Thursday, March 10, 2005


A Pirate Tale – part 52 Collision Course

“We appear to be sitting off the western edge of Diego Garcia, Admiral!” a voice came from off the port side of the ship – it was Jezebel, sitting on the deck of The Sea Witch holding hands with Liz over a bowl of water. Jezebels gaze into the bowl remained unbroken as Lord Sir Percy stepped over to the rail to see what she could be talking about.

“Oh,” he harrumphed, “Is this one of those ‘Oooogila Booogila’ things you do – casting a spell to make me think we’ve traveled hundreds of miles in two days time and divining our location in a magical cereal bowl of wonders?”

“No,” Jezebel responded patiently, “it’s one of those things that I do with a sextant, compass and reliable charts and maps. You should try it! Or, if you want to take a short cut, just look through your telescope to the east and tell me what that little splotch of land looks like to you.” She smiled blissfully, never taking her eyes off the bowl of water. Liz rocked back and forth rhythmically with her eyes closed, humming something in a low, gut-level tone.

Tharp took his spyglass and looked. Sure enough, a small mass of land sat to the east – after having his navigator double check their position, he learned that they, indeed, sat just west of Diego Garcia.

“Where are your other two ships, Dear?” Jezebel asked – still focused on the bowl in front of her.

“I don’t know.” Lord Sir Percival Winthorp Mandrake Tharp seemed small and sad for the first time, perhaps ever, in his acquaintance with Jezebel, and she felt compassion for him. “My men … I don’t know where my men …” He desperately searched the horizon around him but saw no sails.

Jezebel broke off her focus on the bowl and called up to him. “Mandrake.” He didn’t respond. “Mandrake! Now listen to me – if your men are in the area and alive, they are on that island there. Let’s go take a look before losing hope, shall we?”

“Yes,” he responded with a smile. “Yes! A sensible plan – a quality plan! Capital!”

There was compassion in Jezebel’s eyes – she knew there would be no survivors on the island or anywhere else, but it was important to go and look. It gave a man of action – an action. It also would hold them in place for two days – something she saw in her bowl as being necessary. “Well,” she said to Liz, breaking her out of her rock-a-bye trance, “let’s shake a leg, we’ve wild geese to chase.”

The Susan’s Doily and The Sea Witch headed toward the island.

Stinky St. Claire searched the area with his spyglass. “Pour l'amour du porte-jarretelles de Sophia de soeur!” He sat in the crow’s nest of the Sabado Gigante to see if any of the schooners had survived the storm – they hadn’t.

“Curse in English, ye daft Frog!” Slappista called up from the deck of the Conchita. “And when ye curse – make it a plain, earthy oath with excretory powers to remove your own ill humors and not an affirmation of your unnatural attraction to your sister’s undergarments.”

Stinky scampered down the mast, and down the rope ladder to the deck of the Conchita where he went toe to toe with Slappista. “You Spanish pig fatty! You leave my dear sister, Sophia out of this!” As he yelled this in a shrill voice, he slapped Slappista on the arms and wept.

Slappista patiently endured the soft-handed slapping, finally taking a hold of St. Claire’s wrists and pulling him gently toward him for what he called, “a man-hug.” “There, there,” Slappista spoke gently, “why is my little Francois so out of sorts?”

St. Claire shook with anger, but allowed the hug, “Because you are a meany who drops Sophia’s panties into every conversation!” he sniffled.

“My friend,” Slappista began gently enough, “I’m afraid it is Sophia who drops her own panties during every conversation.” He felt Francois begin to struggle so he held him close and tight, “But she gets paid good money to do that – so, what’s the harm?”

St. Claire began to calm himself but had to ask, “Yes, but do you have to be one of her most steady customers?”

Slappista held his French friend at arms length and smiled, “Yes. Yes I do.” He offered no more explanation, and Francois simply nodded in recognition of the truth of that statement.

“Alright,” Slappista began, “Without our ambush ships this is going to be a bit trickier, but between the two of us and that huge well-armed ship there, we should be able to take them off guard, steal the girls away, kill Fanny – and Don Taco, if necessary and you’ll sail away with a fortune in girls while I sail away with a fortune in treasure. I'll sail south to find them – assuming they've survived the typhoon – and you follow three hours behind me. I will infiltrate their party and let them know that you were in hot pursuit of me. They will think that I have accidentally lead you to THEM, but in reality, I will have lead YOU to them. The girls will be aboard my faithful old ship, La Herida que Filtra de la Cabeza so, don’t fire on them, but when you see me fire from this ship, turn all your guns on their other ships.”

“I am not a simpleton, you know.” St. Claire said stuffily.

“No,” Slappista said in all honesty, “You are as brilliant a Frenchman as I have ever met! I mean that!”

“Really?” Francois felt a swelling of pride.

“Really.” Slappista smiled. “Now just wait here three hours, then follow my sails to the south. Don’t let me out of your sights!” The Frenchman climbed the ladder up to his ship and Slappista sailed south toward Diego Garcia.


“BOOM!” Sir Nigel awoke to the sound of his own voice making sound effects. He was talking like a three-year-old. “It go BOOM!” He sat up, not sure where he was. He looked toward the bars of his cell and saw the lanky form of Don Taco, his right foot up on a cross bar, his arms resting above his head on top of the cell door.

“Si.” He said as he pushed open the door with his foot and entered the cell. “She went, BOOM!!!” he released his “boom” with a sharp scream that shook the walls of the cell. Sir Nigel, still regaining consciousness, recoiled in surprise and fear.

Don Taco laughed at this. “Oh, the legendary Sir Nigel is afraid of a scrawny old Spaniard, is he?” He laughed louder – the men standing around him laughed as well. Sir Nigel had never felt lower in his life, but reminded himself that he was, in fact, THE Sir Nigel and this cowering was going to end – now.

He was weak, but he forced himself to his feet, stood perfectly erect and tugged at his jacket to make it lay correctly – it obeyed. “Sir!” he began, “I am, Sir Nigel – privateer and gadfly. To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”

As Don Taco spoke, Los Mariachi played an intense little tune that would have kept everyone on the edge of their seats – had they, in fact, been seated. “I am Don Alvarado Diamonte, but my friends call me, Don Taco. You, however, are not much of a friend because you are responsible for blowing up two of my perfectly good ships – that’s not what I call, ‘friend-like.’ Do you?”

“No. No.” Sir Nigel politely agreed, “I would say that sort of behavior is decidedly unfriend-like.”

Don Taco quickly displayed a knife and held it close to Sir Nigel’s throat, “Then perhaps you can give me a reason why I shouldn’t just slit your throat here and now, hmmm?”

Just then, a woman entered the cell carrying a tray that held some grog and hard tack, her face was covered in a hood and she backed into the cell so as not to let Sir Nigel see her face. Sally set the tray on the table and muttered something about the cell being unsanitary.

Sir Nigel, responded to Don Taco’s question, “Because you’re curious about why a legendary pirate had set to sea alone in a pinnace loaded down with black powder – that seems like a silly thing to do, doesn’t it?”

Taco smiled and backed away – Sally spotted a mop on the floor. Sir Nigel’s feet straddled the mop handle; she picked it up quickly driving the handle hard into his testicles. He doubled over and vomited on Don Taco’s boots.

“See?” Sally said remonstratively, “This place is such a pig sty; you’ve gone and made your prisoner sick!” Before they could respond, she shooed the Spaniards, puke-covered boots, guitar and all, out of the cell.

Sir Nigel remained in the bent over position and Sally guided him backward to the bench and sat him down. She quickly turned and poured him a glass of grog. When she turned back, he saw her face. “Sally!” he said, but was quickly stifled by the cup she thrust between his lips.

“Shut your gob ye foolish limey twit! Before these guys slit open a nice ‘neck smile’ for you! You have no idea who you are dealing with here, do you?”

“Lady Fanny?” Nigel’s guess took Sally by surprise – “how did he know?” she wondered, but there was no time for talk now.

“She’s the least of our problems now – we’re heading north to Diego Garcia for a rendezvous with a giant treasure ship and, I fear, certain death.”

“Oh,” Sir Nigel seemed unperturbed by this news. “So, business as usual, I see.”

They looked up to see Leather Nipples staring darkly at them through the bars.


Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket stood on the bow of The Festering Boil as she bounded over the whitecaps toward Diego Garcia. “Port.” Slappy asserted. “Starboard.” Chumbucket countered. The two men stared straight ahead – two staunch immovable forces staring into a headwind of danger.

Cementhands stood behind Slappy. “I’m going with the Cap’n on this one, Ol’ Chumbucket.” He added firmly, “Port.” George the Greek laid a firm hand on Ol’ Chumbucket’s shoulder – “I say, Starboard.”

Gabriel and Spencer stood in the middle of the growing discussion. They remained neutral.

“Well, I say Port!” Leftenant Keeling said decisively.
“And you would be wrong – Starboard!” Dogwatch asserted.
“I have a sense about these things and I say – PORT!” Two-Patch declared.
“And as a man of Science, I tell you all – STARBOARD!” Sawbones Burgess dissented.

The men kept their gaze forward, but neither side was giving – not an inch. Suddenly, Professor Droppingham’s voice broke the stalemate.

“Och! What a pack o’ wee luttle lassies ye be! The tailwind is high in the sails – ‘tis the perfect time to pee off the stern! Ye bunch o’ witherin’ pansies!” With that said, he turned and headed for the back of the ship. After a moment of collective thought, he was followed by the others.

The men stood in a long line on the “tail rail” as Slappy called it – their tallywhackers set free to the elements returning a bit of ‘water’ to the ocean from whence it came. As the final stream ceased, Leftenant Keeling called out the count. “One! Two! Three!”

“Shake that Drop! Shake that Drop! Spare the Swabbie – Save the Mop!” The company of men bounced up and down in unison and returned their John Thomasses to the standard “dress right” position and closed their trousers before their impressive unified clogging step-turn and dismount.

The rest of the crew, men and women, stood in awe and cheered the successful ritual. This was the boys’ first time in, “the line.” They performed admirably and without a flaw.

“Well done, Midget!” Cap’n Slappy patted Gabriel on the head.

“Cap’n Slappy, I am not …” Gabriel started to argue.

“- the least bit shy! I can tell, my man! That’s why our Post Typhoon Water Passing Ritual went off without a hitch! Again, well done!” Slappy was engorged with good cheer.

“Yes, but Cap’n Slappy, I am really …” Gabriel tried again to gain a conversational foothold, but was once again, cut off by the captain.

“ – honored to take part, I know! But I say it’s about time we had a ‘Little Person’ such as yerself in the Line of Rightly Honored Urine-Ready Men!”

Before Gabriel could advance his argument, Cementhands McCormack gave the final ritualized report.

“Cap’n!” The big man declared with a salute, “The L.R.H.U-R.M. has successfully performed our P.T.W.P.R. with strict precision in adherence of the custom of the crew of The Festering Boil and therefore …” McCormack paused for a moment and thought. He remouthed the first part of his speech again “ …blah-di-blah-di blah … of the crew of The Festering Boil and therefore … DAMMIT – LINE!”
Chumbucket whispered, “No foul breath of man, beast or that Bitch, Mother Nature.”

McCormack nodded, “Yeah, right, I got it!” he took a deep breath and finished strong – “…No foul breath of man, beast or that Bitch, Mother Nature can harm this ship or her crew for at least a fortnight!”

Slappy smiled and offered him his hand. They shook and seemed to strike a mystical bargain. Once again, the crew cheered!

Cap’n Slappy addressed the crew, “Alright everyone, there’s work to be done and we can only do so much of it with our genitals in our hands – we sail for Diego Garcia, to rescue young maidens, to take ill-gotten plunder and to kick Lady Fanny’s evil ass!”

Cheers went up from the deck and every crew person went about his or her business.

Spencer stood near Ol’ Chumbucket. “Mister Chumbucket, sir?” he said.

“What is it, lad?” Ol’ Chumbucket asked.

“How does pissing off the ship as a group provide us with mystical protection?” Spencer’s question was without malice or mockery – he just wanted to know how it worked.

“Do ye believe in the power of urine, lad?” Chumbucket asked.

“No.” Spencer replied honestly.

“Well, neither do I – but he does.” He said, gesturing toward Cap’n Slappy. “Well, he believes in ‘ritual’ at any rate. And what the hell, boy – ye gotta believe in somethin’.”

“I suppose so.” Spencer said and went about his chores.

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