“An Equal Share of the Bone” came to me wholesale while I was doing research on whaling songs for an entirely different project. The title of the story is a lyric from “The Weary Whaling Grounds,” also known as “The Wings of a Goney,” and versions of it were likely sung by the whalers that worked the harsh, desolate and dangerous Greenland route chasing right whales. Ships could go months between whale sightings, with ordinary whalers living in cramped, hot, filthy quarters eating salt meat and cockroach-laden molasses, away from their families for up to four years. When whalers were paid, they would receive a “lay,” or percentage of the profits, depending on their rank. The whalers who wrote this song also expected a share in the product. For many ordinary whalers, however, it didn’t quite work out that way.
You’ll have to read the story to find out if it works for the crew of the long hauler Garuda, sailing the stars between ports…
You can read “An Equal Share Of The Bone” here: http://escapepod.org/2017/11/23/escape-pod-603-equal-share-bone/. I couldn’t have imagined a better narration, and I am just so absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out!
Here are some very different versions of the song.
Kings of the South Seas (warning: graphic video)
Tramps & Hawkers