Thursday, January 20, 2005


A Pirate Tale - part 10

“At the moment, I’m just wiping seagull poo off my Italian boots.” Lady Fanny dragged her boot down the back of Ol’ Chumbucket’s ornate purple coat. “Wonderful!” She remarked as she stepped away from the still-prone captive, “There are so few ‘Firsts’ in my life anymore and this is the first time I’ve used a ‘Marquis’ as an actual doormat.”

Chumbucket lifted himself from the deck and brushed off the wrinkles on the front of his resplendent costume (there was nothing he could do about the seagull poo – there never is) and with a dignified defiance, looked coolly at Lady Fanny as she hung on Capitan Slappista’s arm, “Is your Ladyship sure about that? It seems a woman with so many doormats must be able to find at least a couple of Marquises in one of her many doorways somewhere.”

Slappista nodded to the field hockey stick wielding pirate and when Chumbucket came to, he was back in the cell with Juan Garbonzo and the others.

“Well, my friend,” Juan began, “this is a fine collection of apples for you to enjoy, is it not?” Chumbucket rubbed the back of his head which now sported two large lumps. “Apples? What?” he muttered his disorientation. One of the other sailors, looking closely at the head bumps exclaimed, “Diablo!” Juan calmed his Spanish comrades by assuring them that Satan was not, in fact, in their very presence – just a poor unfortunate sailor, like themselves, who had fallen afoul of the evil machinations of Lady Fanny.

“Slappy’s not gonna like that his girlfriend has taken up with his evil Spanish cousin.” Chumbucket muttered to himself. He had marveled at Slappy’s continued devotion to a woman who clearly used him, and every other male, to enrich her wealth and status. Perhaps she was just trying to ease the boredom of her patrician lifestyle. She used men like some women used excuses not to have sex with Cap’n Slappy – liberally and with slight regard. Even Slappy knew that his affections were poorly placed, but he had always been fatalistic about romance. “Villainous women shall be the ruin of me, my friend.” Slappy had said often to Ol’ Chumbucket just before falling asleep in a pool of his own “ick.”

“Aye, sir, that they will.” He muttered softly to himself as his hands gripped the bars of the cell. As he regained his bearings, he turned to Juan for answers to important questions. “Listen Pedro, is there another woman aboard – a dangerously attractive woman with flaming red hair, large heaving breasts and full, pouty lips?”

“Who is Pedro?” Juan asked.

Chumbucket replied quickly, “You, whatever your name is – is there”

“My name, is not Pedro.” Juan said matter-of-factly.

“Right,” Chumbucket pressed on “What’s your name?”

“Well, it’s not Pedro – if that’s what you think.”

“I didn’t think it was Pedro – I just used that because I didn’t know your name.”

“You never asked my name, did you?” Juan seemed genuinely hurt.

“Yes, I did, I just asked you what your name was.” Chumbucket was growing impatient.

“Not before you started calling me ‘Pedro’ all ‘nilly-woolly.”

“Nilly-woolly?!? What kind of - !” Chumbucket stopped himself and took a deep cleansing breath. “Quite right. I do apologize for impolitely calling you ‘Pedro’ when that is clearly not your name. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ol’ Chumbucket. What, my good friend, is your name?”

Juan took a deep breath of his own and paused. “We’re not such good friends after all. We only met today – and you told me the fibber!”

“What ‘fibber?’” Chumbucket inquired with as much patience as he could muster.

“The fibber about you being the ‘Markee of Sauce Pans.’ Do you make the friends with the people by lying into their faces like so much spittle from a burro with bad breath?” With that, the other men who stood behind Juan spat on the deck simultaneously. “See?” Juan continued his chiding as he gestured toward his friends. “You make the hombres spit-as-one with disgust at your lying fibbery chains of deceits!”

Chumbucket winced as another volley of group projectile phlegm splattered violently and randomly on the deck at their feet. “Stop that! We’ll have to sleep here!” Chumbucket protested, but quickly took a conciliatory tone. “Look, we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot …” And with that, the men all spit simultaneously on his left boot. “ENOUGH! I’m trying to say I’m sorry! Do you have something against someone saying they’re sorry?!”

The men hocked up – readying themselves for another shower of saliva – when Juan Garbonzo held up his right hand. “No spit.” The men obeyed. Juan waited silently for a moment and thought.“Now, swallow.” Again, the men followed their leader’s command.

“Ewww!” Chumbucket caught his initial disgust – held it – and swallowed it like so much nose-goo. Then he continued. “My name, my real name – or at least the name my friends use – is Ol’ Chumbucket. What’s yours?”

“I am Juan Francisco Gustavo Garbonzo, formerly the first mate of La Herida que Filtra de la Cabeza and not a man to be trifled with – I’ll have you know. I was relieved of my position and placed in this cell with these fine, albeit spit-filled, men when that Mujer Malvada – that Lady Fanny Woman took control of Capitan Slapista’s mind and wanted him to sell the young ladies into slavery in Zanzibar.”

“Yes,” said Chumbucket, “I can see her doing that. Now if you don’t mind, I was wondering if you know the whereabouts of the woman I was describing earlier – dangerous beauty, flaming red hair, heaving breasts, full pouty lips…”

“You mean Sally Loco.” Juan said – knowing exactly whom he meant.

“Si.” Chumbucket’s heart was racing with excitement. “Mad Sally.”

Meanwhile, in the Admiral’s quarters of the H.M.S. Susan’s Doily …

“It’s my ship, Mortimer, the question is, ‘What in blazes are YOU doing here?’” Lord Sir Admiral Percival Winthorpe Mandrake Tharp had difficulty hiding his annoyance with his half-brother.

“It appears I’m drinking all of your good port your Lordship. Besides, I wouldn’t be here were it not for the friendly marine escort you provided.” Slappy continued, “And don’t call me ‘Mortimer,’ Lord Sir Admiral if you please. I consider it my ‘Slave Name.’”

“It’s the name our father gave you!” Lord Sir Admiral Percival Tharp bellowed.

Slappy shot to his feet spilling the glass of port onto the Admiral’s priceless Louis the Sixteenth gold inlay upholstered armchair, “YOUR FATHER! NOT MINE! I’m the bastard son! The product of an affair our mother had with a devilishly handsome genius Irish landscape architect and poet!”

“He was a second assistant gardener, Morty – and he was only half Irish and the only so-called ‘poetry’ of his with which I am aware begins, ‘There once was a lady from Cork…’”

Lord Sir Admiral Percival Winthorpe Mandrake Tharp’s condescending tone made Slappy’s blood run cold. But he calmed himself and re-poured himself a glass of port. “What is it you want with me, Tharpy?” The familiarity of the nickname made the Admiral cringe, but he HAD started it with “Mortimer” and upped the ante with “Morty.”

“I don’t want anything with you! The lads saw a ship on the horizon and set sail for it. When we arrived we found naught but some Dutch fishermen whose idea of speaking Dutch is to say, ‘Yaagen Hoogen’ over and over. Honest to God, man, you have the worst pirates in the world!”

“’Yaagen Hoogen’ is low Dutch for, ‘How much is that slab of pork shoulder, my good man?’” Slappy responded without blinking.

“No, it isn’t.” The Admiral was at his wits end. “What am I going to do with you, brother?” he asked, quite exasperated.

“Grant me your title and lands and recognize my royal claim to the Irish throne. That would be a good start.” Slappy was ready to negotiate. Lord Sir Percival took in a deep breath and stroked his clean-shaven chin. “For the first part, the answer, as ever, is ‘no.’ And as for your claim to be a direct descendent of the High Irish King Brian Boru …”

Slappy cut in – “I am. I have his eyes.”

“Then you should give them back.” Lord Sir Admiral Percy said without missing a beat and waited for some appreciation of his wit.

No appreciation was forthcoming. Slappy waited for an explanation as to why he was here.

“Well, this is awkward,” he continued, “my men saw a ship festooned in garlands of taffeta and silk and simply assumed – well … you know.”

“What do I know?” Slappy now felt he had the upper hand.

The Admiral pressed on as best he could, “Oh, come now, Mortimer, you know very well they thought it was a – ship of … ill fame. They could even see a conga line with a big beautiful woman – graceful as a bird, leading the festivities.”

Slappy shot to his feet again – again spilling the remnants of his second glass of port onto the Admiral’s hand-woven antique Oriental rug depicting the famous battle of Ping Tu. “The Festering Boil is nobody’s ‘Bouncy-Bouncy-Boat!’”

“Well it looked like one!” Lord Sir Admiral Percy’s temper was beginning to flare.

“Because we were following the directions in your het uitvoeren van een geslachtshandeling op een geit book!” Slappy yelled loud enough to bring four marines, with bayonets fixed, into the Admiral’s quarters. Without paying the armed men heed, Slappy reached into his haversack as the soldiers cocked the hammers on their muskets, and pulled out the life-ring-shaped book and tossed it to his half brother across the cabin.

“Stand down, gentlemen.” Lord Sir Admiral Percy said calmly and then gestured for them to leave with a wave of his hand. “It’s perfectly alright, men. In a moment, I will ask you to return Captain – ‘Slappy’ was it? (Slappy nodded) – to his Dutch fishing vessel, but I would like one or two more moments in private with him.”

The soldiers filed out of the room.
“I want my money back for that blasted book!” Slappy demanded.

Lord Sir Admiral Percy pinched his fingers together in the air and made a short sharp buzzing sound signalling his younger brother to stop talking.

“You were implementing plan 27. The ship you were trying to lure in turned and ran as we approached.”

He walked over to Slappy and in a deep, quiet tone of voice that demanded an answer asked, “Who were they and what do you want with them?”

Slappy poured himself another glass of port, took notice of a gorgeous Russian tapestry hanging on the wall nearby and sat back down.

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