Friday, December 01, 2006


The Havana Caper - Part 36 – “The Bitch is Back!”

Lady Fanny stared coldly into Cap’n Slappy’s eyes; looking for some sign of fear or at least mild surprise. A long frozen moment passed and she decided to move on.

“I’m so glad you asked!” Fanny’s words dripped from her lips like the excess toxin from a serpent’s fangs. Her icy enthusiasm for story telling sent chills down the listener’s spine.

“When you marooned me and left me to die on that God forsaken volcanic island of death in the middle of the Indian Ocean I couldn’t help but feel that I, myself, had been partially responsible for my fate.”

Cap’n Slappy winced but defiantly held up his right hand, thumb and index finger half an inch apart denoting his agreement that she may, in fact, be correct in her assumption of guilt.

“But then, one evening when I was sucking the marrow from the bones of a stray puppy that had foolishly befriended me when I was in a state of near-starvation I realized that the woman I had become was the woman you had made of me.”

A gasp of disbelief went up from the pirates. Those who had witnessed Lady Fanny’s cruelty first hand were aghast at her brazen audacity – but none of them were in a position to argue that she was, in fact, the most evil person to walk the face of the earth in five hundred years.

Ol’ Chumbucket noticed that her once-platinum blonde hair was now a shocking white and she, herself, was ghostly pale as if color couldn’t attach itself to her flesh.

She continued. “For a while, I was truly hateful.”

Unable to contain himself anymore, Cementhands McCormack erupted in a single blast of laughter. “HA!” Suddenly, all eyes were fixed on the big man. Lady Fanny rushed to stand in front of him. Her black eyes blazed red-hot. Seeking his mentor’s approval, Benny commented out loud.

“That was funny, Mr. McCormack!”

Fanny’s stare quickly fixed itself on poor Benny who seemed temporarily stunned and confused. He wisely went silent.

After a moment, Lady Fanny took her eyes off Benny and gave a knowing glance to Ensign Jack Jones. He nodded his understanding and she went on with her story.

“Days passed and I began to realize that there was not an inexhaustible supply of trusting puppies on Diego Garcia, so I learned how to catch crabs in tide pools.”

Slappy desperately wanted to say, “Well, I know for a fact that it’s not the first time you’ve caught crabs!” but he feared what she might do in retaliation – so, instead, he gave a “man-nod” to his partner in depravity, Ol’ Chumbucket. Fortunately, Lady Fanny’s immersion in her story kept her from noticing their private joke.

“Before long, I was fashioning weapons and tools from crab shells, puppy bones and the odd albatross beak.” A smile crossed her face that almost looked warm had it appeared on a less ice-sculpted visage. “I became quite the little spear fisher, I tell you!”

The pause that followed showed that she expected some sort of response from her assembled audience. Ol’ Chumbucket began a polite round of applause. As ovations go, this one may have been forced to stand, but its enthusiasm would have been a better match for a group of people reclining on soft cushions and about to fall asleep.

“And at this juncture in the story, I really must thank your captain for my inspiration. My motivation. My raison d’etre!”

There was another pause as she stared, once again, at Cap’n Slappy. This time, he spoke.

“Hurrah for me.”

The pirates exploded in a wildly enthusiastic cheer that served as a counterpoint to their polite applause the moment before.


The scowl on Fanny’s face told them that there would be hell to pay for that outburst, but for the moment, every pirate in the room felt it was worth it.

Fanny shrieked. “You may mock my pain now, my darlings, but very, very soon, you will gain a personal understanding of it and then …!” Fanny seemed to lose her way in the making of this threat. She tried again. “And then … !” Nothing. She paced back and forth for a moment, like a wild hyena, caged for the first time in its life. Then she stopped and appeared to be perfectly calm.

“You will, all of you, soon know what it is to despair.”

She took in a deep breath and breathed it out slowly. Then, like a schoolmarm pounding out a rhythmic sentence with emphasis she soldiered on.

“But I was telling a story and will not allow these interruptions!”

She calmed herself again. “Now where was I? Ah, yes. I had learned to survive, but I needed to get off the island in order to facilitate this happy reunion we’re enjoying today. As Fortune would have it, a beautiful, kindly fisherman was passing the island and saw me standing in the surf, stabbing a shark with my crab-claw knife – relishing the moment when its hot blood gushed forth over my naked body. I realized at once, that my isolation had all but destroyed my innate delicate maiden sensibilities but managed, after a moments exchange of awestruck glances, to shield myself from his lustful gaze by employing my prey as a shield and lowering myself into the frothy, blood-filled waters.”

“My gallant fisherman, pulled his skiff through the surf onto the beach a few yards away and retrieved a large blanket from the boat and placed it on the warm sand. Then, ever the gentleman, he turned his back and allowed me to wrap my nakedness in its warmth in modest privacy.”

“I wanted to thank him. After so many weeks of solitude, I wanted to touch him and hold him and feel human again. I wanted him to see me as a woman. But sadly, what we want and what we need seldom align. And what I needed. What I really needed was to get off this island and the only thing between that need and this opportunity was that man – standing just a few paces up the beach with his arms folded over his chest and his eyes cast inland. I glanced into the boat to see that it had everything I would need to sail back to Madagascar - a compass, charts, food and water – even a jug of rum. It was as if Christmas had come and Saint Nicholas had taken a few steps away from his sleigh tempting a desperate child.”

“With my crab knife still in my hand, I crept up the beach toward my benefactor. From what I was able to see of his profile, he had a kind face. In fact, for a moment, I thought about simply asking him to take me off the island with him – but I quickly imagined that he would take advantage of a helpless, poor woman at sea or worse, make me fall in love with him only to find that he had a wife and fifteen children and this thought stiffened my resolve.”

Fanny’s face was awash in euphoric glee as she described the moment she plunged the makeshift knife into his neck from behind and the look of disbelief on his face as he spun around – grasping at the claw – trying to pluck it from his throat. Between orgasmic moans, Fanny told how she took the meaty part of her palm and drove the crustacean dagger upward into his brain – how the whites of his eyes turned red with blood and glazed over as he fell backward into the sand – gurgling out his last breath.

“By nightfall, I was well on my way to Madagascar and freedom. Once there, I contacted the English consulate and informed them of your savagery. From there, it was a long series of sea journeys that brought me back here – to my home.”

“Great Neptune’s man nipples, Fanny! You’re ‘home’ is Bristol – it’s where you got your start in prostitution!” Slappy was defiant now.

“SILENCE DOG!” With that outburst, Lady Fanny’s armed thugs aimed their muskets into the crowd of pirates. She calmed herself at once. “Havana is my home now, Mortimer Slappy. And you are now going to have a brief taste of my hospitality.”

Lady Fanny shot a glance at Ensign Jones who took several men with muskets to open up the crowd in front of Cementhands McCormack. He snarled at the big man who simply stared back dispassionately. Jones then made a quick move to the side and plucked Benny from the crowd and pulled him up to the front. While Lady Fanny continued to speak, Jones bound Benny’s hands behind his back and forced him to stand on the tall chair beneath the noose which had been hanging ominously from the ceiling since the pirates entered the room.

“I am a tolerant woman as prone to the frailties of emotion as a dandelion is subject to a foul wind. And like that dandelion, once its seeds are scattered my emotions cannot simply be reattached to where they once were – they’ve moved on. All that’s left is for nature – and Nature’s Gardener, to do what they’ve always done.”

By this time, she had strolled to where Cap’n Slappy was but his focus was on the preparations for what looked to be a hanging. He hoped to draw her wrath away from Benny.

“Do you know what Nature’s Gardener has always done, Dear Slappy?” Fanny stared at him – insistent on an answer.

“Based on what you’re doing right now, I’m going to guess, ‘Jabber on spouting some bat-shit-crazy nonsense until she has the good sense to fling herself off a cliff.’ Am I close?” The wrath that Slappy hoped to bring down on himself was not forthcoming. It was as if she hadn’t even heard him.

Fanny continued, “That’s right! Weeding! The Caribbean is my garden and you are all a bunch of dandelions just aching to be weeded out – one by one.”

By now, Benny was trembling as he stood on the chair with the noose cinched around his neck. He was terrified and kept looking at Cementhands for some clue as to what to do. The back of the chair faced the assembled pirates and Benny’s whimpering gave the impression of a frightened puppy that had been removed too soon from its mother.

“But I am a slow weeder. I like to watch it whither and die – inch by inch. And so, we’re going to hang this pirate who thought he could be cheeky – but he’s not dying because of that. No. For that he has only one man to thank.”

“Fanny you’re a fucking whore!” Slappy bellowed. She charged over to him – protected by her musket-wielding entourage.

“You can’t make me kill you yet, Slappy! No! You are going to watch while each of these pirates of yours dies slowly and painfully for your sins!” She now addressed the crowd. “Do you hear that? You are all going to die because of your beloved Cap’n Slappy! Slowly! Painfully! Today it’s McCormack’s pet monkey – tomorrow it could be friendly ol’ Doc Burgess or that bitch, Red Molly! It could be any one of you, but I promise you this, it will be slow! We’re just going to ease this one off the chair and watch him kick at the air – gasping and grasping at Life – but it will tease and evade him and after much suffering, he will die!”

“Mr. McCormack! What should I do?” Benny called out in despair.

“Step up on the back of the chair and jump, Benny! Just jump!” McCormack shouted back.

Jones moved to pull the chair smoothly away so that Benny’s body weight would choke the life out of him, but all those months of diligently obeying McCormack’s orders made Benny a step faster than his executioners. With a strong step up on the back of the chair, Benny leaped into the air as the chair moved out from underneath him. At the height of his jump, he looked Cementhands in the face and smiled – satisfied that he had finally learned how to follow directions. For that one moment, Benny was truly proud of himself and he could see that his mentor and friend felt the same. The rope violently stopped his fall and Benny’s neck snapped. His lifeless head slumped down onto his left breast but there was no suffering – it all happened in an instant.

Fanny was furious, but didn’t let on.

“That will be all for tonight. But I assure you, there will be even more entertainment tomorrow night.”

With muskets and bayonets, the prisoners were escorted from the room while Benny’s body swung from the beam.

“You did the right thing, my friend.” Doc Burgess said with an assuring tone to McCormack. “You spared him a great deal of suffering.”

McCormack just stared ahead.

been waitin fer the next entry fer months! glad ta see yer back on the quill!
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