Friday, March 31, 2006


A Pirate Tale – Part 143 “The Show Must. Must It?”

Cap’n Slappy stuffed himself into the tux he had rented from “Senor Jesus’ Casa de las Ropas de Lujo Para los Hombres Grandes.”

“Voor de liefde van de bakkebaarden van Molly!” Slappy growled as he tried to button his pants.

“Easy there, big fella!” Ol’ Chumbucket said smiling. “You’re gonna burst a blood vessel before you get those britches buttoned!”

“Senor Jesus just does not know how to outfit the portly gentleman.” Slappy huffed to himself. “I knew we were in trouble when he stapled two measuring tapes together to determine my waist size.”

Chumbucket said nothing – just sort of glanced up at the ceiling of Slappy’s cabin. He looked absolutely resplendent in his top hat and tails – his body type lent itself nicely to fancy dress.

Slappy ranted on. “And why in the name of Neptune’s Pajamas do I have to wear this monkey suit in the first place!?”

Stumpet, who had been sitting quietly on Slappy’s sea-chest squawked angrily at the phrase, “monkey suit.”

“It’s a figure o’ speech, darlin’! It’s not made out o’ monkeys!” Slappy snarked as if he was condescending to one of his many ex-wives.

“You know – an evening on the town will do you good.” Ol’ Chumbucket said as he twirled his cane in his left hand. “I’m beginning to think that you and that monkey need to spend some time apart.”

Slappy inhaled an enormous amount of air and sucked in his stomach – finally buttoning his trousers. He exhaled violently on Chumbucket’s comment about the monkey.

“Now see here, Old Man!” Slappy began but was immediately cut off by his friend.

“I’m just saying – a nice, civilized evening on the town – dressed to the teeth instead of armed to them may have an influential effect on the wenches – if ye get my drift?”

Slappy moved to his tiny mirror where he fumbled with his bow tie. “So, you’re saying I should leave the monkey on board tonight?”

Chumbucket replied, “It is customary for theatrical performances to be relatively ‘primate free’ unless you include the ‘concept art’ that comes from French Canadian acrobat troupes in the realm of theatrical performances.”
“I do not!” Cap’n Slappy asserted. After a moment in which he seemed to be lost in thought he asked, “This isn’t going to be one o’ those pouf-da shows like the French Canadian acrobat group – ‘Cirque du Swishybritches’?”

“Um. No. I think not.” Ol’ Chumbucket replied with a minimum of thought.

“Not that there’s anything the matter with the fancy lads.” Slappy was quick to add.

“Of course.” Chumbucket agreed.

“Some of our best friends are …” Slappy sashayed across the floor of his cabin to illustrate what he couldn’t bring himself to say.

“Yes. Yes they are.” Chumbucket replied, hoping the subject would soon change.

“I’m just not keen on acrobats.” Slappy said thoughtfully as he went back to work on his tie.

“Of course not.” Chumbucket said accommodatingly.

“…or French Canadians.” The captain added.

“Who is?” Chumbucket shrugged.

Slappy finally finished tying his tie and when he at last struggled into his tuxedo jacket he turned to his friend and asked, “How do I look?”

Without missing a beat, Ol’ Chumbucket replied, “Like a shockingly hairy walrus who is trying to disguise himself as a penguin.” Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket had long had an agreement; if one of them was foolish enough to concern himself with his appearance and ask, “How do I look?” the other would tell the complete and unadulterated truth.

Hearing Ol’ Chumbucket’s words only as a compliment, Cap’n Slappy strode past him through the doorway as he said, “Then let’s off to the theater!”

Most of the rest of the crew was already there – decked out in formal dress and hob-knobbing with the social elite of Maracaibo. A small skeleton crew stayed aboard The Festering Boil along with Doc Burgess and his still-sleeping patient, Cementhands McCormack.

The Opera House in Maracaibo seemed out of place. It was a palace – dedicated to the performing arts with marble columns, rich red carpeting and had carved wooden doors with gold leaf inlay.

As Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket stepped through the main entrance – all eyes turned toward them and the patrons broke into applause.
“Swanky digs!” Cap’n Slappy whispered out of the side of his mouth to his friend.

Lady Isabella quickly stepped up to greet her guest of honor. “Oh, my dear captain! How delightful it is that you can be here on the evening of our world premier!”

“Thank you, Lady Isabella – as the young people are keen on saying, ‘The delight is all mine!” Slappy smiled blissfully.

Lady Isabella demurred. “I was afraid you might be a teensie weensie bit angry with me for being a naughty girl and ‘borrowing’ your poems and having them not only published but set to music. But you don’t seem angry at all.”

“That is in large part due to my current level of inebriation which holds me now in a state of Zen-like bliss.” Slappy replied smilingly.

Lady Isabella seemed confused. The old pirate didn’t appear to be drunk. She looked to Ol’ Chumbucket for confirmation, but he, too, was smiling blissfully and just sort of nodded in agreement with Slappy.

Lady Isabella disapproved of public drunkenness – but neither of them seemed to be drunk and she disapproved of public disagreeability even more, so she smiled politely. “Well, that’s just fine, then. Shall I escort you to your box? You’ll be sitting with The Governor and myself for the performance”

“The performance of what?” Slappy asked genuinely.

Lady Isabella hesitated for a moment to see if he was kidding. Finally she answered. “The concert. Do you remember we’re doing a concert of your poems and my music?” She stared at Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket who just stared back smiling. “That’s why you’re dressed up for the evening and standing in the lobby of The Opera House. Does any of this ring a bell?”

Slappy looked dumbly at her for a moment – reflecting on how beautiful she was. Then, as if waking up he blurted out – “Poems! Ah, yes! My poems about my penis!” Several nearby patrons glanced over at Cap’n Slappy as he began to ramble. “PENIS POEMS! Particularly Private! Private Pirate Penis Poems!”

As Slappy began his alliterative rambling, his anger started to grow again. Seeing this, Ol’ Chumbucket produced a flask from his jacket pocket and unscrewing the top, handed it to his friend. Slappy took a long dram from the flask and handed it back to Ol’ Chumbucket who took a swig himself before returning it to the safety of his breast pocket.

Slappy was once again, calm and relaxed. “Thank you, Lady Isabella. We’d be delighted to join you and the governor now.”

A few moments later, they were sitting in The Governors Box just above the left side of the stage.

The orchestra was warming up and paused only when the conductor, Maestro Ulf Van Loewenhoffen strode majestically to the conductors stand in the orchestra pit. The audience applauded politely.

The eight large crystal chandeliers that hung over the house were lowered and teams of house staff busily snuffed out half the candles. The audience hushed as the teams paused with half the lights extinguished. Once the audience was sufficiently quiet, the rest of the candles were put out as the orchestra struck up the overture.

Don Taco nudged Cap’n Slappy in the upper arm. “This is exciting, no?”

“No.” Slappy agreed and was quickly handed the flask again. He drank and changed his answer. “I mean, yes.”

A portly singer stepped onto the stage dressed as a pirate. He had a lovely baritone voice and sang about going to sea.

“That’s from my pre-penis writings – this wench sure did her research!” Slappy whispered to Ol’ Chumbucket who shhhushed him quickly.

The music was sweeping and heroic. Cap’n Slappy found himself smiling despite the fact that the rum was wearing off.

Then, another singer stepped on stage. He was short and stubby but followed by another singer who was much taller and broad at the shoulders. Both men wore matching costumes – pink leotards with blue lines running up and down and a mushroom like helmet of a pinkish-purpleish hue.

“Those are my penises!” Cap’n Slappy said excitedly as he nudged Ol’ Chumbucket who once again “Shushhhed” him. But thought to himself, “Penises?”

The short stubby penis sang a song about the loneliness of sailing and weeks without any attention at all. Sniffles could be heard throughout the house.

Then, in a deeper, manlier voice, the larger penis sang a song about being delivered from the celibacy of life at sea.

I’ve been from Rome to Buenos Aires to Tahiti half by chance
And I’ve pillag-ed the villages from Ulm to Calais France
But I’ve never been suspended or up-ended in a trance
Like the time I saw a woodcut of two ladies with no pants.


What a sight it almost frights me and my feelings are so torn
What a splendid revelation it’s like I have been re-born
And the greatest thing about it is it greets me every morn
I’ve a woodcut of two ladies – Oh! I love my lesbian porn!

The singer continued with a few more verses until reaching the final one.

Now for all you lads and lasses don’t you fuss and don’t you fret
All my appetites are normal and they’ve not extinguished yet
If two ladies want to have me I will surely say, “You Bet!”
And I will not disappoint them, No! I’ll leave them nice and wet!

By the last time through, the audience was singing along with the giant penis. The critic from Pirattitude Monthly called it, “One of the greatest moments in theater history!”

Throughout the evening, the stage was populated by soloists who wore costumes befitting the piece they were singing. Perhaps the most unsettling moment came when the fellow playing Cap’n Slappy’s scrotum and testicles looking like a double hunchback wrapped in burlap stepped out on stage to sing, “Scratch Me!” Unfortunately, he slipped and fell backwards onto one of the inflated balloons that served as Cap’n Slappy’s left bollock. It popped loudly on impact and every man in the house winced in pain.

When the show ended, the entire house rose in a standing ovation. Lady Isabella hugged Cap’n Slappy who now seemed genuinely enthused about the whole thing. All was forgiven.

As they walked back to the ship, Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy discussed the performance. Both were impressed.

“I have a confession to make, Bucket.” Slappy said as they walked along.

“Your penis is not a six foot four inch Spanish baritone?” Chumbucket offered.

Slappy looked at him for a moment – as if he’d read his mind. “Hell, I’d be happy if it was a five foot four inch Norwegian boy soprano.”

There was a pause. Finally they continued their walk.

“That’s more information than I needed.” Ol’ Chumbucket said.

“The truth shall set you free.” Slappy countered.

“No.” Ol’ Chumbucket replied. “No it won’t.”

For the rest of the walk, they chatted about recent trade transactions and absinthe abuse in the English Rugby League.

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