Monday, October 17, 2005


A Pirate Tale – Part 111 “Slightly Moistened Torso”

“Vloek en Ontploffing!” Slappy bellowed as he attempted to dress himself in a style that might befit a pirate captain of his elevated status. But like most men of his considerable girth, he struggled with the finer points of what might for others appear to be mundane tasks; tying on his sash, pulling on his boots, getting his arms into their appropriate sleeves. “God damn clothing technology!” He looked like a billowy ghost flailing its arms in the air whilst in the throes of an epileptic seizure.

Sawbones Burgess and Ol’ Chumbucket stood in the doorway of the captain’s cabin waiting and nicely quaffed for what promised to be an evening of unbridled avarice and wanton womanizing.

“The man can navigate a ship through a coral reef on a cloudy night using only his sense of smell but he is completely at a loss when attempting to pull a shirt on over his freshly washed and slightly moistened torso.” Burgess observed.

Ol’ Chumbucket tried to squeeze the words “slightly moistened torso” immediately out of his consciousness but realized quickly that the only remedy was to replace the image of Cap’n Slappy with one of the many lovely young Wonder Wenches they would soon be admiring.

“Bucket! Be a good fellow and help me with my boots, will you?” Cementhands asked as he approached them from behind carrying his boots in one hand and his favorite sturdy chair in the other.

Cap’n Slappy’s head emerged, turtle-like, from his shirt and he breathed a sigh of relief. “Yes! Yes! I OWN you, Shirt!” Then, catching a glimpse of his audience he added, “And I also own several shirts like you.” He had hoped to pass off his victory taunt as part of regular, casual conversation between a man and his clothing – but the lads weren’t buying it. Fortunately, their focus was largely consumed by their attempt to get Cementhands McCormack into his “I’m going to town and I’m going to do the bouncy-bouncy boots.”

Finally, when they were all dressed and ready, Cap’n Slappy poured four glasses of mango rum from a bottle he’d been saving since their last trip to Port Royal and proposed a toast. “To moderation – a nice concept but completely unworkable!” As they threw back their shots of fruity rum, Two Patch poked his bony face into the room.

“Beggin’ the Cap’n and company’s pardons but we have a point o’ order to address. Seein’ as Mister George has the watch o’ the ship today we need one o’ the officer class to accompany our newest pirates – Saucy Jenny and that fellar who’s always jottin’ down notes in his notebook …”

“Oscar?” Chumbucket asked.

“Aye!” Two Patch asserted, “It’s their first shore leave and the by-laws clearly state that …”

“Shore leaves for first-time crew members must be overseen by a ranking crew member up to and including the captain and that the decision of who that is will be based on a drawing of cards – low card serving as guide.” Ol’ Chumbucket finished – he knew his ships by-laws backward and forward.

“Why can’t they just go with Keeling and Red Molly?” Cap’n Slappy suggested.

“They’re finally taking a honeymoon, sir – I feel certain they would prefer not to have an audience for that.” Two Patch replied adding, “Which leaves you four.”

“Three!” Cementhands declared jingling his “regular crew” share of gold in his large leather pouch.

“I’ve promoted you five hundred times!” Slappy asserted.

“And I’ve always declined because of just this sort of thing!” Cementhands shot back.

“Well is there anyone else I can promote?” Slappy said hoping to raise his odds a bit, “How about Salty Jim or Black Butch?”

“Tried and declined.” Sawbones recalled. “Let’s just do this and get it over with.”

Cementhands quickly pulled a deck of cards out of his bag and spread it out evenly offering one to the good doctor first.

“Before I pull a card, I want to know if this is one of McCormack’s ‘trick’ decks.” The doctor said with the voice of experience.

Cementhands held the deck up in front of Two Patch’s face who, although he appeared to look straight through the cards, declared it a “good deck.”

Burgess pulled a card and looked at it. There was no reaction on his face when he asked, “Are aces high or low?”

“LOW!” McCormack declared hopefully.

“Oh,” Burgess said, still not giving anything away until he turned the card around showing the king of clubs. “Then that’s good for me.”

Cementhands then offered the deck to Slappy who drew his card from the middle of the thickest section. He did not maintain his poker face – “Three of hearts! De Uiteinden van de aap!”

But despite the fact that the captain had selected such a low card, Ol’ Chumbucket was not exuberant. He drew his card, looked at it, and immediately tried to put it back in the deck and draw another. When this failed, he just shook his head – “The deuces!” he said as both an oath and as a declaration of his card’s value. It was, in fact, the two of diamonds.

“Fine.” Ol’ Chumbucket said with some reservation, “I’ll pirate-sit the newbies. But we are staying another day so I can have my own fun, too!”

“Fair enough!” Cap’n Slappy declared, I’ll take them tomorrow.”

Six hours later, Cementhands sat at a table with Saucy Jenny and Oscar in one of Port Royal’s quieter drinking establishments, Hogshead Revisited. The two of them turned out to be good company and Saucy Jenny had a biting and acerbic wit that became more biting and more acerbic as the evening went on and she had more rum.

As the clock in the town square struck midnight, Ol’ Chumbucket couldn’t help but think of his pals down at The Wonder Wenches Whoopee Parlor and Whistle-Wetter having the time of their lives. Then, he recalled Doc Burgess’ description of Cap’n Slappy’s “slightly moistened torso,” and took another shot of rum in the hopes of blinding his imagination.

“Not that this hasn’t been an exciting evening,” Saucy Jenny began, “But when do we get to go about town without a leash?”

Oscar laughed as did Ol’ Chumbucket.

“Tomorrow night, you’ll be the guests of the Captain – he usually finds some trouble to get into.” Chumbucket explained.

“Well boys, I think I’ll head back to the ship and get some rest for tomorrow.” Saucy Jenny wasn’t that tired – but as nothing was happening at Hogshead Revisited, she thought she might as well go chat with George back on The Festering Boil.

Ol’ Chumbucket was not about to shirk his duties, so he picked up the tab and the three of them headed back toward the ship.

They’d gone only a few hundred feet when they heard a commotion in an alley. As they looked, they saw a dozen or so men armed with swords and torches bunched around a tall, young black man who was bound and gagged. They could see that the drunken group had slung a rope with a noose on the end over a broken lamp post.

Before Ol’ Chumbucket could say a word, Jenny was running headlong into the group – daggers in both hands and letting out a war whoop such as Ol’ Chumbucket and Oscar had never heard.

“Shit!” Ol’ Chumbucket swore as he reached for his pistols and set off after her on a dead run followed closely by Oscar who was trying to unsheathe his cutlass as he ran.

The shock of Jenny’s cry momentarily confused the group which had actually hoisted their intended victim into the air and dropped him back to the ground. Perhaps Jenny was hoping that her war whoop would scare the group off – but all it did was allow them to arm themselves and several of the group charged toward the on-coming trio.

A couple of pistol pops from the mob rang out and Ol’ Chumbucket could feel the balls whiz by his ears. “Too freaking close!” He thought to himself and he returned fire which came over both of Jenny’s shoulders taking out the two men who were closest to engaging her. She turned back toward Ol’ Chumbucket but there wasn’t time to explain. He dropped his pistols and pulled out his dagger and cutlass just in time to engage the enemy.

Jenny moved quickly as she spun away from one sword slash and sunk both her daggers, like teeth, into the side of one attacker. If this was her first kill, she didn’t show it. She pulled out her weapons and the spray of blood from her victim’s quickly emptying lungs splashed across her face – still, she came on. Her right foot struck the next attacker hard in his nuts and he doubled over in pain. She quickly slit his throat and did a barrel role over his back to avoid two more cutlass blows which sank into their dying comrade before he could hit the cobblestones.

Having divested himself of his empty pistols, Ol’ Chumbucket was now in his element. Dagger and cutlass had always been his strong suit and he put on a clinic for friend and foe alike. The two attackers who had barely missed Jenny as she gymnastically tumbled over her second victim were quickly dispatched by Ol’ Chumbucket who looked eerily calm in the midst of the fracas.

Jenny’s exuberance for the fight led to trouble. She had engaged two more opponents who also had skills and worked together to back her into a corner. She had decided that she could take on out but that the other would get her – this realization did not come easy – she hated to give up on the fight, but she had little choice. She plunged her daggers into the heart of one man while the other, cutlass already poised for the slaughter began his thrust only to have it interrupted by Oscar, who had finally unsheathed his cutlass, sticking him through the ribs like a bug in a display case.

The remainder of the mob scattered like rats leaving their intended victim, still bound with a noose around his neck. He was barely conscious.

Ol’ Chumbucket quickly untied the man and took the noose off his neck. He then checked his two young comrades to make sure they were alright.

“Not a scratch.” Jenny said, still panting.

“Let’s get him back to the ship.” Ol’ Chumbucket said. “Whoever he is, he has more enemies than friends.”

It been an excitin' night ou' on the town. I can't wait for tomarrow night!
I'm ecstatic you pirate guys have a blog now. Having known Ol' Chumbucket's spawn Jack redbeard for many years now I was surprised I had to stumble on it randomly in the cybersea. However, I'm glad I washed ashore here and I will read regularly.
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