Monday, January 22, 2007


The Havana Caper – part 40 “Stone Walls and Stoned Captains”

The world was a blur.

But at least it seemed like “the world” again and not an ever-shifting dreamscape upon which this hellish nightmare was playing in five acts.

Slappy blinked his eyes hard in an attempt to peal off the moist fog that enshrouded the room around him as well as the other people in it. By his count the room was populated by himself and three others – Lady Fanny, the beautiful assassin and a large hulking fellow with a massive halberd in his massive hands. (Either that, or he could be a gorilla holding a frozen python. Slappy couldn’t be sure because, as has been pointed out, the world was a blur.)

Slowly, the effects of the drug began to dissipate and the women became aware of Slappy’s return to consciousness. Slappy braced himself as they approached but instead of a dagger in the gut, they both kneeled at has feet and began to massage his thighs each of them allowing a finger or two to tantalize his wedding tackle as they stroked him upward from the knees to the groin.

The drugs had left Slappy sensitive to touch and impulsive in speech. In his aroused state, just about anything was liable to come out of his mouth.

“How about a nice Sapphic floor show?”

The women smiled and quickly focused their sexual attentions on each other with a deep, penetrating kiss.

“Well, Fanny, you’re giving in to my whims almost too easily.”

Lady Fanny broke the lip lock and came up for air only to comment;

“You can always give in to someone you’re going to kill.”

The assassin’s tongue trailed down from just behind Fanny’s left ear across her neck to the center of her throat where she then proceeded downward with little nibbly kisses opening Fanny’s blouse as she went.

“While you are in the giving vein,” Slappy suggested, “why not let my crew go and do with me as you will?”

Lady Fanny’s smile was icy. “Why Slappy, my dear, I am doing with you as I will – even as we provide you with this pleasant distraction, my Captain Stubing is making his way with some of his marines to dispatch a dozen or so of your pirates in a way that is sure to be as unpleasant for them as this is pleasurable to you.” She returned to kissing her deadly protégé.

Fanny paused again when she saw the pain on Slappy’s face. “What’s the matter, Mortimer? Don’t you like girls anymore?”


With Stubing and his marines coming there was no time to make any sort of plan. Ol’ Chumbucket had to improvise.

“Cementhands … I mean, St. Swithin, take the crew down the hall and get them back to the ship. George, Leftenant Keeling, Wellington Peddicord and I will hide in here until they pass and attack from behind – that should give you a chance to get away.”

“I shall lead the people out of darkness!” St. Swithin declared, then he turned and put his hand on Ol’ Chumbucket’s shoulder. “And lo, I am with you always – even unto the end of the world. To quote the boss.”

The crew followed the large saint down the hall away from the pursuing English captain and his men – they had only gone about fifty yards when the corridor came to an abrupt end at a large locked door. Stubing and his men hadn’t even quickened their pace as they knew the Boilers were going to run into a dead end.

St. Swithin pushed on the big door, but it wouldn’t budge. “This is all a part of a greater Plan.” He whispered as he turned and moved through the pack of bunched up pirates to face their pursuers. Young Tharp looked miserable as he tried to explain himself to the pirates.

“They were English. I thought they would help us! I told them that I’m the son of Lord Sir Admiral Percival Winthorpe Tharp.” He then turned on Stubing, “You’re a captain in the Royal Navy for Chrissakes!”

“Sometimes your enemy looks like a friend, lad.” St. Swithin gently admonished, “And sometimes your friend looks like the enemy. The wise man looks past the trappings to see what courage lies beneath.”

Realization settled on Tharp’s face. He lowered his hands and began walking toward his pirate mates.

“Stop!” Stubing ordered. “Admiral’s son or not, I will shoot you!”

Tharp fixed his eyes ahead and moved toward his friends. St. Swithin smiled and held up his large right hand.

Stubing’s pistol was now leveled at the back of the young man’s head as he walked away.

“For the last time, Stop!”

He squeezed the trigger, but instead of an explosion, water gushed out the barrel of the flintlock and the whole pistol dissolved into liquid in Stubing’s hands.

Ol’ Chumbucket and his team had by now crept out of the dungeon and were stealthy moving up behind the marines. Without weapons, they would have to make quick work of the back four and arm themselves with whatever they could take off their initial victims. But their surprise attack was delayed as they watched St. Swithin welcome young Tharp back to the pirate fold and, with the raising of his other hand, perform his greatest miracle.

The torches in their wall stanchions began to flicker violently as a wind seemed to be coming through both walls and blowing on Stubing and his marines.

To the amazement of all, the stones in the wall seemed to be moving and changing – from stone to storm clouds. Having nothing to hang on to, the torches in their stanchions gave way and fell to the floor, startling the marines who seemed transfixed by the walls’ strange metamorphosis.

With a flash of lightning, the clouds burst and a hard rain drenched Stubing and his men rendering their muskets useless as anything but clubs.

Ol’ Chumbucket seized the moment and lunged at one of the confused marines at the back of the column gripping his jaw in one hand and the top of his head in the other and with a violent pull snapping his neck. As the body fell, he pulled both a cutlass and a dagger from the dead marine’s belt.

Picking up their cues quickly, George, Keeling and Peddicord attacked and dispatched the stunned men before they realized they had been set upon. Wellington Peddicord, in fact, had meant to push a marine’s head into the wall, but as it was no longer solid, he launched the hapless fellow into what could only be described as an abyss. The mysterious wall clouds had a spiders web effect at first, holding the victim paralyzed in place before sucking it inch by inch into that world from which the clouds were native. The screams of its victim assured those watching that it was not a good end.

With the only light coming from torches much farther up the corridor, the fight could only be viewed in silhouette by the pirates. Black Butch quickly broke their trance as he charged headlong into the fray with Doc Burgess of all people hot on his heels. In short order, all of the marines had been dispatched and discarded into the dark, billowy netherworld. Only their captain remained.

Stubing kept the pirates at bay with two swords, but his situation was hopeless. Ol’ Chumbucket squared off against him as Stubing backed perilously close to the wall.

Fear took over and Stubing’s voice became high and shrill and all he could muster were curses and babblings about pirates and Lady Fanny and love. All of it nonsensical and none of it worth repeating. Ol’ Chumbucket hesitated on making the kill because it all just seemed too pathetic.

To everyone’s amazement, a slender white cloud extended from the grey and black undulating wall and wrapped itself around Stubing’s torso. Another white cloud appeared above Stubing’s head. The ghostly apparition soon began to take on a human form and in a moment, everyone knew exactly who it was.

A tear rolled down Red Molly’s cheek as she and Saucy Jenny grasped hands. “Benny!”

True enough. Everyone agreed it was Benny. One might suspect that the spectral appearance of a dead mate would be a cause for fear amongst the crew, but even this pack of hardened pirates found themselves universally moved by their simple friend’s other-worldly manifestation. Even Two-Patch had to wipe his … well … patches. The apparition glanced over at St. Swithin who smiled and nodded. The ghost then receded into the dark clouds pulling Captain Stubbing with him. The screams and the struggle had barely finished echoing down the corridor when the walls began to take their original form. For a moment, all was silence, then, Ol’ Chumbucket spoke.

“No. 1, we’ve got to get the crew to the ship. No. 2, we need to see if we can get Cap’n Slappy out of here. Do we know how to get out of here and where the Boil is?”

Dogwatch and Keeling nodded and started to explain, but Chumbucket cut them off. He thought for a moment, then, as if struggling with the decision, said, “Dogwatch, you lead us to the Boil. We’ll get her ready to sail. It’s no doubt under guard, so we’ll have to take whatever weapons we can find along the way. George, Keeling, Spencer – you go with St. Swithin. I suspect he’s our best chance of finding the captain.”

The form of the giant pirate with the saint inside manning the controls just smiled slightly. It was enough.

“All right then. We’ll wait one hour, and then we’re going to have to sail. Find the captain and get back in that time. The rest of us, let’s go.”

“I’m going with them to find e captain!” Tharp said.

“The hell you are!” Ol’ Chumbucket said sharply. “You’ve caused enough trouble for one night.”

“But he’s my …”

Chumbucket cut him off quickly before he could continue.

“He’s not your concern. You don’t think I want to go? Of course I do, but my responsibility is to the ship and the crew, and Slappy would be the first to agree with that. If you can’t follow simple instructions, you’re not much use to anyone. Now let’s move out, and I don’t want to hear another word from you.”

“Take your orders and follow them, lad!” George added. Get back to the Boil and get ready to sail. It’s not like either choice will be a picnic.”

There was no more discussion. The Boilers moved quickly down the hall until it came to another “T,” at which point Dogwatch led the crew left while St. Swithin led the way right.


Although the floor show Lady Fanny and her deadly ward were giving Cap’n Slappy and the ape-like guard was something for which the pirate captain would normally pay handsomely at Mistress Minerva’s Mansion of Extra-marital Meanderings, his heart simply wasn’t in it.

“You know, Fanny, your man-mountain there doesn’t seem to be enjoying this any more than I am.”

Fanny looked up from her most intimate business and replied, “Bo Bo is a eunuch with the brains of goat and you’re enjoying this more than you’re letting on.”

She let out a sharp gasp and then went back to work on the beautiful assassin with a vengeance. The two of them, however, were stopped short by sounds coming from the corridor.

“Pirates! Run for your lives! There are pira …” the word was cut off and replaced with what sounded like gurgling and a thud.

Lady Fanny sprang to her feet and quickly gathered what articles of clothing she could. Her assassin seemed more focused on readying herself for a fight, but Fanny beckoned her to a book shelf where she seemed to be rearranging her library.

“No Tasha, come!”

The beautiful woman immediately obeyed. The bookshelf swung open revealing a secret passageway. Before Lady Fanny and Tasha disappeared behind it, she left one last order for Bo Bo.

“Kill the pirate, Bo Bo! Kill the pirate!”

The bookshelf closed and Bo Bo set his sights on Slappy.

“Now, now, big fella. Let’s discuss this shall we?” Slappy struggled to free his hands, which had been tied to the arms of the chair during his dream, all the while trying fruitlessly to reason with the behemoth. But there was no stopping Bo Bo in his duty and Slappy could barely make out what was happening. His eyes were still having trouble focusing. But he could see the large pole axe lifted dangerously over his head.

Slappy shoved off on his right foot sending himself and the chair rolling away as the blade crashed into the stone floor. He managed to get his feet underneath him and began to scamper around the room with the sturdy chair firmly attached to his elbows and wrists. The scene looked something like a mouse with a tortoise shell running wildly away from a hausfrau who was intent on smashing it with a broom – only this broom was an axe and this hausfrau was a human wrecking machine.

“Ahoy you pirates! I’m in here!” Slappy called out. “Chumbucket! George! Cementhands! HELP!”

“Slappy, is that you?” It was George’s voice.

“No!” Slappy called back both out of sarcastic disgust and in fear of the next impending blow from the halberd. “I’m a bleedin’ wee schoolgirl named Betty! Who in Davy Jones knickers do you think I am?”

On the other side of the locked door, Spencer was busily trying keys in the lock but stopped when he heard the response. “I think that’s the Cap’n!”

Slappy was now trying to parry the blows of the pole axe with the legs of the chair, but he had to look at what he was doing in a nearly upside-down position – this, coupled with the after effects of the drugs made him a bit loopy again. But he couldn’t help but admire the sturdiness of the chair. There were few things in life Cap’n Slappy loved more than a sturdy chair.

At one point, he charged the big man with the legs of the chair – Slappy had never charged backward in a bent over posture whacked out on whatever it was he had been given, but his little maneuver took the giant by surprise and for a moment, Slappy found himself sitting upright in the chair on top of his opponent. This was to be only for a moment as the big man underneath bench-pressed the seated pirate captain into the air and tossed him into a corner of the room.

Slappy was now flat on his back and unable to roll out of his current predicament, like a turtle whose time is clearly up.

“Fellas! Now would be a good time to burst through the door!” Slappy called nervously toward the entry way.

“Or now!” He watched as Bo Bo slowly got to his feet and picked up his weapon.

As Bo Bo positioned himself in front of the now reclined and trapped Slappy, he watched the captain’s eyes fix on the doorway with a look of relief. He spun around and saw nothing – only the sound of keys jingling in and out of the lock. He turned back to his prey who looked a little embarrassed for fooling the big guy like that.

“Made you look, Bo Bo!” Slappy said impishly. Then, when he saw the halberd raised into the air he tried another tactic. “Do you like gold, Bo Bo?”

Bo Bo’s face contorted with confusion. “Shiny gold?”

Slappy smiled, “Very shiny gold!”

Bo Bo’s face now looked almost childlike with excitement. This quickly shifted, though and he replied, “Lady say kill!”

Without missing a beat Slappy shot back, “Yes, Bo Bo, but Lady didn’t say WHEN! Kill Slappy AFTER you get shiny gold!”

The logic of this made sense to Bo Bo who began to smile.

Suddenly, the door burst open and in rushed the rescue team. George’s throwing knife was already cocked and ready to be flung when Slappy called out, “No, George! Don’t kill him!”

George stopped for a moment, then shrugged and let the knife fly – but rather than sinking the blade into the big man’s throat as he had intended, he bounced the butt end off Bo Bo’s forehead and sent him crashing unconscious to the floor.

Keeling quickly cut Slappy free. Cap’n Slappy rushed over to the bookshelf and started pulling books desperately off the shelves, but it was no use.

“Looking for a good book?” George asked. “Seems an odd time to take up reading as a hobby, but that’s your call I guess.”

Slappy just sighed and turned back to his rescuers. “She got away again!”

Keeling interjected, “I hate to be the one to point this out, but we haven’t gotten away yet. Perhaps we should get going?”

Slappy took one last glance at the bookcase then shrugged and nodded. “Yes. But I’m taking that chair with me!”

Before anyone could argue, Slappy went to pick it up, but it crumbled in his hands.

“Great Neptune’s Man Nipples!” He tossed the shattered pieces back down in frustration. “Well, lads – that’s that, let’s go!”

They moved toward the door but Slappy stopped by his sleeping foe. He reached into his pocket and pulled out two shiny gold coins and placed them on the floor next to Bo Bo’s head so that when he came to, these would be the first things he saw.

“Thanks for sparring with me, big man! I think you got me sobered up – now let’s see if I can’t get back to me ship and remedy that situation.”

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