Friday, March 03, 2006


A Pirate Tale – Part 131 “The War Council Chair of Doom”

After gaining what insight they could into the structure of the HMS Tigershark, Cap’n Slappy called for a War Council. Leftenant Keeling pointed out that Cementhands McCormack was the presiding War Council Chair. Slappy cringed – knowing that according to the by-laws of The Festering Boil, the War Council Chair was not only responsible for facilitating the meeting, but also for taunting those individuals, regardless of rank, who might, at some point during the meeting, say something – no matter how innocent – that might, in the mind of the Chair, be worthy of a taunt. This gave the War Council Chair of the Month, for it was a monthly position determined by a rotation voted on by the senior members of the crew, unfettered taunting powers – and no member of the crew was as skilled at the art of the taunt as Cementhands McCormack.

“De Geur van Honden die naar de badkamers gaan!” Slappy swore out loud.

“I hereby declare this War Council in order!” Cementhands boomed as he banged a rubber chicken that he used as a gavel on the table.

“Point of order!” Ol’ Chumbucket raised his hand wishing he hadn’t spoken and half hoping the chair wouldn’t recognize him.

Cementhands pointed his rubber chicken at Ol’ Chumbucket and said, “The Chair recognizes Friend Chumbucket and requests that the ‘Point of Order Hat’ be brought to the meeting room by the Sergeant at Arms.”

Leftenant Keeling left the room at a quick step as Ol’ Chumbucket cleared his throat.

“Begging the Chair’s pardon, but shouldn’t each member of this Council have an agenda of the proposed meeting along with the minutes of the previous meeting before the current Council is called to order?” Ol’ Chumbucket’s eyes were wide with anticipation – either he would be right or he would receive unmitigated taunting.

Cementhands McCormack made a Steeple gesture with his fingers just at chin level as he considered the question for a moment. All eyes were riveted on him – even when Leftenant Keeling re-entered the room with the very tall pointy dunce cap with the words, “Picky-Picky-Picky” spiraling downward from the high point. The gold sparkle letters standing out brightly against the purple velvet background topped off with a yellow-orange-and-red tassel at the top that made this piece of headwear look like a purple volcano of shame.

“You are right, Friend Chumbucket.” It was McCormack’s habit while chairing the War Council to confer the title “Friend” on all participants. “An agenda and minutes would be in order unless the Captain has called the War Council together in haste to address a clear and present danger.” All eyes shifted to Cap’n Slappy who quickly looked down at his boots. Cementhands quickly re-focused their attention by calling on another member,

“Friend Keeling!” Cementhands smiled as he addressed the still panting Sergeant-at-Arms, “Did you or did you not hear Cap’n Slappy call for a War Council?”

Leftenant Keeling looked desperately around the room.

“I remind you, Friend Keeling, that I reserve the most severe taunts for those who fudge the facts – because they are what, gentlemen?” McCormack raised his eyebrows expectantly as the entire room dully replied, “Fact Fudgers” in chant-like unison. He continued with his bulging eyes aimed deeply into the Leftenant’s soul. “So, please answer the question.”

Keeling sighed, “Aye, Friend McCormack, that he did.”

“Friend George, will you do the honors?” Cementhands nodded solemnly toward George the Greek who took the Point of Order Hat from Leftenant Keeling and placed it gently on Ol’ Chumbucket’s head. Once in place, George turned back to McCormack and asked, “Do you want the …” at this point, he made a gesture with the index and middle fingers of his right hand as if they were to be placed in his nostrils – asking if he was to place Ol’ Chumbucket’s fingers up his nose as was the custom for the person in the “Picky-Picky-Picky” Point-of-Order Hat.

With imperial grace, McCormack acquiesced. “I think not – for the time being. But Friend Chumbucket, you are on notice – don’t make me resort to requiring you to do the ‘Picky Dance.’ Alright?”

“Thank you, Friend McCormack.” Chumbucket responded carefully – gritting his teeth.

The next fifteen minutes of the War Council were taunt-free as they discussed a plan whereby a war party of twenty-four pirates using both of the long boats would sail up to the Tigershark in the middle of a New Moon night – board her from the bow and stern simultaneously and catch the sleeping skeleton crew off guard.

“This means we must have a war party ready to go tomorrow night!” Cap’n Slappy said with great urgency.

“By whose calendar, Friend Slappy?” McCormack began to beam that devilish smile he had a moment or two before he began a severe taunt.

Slappy desperately searched his calendar. Each month featured a portrait of a different, buxom young wench displaying the latest thing in piratical hardware. “June” was a blonde with a cat o’ nine tails made of the finest Corinthian leather clinched between her teeth. “April,” was a lovely red-head sporting a striking sterling silver hook. They were treasures – all of them. Sadly, they were three-year-old treasures – a fact that didn’t escape the watchful eye of The Chair.

“Friend Slappy, your calendar skills need work.” Cementhands began.

“Aye, Friend Cementhands, that they do.” Slappy hoped an agreeable approach might soften the blow of what was sure to be a righteous taunting.

“And how do we learn a new skill, Friend Slappy?” Cementhands asked with a knowing tone.

Slappy closed his eyes for a moment. He’d been here before. Whenever Cementhands decided that someone needed to “learn a new skill,” it meant that there would be singing and humiliating posing. Before he could say anything in his defense, Slappy was instructed to hand over the calendar to Dogwatch who held it open to the first picture – “January,” polishing a blunderbuss. The rest of the committee – including the pointy-hatted Ol’ Chumbucket began singing, “I love – I love – I love My Calendar Girl! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!”

Slappy knew his part – he had to strike each pose imitating the posture of each wench representing each month of his ancient calendar to the satisfaction of the Chair – and in this case, the Chair was only satisfied, when Friend Slappy extended both of his index fingers in a gross exaggeration of nipples that spun in rhythm with the song.

After a stunning finish in which Cap’n Slappy leaped onto the table while doing the splits for his final pose, the meeting resumed without mistake and no more tauntings were necessary.

The plan to reclaim the HMS Tigershark was settled upon and the meeting was closed, as it always was, with this admonition from the Chair. In forty-eight hours they would strike.

“Go in peace from this Council of War – prepare yourselves for the battle to come – and let us never speak of these tauntings again.”

With that said, the big man punctuated the meeting by banging the rubber chicken three times on the table.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?