Thursday, March 03, 2005


A Pirate Tale – Part 46

“Don Taco!” Lady Fanny smiled coyly as the lanky long-haired Capitan leaped from the rail of his ship and landed firmly on both feet on the rail of hers. “You said you were bringing five ships and I see only three!”

“Lady Fanny, you look as exquisite as ever, my little porcelain doll of political intrigue.” Don Taco doffed his unusually large plumed hat and bowed gracefully. “Yes, I sent my two least experienced Capitans after a troublesome ship that had followed us for several hours. ‘Dispatch that interloper!’ I told them – and they sailed off to do my bidding.”

Sally noted that Don Taco spoke perfect English and seemed to be infatuated with the sound of his own voice.

“And what meddlesome ship, exactly, did these piratical novices attack?” Lady Fanny seemed very interested to know.

“Oh, something called the … what was it, it began with a “Y” – I am so bad at names.” Don Taco searched his memory – as he did, a very large shirtless man, six foot five inches tall with thick, bronzed skin covered with tattoos, large chiseled muscles and a shiny bald head stepped up beside him and answered in a deep resonate voice, “She was The Yew Anchor, Capitan.”

Lady Fanny thought for a moment, “The Yew Anchor, now, that sounds familiar.” With a wave of her hand, she brought Genevieve over. “Go fetch me that copy of Pirattitude Monthly that we took from the Dutch sailor.” In a few moments after leafing through the periodical and laughing once or twice at a series of cartoons called, The Gibbet Dancers, they found what they were looking for. Lady Fanny read aloud;

The Yew Anchor currently captained by none other than that fabulous pirate playboy of the western world, Sir Nigel Blackheart, was the scene of this season’s most festive party celebrating the Sixth Pirate Olympiad and Women’s Beach Volleyball Tournament in Sao Paulo, Brazil…

“And then it goes on to talk about how much he enjoys being a line judge for the wenches and such …” Lady Fanny just seemed put out by all of it.

“So,” Sally observed with a wry smile, “You sent two inexperienced crews to face a pirate legend. Well done, Mister Taco.”

Don Taco smiled and waved his hand as if it were a feather blown by unseen breezes, “Ah, well, I said they were my least experienced, but they are not inexperienced – and they have one advantage over this Sir Nigel playboy fellow. – They are Spanish.”

Just then, behind Don Taco, a mariachi rapidly strummed a guitar in traditional flamenco fashion.

Lady Fanny and Sally both leaned to look at the guitar player behind Don Taco. Taco observed this and commented, “I see you are intrigued by my entourage. This large sun-baked fellow to my left is called, ‘Entrerroscas De cuero’ or, in English, ‘Leather Nipples.’ And I call the gentleman behind us with the humorously large guitar, ‘Los Mariachi!’ He provides me with sufficient … what is the word for which I am looking?”

Ambiance.” Leather Nipples suggested.

“Precisely! He provides ambiance and an emotive subtext to my every word and action. He is, to my way of thinking … again, I am at a loss for the correct word.”

Indispensable.” Leather Nipples offered without even a hint of self-satisfaction.

“Yes. That is the word, indeed.” Don Taco took a deep drag from his cigar.

Leather Nipples gazed longingly at Sally. Her red hair seemed to capture the morning sun and cast a soft glow around her face. She looked him up and down – such a specimen of a man. “He’s as big as Cementhands McCormack,” Sally muttered. As their eyes met, he looked away, she saw now that for a shirtless man, he was remarkably shy. She tried to make polite conversation, “So, Mister Leather Nipples, how did you come by such an unusual name?” As she spoke, Don Taco pulled a cigar out of a pouch and bit the end off of it. At the same time, Leather Nipples reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a match. As Don Taco spit out the tip of the cigar, Leather Nipples struck the match against his right breast – it ignited immediately. He then proceeded to light Don Taco’s cigar and snuffed out the match between the fingers of his left hand.

Satisfied with the answer, Sally said, “I see.”

“At any rate,” Don Taco continued between puffs on his cigar, “Our three remaining well experienced ships will be more than a match for the giant carrack, The Sabado Gigante that is heading toward us. We will wait for three hours and then move to meet her. All we need is a day or two of sailing away in that direction.” He pointed westward as Los Mariachi strummed a few more bars.


“How’s the patient, Doctor?” Slappy asked Sawbones Burgess as he checked Sir Nigel for injury.

“There’s naught wrong with him but a bump on the noggin and what appears to be a bout with depression – but that’s to be expected when he is overthrown so quickly and easily.” Sawbones displayed his usual bedside manner. “Now, when am I going to get someone who needs a leg cut off or something?”

“All in good time, my friend.” Slappy said by way of appeasement. We will be seeing action shortly. “Thar’ll be plenty o’ cuttin’ and sawin’ when we catch up with Lady Fanny.”

Sir Nigel followed Cap’n Slappy around as he made his way throughout the ship, but the spring had gone out of his step and he seemed more like a sad, confused boy than a pirate legend.

“I took the liberty of having the fifteen extra barrels of black powder loaded aboard the pinnace for safe keeping and putting extra line between her and us – just in case an errant cannonball should strike the store.” A voice came from behind Cap’n Slappy. He spun around and saw no one. “Who said that?” Slappy demanded.

“Down here.” Gabriel replied.

“Good thinking, midget!” Slappy declared. “I knew there was a reason you people have large noggins – it’s to hold all that extra brain matter!”

“Cap’n, I don’t …” Gabriel started to argue, but Slappy quickly intervened.

“Like to mention your super-human mental powers, I know, but when that’s all ye have, ye better make the most of it! Well done, Powder Monkey!” Slappy patted Gabriel on the head and moved on – Sir Nigel close behind.

As they reached the stern, Slappy stopped to examine the rope that tethered The Sir Nigel’s Revenge to The Festering Boil. “Aye, solidly tied and at a good length. I tell ye, Sir Nigel, I’d hate to be aboard her if she caught fire now – BOOM!” Slappy made a wildly exaggerated gesture that gave everyone topside a start. Then he continued, “With her sails up, she’d out-pace us twice over – she’s a fine wee vessel.”

Slappy turned and headed back up the deck, “Did I ever tell ye about my first ship, Sir Nigel …” He talked all the way to the wheel where Ol’ Chumbucket was steering the ship.

“Who the hell are ye talkin’ to now, ye great git?” Chumbucket asked, “Ye don’t even have Strumpet the Monkey within ear-shot.”

“Well, I was just explainin’ to Sir Nigel, here that …” Slappy turned around but there was no Sir Nigel to be seen. “He must have gone below decks – perhaps he’s feeling the effects of exposure.”

“He was set adrift for three hours – that’s a pleasure cruise by any standard!” Chumbucket insisted.

“A three hour tour?” Slappy asked,

“A three hour tour!” Chumbucket was now losing his patience. “You can barely get a sunburn in three hours! Dear God, Slappy! What the hell do you see in that man?”

Slappy’s face became uncharacteristically thoughtful. “I see every man’s moment of courage, my friend. His may be just a moment and yours takes a lifetime to measure, but that is what I see when I look in the eyes of others – their moment of courage.”

Cementhands McCormack approached Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy, “Wave goodbye to Sir Nigel.” He said.

The three men looked off the starboard side of the ship where they saw Sir Nigel working feverishly to tie off the last sail as his Revenge began to out-pace them. Once he had subdued and tied off the line, he took hold of the wheel with his right hand and waved with his left. He had recovered his smile and looked like a man on a mission.

“Shouldn’t we stop him, Cap’n?” Leftenant Keeling asked as he rushed toward the three.

“He’s not a prisoner.” Slappy observed.

“But he’s stealing our powder!” Keeling insisted.

“Our excess powder – we have plenty.” Slappy countered.

“But he gave the pinnace to me and Red Molly! You can’t just give something and then take it back – what’s that all about?” Keeling was clearly disappointed.

Slappy, Chumbucket and Cementhands all looked at each other and then turned back to Leftenant Keeling with knowing smiles – “Pirate.” They said by way of explanation.

Keeling nodded and turned and waved goodbye to Sir Nigel.

“Do you think we’ve seen the last of Sir Nigel, Cap’n?” Cementhands asked thoughtfully.

“He’s headed toward that undiscovered country from whose borne no traveler returns.” Slappy soliloquized, “Or, we’ll see him again somewhere – you’re talkin’ to the guy who let his evil twin cousin get away – how the hell should I know what’s going to happen? But I know one thing for sure.”

The men leaned in closer – Cementhands dared the question, “What’s that, Cap’n?”

Slappy watched Sir Nigel pull further ahead and replied, “Something is going to happen.”


“Two ships dead ahead, Cap’n Slappista!” the lookout aboard The Yew Anchor called. Slappista gazed through the spyglass. “Spanish ships at that.” He muttered to himself.

A ragged pirate approached the Capitan and asked, “Are these the big treasure ships ye spoke of, Cap’n?”

Slappista looked right through the man and spoke to his entire crew.

“These are not the ships! However, they may make a good tune up for us and show me your mettle!” He paused as if he just remembered something, “Oh, and before I forget, I really must insist that you refer to me as ‘Slappy’ from now on – I mean, I look the part, don’t I? Unshaven, disheveled and smelling of gut-rot rum and three-day-old farts?”

The men cheered – “Hurrah for Cap’n Slappy!”

Slappista spoke English now in the real Cap’n Slappy’s unmistakable voice, he went on, menacingly, “And the next man who slips up and calls me ‘Slappista’ will take a mini-ball between the eyes. Do I make myself clear?” Every head aboard nodded.

“Then stop your lollygagging and man your battle stations!”


As Lord Sir Percival Winthorp Mandrake Tharp’s ship, The HMS Susan’s Doily, joined the flotilla of ships anchored off shore, he noticed one small interloper – the Sea Witch. Jezebel waved as they easily pulled along side the large warships. When she was within earshot of the admiral, she called out, “Did you see Princess Matilda?”

Lord Sir Percy swallowed hard – “I though, perhaps, it was her grandmother or a maiden aunt!”

He could see Jezebel’s smile as she said, “Swedish women don’t age well.” Then she sailed away at a remarkable speed.

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