Tuesday, March 15, 2005


A Pirate Tale – part 56 The Mouth of Doom

Below deck on the Broche de Presión, Sir Nigel heard the false Slappy’s spiritual epiphany. “Slappy?” he muttered, waking the sleeping Sally at his side. She sat up and yawned. “What the hell is going on?” she asked.

“I think I hear Cap’n Slappy!” Sir Nigel chirped excitedly. Slappista continued his blasphemous interjections. “Oh, thank ye – sweet baby Jesus, that I lived to see my sweet ship one last time!”

Sir Nigel shouted toward the upper deck, “Mortimer Slappy, you ol’ sea dog – is that you?” Sally listened expectantly.

Slappista silenced himself at the sound of Sir Nigel’s call. Don Taco, happy now that he had not killed his new brother’s dear friend declared, “Capitan Slappy – do you hear that voice from your past?” Los Mariachi played his version of playful mystery music while Don Taco assumed the voice of a Spanish game show host, “That’s right! He’s an English aristocrat-turned-pirate and would-be boat bomber who has a reputation for womanizing and a penchant for footwear. His turn-ons include; expensive wine, cheap whores and the habitual deflowering of sundry Governors’ daughters. His turn-offs are people who claim to have read books they haven’t and, oddly enough, long walks on the beach. That‘s right! It’s that fog-lurker himself, Sir Nigel de Pomfrit Coeur de Noir better known to one and all as ‘Sir Nigel Blackheart!’”

Don Taco was about to turn with a flourish and order his jailors to send Sir Nigel to the top deck when Slappista moved quickly and decisively – taking Lady Fanny by the hand and leading her to the plank that connected the Broche de Presión to the Conchita which sat sandwiched like bologna and cheese, or perhaps ham and cheese or even a nice peanut butter and jelly so long as it wasn’t grape jelly – truly, what would be the point of that? At any rate, it sat like some appropriate sandwich filler between Taco’s ship and Slappista’s former ship, La Herida que Filtra de la Cabeza.

As they crossed the plank, Slappista barely turned his shoulders when Don Taco called out, “Mortimer, wait!”

This false Slappy rang true to the tone of the original when her snarled, “Nobody calls me ‘Mortimer!’” And continued with more orders. “I will sail north with Lady Fanny to intercept the giant carrack, Sabado Gigante! You sail south and rid us of this troublesome ghost ship!”

Taco had so many points to argue, but he chose the most obvious. “But you were so happy to see her a moment before – and now you want me to destroy her?”

Slappista conjured up his best thespian skills and extemporized the following while Los Mariachi provided appropriately swelling heroic musical acompaniment; “My friend, when she was mine, I loved her. I loved my life aboard her – adventuring with such brave men as Ol’ Chumbucket, Cementhands McCormack and Sawbones Burgess. I tell you, it was a time of giants! A time when one cast one’s lot, paid one’s due and broke one’s heart on a harsh mistress called, ‘The Sea.’ But that life is lost to me. That ship – if it be a ship – but a shadow of a greatness that was the Golden Age of Piracy. Here I stand, bereft of all but honor and seeking one last shot at fortune. I can feel it close by to the north even as this ghost approaches from the south. Give me leave my friend, my Brother – to set my sails toward one last grand adventure. What say you? Will you battle this ghost for me while I send myself crashing like a wave against the rocks to bring us all a chance at riches beyond our wildest dreams?”

Don Taco, deeply moved by this speech, agreed. “Si, my friend – I will battle this ghost for you and send her to a watery grave! Save a little work for me with the Sabado Gigante, she holds riches and glory enough for all!”

With that, the ships unlashed and unplanked. Don Taco, fighting a harsh headwind coming up from the south, watched as The Festering Boil or whatever passed for her moved swiftly to meet him.

Slappista turned over the helm of La Conchita to a sailor named, Victor and with a small band of trusted men, took command of La Herida que Filtra de la Cabeza. The two ships caught the same tailwind used by The Festering Boil to sail north for what promised to be a friendly rendezvous with the Sabado Gigante.


The four marines showed no signs of fatigue as they lifted Lord Sir Admiral Percival Winthorpe Mandrake Tharp higher and higher up the mountain path. Lanky Liz led the way with Jezebel a few steps behind. The Admiral groaned occasionally and released “great gassy geisers” as one of the soldiers called them, but Jezebel smiled. “If he’s farting, he’s breathing.” She thought happily to herself.

Liz seemed to take to the jungle naturally and took jags off the trail that were unseen by the rest of the party – even Jezebel. Small rock statues – no larger than garden gnomes – depicting oddly dressed, tiny warriors with strange weapons seemed to point the way.

“It’s a wonder you can even see those through the vines and the underbrush.” The ebullient marine who had commented on the Admiral’s farting called ahead to Liz – who ignored him. Jezebel was not so unkind. “She doesn’t see them, dear boy, she hears them. Don’t you?”

The four marines just looked at each other. From here on, they walked in silence, listening.

Before long, they were near the top of the mountain and at the opening of a cave. The party stopped dead in its tracks. The light of a fire illuminated the large opening in the rock and its orange glow danced on stony walls.
Jezebel was about to speak, but Liz placed a finger on her lips and slowly shook her head, “no.”


The Marine Captain finally reached the deck of the HMS Susan’s Doily and immediately took command from so junior an officer as Lieutenant Clifford Burgess. Captain Waldrop T. Rothburn was a man of military order and discipline. He thanked young Burgess for his quick thinking and went about the business of removing any advantage they may have had.

“Captain,” young Burgess began, “there was at least one other ship in the company of the pirate who ran away from us. I think we should pursue and destroy the vermin while they remain in the area.”

“I’m not leaving the Admiral and my four men to go chasing after pirates – if it’s a fight they want, let them bring it to us.” The captain argued.

“But Captain, sir,” Burgess pressed, “our strength is in our seamanship and cannons – not trapped here in the shadow of this island.”

“Mister Burgess. You press your advantage, sir. As ranking officer, this ship is under my command and we will do as I wish. Do I make myself clear?” Rothburn demanded.

“Yes sir.” Clifford responded.

His response was not loud enough for the captain’s pleasure, so he repeated his question in a bellow. “Do I make myself clear, Mister Burgess?”

“Crystal Clear, Captain, Sir!” Young Clifford saluted to add emphasis to his listening skills.


“Well, me hearties,” Slappy grinned as he stood between Ol’ Chumbucket and Cementhands McCormack toward the bow of The Festering Boil looking northward at the approaching Broche de Presión, “it looks as though our Spanish friends have come to play.”

Spencer stood in front of the trio looking at the on-coming ship through the captain’s spy glass. “Her captain seems to be looking at you three.” Cementhands, Chumbucket and Slappy offered a friendly wave to their opponent complete with smiles that could only be read to mean – “We’ll be killing you soon, but don’t take it the wrong way.”


Don Taco gently closed his spy glass while Los Mariachi played “impending battle” music. His face was ashen and he held up a hand to silence his personal soundtrack. Leather Nipples approached with a shackled Sally under his massive arm.

“You know, these chains really put a damper on our romance.” She said wryly.

Leather Nipples ignored her when he saw Don Taco looking so gravely ill. “What is it, Capitan?”

Don Taco’s mind was racing – was it too late to turn around and chase down the imposter? Slappista! It could be none other than Slappista! But Lady Fanny said he was dead. But of course she would say that. She was in on it, too. It was all so clear to him now.

“I may have been many things in my life,” Don Taco thought to himself as he lit another cigar, “but I have never been a traitor – not to my friends.”

The more he thought, the narrower the gap became between himself and this ship of legend – with REAL giants of piracy who dealt straight as surely as they dealt death. He breathed in his tobacco smoke and appreciated what a joy it was to taste it. For a moment, he thought about turning the boat around and chasing down Slappista and Fanny, but he realized that by the time he tacked against the wind, The Festering Boil would be on top of them. Finally, Leather Nipples broke his trance.

“Capitan! What is the matter?” the big man called, hoping to break through the fog of thought.

“Oh.” Don Taco said as he pinched a piece of cigar paper from his tongue. “We are in a disadvantageous position against The Festering Boil and it would appear they mean to destroy us.” He waved his hand toward Los Mariachi who began playing a sad song.

Sally smiled as she looked toward the familiar shape of the on-coming ship. “Oh, you are sooooo fucked.”

Leather Nipples couldn’t believe his ears. He turned his beloved Sally around and began pushing her below as he called to the captain, “This is no time to lose heart! If we die, we die – but let us die like men!” He took Sally below and locked her away with Sir Nigel.


“What’s he doing now?” Slappy asked young Spencer who kept a watch on Don Taco through the spy glass.

“Puking and smoking, Cap’n!” Spencer reported. “Puking and smoking.”

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