Amanda Banker

The Strongman - Amanda  Banker

The Strongman

Painting Oil & Acrylic on Panel  
12 x 12 in

Samson the Strongman

Samson left the prairie just after finishing high school. He was tired of the heat and the people. He just wanted to escape, to get away. With every penny he had saved, he bought the best bus fair he could, and set out for the west coast. He had a ticket and a plan. He was going to become a legendary sailor, and he was going to use his unusual strength to do it.
After a 20 hour bus ride, and a long 5 mile walk, Samson had his first glimpse of the harbor. Brilliant boats bobbed in iridescent ripples as small waves rolled in. The smell of salty air and musty rope stung his nose as Samson set his eyes on the ocean for the first time. He lumbered down to the end of the dock, everything he’d ever owned in his hands, and as he stood there mesmerized, the planks beneath his feet began to bow. The creaking and cracking, unnoticed by Samson garnered the attention of the sailors on a nearby ship. They watched as this hulk of a man suddenly fell into the water taking a sizable chunk of the wood walkway with him. Five of the crew members were able to fish him out. Samson nearly drowned. As he sat there thanking the sailors and catching his breath, their captain approached. He scoffed at Samson for the hole he had left in the dock. "My apologies, I will repair it immediately." He said. And with that Samson calmly gripped the edges of the damaged area. With a swift yank he lifted the entire section out of the water and set it on his shoulder. The sailors stood there, mouths agape, in awe of what they had just witnessed. The captain hired him on the spot, and Samson was elated.
For the next four years Samson sailed with the crew of The Flower Maiden. The work was hard and every moment a learning experience. The only trouble was that Samson was a terrible sailor. He was too bulky for working up high in the rigging and his slow reaction time made him terrible with a sword. Knot tying was considerably difficult as he wasn’t very dexterous in his hooves. The one thing he was good at was hoisting goods and heavy storage crates on deck. These small and unimportant tasks were anything but legendary. No sailor, or otherwise, would ever be born into legend by lifting a crate. Something needed to change. That afternoon he fell overboard for the fifth time in a week as they came to call in a large seaport. The crew tossed a rope down but Samson, now skilled in the art of swimming, just swam past it toward the shore. As he climbed onto the beach he glanced back at the sea, and at his crew, and waved one last time. He walked toward the city, his head hung low, wondering what his future held. He stopped at the boardwalk and stared at the water. He stood there until the sun began to set, and the boardwalk lights started to glow. The marquee behind him lit up, and as he turned to go, he read the bright letters. "Marvelous Acts of the Ocean". Curious, he bought a ticket and went inside. The show started with amazing acrobatic feats done by a real mermaid followed by sea-lion taming and dogfish tricks. Samson was so entertained that he destroyed his table, in an attempt to applaud! The ring-leader of the act noticed Samson immediately, Given his size and apparent strength, he stood out of any crowd. He approached Samson with a look of awe. "Are you a sailor?" the man asked. "No. Not anymore." said Samson in a sad and lonely voice. The man's face lit up. "I have a proposal for you."