos approaching. “Pardon, kind sir. Where is the port the Santa Maria is sailing from?”
“You mean, where did it sail from? It sailed from Palos de la Frontera.”
The sailor had trouble understanding the man as his accent was strange. But he understood the words, Palos de la Frontera.
“I must make haste and get there before it leaves.”
“I´m sorry mate, but you are 500 years too late.” The man laughed and walked down the street shaking his head.
The sailor ran his hands through his hair. “This must be hell, but when and how did I die? I should not drink ale again.” He tugged at his shirt hoping to cover more of his torso.

64 Responses to "Three Sheets to the Wind"

Clever twist, Darlene. I enjoyed this.

Very well done and the time-travel theme is near and dear to my heart as an author. After I submitted a past-life, paranormal short story to this site, I saw your link and had to go read it. I was humbled and delighted by your story. Blessings, Deborah A. Bowman, bowmanauthor/bowmaneditor

Thank you so much and welcome to my blog. I have always loved time travel but haven’t tried my hand at writing it much. This was fun.

You did a masterful job, Darlene. So nice to make your acquaintance. I look forward to more of your exquisite prose.

Well I was spellbound and enjoyed your story immensely.

Funny how a picture can inspire all kinds of stories. Glad you liked it.

You got my attention from the start, I did not expect it was going to be time travelling. Great work, I love it.

I did enjoy this adventure Darlene…time travel is always fun…where to next Captain Foster?

Pleased you enjoyed it. I love time travel too.

Ahoy me mateys ….time to scrub the deck….or walk the plank:)

That was great fun. I remembered your photo and wondered about the story behind it. Now I know.

Yes, now you do. Glad you enjoyed it. xo

I saw the replicas of the three Columbus ships in 1992 in Miami, Florida. Walking aboard the vessels I was astonish at how tiny they seemed for ocean going ships. Seemed everything was designed for people only five foot tall or so is another memory.

I have heard that they were relatively small ships. I think people were smaller then too. I have seen suits of armour in museums and thought they were for children. xo

I am a big time travel writer, so this delighted me. I have never thought about two people switching roles/souls, and I really like the idea. Keep writing!

Thanks, Claudia. I have always enjoyed reading time travel books but this is my first venture into writing it.

This is really good, Darlene. I love the double switch in time travel. Well done!!

Thanks, Jennie. It was fun to write.

You’re welcome! 🙂

Love it, such a neat time travel story. Good luck.

They do wear odd clothes these days. 🙂

I am sure people from the 15th century would certainly think so!! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I enjoyed this, Darlene. Clever.

It’s funny what the mind can conjure. Glad you liked it!

A fun story, Darlene. What cracked me up most of all is how both men feel so disoriented out of their own time, especially the man in modern Spain. Better to be swabbing a deck with an uncertain chance of survival than in that unfamiliar world. I enjoyed it!

So pleased you enjoyed it! I had fun writing it. Something different for me. Always good to stretch that creative muscle. xo

Now this is simply not fair Darlene! You go and write something so bloody intriguing and then you cut me off at the knees!! Damn you and your brilliance!!

A huge compliment coming from you, Dean. Sometimes writing off the cuff works. Thanks!

I need to do more of that Darlene – especially when I can’t make headway with my main WIP.

I love time traveling and I enjoyed reading your story.

So pleased you liked the story. xo

This is a clever story, Darlene. I really felt sorry for this poor chap, I find the short tops and tight pants a bit overwhelming myself sometimes.

Thanks, Robbie. I can´t imagine how someone from the 15th century would feel wearing the clothes we wear today. xo

I love time travel stories, well done, Darlene.

I love them too but have never tried writing one before.

I’m reminded of a film I saw a number of years ago now – I think it was called “Iceman”. I told the story of a group of scientists that recover a perfectly frozen primitive man in the Arctic ice. During to some sort of preservation effect brought on by a kind of flower he had consumed, his body cells were basically undamaged and they were able to bring the man back to life.

I think there was a period in the film where the primitive man was confronted by the 20th century but he was unable to comprehend nor cope with it.

I remember it being a really poignant story and I often think of it from time to time.

This kind of time travel story is indeed fascinating.

Going back in time you would have the advantage of knowing some history, although it still would be a shock to the system. But travelling ahead of time, now that would be scary. There have been a few movies broaching this subject, some done better than others. I´ll have to keep an eye out for Iceman.

I love the way your mind works. From that one picture (I remember it so well from your post), you have spun a very unique tale!! Love it!

Thanks, Kirt. It is amazing what a picture can inspire, with words or paint. Pleased you love it.

Well done Darlene and clever end! 🙂 x

Nice job, Darlene. Definitely left me wanting to read more!

That´s great! So glad you liked it.

I love how you get inspiration to write from a photo, and wrote a nice story with a twist. Well done, Darlene. #senisal

I often use photos for inspiration. When I took this picture, I recall thinking, there must be a story behind this.

Nice twist, Darlene – I always enjoy a good time travel story.

Brilliant writing, Darlene. Your story completely captured me all of the way through!

Thanks so much. Glad you liked it.

Lovely story, Darlene. Good luck in the contest.

Time travels of a drinker. Almost makes you want to never drink again, or, hmmm, perhaps to try one too many drinks to experience time travel as H.G. Wells prophesized? Love love this story, Darlene.

Drinking can get you into all kinds of trouble, even into another time, if you’re not careful. Glad you liked it.

You surprised me…I thought he would wake from a dream. Good luck!

Surprises are good. Thanks, Karen.

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