You're on a cruise on the Arctic Ocean. The travel agent showed you breathtaking vistas of ice and snow, northern cities lit up like Christmas, pictures of whales and albatrosses. So why not?
So far you've done all right. You've explored the bars (but gave up on the fancy drinks and settled down with your favorite beer). You've gone out with the rest of the herd into said cities, to get even more drunk, to give money to obliging pale-skinned round-hipped women. Then eventually you stumble back to lie in your own narrow bed while the world spins around you.
You've learned a lot about the ship. You hear about The Captain all the time, though you've never seen him. In fact the only crew you've ever seen is the maids and Security which acts as a sort of glorified nanny service, pouring sodden clients into their respective cabins.
Everyone's fucking everyone, but as time goes on people start to pair off, to huddle against the growing cold. The sun appears less and less in the sky as you creep farther and farther north, and everyone withdraws inside, into the brightly lit casinos and bars which make their own little aurora borealii on the dark water.
You hold back, though, somehow. You watch everyone else and you wonder just how you're supposed to enjoy yourself. You feel yourself moving with the herd, you do what everyone else is doing, but underneath it all a secret voice is asking, what's the point...?
One day you stumble onto the observation deck. A crowd of people is gathered against the railing. You wander over to see what they're looking at and see, in the distance, a mound of white.
"It's an iceberg!" an overly-tanned woman exclaims.
You stand and watch at the rail. Gradually the others grow bored with the ship's slow progress and fade away, but something makes you stay and watch. Your legs grow tired and you shift from foot to foot, but still you don't retire to the comfort of the dining room.
Hours pass. Slowly the mound grows larger, develops depth and substance. It develops character, crags and folds. You hope that The Captain will steer the ship closer to give you a chance to see it, to really give it a look. And maybe, just maybe, The Captain does just that because the mound turns into a hill, than a mountain, radiating cold light high above your head.
You stare, thrilled by this strange phenomenon. A real life iceberg. Suddenly the clouds part and the sun breaks into the sky and you see, you really see it. You see all the flaws and the dirt and the dead fish and the ice plankton and the grime that looks like dried blood. You look down, and see the part nobody remembers, that you're only looking at the tip of it, and you see all the lumps and projections of the kind that, you remember, killed the Titanic.
You draw back, afraid. The ship is so close. What is The Captain doing?! He'll kill you all if you get any closer. He must be insane, you think, forgetting your wishes of just a few hours previous.
You run, almost, back to your tiny cabin and huddle under the thin blankets. Slowly, as the dreaded grinding crash does not come, you relax, then finally fall asleep. You dream of ice and regret.
The next day you curse yourself for not really participating in the drunken revelry and throw yourself into the festivities. What's the point of refusing ignorance if there is no bliss to be had?
And somewhere, The Captain smiles.