Friday, October 29, 2010


The Curacao Caper - Chapter 40

About a hundred yards from the cathedral and the governor’s mansion, forming a sort of “town triangle” was a fountain that depicted the shepherd boy, David, defeating the giant Goliath. It was a work of art on a grand scale, commissioned by the famous sculptor and fountain enthusiast Emil Van Houghton. It captures the very moment the stone entered the giant’s skull – with water, not blood, issuing from his enormous head in a gruesome albeit sterile depiction of cranial hemorrhage and death.

For decades, townspeople had tossed pennies into the water and made a wish for long lost loves to return to them. It was a moist bank of sorrow within a metaphor of triumph over oppression. Because most of the time lost loves remain lost and wishes don’t come true.

The huge baby-man could hear the pirates coming down Gaol Road on their way to the wharf. They were moving quickly but without much stealth – it was too large a group to hide and they were too full of pleasure at no longer being in the smelly albeit brightly painted gaol. Their speed, in their badly neglected condition was best described as “urgently tortoisesque.”

“Thems baddies is going to them’s boat! Get your boom-boom sticks ready!” the huge baby-man ordered. The musketeers and guardsmen formed a line in the square behind the fountain and waited.

The forty-some odd pirates now parading down Gaol Road were cautiously optimistic that their escape had been problem free. No casualties at the gaol itself. Even the guards were uninjured. Cementhands McCormack pushed the baby buggy with the now napping Gabriel over the cobblestones without a care – and with his pal, Cap’n Slappy by his side.

Dogwatch Watts and Leftenant Keeling flanked the right and left shoulders of their human “prize” – Cap’n Hamnquist – and Wellington Peddicord brought up the rear – keeping a weather eye in their wake. Only a quarter of a mile to the ship – then sea – then … the biggest treasure haul any of them would ever know.

But as they approached the fountain, that quarter of a mile might as well have been a world away as they stared down the barrels of twenty-five loaded muskets and another twenty-five well armed guardsmen laying in wait for their piratty prey.

All Slappy could think to say at this moment was, “Bugger!”

“You have been naughty pirateses!” the huge baby-man began. “But you don’t have to die right now! You can die in a few hours when we hangs you all!” It really seemed as though he was offering to do a huge favor for them.

Slappy stepped forward. “Wait! Wait! Wait!” he would have continued saying “Wait!” until he thought of some compelling reason why they should wait – or until it got dark enough to sneak away – but Fate had another opportunity in store for The Boilers.

As Slappy yelled “Wait!” for the forty-third time, the sound of a very large cart on cobblestones could be heard coming up King’s Street toward them. It was being pushed and pulled by two men in baker’s aprons and they were arguing in French. And although his only understanding of French was what was needed to express his needs and wishes at Madam Tourette’s House of Bouncy- Bouncy, Slappy could sort of follow the argument;



“I said STOP, imbecile!”

“I can’t!”

“Well try!”

“I am!”

“Well, try harder!”

But by the time the breaks had been fully applied, an enormous cart with a towering cake and what appeared to be two large pyramids of custard-filled pies whose golden-brown crusts were baked to perfection sat in the gap between the governor’s men and the pirates – and this confectionary “no man’s land” was of considerable concern to the near-frantic baker … Fifi LeFleur.
“Don’t Nobody Move!!!” he ordered both sides of the coming conflagration.

And then something unexpected … LeFleur turned his head away from the governor’s men and cast a glancing wink toward Cap’n Slappy. Not a wink of faux flirtation, mockery or posturing intimidation, but an honest-to-Poseidon wink of recognized kinship. Pirates – even sworn enemy pirates – still claimed a sort of solidarity when faced with governmental forces.

Perhaps Fifi was hoping Slappy would use this barricade of mega-caloric celebratory baked goods to shield a brilliant impromptu retreat … but whatever he imagined in that moment was quickly cast aside. As was so often the case in the history of their troubled relationship, communication would once again be their undoing. Where Fifi thought “retreat” Slappy thought, “attack!”

With a war whoop, Cap’n Slappy and Cementhands McCormack stormed the barricade and used the ill-fated desserts as weapons of mass disruption. Fifi was particularly horrified when Cementhands tore the top tier of the wedding cake – bride and groom figurines and all – from its pillared perch and hurled it like a buttercream-frosted discus in the direction of the stunned musketeers.

“McCormack, vous hybride!” LeFleur cried aloud – but his appellation was folded into the general din – like eggs in flour and sugar – creating a dough of general noise.

The pirates rushed the cart – grabbing the custard pies and launching them with little regard for aim at their former jailers and oppressors. It was, in the vernacular of future generations, “On – like Donkey Kong!”

LeFleur’s assistant, Luc Duvall knew immediately whose side he was on and took a particularly custardy pie and held it like a torch above his head before running headlong toward an unsuspecting guardsman. He nearly squealed with delight at the satisfying “smoosh” sound it made as he caught the man square in the face – obscuring his vision and dramatically reducing his will to fight.

The crack of muskets could be heard all over the city center – but by the time the soldiers got around to firing, they were doing so in a torrential rain of pie filling and crust. The ammunition went in all directions – mostly harmlessly – and as they were under immediate attack, there was no time to reload.

Although charged with the care of Captain Hamnquist – Leftenant Keeling, Dogwatch Watts and Wellington Peddicord all threw themselves without much hesitation into the fray leaving the elderly pirate standing at the back of the melee with a tattered blanket over his shoulders. After only a couple of seconds, however, he felt an arm around his shoulders and a strangely familiar face at this side. “Come, old friend, there’s someone very dear to you who wants to see you.”

Still adjusting his eyes to the daylight, Hamnquist recognized the voice more than the face. “Bernard?”

“Aye, sir! Jeffries at your service, Cap’n!” And with that – the two men disappeared up an alley.

By now, Fifi had let go of his hopes of preserving something of his desserts – and had joined his fellow pirates in the battle. But as he fought at Slappy’s side, he couldn’t help chiding his former rival.

“I had found it, eh? I had discovered the very thing I loved to do more than anything else in the world – but NOOOOO! Fifi can’t have a bakery and make wonderful cakes and pies and strudels and gingerbread houses for children! NOOO!” He took a moment from his soliloquy to wrestle an empty musket away from a guardsman and deliver a devastating sequence of blows – first to the poor man’s dingly-dangly bits – doubling him over – and then a powerful uppercut to his face – knocking him onto his back and into unconsciousness. “NOOOO!” he continued, slightly out of breath. “Fifi can’t have nice things because of his PIRATE FRIENDS!!!”

“So, it’s FRIENDS we are now, eh, Fifi?!?” Slappy replied – his own breath shortened by this sudden work-out. “You and me – PALS, huh?” He scooped up a half-destroyed custard by from the cobblestones and hurled it into the face of a soldier charging with a bayonet fixed to his musket. The pudding blinding him, Slappy was able to grab the barrel of the gun and turn it – man-and-all – into another charging soldier causing a violent collision which sent both of them toppling into the fountain. One of the men fell headlong into the statue of boy-David – whose genitals were less boyish and more reminiscent of Michelangelo’s statue. Essentially it was a boy body with a substantially manly bit of marble wedding tackle which struck the fellow in the head – and broke off from young David’s body and dropped into the bottom of the fountain’s pool – causing both Slappy and LeFleur to wince a little.

McCormack and Peddicord had more than a handful with the huge freakish baby man. He tossed them around and finally broke free of their clutches and began tossing pirates like pies.

He was single-handedly turning the tide of the battle when gravity took over.

The unattended pram with its baby-dressed adolescent napping away began rolling downhill toward the melee. Actually, it was rolling directly toward the fountain – but since the battle was taking place all around the fountain – it was rolling into battle. It’s groggy inhabitant was roused by the pounding of the cobblestones and the increasing speed of his carriage and looked up just in time to see the buggy hit the edge of the fountain and propel him through the air toward the statue of penis-free David and some bobbing, motionless guardsmen.

He hit the water with a splash! It was deeper than he had thought leaving him waste deep in water. This surprise entry into the fray even caught the attention of the huge baby man – who noted without irony that a baby was now involved.

“Why hims is a little baby boy!” he said aloud. Then he took a closer look at Gabriel. “No! Hims is no baby boy! Hims is a midget!”

Gabriel had had enough. He searched the water with his hands for any weapon – he was now ready to fight – and eager to fight this freakish giant. But has he reached around for a weapon he could find only his discarded diaper and a long hard piece of rock – or so he thought.

He glanced at the statue at his side and saw a young boy defeating a giant with nothing but a sling – and here he was – a shadow of the story itself – only he had never used a sling. But what he lacked in practiced skill he more than made up for in audacity. Although he never looked at the stone –all of the pirates witnessing the event knew he had just stuffed a marble penis into a diaper and was now swinging it wildly over his head. He called out defiantly to his opponent;

“I’m no freakin’ midget! And I’m no baby! And neither are you – you Dick!”

Then he let the stone fly.

David’s penis came out of the diaper at such a potentially disastrous angle that all of the pirates and guardsmen lunged away covering their heads and their cocks. The huge baby man even laughed for a moment at how badly this David imitator had shot his wad.

But the laughter would be short-lived.

The chunk of marble came out fast and flew directly at the statue of David’s head. But it had a great deal of force behind it and changed course toward Goliath’s head at remarkable speed. As luck would have it – and luck WILL have its way – the penis struck Goliath’s head at the point where the water was spewing forth and added momentum to this phallic projectile which now had a new course. The second ricochet and the hydraulic pressure sent the stone flying directly at the huge baby man’s head who barely had time to shift from laughter to a short, “uh-oh!” before taking a marble schlong to the noggin.

The giant fell hard to the cobblestone – and Slappy wasn’t taking time to decide whether he was dead or not.

“George! McCormack!” he called – feeling every bit in command again. “Get Hamnquist and the men back to the Boil! I’m going to find Ol’ Chumbucket and then we’ll get the hell out of here!”

Everyone looked around for Hamnquist – but he was long gone.

“Fine!” Slappy was determined to get things going. “I’m going to find Ol’ Chumbucket AND Hamnquist and then we’ll get out of here! But if we’re not there in 45 minutes – sail without us!”

“But …” McCormack was going to argue or coming with him but Slappy was hearing none of it.

“45 minutes! Starting NOW!” He started to move away but Fifi stopped him.

“Better make it 30 minutes Sloppy!”

“Damn it, Fifi! It’s SLAPPY! SLAP-PY!”

“I know. I just like to piss you off – but of a certainty, you had better make it 30 minutes."

"Why?" Slappy asked.

"We delivered the reception cake to the governor's mansion. Right in the main hall, directly under the governor's office. In" – Fifi glanced at the clock tower and nodded – "in 32 minutes, it's going to explode. It'll be a thing of beauty. Pieces of the mansion will probably land in the harbor, and they'll certainly blow out most of the stained glass of that church across the square."

"Hmmm, that's useful information," Sappy said. "Got that George? Ship ready to sail in 20 minutes, and you raise anchor in 30."

George looked grim, but he nodded, gave an "Aye aye!" and led the crew running towards the dock.

"What about your ship Fifi?" Slappy asked.

"It is - elsewhere. It doesn't matter, I'm comng with you."


"C'mon mon ami, we both know we're here for the same thing. Hamnquist. And we probably have equal claim to the treasure. If there is a treasure."

"There was," Slappy said. "But why should I take you?"

"The sake of old time?" Fifi suggsted. "But come, we're losing time. Besides, with my help you get Luc thrown in for free!”

They looked over at Luc Duval who was scooping custard off a guardsman’s face with his index finger and tasting it.

“It needed more vanilla!” he said when he noticed Slappy and LeFleur looking at him and shaking their heads.

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