J.G. BALLARD. DREAM CARGOES. Across the lagoon an eager new life was forming, drawing its spectrum of colors from a palette more vivid than the sun’s. Dream cargoes. SA “Dream Cargoes” is narrated in the third person. Young sailor named Johnson by Péter Puklus for Prezi. By J.G Ballard. J.G. Ballard was born in and was raised in China. These horrific experiences definitely impacted Dream Cargoes as Johnson strives to.
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Across the lagoon an eager new life was forming, drawing its spectrum of colors from a palette more vivid than the sun’s. Soon after dawn, when Johnson woke in Captain Galloway’s cabin behind the bridge of the Prospero, he watched the lurid hues, cyanic blues and crimsons, playing against the ceiling above rdeam bunk.
Reflected in the metallic surface of the lagoon, the tropical foliage seemed to concentrate the Caribbean sunlight, painting on the warm air a screen of electric tones that Johnson had only seen on the nightclub facades of Miami and Veracruz. He stepped onto the tilting bridge of the stranded freighter, aware that the island’s vegetation had again surged forward during the night, as if it had miraculously found a means of converting darkness into these brilliant leaves and blossoms.
Shielding his eyes from the glare, he searched the six hundred yards of empty beach acrgoes encircled the Prospero, disappointed that there was no sign of Dr.
For the past three mornings, when he woke fream an uneasy night, he had seen the craft mg by the inlet of the lagoon.
Dream Cargoes by Ballard, JG
Shaking off the overlit dreams that rose from the contaminated waters, he would gulp down a cup of cold coffee, jump from the stern rail, and set off between the pools of leaking chemicals in search of the American biologist.
It pleased Johnson that she was so openly impressed by this once barren island, a leftover of nature seven miles from the northeast coast of Puerto Rico. In his modest way he knew that he was responsible for the transformation of the nondescript atoll, scarcely more than a forgotten garbage dump left behind by the American Army after World War No one, in Johnson’s short life, had ever been impressed by him, drezm the biologist’s silent wonder gave him the first sense of achievement he had ever known.
Johnson had learned her name from the labels on the scientific stores in the inflatable. However, he had not ug approached or even spoken to her, embarrassed by his rough manners and shabby seaman’s clothes, and the engrained chemical stench that banned him from sailors’ bars all over the Caribbean. Now, when she failed to appear on the fourth morning, he regretted all the more that he had never worked up the courage to introduce himself.
Through the acid-streaked caroges of the bridge house balllard stared at the terraces of flowers that hung from the forest wall. A month earlier, when he first arrived at the island, struggling with the locked helm of the listing freighter, there had been cadgoes more than a few stunted palms growing among the collapsed bballard huts and water tanks buried in the dunes. But already, for reasons that Johnson preferred not to consider, a wholly new vegetation had sprung to life.
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The palms rose like flagpoles into the vivid Caribbean air, pennants painted with a fresh green sap. Around them the sandy floor was —thick With flowering vines and ground ivy, blue leaves like dappled metal foil, as if some midnight gardener had watered them with a secret plant elixir bqllard Johnson lay asleep in his bunk.
He put on Galloway’s peaked cap and examined himself in the greasy mirror. Stepping onto the open deck behind the wheelhouse, he inhaled the acrid chemical air of ballarc lagoon. At least it masked the odors of the captain’s cabin, a rancid bouquet of ancient sweat, cheap rum, and diesel oil. He balllard thought seriously of abandoning Galloway’s cabin and returning to his hammock in the forecastle, but despite the stench he felt that he owed it to himself to remain in the cabin.
The moment that Galloway, with a last disgusted curse, had stepped into the freighter’s single lifeboat, he, Johnson, had become j captain of this doomed vessel. He had watched Galloway, the four Mexican crewmen, and the weary Portuguese engineer row off into the dusk, promising himself that he would sleep in bballard captain’s cabin and take his meals at the captain’s table. After five years at sea, working as cabin boy and deck hand on the lowest grade of chemical waste carrier, he had a command of his own, this antique freighter, even if the Prospero’s course cargoss the vertical one to the seabed of the Caribbean.
Behind the funnel the Liberian flag of convenience hung in tatters, its fabric rotted by the acid air. Johnson stepped onto the stern ladder, steadying himself against the sweating hull plates, and jumped into the shallow water.
Careful to find his feet, he waded through the bilious green foam that leaked from the steel drums he had jettisoned from the freighter’s deck. When he reached the clear sand above the tide line he wiped the cargose dye from his jeans and sneakers. Leaning to starboard in the lagoon, the Prospero resembled an exploded paint balladd. The drums of chemical waste on the foredeck still dripped their effluent through the scuppers.
The more sinister below decks cargo nameless organic by-products that Captain Galloway had been bribed to carry and never entered into his manifest-had dissolved the rusty plates and spilled an eerie spectrum of phosphorescent blues and indigos into the lagoon below.
Frightened of these chemicals, which every port in the Caribbean had rejected, Johnson had begun to jettison the cargo after running the freighter aground. But the elderly diesels had seized and the winch had jarred to a halt, leaving only a few of the drums on the nearby sand with their death’s-head warnings and eroded seams. Johnson set off along the shore, searching the sea beyond the inlet of the lagoon for any sign of Dr. Everywhere a deranged horticulture was running riot. Vivid new shoots pushed past the metal debris of old ammunition boxes, filing cabinets, and truck tires.
Strange dreqm vines clambered over the scarlet caps of giant fungi, their white stems as thick as sailors’ bones. Avoiding them, Johnson walked toward an old staff car that sat in an open glade between the palms. Wheelless, its military markings obliterated by the rain of decades, it had settled into the sand, vines encircling its roof and windshield. Deciding to rest in the car, which once perhaps had driven an American general around the training camps of Puerto Rico, he tore away the vines that had wreathed themselves around the driver’s door pillar.
As he sat behind the steering wheel it occurred to Johnson that he might leave the freighter dram set up camp on the island. Nearby lay the galvanized iron roof of a barrack hut, enough material to build a beach house on the safer, seaward side of the island. But Johnson was aware of an unstated bond between himself and the derelict freighter.
He remembered the last desperate voyage of the Prospero, which he had joined in Veracruz, after being duped by Captain Galloway.
The short voyage to Galveston, the debarkation port, would pay him enough to ship as a deck passenger on an inter-island boat heading for the Bahamas.
It had been three years since he had seen his widowed mother in Nassau, living in a plywood bungalow by the airport with her in. Needless to say, they had never berthed at Galveston, Miami, or any other of the ports where they had tried to unload their cargo. The crudely sealed cylinders of chemical waste products, supposedly en route to a reprocessing plant in southern Texas, had begun to leak before they left Veracruz. Captain Galloway’s temper, like his erratic seamanship and consumption of rum and tequila, increased steadily as he realized that the Mexican shipping agent had abandoned them to the seas.
Almost certainly the agent had pocketed the monies allocated for reprocessing and found it more profitable to let the ancient freighter, now refused entry to Veracruz, sail up and down the Gulf of Mexico until her corroded keel sent her conveniently to the bottom. For two months they had cruised forlornly from one port to another, boarded by hostile maritime police and customs officers, public health officials, and journalists alerted to the possibility of a major ecological disaster.
At Kingston, Jamaica, a television launch trailed them to the ten-mile limit; at Santo Domingo a spotter plane of the Dominican Navy was waiting for them when they tried to slip into harbor under the cover of darkness.
Greenpeace powerboats intercepted them outside Tampa, Florida, when Captain Galloway tried to dump part of his cargo. Firing flares across the bridge of the freighter, the U. When at last they recovered from the storm the cargo had shifted, and the Prospero listed ten degrees to starboard. Fuming chemicals leaked across the decks from the fractured seams of the waste drums, boiled on the surface of the sea, and sent up a cloud of acrid vapor that left Johnson and the Mexican crewmen coughing through make-shift face masks, and Captain Galloway barricading himself into his cabin with his tequila bottle.
First Officer Pereira had saved the day, rigging up a hosepipe that sprayed the leaking drums with a torrent of water, but by then the Prospero was taking in the sea through its strained plates.
When they sighted Puerto Rico the captain had not even bothered to set a course for port.
Propping himself against the helm, a bottle in each hand, he signaled Pereira to cut the engines. Coast Guard, the world’s agrochemists, and their cargoew science that had deprived him of his command. Lastly he cursed Johnson for being so foolish ever to step aboard this ill-fated ship. As the Prospero lay doomed in the water, Pereira appeared with his already packed suitcase, and the captain ordered the Mexicans to lower the lifeboat. It was then that Johnson made his decision to remain onboard.
All his life he had failed to impose himself on anything-running errands as a six-year-old for the Nassau airport shoeblacks, cadging pennies for his mother balladd the irritated tourists, enduring the years of school where he had scarcely learned to read and write, working as a dishwasher at the beach restaurants, forever conned out of his wages by the thieving managers.
He had always reacted to events, never initiated anything on his own. Now, for the first time, he could become the captain of the Prospero and master of his own fate.
Long before Galloway’s curses faded into the dusk, Johnson had leapt down the ladder into the engine room. As the elderly diesels rallied themselves for the last time, Johnson returned to the bridge. He listened to the propeller’s tired but steady beat against the dark ocean and slowly turned the Prospero toward the northwest. Five hundred miles away were the Bsllard and an endless archipelago of secret harbors. Somehow he would get rid of the leaking drums and even, perhaps, ply for hire between the islands, renaming the old tub after his mother, Velvet Mae.
Meanwhile Captain Johnson stood proudly on the bridge, over-size cap on his head, three hundred tons of steel deck obedient beneath his feet.
By dawn the next day he was completely lost on an open sea. During the night the freighter’s list had increased. Belowdecks the leaking chemicals had etched their way through the hull plates, and a phosphorescent steam enveloped the bridge.
The engine room was a kneedeep vat of acid brine. Then, as Johnson searched desperately for enough timber to build a raft, he saw the old World War 11 garbage island seven miles from the Puerto Rican coast. The lagoon inlet was unguarded by the U. Navy or Greenpeace speedboats. He steered the Prospero across the calm surface and let the freighter settle into the shallows. The inrush of water smothered the cargo in the hold.
Able to breathe again, Johnson rolled into Captain Galloway’s bunk, made a space for himself among the empty bottles, and slept his first dreamless sleep. Are you all right? Johnson woke with a start, lifting his head from the steering wheel. While he slept the lianas had enveloped the car, climbing up the roof and windshield pillars. Vivid green tendrils looped themselves around his left hand, tying his wrist to the rim of the wheel. Wiping his face, he saw the American biologist peering at him through the leaves, as if he were the inmate of some bizarre zoo whose cages were the bodies of abandoned motorcars.
He tried to free himself and pushed against the driver’s door. I’ll cut you loose. When Johnson stepped onto the ground she held his shoulders, looking him up and down with a thorough eye. She was no more than thirty, three years older than himself, but to Johnson she seemed as self-possessed and remote as the Nassau schoolteachers. Yet her mouth was more relaxed than those pursed lips of his childhood, as if she were genuinely concerned for Johnson. She strolled away from Johnson, her hands pressing the burnished copper trunks of the palms, feeling the urgent pulse of awakening life.
Around her shoulders was slung a canvas bag holding a clipboard. Have you come from the stranded ship? He reached into the car and retrieved his peaked cap from the eager embrace of the vines, dusted it off, and placed it on his head at what he hoped was a rakish angle.
But where’s the crew? He liked this attractive biologist and the way she took a close interest in the island.