Tuesday, February 15, 2005


A Pirate Tale - 32

Sally moved up and down the gun deck – pacing like a caged leopard. “This is not a drill, Ladies! We are in an actual fight and if we are to win it, you will need to stay focused and fearless!”

Lady Fanny watched from the top of the stairs where she could see Baastian at the wheel, steering the ship into position for its first volley. She waited for his signal – all were tense.

The cannons had been loaded and primed for firing when they first caught glimpse of the ship that was shadowing them from the fog bank. “What an old trick!” Baastian pointed out to Lady Fanny, “What does he take us for, beginners?”

But they were beginners – at least the crew was. Despite Lady Fanny’s well-proven ruthlessness, she was a nautical neophyte. Fortune smiled on Lady Fanny when she was able to seduce Baastian Slotemaker; one of the finest seamen and arguably the most skillful gunner that sailed the seven seas. After just a few lessons and with as quick a study as he had in Mad Sally, he had built a crack gunnery team – but now their skills were about to be put to a test.

The young women stood in row – small torches in hand, ready to touch them to the fuse of each cannon. Baastian had been careful not to change course sharply and give away their awareness of the ship that was stalking them. Experience had taught him that the first volley would set the course of the battle – for good or ill. He carefully positioned the ship so that the starboard cannons lined up perfectly with their nearly invisible target.

When the moment was right, he pointed at Lady Fanny who, in turn, signaled Sally on the far side of the gun deck.

One by one, each young woman touched off her cannon as Sally moved down the line calling on them to fire. They could hear the cracking of wood off in the distance. As the final gun sounded, Baastian pulled hard on the wheel and brought the ship around to give the port gunners their turn. The team of riggers, expertly raised and lowered sails to catch the wind and facilitate a sharp turn – all was working according to the training.

As the port guns gained position, the ship within the clouds could now be seen more clearly. Lady Fanny smiled as she gazed through the telescope. “Well hello, Sir Nigel – won’t Slappy be surprised that we defeated his legendary friend?” she whispered to herself with unmistakable pleasure.

Doffing all pretenses, Baastian positioned the ship for a perfect port volley and called “FIRE!” – his order was echoed first by Lady Fanny, then by Mad Sally. The port cannons roared to life one by one down the line. However, as they reached the second to last cannon, the torch slipped and set 18-year-old Annabeth Frasier’s shirt on fire. The final gunner, Constance Mayfield, stood amazed as flames licked up toward young Annabeth’s face and up-lit her countenance as if by a campfire around which this gruesome story might be told. The anguished look and screams emanating from poor Annabeth also held Lady Fanny transfixed as a smile moved across her face at the sight of such exquisite suffering.

Without hesitation, Sally rushed to aid the young woman. When she reached her, she tore the blazing blouse off of Annabeth’s shoulders and whipped the blazing blouse onto the flash pans of both unfired cannons setting off a duet of explosion.

Annabeth rushed up the steps past Lady Fanny to the open air of the deck – more frightened than burned. Baastian took in her nakedness – and a smile crossed his face. This was not unnoticed by Lady Fanny.

The other young women moved swiftly into phase two of the operation and took up their muskets – already loaded – and prepared to fire a small arms volley into The Scourge of the Seas. But as they approached, they could see black smoke billowing up over her decks and with sharp suddenness, she exploded into tiny burning pieces that rained down upon the water and even upon La Herida que Filtra de la Cabeza.

All of the women stood still as they watched the last pieces of burning sail waft gently to the surface of the “Big Blue Wobbly.” Even Annabeth forgot both her pain and here nudity as she watched the event. Baastian moved quickly to assist her. Stripping off his own shirt, he covered her body and pulled her gently to her side so that her breasts touched his ribs. “There-there, my little piece of sweetie, you are all better now – let Uncle Baastian comfort you.”

She was quickly pulled away by an angry Lady Fanny, “You are a very stupid, careless girl who is very lucky that Sally has a soft spot in her heart for dumb animals. For your performance during battle, I should have you and Miss Mayfield whipped and keel-hauled, but instead I will just put you both in charge of dousing the small fires caused by Sir Nigel’s ship.”

The two girls gave a quick curtsy and went about their appointed task. Sally also curtsied in gratitude of Lady Fanny’s uncharacteristic restraint. Fanny approached Sally, “Nice work, Dear – you’ve killed a pirate legend and one of Cap’n Slappy’s favorites – how does that feel? Delicious?”

“What I do, I do in service to the girls and your Ladyship, M’lady. May I be excused to clean the cannons so they may be ready for our next battle?” She bowed and waited to be dismissed.

“But of course, Dear.” Lady Fanny waved her off.

Baastian, who had been listening to the conversation, whispered mockingly in Fanny’s ear, “What I do, I do in service to the girls and your Ladyship.”

Fanny didn’t look at him, but kept her eyes on Sally as she descended below deck. “Oh, shut up, you bastard – and go put a shirt on.”

(This installment was written by Cap'n Slappy while out of town on extended shore leave. He e-mailed it to Ol' Chumbucket who posted it for him.)

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