Not-The-Captain’s Log

Log 38: The End Of The Voyage

The Last Chapter of Book One

The night is dark, clouded, and in the darkness there is little more than silence: an occasional creak of wood and rope, now and then a pop as a corner of canvas flaps with a capricious breath of wind, sometimes a cough. Through the silence, something moves; it is large, and solid, and would bring notice if there were any nearby to sense its passage who were not already a part of it.

Then in the distance, like the opening of a sleeping eye, dawn begins. The growing light shows first the waves, like wrinkles in the blue-green skin of the world; and then the white sails appear, as if they catch and gather in the light as they do the wind, filling with the sun’s first gentle rays. As the light grows, the silent presence becomes the ship that rides over and breaks through the waves, now, as the breeze rises and sends the drifting water against the ship’s smooth hull, as if the dawn had woken the very air, the great ocean itself.

When the sun’s edge breaks the horizon, off the starboard bow, the man standing at the wheel squints and looks away. His eyes flash over the sails, which are buckling and heaving: the dawn has brought a new wind from a new quarter of the sky. The ships begins to slow, and its graceful motion becomes choppy – where it was a great owl, gliding through the still, dark air, now it is a jackrabbit, jouncing, jolting across the ground. The man’s eyes flick to the ladder that leads down to the next lower deck, and his lips thin. He begins to turn the wheel, then shakes his head and stills his hands. He coughs – louder than he needs to, likely.

A door opens on that lower deck, and a man steps out. He is tall: he must duck to pass through the door, and then he stands with broad shoulders and a straight back. Black hair blows on the wind, and blue-green eyes, the same color as the water below, squint in the sunlight which dazzles the ocean waves. His gaze goes to the sails, and he frowns; he crosses to the ladder and climbs rapidly to the top deck, where the man stands at the wheel, a relieved look on his face as the tall man appears. The tall man says, “Change course with the wind, Salty – three points north.”

“Three points north, aye, Captain,” the man at the wheel says, satisfaction in his voice. Even as he speaks, he is already turning the wheel to the left, and the ship shifts with a creak and a groan, and then slides into place like a lock into its groove, the sails snapping taut once more, the waves now rolling under the ship instead of crashing across it. The ship picks up speed and again glides like a bird in flight. The Captain claps the man at the wheel on the shoulder, and then stretches and yawns. He walks the ship, inspecting everything he can see and touch, now frowning, now nodding.

More men emerge as the dawn light strengthens and paints the sky bright pink and yellow and blue; the Captain hails some and orders them to the lines, to adjust ropes that have stretched and slipped, knots that have loosened in the night. Puffs of smoke begin to emerge from a small pipe, as the stove in the galley below heats up for breakfast. The man at the wheel is relieved; he hands over control of the ship with a comment on the new heading, and then he turns an hourglass set into the side of the wheel’s post just as the sand runs out. He stretches, shaking and flexing his fingers, which are scarred and gnarled though still strong, and then goes below, to the galley and food.

The Captain, having looked over the whole of his domain, now stands at the starboard rail, the bright sun warm on his face and the ocean breeze cool. He looks out at the water, the sky, the line of the horizon. Then he frowns. His body turns, his shoulders squaring, and his head leans forward as his eyes narrow. From a pouch at his belt he removes a brass tube, which he holds up to one eye.

In the lens he sees a scrap of white.

He watches it, moving only with the roll of the ship over the waves, for several minutes. He exchanges greetings with men who pass by on their tasks, several going to or coming from the head at the bow of the ship; some lowering buckets on ropes into the water, bringing them up full and splashing water across the deck, others re-coiling ropes that have shifted in the night or polishing salt spray off of metal surfaces.

The Captain lowers the glass. His expression is troubled. He begins to turn away, and then stops and looks back at the white scrap, which has grown somewhat larger, more definite, though still tiny. He glances at the men, then the scrap. Then his features firm, smoothing slightly: a decision is made. He raises his voice. “All hands on deck!” he calls, his tone strong but not urgent.

The call is repeated below, and within minutes, the yawning, bleary-eyed man who had been behind the wheel is the last to emerge. They have seen the Captain standing at the rail, and are gathered around him. The Captain looks them over, nods, and then turns and points. “Look there,” he says. “Lynch – get above. Take the glass.” He holds the brass tube out to a slender youth, who takes it and tucks it behind the wide leather belt about his middle. The youth jogs to a rope ladder and scrambles up, into the rigging above.

The other men line the rail and squint into the bright morning air. “‘At’s a sail, sure,” one says, and the others nod and mutter.

“There be some sailin’ ships in these waters, bain’t there?” asks a thin man with delicate features.

“Aye,” the Captain says. “But not with square sails. Lynch!”

The youth has reached the top cross-bar of the main mast, and now sits astride it and puts the glass to his eye, holding the mast with his other hand. He finds the white object on the horizon and frowns at it, his brows lowering as he strains to see it clearly, struggling to keep the object in view despite the motion of the ship, greatly exaggerated here, forty feet above the deck. Then he pales.

Below, another man, hard-eyed and bearded, mutters, “We be th’ only ship wi’ square sails – th’ only one for a hunnerd years. That’n can’t be such.” Another man nods, but he is frowning as he does so.

Then the bearded man’s eyes widen. “Oh, Christ in Heaven, no – “

The young man on the mast interrupts and anticipates him. “Captain!” he shouts, his voice breaking high and shrill. “It’s the Sea-Cat!

There is a brief moment of utter, shocked silence, and then a groan goes through the men. The Captain looks up and shouts, “Are ye sure? At this distance?”

“I stared at that bastard for two months, Captain,” the youth retorts. “Aye, I’m sure. It’s him. I can see the Scourged Lady on the bow.”

“And he’s closing on us,” one of the men on deck mutters. Indeed, the scrap of white has become a spot, now visible to all, and obviously square. The mutters rise, and feet begin shifting, hands clenching into fists around the hilts of swords and the butts of pistols.

The Captain wheels on them, his eyes bright, his expression determined, fearless. He speaks in a calm voice, just above quiet. “All right. He’s three, four miles off, still, and we’re running slow. O’Grady – go below and finish the breakfast, then douse the cookfire. We’ll need to eat well, so double rations. Desmond – can ye take the wheel? I need Ian on the lines.”

A man rubs at his shoulder, shrugging his right arm, testing it against pain. “Aye, Captain. I think ’tis healed enough.”

The Captain nods, then raises his voice. “All right! Raise all topsails! All canvas up! Desmond, go eat now, then on the wheel – follow the wind, wheresoever it goes, aye? We’ll sort out our course later. For now – speed! MacTeigue, with me. Go, ye sea-dogs! Hoist the sails!”

Men burst into action. Three scramble up the rope ladder to join Lynch above, where they stretch themselves out along the top yardarms, poles no thicker than a tree branch, their legs curled about to hold them up as they yank at knotted ropes. The knots loose, and sails unfurl; the men slide down the masts to the lower crossbars, and, grabbing at ropes attached to the corners of the flapping sails, tie them quickly to the crossbars. The sails fill, and the ship accelerates. The mast-climbers return to the deck, where a conversation has been rattling quickly back and forth between the Captain and MacTeigue, with much pointing of fingers and shaking of heads. The Captain finally curses and says, “Load them all anyway.” He shouts for his glass, which the descended Lynch jumps to put into his hand before going below to gobble oat porridge and sliced ham, with a cup of ale to fortify himself.

The Captain moves to the aft rail on the highest deck, where the wheel is, and looks out at the square sail on the horizon. He puts one eye to the spyglass, points the glass at the ship, and then stands there, unmoving but for the rocking of the ship beneath him, for half a glass – fifteen minutes. Behind him his men are finishing their barely-warmed food and are readying weapons, loading guns, sharpening blades, arming the ship’s cannons – twenty-four in total, twelve on each side, split evenly between two decks.

The Captain lowers his glass with a curse, rubbing at his watering eyes. “He’s still gaining on us,” he mutters. He strikes the rail with the heel of his hand. “Gods damn ye, Hobbes, ye son of the Devil’s whores.” He turns and looks at the sails above him, which are bellied full of wind; the man Desmond is on the wheel, now, a hunk of ham in one fist, and he has lined the ship up perfectly with the wind. “MacTeigue! O’Gallows! To me!” the Captain roars.

MacTeigue leaves the men loading the cannons, and O’Gallows, a tall, square-jawed fellow with golden blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, ceases his harangue of two sailors who had apparently tied a poor knot in a line, and joins MacTeigue and the Captain on the poop deck.

“He’s faster,” the Captain says. “We cannot run this time.”

O’Gallows curses and looks back at the ship, which has indeed grown larger, the shape of her sails, her dark hull, a lighter smudge of a figurehead at the bow, all clear now against the blue sky. “If we turn now, he’ll match us,” he says. “We can’t trade broadsides with the Sea-Cat. She has more iron.”

“We can’t fight man-to-man,” MacTeigue says. “We don’t have enough men.”

“We need to cross her bow as she’s coming,” O’Gallows replies. “She’s got no fore-chasers. We can give her our broadside and then turn and run. If we hole her at the water, or break her mast, we’ll be faster, then.”

“But he’ll turn when we turn, and then it’s broadsides for all – or else he’ll follow close and grapple to our after rail, and board us,” MacTeigue says.

Suddenly, the Captain, who has been hunched over with his thumbs tucked into his sash, straightens and grins. “Not if we turn fast enough,” he says. “Go bring me the torn sail and some line, and two men to help ye,” he orders O’Gallows, who moves off with a puzzled frown. The captain turns to MacTeigue, after glancing at the sails, and then over his shoulder at the pursuing ship. “Right – starboard side first. Stagger the broadside – fire three above and three below, then shift the crews and fire the other three. Then have them cross to the port side and be ready to do the same again.”

MacTeigue is wide-eyed, mouth agape. “Nate, how, by Lucifer, are we to fire both sides at the same target? Christ’s bones, how will we manage to fire the one?”

The Captain slaps him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, cousin. The Grace will wheel and dance like a falcon in flight, I promise ye. Now go – ready the guns! Starboard first!”

As MacTeigue races off, the Captain shouts. “Kelly! We’ll be needing the sharpshooters – ready the rifles at the mainmast!” A large, one-eyed man nods and goes below, to the armory beneath the main deck. Just as he disappears, O’Gallows struggles up the steep staircase – almost a ladder – on the opposite side of the deck, with a large coil of rope draped over his shoulders. Behind him come two men lugging a long roll of canvas. They go towards the poop deck, and the Captain comes down to meet them on the main deck. He explains their orders, pointing and miming with his hands; O’Gallows’s puzzled frown turns into a mischievous grin, and he and the other two draw knives and begin cutting slits in the canvas, threading the rope through and tying knots.

The Captain returns to the aft rail and watches as the pursuing ship grows, men now visible aboard her. As he watches, the grin slides off of his face, and his eyes grow first worried, then determined. He makes a fist, and pounds it down on the rail, once, twice, three times. He strides away, barking orders as he goes.

***

She is close, now. She has clearly been battered and then repaired – there are lighter-colored boards, new wood not yet stained the dark gray of ocean-going vessels, in her hull, and her mainmast is taller, now, and raked, or tilted back towards the rear of the ship; the mainmast is also gaff-rigged, now, which it was not before – perhaps that is what has gained her more speed. They had been evenly matched in their last encounter, when the Sea-Cat had chased the Grace across the Atlantic – and, apparently, across three centuries, as well; but now the English ship is the faster of the two. She still has no cannon in her bow, but she is near enough that her men have begun firing muskets, hoping for a lucky hit; at this range, from moving ship to moving ship, there is no other kind of hit but a lucky one – but the man on the Grace’s wheel hunches his shoulders and ducks his head, nonetheless.

The Captain is standing beside the wheel, looking back over Desmond’s shoulder at the Sea-Cat. He does not duck. To his left and below, at the starboard rail of the main deck, O’Gallows and his two helpers crouch, waiting, an ungainly bundle of canvas and rope in their sweating hands. The Sea-Cat is not visible from where they are, and so their gazes are locked on their captain’s back, and the left arm he will use to signal them when the time is right.

“What the hell is he waiting for?” O’Gallows grumbles, trying to crane his head out to the side far enough to catch a glimpse of the other ship. He cannot – lucky, perhaps, as this would make him a target for musket fire – and he returns to his crouching and staring. “If they get too close, they’ll bloody well ram us and board even as we fire.” His gaze flicks to the two other men, who are exchanging worried frowns at these words, and O’Gallows falls silent and waits. Near them crouch six more men, including MacTeigue and the young Lynch, by three large cannons. They, too, wait, and stare at the captain’s back.

The Captain waits for – something. His eyes rove the forward rail of his enemy, seeking something, or someone, among the line of men firing and reloading muskets. Then, at last, he shakes his head and raises his hand, as his gaze flicks between his ship and the Sea-Cat, gauging a distance that has nearly become too close. But then he smiles. A man steps up to the rail of the Sea-Cat, a tall man, pale and gaunt, with white-blonde hair and deep-set eyes; from a distance, he has the appearance of a skull.

“Hello, Hobbes, you sodding bastard,” the Captain whispers. He raises his arm higher, and waves. The gaunt man lays a finger along his hat, nodding so slightly it is nearly imperceptible – then he draws his thumb across his throat in an unmistakable gesture. The skull grins. The Captain smiles in return. “Choke on this,” he mutters. Then he drops his arm and shouts, NOW!”

O’Gallows and his two men throw the tangle of canvas and rope over the rail, and then run to the lines securing the ship’s mainsail, which is gaff-rigged like the Sea-Cat’s – tied at top and bottom to a long pole that juts out to the side, rather then sitting fixed to the mainmast like the bar of a cross; this means the mainsail can be moved to catch the wind as the ship turns. The tangle hits the water and sinks, though ropes trailing from it are still tied to the ship. As the tangle is dragged through the water, it opens into something like a parachute, the corners of the square canvas gathered together and tied to the ship: a sea-anchor. Instantly, the ship begins to slow, and turn, as the sea-anchor swings wide and drags. Desmond spins the wheel, O’Gallows swivels the gaffed mainsail – and the Grace turns, as swift and graceful as a falcon, and presents her broadside to the bow of the oncoming Sea-Cat.

“FIRE!” yells MacTeigue, and almost as one, six cannons explode in red flames and black smoke. The three above are four-pounders, loaded with chain shot – a pair of cannonballs attached by a stout length of chain, which spin like a bola when fired – and are aimed high, at the masts and sails of the pursuing ship; the three below are eight-pounders firing round cannonballs aimed at the waterline of the enemy ship, intended to sink her. The chain shot strikes true, and the foretopsail is torn in half, spilling the wind and losing a fraction of the Sea-Cat’s speed, but the heavier guns are aimed too low, and the round shot splashes into the ocean.

“Raise your aim, curse you!” MacTeigue shrieks as he and his men scramble to the next three guns, their movements mimicked below.

“Ian! Now!” roars the Captain, and then he draws from his sash a pistol – a revolver – and fires several shots at the men who have been shooting at him. Now they duck.

O’Gallows leaves his companions holding the mainsail’s lines and leaps to the rail, where the sea-anchor is attached to the capstan for the starboard anchor – and where an axe lies ready. He snatches up the blade, swings it over his head, and with a single blow shears through the two-inch-thick rope that holds the sea-anchor in place.

At the same moment, the six remaining cannons fire. This time, all six hit, but again, the heavier cannons miss their mark, striking the ship’s hull well above the waterline, punching holes in the wood but doing no real harm. The chain-shot tears at the main foresail but does not destroy it.

The moment the cannons fire, Desmond spins the wheel back to the left, and with a groan, the ship begins to turn. The two men on the mainsail lines struggle to reorient the gaff to match the new heading – running with the wind again, straight away from the pursuing Sea-Cat. But they slip, their curses turning to cries of pain and warning; O’Gallows drops the axe and leaps to them; he catches at the rope sliding through their hands, and together, they get the mainsail under control. The rough hemp rope is now marked with blood.

“O’Gallows!” shouts MacTeigue. “Take the port guns here! I’m going below to aim for those blind fools!” He races to the ladder and disappears. The gunners move to the port side, which at the moment faces nothing but empty sea, and prepare to fire the cannons.

O’Gallows turns his head to respond to MacTeigue, but he has already gone below. He curses. “Captain! I’ve the gaff and MacTeigue’s below – ye must fire the guns!” He braces his back as a gust of wind catches at the mainsail, and his companions curse at the pain, but none of them lets go of the line.

The Captain curses and looks down at the sea. The sea-anchor, cut loose from the ship’s starboard rail, has sunk lower and swung under the ship – and now it comes taut on the second line, run around the stern of the Grace and tied to the anchor capstan on the port side. With a groan and a shudder, the ship, begins a second rapid turn, now to the port side. The Captain nods and then leaps the eight feet down from the poop deck to the main deck, where he grabs a slow match – a length of fuse, smoldering at one end – from Lynch and crouches by the touch-hole of a four-pounder. “MacTeigue! On your mark!” he roars.

“Aye!” MacTeigue calls from below.

This time, the Sea-Cat is not caught unaware; the pursuing ship begins to fall off, turning away from the wheeling Grace – presenting the larger ship’s port side, rather than her bow; a larger target, but a target that can also fire back.

The Grace turns, Desmond straining against the wheel, his face white with pain, O’Gallows and his two men straining against the mainsail lines, every other man straining eyes and ears, waiting for the order to fire to echo out from the lower deck, waiting for the target to come into view. As she does – and she is a large target now: the sea-anchor has slowed the Grace appreciably, and the Sea-Cat has closed rapidly even while taking fire – they can see that her side will be to them. “Prepare to fire!” the Captain shouts. “To fire stations after the broadside!” There is a chorus of Ayes in response.

Then they wait.

The ropes creak. The men grunt. The waves splash. The ships turn, and turn, and turn, and then – “FIRE!”

Six cannons blast from the Grace. The chain shot rips through the shrouds, cutting several lines and tangling others; the Sea-Cat’s sails sag and flap. And – at last! – two eight-pound cannonballs, each four inches in diameter, strike the hull just at the waterline and crash through, followed by the frothing sea. A cheer begins and is cut off as the Captain roars “PREPARE TO FIRE AGAIN!” and moves to the next set of cannons. Now is the dangerous time, when the Sea-Cat’s cannons – she carries eighteen on a side, and enough men to fire all, reload and fire again – may blast away, smashing the sails, the mast, the hull, the guns, and the men of the Grace, crashing through flesh and metal and bone, striking deadly flying splinters from the wooden hull wherever the cannonballs strike.

But she does not fire.

From below, MacTeigue again yells “FIRE!” and six cannons blast. The chain shot does little harm, flying mainly between the masts; another round shot punches a third hole in the hull at the waterline.

“FIRE STATIONS!” the Captain bawls. The men below run to the pumps; above they drop buckets into the sea and raise them on ropes, ready to douse flames; canvas sheets are lowered and soaked, ready to smother sparks, as well. O’Gallows and his two helpers tie the mainsail’s lines to cleats, all three flexing their shaking, bloody hands with hisses of pain. “Sharpshooters to the mast!” the Captain calls as he strides to the ladder up to the poop deck. “Ian – cut it loose!”

O’Gallows’s axe strikes again, and the sea-anchor slowly floats to the surface and falls behind. The Captain takes a moment to watch it sink, raising a hand in salute. Lynch and two older men move to the mainmast where they untie long rifles from a rack; they tie pouches of ammunition to their belts. Then one crouches at the rail, and the other two climb the masts, Lynch at the foremast and the other man on the mainmast; they straddle the yardarms and raise the rifles, taking aim at the Sea-Cat.

Now fire comes from the Sea-Cat – but it is musket fire, not the cannons. Their sharpshooters are in place, as well, and far more numerous. Lead balls whine and crack against the Grace, and the men duck and curse, but stay at their stations. MacTeigue begins to reload the cannons, but it is a slow and laborious process, especially for one man working alone. But he continues, undaunted.

Now the Grace’s sharpshooters begin to return fire – and it is immediately clear that something is different. The crack of the guns is sharper, flatter, and with almost no smoke; then after each shot, they move a brass lever up, back, forward and down – and they fire again. The man at the rail does not even move a lever, simply aiming and pulling the trigger, again and again, firing without reloading. Their accuracy, too, is far greater, and men on the Sea-Cat cry out and fall, one after another.

But the Sea-Cat, after the apparent mistake of turning broadside and then failing to fire any cannon, has already begun turning to follow, and now she is aimed straight for the Grace once more, and drawing closer by the second despite the damage she has absorbed, her momentum carrying her as the smaller ship slowly begins to pick up her lost speed. Not soon enough: for the Sea-Cat comes within pistol range, and then she turns slightly, presenting her left fore-quarter to the starboard and stern of the Grace.

The Captain, standing on the poop deck, locks gazes with his opposite number, who is now close enough that the whites of his eyes are visible. With a start, the Captain realizes there is another man, standing in the shadow of the Sea-Cat’s commander: he is dark-skinned, African or West Indian, and his head is shaved clean; he wears a strange robe and a brimless cloth cap. This other man is smiling, and the evil in his expression is enough to make the Grace’s captain shiver, even from this distance. The Captain looks away.

Just then, at a shouted command that is audible even on the Grace, so close are the two ships, a dozen men stand from behind the Sea-Cat’s rail, where they had been concealed from the sight of the Grace’s three sharpshooters. These men hold guns, but they are not rifles, nor muskets, nor even pistols.

They are thunder-guns.

They open fire.

A hail of lead crashes into the Grace. The two sharpshooters in the rigging are struck almost instantly; Lynch drops with a thud and a cry to the deck, and the other man slumps into the mast, dead before he falls from his perch. The men on fire stations at the starboard rail are struck, as well – how could they not be? – and one falls into the water and is gone in an instant. O’Gallows is struck, a bullet creasing his hip and spinning him about; he falls with a snarl and a curse, clutching at his injury. The third sharpshooter, the hard-eyed, bearded man at the rail, is hit when a bullet passes through the wooden partition concealing him, hitting him in the leg; splinters fly and slash his cheek and hands. He drops his rifle with a grunt, falling onto his back on the deck.

The Captain, seeing his men brought down so quickly, draws a second pistol from his sash and leaps to the starboard rail of the poop deck, firing with both hands, yelling curses at the top of his lungs that cannot be heard through the thunder of the Sea-Cat’s gunmen.

One of the men on the Sea-Cat is struck, then a second; two others shift aim and fire at this new threat.

The Captain is struck, twice, and is knocked back. He falls from the poop deck and crashes onto the main deck.

All goes black.

Ship’s Log

Llewellyn Vaughn, Ship’s Surgeon, recording.

We have escaped from the Englishman Captain Nicholas Hobbes and his Sea-Cat. That ship was slowed by our cannonade, taking on water and her sails and rigging damaged. They fell quickly behind after they fell off the line to fire on us.

Captain Kane lives, though he has not yet regained consciousness. I have bound his wounds, but he has lost some blood, perhaps one and one-half pints, judging by his pallor. A bullet remains in his right shoulder, perhaps lodged against the scapula, from the entry wound. The shot to his left arm passed through the wrist and away. Francis Murphy and Seamus O’Finnegan are lost, Murphy killed in the shrouds, O’Finnegan over the rail. MacManus, O’Gallows, and Sweeney were all wounded; I have removed a bullet from MacManus’s left quadriceps. I believe it was slowed by passing through the ship’s bulwark, and did little harm, but it may have splintered. He will have to be watched carefully. O’Gallows and Sweeney suffered minor flesh wounds, which I have sewn. Lynch is more grievously hurt, the bullet passing through his left side. I hope it did not strike the kidney. He fell to the deck and broke his arm, as well; lost consciousness when I set the bone. He has lost blood as well, and his slighter figure leaves him little to spare.

The ship is undamaged. MacTeigue has the command, while O’Gallows rests and recovers – he has torn nearly all of the flesh off of his hands, attempting to hold the mainsail as the ship turned, and Fitzpatrick and Doyle with him – and steers us for the nearest land, which is the coast of the same America we left behind. We have come some hundreds of miles north, but without the captain and after the confusion of the battle, we know not where we are, nor where we will strike land. I only pray it will be close to civilization, and we may perhaps find a surgeon who can save the lives of our wounded brethren. They are beyond my help, now.

I pray, as well, that the Sea-Cat will not find us again.

One last observation: I believe I have discovered the means by which Captain Hobbes was able to follow us across the Atlantic through the darkest night despite any subterfuge attempted by our wily and devious Captain. After Captain Kane fell, and I had performed my duty, I met with MacTeigue on the poop deck to give my report of our casualties. I happened, in my exhaustion, to lean on the aft rail, and I noticed a silvery light shining, though it was night, and there was no moon in the sky. Leaning out further, I discerned runes, old Celtic pagan script, painted on the stern of the ship. They were glowing, brighter than a lantern, with a silver light. I cannot read the Druids’ tongue, but I believe one of the runes represents the word for blood.

The Grace of Ireland is Captain Kane’s ship. His blood was spilled on the deck this day – and as I recall, the same occurred during our first encounter with Hobbes, in Ireland of yore. And again, the night we fought the Sea-Cat a second time and were hurled, by time’s tempest, into the Year of our Lord 2011.

I do not know an explanation which I can rationally accept. But three instances – hypothetical, not confirmed observationally but for this last – that makes a pattern.

I will discuss this with the Captain, if he survives. If we all survive.

Recorded this night, the 8th of August, 2011

Aboard the Grace of Ireland

Bound for unknown shores

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Log 35: The Gallows Log

Ian O’Gallows

19th of July

When first I was put in this place, I feared I would ne’er see the Sun, nor breathe Free Air again. I feared I would ha’ my neck stretched ere a Week had passed. In Truth I was somewhat stunned that the Cap’n o’ the Coast GuardShip what took us did not hang every man Jack of us from the yardarm, and send us with our Ship to Davy Jones, with a Curse to chase us down to Hell. Sure and he had evidence enow to know our Crimes and our Guilt.

Now that I ha’ been here three days, I fear only that tiresome hours, without any employment, amusement, or e’en punishment, will pile up so high they smother me. So, to avoid this fate, I ha’ requested paper and pen from my captors, so that I may follow the lead o’ me Cap’n, Damnation Kane, who doth keep the log faithfully.

So here be me log.

They did capture us on July the 15th, four days ago. They made it back to shore in two or three hours, with us all manacled and sitting on the stern deck o’ that thundering steel Hell-ship. That devil’s boat made thirty, forty knots, without sail nor oar. At least that many! Methinks I did not need to do what I did, and give them the Grace’s heading. Sure and they could ha’ found us as easy as they took us, as easy as they brought us back.

They kept us from talking on the ship, tho speeches were made with the eyes. If O’Flaherty could ha’ killed me with his glare, I would ha’ been spared these empty days in this cell, aye. Burke, as well. Tho the opposite do be true, too: if my hands had been free, them two mutineers would lie flat wi’ wrung necks and black tongues by now. Aye, and perhaps a puling pissbucket of a rapist, as well, tho that tub o’ maggoty fishguts Shlocksir be barely worth the effort to strangle. But he be worth it, na’theless. He cried, the suety fop, like a bairn without his mam’s teat to fill his mouth. Fair made me sick.

We made the Keys ere night fell, and they put us into three cells at the fortress. And they took off the manacles, and left us unguarded. Ha! The minute the door shut behind the guard, I took hold o’ that damned O’Flaherty and flung him into the bars, head-first. He reeled back, stunned and bleeding, but he be an Irishman, and he put up a fight, aye. But tho he be the stronger, I be younger and faster. And smarter and prettier, while we be talking on it, ha ha! Burke he would ha’ come to his man’s aid, but he were in another cell, as was Carter, who might ha’ done the same. Burke roared at me, laying on the curses like mortar on a wall, until Kelly, me good mate Kelly, took it in his mind that Burke should be hushed, and then he made it so, wi’ but three good blows of those cannonballs he calls fists. Burke be paid back for what he did to Kelly back in Ireland, when Burke took the Bosun’s Whistle from Kelly.

O’Flaherty took a bit more convincing, but soon enow he was down for a wee nap, too, and sleeping like a babe, aye. I could ha’ strangled him then, but I had cooled a mite. Too, I felt that killing a man while in gaol and about to be tried for my life would be somewhat rash. I but gave him a kick in the teeth to remember me by. Then I spoke wi’ the men.

“Listen, all o’ ye,” I said. “I don’t give a fig for who ye would ha’ for Cap’n o’ this crew, or if ye think ye be a crew at all. I say we be the men o’ the Grace o’ Ireland, and o’ the blood o’ Old Erin herself. We be the wolves o’ the Irish seas, sons o’ Lugh and Cormac, Cuchulain and Fionn MacCumhaill. Aye?” They growled and grumbled an Aye to that. Then I lowered my voice and looked every man in the eye. “Men o’ Ireland ha’ nothing to say to the men o’ the law. Not to the gaolers, not to the judges, not to the headsman, if it come to that. Nothing but our names, that they may remember us, and a curse for them to choke on. Be we agreed?”

And they agreed, every man. Then the guards came in, saw O’Flaherty and Burke unconscious on the floors, and asked after the events leading to such a state. And the men, they did me proud. Not a damned word did they give those bastards. Naught but a hard stare and a few mouthfuls o’ spit cast to the floor at their feet. Good men, they are. All but Shlocksir, o’ course. He opened his gob and drew breath to squeak like the bilge rat he be. But Arthur Gallagher, old Lark, as we call him for his singing, Lark threw a punch, quick as a fox, into Shlocksir’s ballocks, and knocked the traitorous air right out o’ him, without the guards bein’ any the wiser.

In an English prison, they’d ha’ every man of us flogged for fighting. Here they mere posted a man outside our cells to watch us. The men grew confident at that, for sure and we’d all expected the flogging, and the air eased somewhat. We stayed silent for an hour or more, glaring at the guard. Then Lark started singing. Soon enough we’d all joined in, and we sang down the moon and up the sun.

Then they came for us. Manacled, led into a great beast of a wagon, like a tinker’s house on wheels, but with two long benches the only furniture in it. Half the men in one wagon, half in another just like the first, and they drove us to another gaol. This’n be larger, but with smaller cells. The cell where I lay now and write these words be three paces by four, with two bunks stacked on one wall. I share with Lochlan O’Neill, him the men call Salty for the white in his hair and whiskers and his thirty years before the mast, which ha’ pickled and tanned his hide with sun and sea air. Salty be a fine bunkmate, aye, quiet and thankfully free o’ stench. Sure and these bitty cells might weigh on many a man, but for tars like us, who would sleep six men in hammocks in this same space when the ship be full o’ cargo and the weather bad abovedecks, this be a fine cabin for two.

Naturally I figured that once we met the local Inquisition, they’d drag us out o’ these fine quarters and lock us in the dankest pit they had. These cells must be the reward they hold out for waggling your tongue, I thought. That and the food, which is better than what I’ve eaten on most voyages once the fresh grub be gone. Yet they ha’ not taken these luxuries away. Not yet.

They do not torture, either. Or they be right slow in getting to it. That first full day, they came for each o’ us, three at a time, tho they put one man into one room, sitting at table with two men dressed like merchants, with open coats and neck-scarves, clean white shirts and shoes which shone. They asked us questions for an hour or two. And that’s all: they but asked. They did not even strike us. Not even Salty, tho he told us later in the galley (Aye, the gaol has a galley, where all the prisoners sit and eat together.) that he had cursed them till his tongue was raw. But nothing, naught but question after question. Soon I found I could simply ignore them as they blathered on at me. Made me feel quite like a married man, ha ha.

Nay: my difficult hour came when I had to face my Cap’n, my friend and the man I had betrayed, when I gave his ship to these men with their soft hearts and their thunder-guns. Cap’n Kane came the second day we were in the small cells. The guards summoned me out and brought me to the main portcullis, at the end o’ the corridor lined by our cells, and there, two paces from the bars, stood my Cap’n, his brow thundrous and his eyes flashing lightning.

I made my report, and he responded as a cap’n should. Enough said o’ that. I am right glad that he be wise enow to see where fault truly lies, for while I ha’ surely sinned, I be no cursed mutineer. I ha’ failed. But I did not betray.

Then, yesterday, a man came to us, starting with myself, and said he be our lawyer, name of McNally. He said he were engaged by Cap’n Kane. He bore proof, a note in the Cap’n’s hand which instructed us to listen to this man’s advice, and I did so. McNally heard the whole tale from my lips, tho he knew much of it from the Cap’n, including my own hand in our capture and in protecting the virtue of our hostages from the yot. Instead o’ callin’ me traitor for giving up the Grace, McNally told me this was a good thing, that my actions were – laudable, I think he said. He complimented us too on not speaking to the law in our questioning sessions, which earned a laugh from me. “Does anyone?” I asked him. “Why? For fear of their foul breath?”

But now McNally says I need to talk to them, and tell them everything. He says the law needs a sacrifice, a patsy, he called it. Someone to point the finger of justice at and proclaim There be the guilty one! A trophy for the wall, that’s all it is. But McNally says we must give them this. And what’s more, he says that the Cap’n has ordered it so, has ordered us to talk to these bastards, these – they’re not English, but they might as well be for the way they treat us. Not cruel, no, but like we be beneath them, like dirt, or spittle under their bootheel which must be scraped off and washed away. As tho we be filth to be cleansed, instead of men. Aye, they be English, in truth. They be West English, that’s what they be.

And I am to confess to these West English? To the law? Aye, Nate ordered it, I believe McNally’s word on that. I see the Cap’n’s reasons, too. If we talk, it be O’Flaherty and Burke, Carter and Shlocksir wi’ the noose about their necks. Them what led, and them who did the killing. And for their mutiny against my Cap’n and friend, they should do the Devil’s dance at the end of a rope, aye, for certain sure, and I’d watch ’em and smile, for what they done.

But he wants me to talk to the law. He wants me to cooperate, and turn on my fellow pirates. Aye, it be an order, but we’re not on ship. And curse me for it, but Cap’n’s been wrong afore – ne’er should ha’ hired on that Shlocksir, ne’er should ha’ whipped him just for trying on that girl. Turned the men against him, and look at us now.

I don’t know what to do.

20th of July

McNally came back again today. He told me the men be waiting on me to talk. All except for Shlocksir. That whoreson be singing hymns from the choir loft, all about his innocence and all our evil ways, how we forced him to do it all against his will. Figures that even in saving his own greasy skin, he comes out a coward and a weakling.

McNally told me too that the West English all but promised that if we tell the tale, and if it be true, then we’d go free. He says they don’t believe Shlocksir, for the witnesses from the land-grabs and the yot tell a tale somewhat different from the one that poxy bastard be spinning. A tale what our story will line with right fine, methinks. McNally’s not sure about me, nor Kelly. I was on the yot, with a cutlass, and Kelly broke in doors for the land-grabs. We may have to stay in here. Tho he swears we will not swing for what we done, even if they hold us to our crimes.

After he left, I had other visitors. The two lasses we took off the yot, who Kelly and me stood guard over. They came to – to thank us. For protecting them. Christ.

I’ll talk. There be good men in this crew, in this gaol, and they shouldn’t be here. Perhaps I can talk them out of here, even if I can’t find my own way to freedom.

26th of July

No need to write in this of late. I been busy reciting my lessons for the West English, and I don’t want to recount that tale. Damn me, but they want to hear the same story over and over and over, like wee bairns at bedtime. “Tell us again, Uncle Ian, about the yot. Tell us the one about when the Coast Guard caught ye.” My tongue be tired of it.

But it worked. The men’ll be released today, all but Kelly and me, and the four bastards who be our scapegoats, our sacrificial lambs. Tho really, they be more weasels and mongrels. Our sacrificial mongrel-weasels. They be staying here.

McNally says, and the West English agree, that if Kelly and me agree to stand in court and testify against the four mongrel-weasels, we’ll be set free, too. We’ll plead guilty to theft and the like, and leave wi’ time served and parole that would keep us here in Florida. West England, says I, whate’er flowery name they write on the map.

Be it too much? To stand before a magistrate, point my finger, put the noose on them myself? I sailed with those men, whate’er they done. Carter was a good man, too, a good tar, and Burke ha’ fought many a battle for us. O’Flaherty, too, standing side by side with me with lead flying and steel singing. Can I do that to them? Can I kill them with the law?

27th of July

Aye, I can. Hurts to write. With the men gone and Kelly elsewhere, Burke and O’Flaherty caught me in the galley and tried to beat me to death. Did a fair job of it, too. And all the while cursing me for opening my gob to the law.

Damn them anyway, I be no coward. If I clap shut now, they’ll think they beat a fear into me. I’ll not have that.

I’ll tell myself we’re on ship. They be mutineers, and I be the first mate. I’d be the one to tie the knot on their necks and cast them off the yardarm, asea. So aye, I’ll do it here, too. For my Cap’n, and my – is it honor? Is it? Do I have any of that? Will I still, after I do this, after I help the English to kill Irishmen?

I know not. I know nothing. It all hurts.

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Log 27: Letter from the Gallows

Date Unknown: The 9th Day after the Cursed Mutiny.

A Letter to my Captain and the Man I once called Friend, and would give my Right Hand to call such again: Damnation Kane, EVER AND ALWAYS Master of the Grace of Ireland.

Captain,

I do beg ye not to misapprehend the apparent Coolness of my Address. ‘Tis not because I love ye any the less than when I called ye Nate, and thought of ye as my Brother. But I ha’ failed ye so utterly that I cannot speak ye familiar until I ha’ redeemed myself. I may ne’er do so. I will not ask Forgiveness, for how could any Man of true Heart and hot Blood forgive Betrayal so base as ye ha’ suffered? Na’theless, I do, ‘pon my knees, offer to ye my humblest and deepest Apologies and Regrets. When ye did set me Mate, an honor that warms my Soul e’en now, in the black depths of my despair, ye gave me the task of preserving your command, your fine ship, above all else. And now I do fear she will be lost.

Curse me, ye will ne’er forgive me. Curse me to the end of days. And curse that gut-worm Shlocksir thrice again. Ye ha’ ne’er failed as Captain, sir, but perhaps that once, when ye allowed that Spawn of Corruption into our company, whate’er our need may ha’ been. Aye and perhaps one other time, when ye let those pestilent mongrels O’Flaherty and Burke take authority that ye should ha’ kept. Well I know that the men did give ye little choice. But blast me, Captain, better ye had taken on whole new crew than keep those two aboard with daggers e’er pointed at your Heart, and Lust for your Ship in theirs.

But whate’er missteps our twisted and malignant Fate has pushed ye into, ye ne’er lost our Ship. Nay, that sin be mine, and the fault lies in me that landed those poxy fools on the poop deck in your place.

‘Twas Shlocksir’s plan, Captain, tho I know O’Flaherty and Burke and Carter all pressed for a Sea Battle. The land-grabs we ha’ done e’er since stealing your Grace ha’ brought a fine heap o’ paper, and little else besides, pleasing no one but our ferret-eyed whore’s son of a Carpenter. Too, the loss of the boat means we can no longer anchor the Grace and reach the shore at our Leisure, and that too pushed us into this ill-fated Folly.

We did try to take a Ship, this day. A Ship bearing passengers, as Shlocksir avowed that our sweet Grace could not threaten the cargo vessels that sail these Seas, so large as those Ships be. But Shlocksir told us of the Ships of the wealthiest merchants, Ships he called yots, if that were his word aright. These yots sailed Unarmed and Unsuspecting of Attack, and we could hail the yotsmen as if in Friendship, or perhaps as tho we were in Distress, and we should find Riches aboard.

We made South-South-West for a day, headed for the Keys, as Shlocksir named them, islands where the yots made passage to and fro. We sighted a Fine Specimen, a Ship twice the Grace from stem to stern, with three decks, white as snow and with music and good cheer pouring out to our ears e’en a half mile distant. Shlocksir called it a “party boat,” a “day-tripper,” and said we could handle it with ease, may the Devil gnaw at his greedy heart.

Shlocksir ordered us to come alongside and board her. Why that bag of rancid suet fancies himself capable or deserving of command, I ha’ not an idea. And less why O’Flaherty and Burke allow it. But they do, for Shlocksir is e’er shouting commands, e’er the wrong ones, and they ne’er gainsay him but when the Ship should sink if they held their tongues, as when he ordered us to come to port when he meant starboard, and there were rocks to port. Yet all other orders we follow, in our Folly and to our Doom. We did so now, tho he railed at the slowness of our approach for some minutes, until Burke took him aside roughly and pointed out the direction of the wind, which was against us, but apparently past the understanding of a calf-brained lubber such as this.

But he was not the only calf-brained lubber, it seemed, as the Captain of the yot did nothing to stem our approach, nor to escape. He came to the rail and bespoke us through some Magickal Device that made his Voice boom like storm waves crashing ashore. All vile Shlocksir spake in return was that we be Pirates looking for a good time, and bearing Grog. He did ask for permission to come aboard, and had me and Sweeney smile and wave. Certain ’tis that we two looked less Forbidding than Burke or Kelly. And that, it seemed, were enough, as we were able to come alongside and make Fast to their rail.

Then we climbed aboard, and the time for smiling was done. We went armed, secured the Men, there being but ten aboard and eight Women, one lass in uniform, which did Mystify us, but Shlocksir claims ’tis the way of things here. Tho I know not why we do continue to take his word, the Mendacious Idiot. They did not believe our Menace until Carter, who has been almost continually drunk these past nine days, shot the Mate, killing him on the spot, his blood pooling on the deck making a most Persuasive Argument. The Captain then, too late, did raise a Shout, but Burke beat him unconscious and then heaved him o’erboard. All was silent but for Tears after that.

We searched the Ship, finding little enough of value. Some Spirits, some Victuals, a fair quantity o’ jewelry on the passengers, some strange objects Shlocksir claimed valuable, naming them selfowns and laptops. Nothing worth the hanging we surely now have waiting for us ashore. We trussed up the remaining passengers and crew and made to Depart. But then Shlocksir said that we should take hostages.

I did see his eye fall on the comeliest female passengers, both wearing little more than skin, both young and shapely. I knew he did not mean to keep them as hostages. I saw other men, Burke, and Carter, and perhaps more, grin at Shlocksir’s idea. I did speak against it, Loud and strong, aye. I named Shlocksir a Vile Rapist.

His response? Naught but a grin and the words, “No, man, I’m a pirate.”

I moved to strike him then, but he drew his pistol on me. I had no doubt he would use it. I might ha’ charged anyway, for I could ha’ had him o’er the rail e’en as he killed me, and then he would drown and save the women, but I could not abandon the Grace. And so, to my Shame, I backed down, and let Shlocksir and Burke haul those poor screaming lasses aboard our ship, our ship blessed by your own Sainted Mother and baptized in your Blood.

Ah, God, what have I done?

I could not, Captain. I could not let them get away with this, not this. As we were departing and preparing to cut loose from the yot, I did loosen the bonds of one of the Crewmen. I did whisper to him that we would likely head East, as Shlocksir had mentioned afore, aiming for Bermuda or a similar port of call.

I gave him our Ship, Captain. I know that, even as we sail away filled with good Cheer at our Success, the forces of Just Retribution are descending on us. I know that the Magick of this day, of this place, can surely find us wheresoe’er we go, can surely outrun and outgun us. Shlocksir has said this many a time, making much of our ability to Surprise as our Greatest Asset, and our ability to sneak away and vanish in the vasty Ocean.

But now they know where we are. They will find us. They will likely destroy us, and your Ship with us.

I am sorry, Nate. So very sorry. I will await your Forgiveness, or your Vengeance, when I am in Hell, my corpse dangling from a gibbet.

I be standing guard o’er the hostages. Kelly is with me, and sober for a Wonder. We are agreed that Blood will spill afore we allow Innocents to be despoiled on our Blessed Ship. Kelly rests now, and I write so that I may stay awake. It has been two days, and hard days, since I did sleep, and ten since I did sleep well.

With each Sunset I do gain another day’s doubts. Every night, I lay in my bunk, for I be demoted from Mate, o’ course, and broken down to a sailor’s berth, and as I lay I do cast back o’er the last day, the last two or three or ten days. Did I do all that I might? Did I choose aright, this day? These last ten nights, the Question that consumes my Mind is this: did I do what I could to bring back the Grace? To bring her back to her Owner and Captain, to bring her back to the course she was meant to sail?

I cannot think how we could ha’ done differently.

That first day we thought ye in your cabin. I swear that to be God’s Own Truth. I remember drinking too much Wine and falling asleep at table the night afore; Master Vaughn feels sure we were drugged, as he also fell unconscious in his cups tho he had but one or two glasses of Wine, and for myself, I ha’ not lost my wits to drink since I was a wee lad. In the morning, my head pounding like the Devil’s dancing hoofsteps, I asked after ye, and O’Flaherty said ye were sleeping off the Wine and should not be disturbed. He did say we should make way, tho, so as not to lose the Tide; he said that ‘twould be a fine Surprise for ye to wake and see the Grace far out to Sea already.

I suppose it was, at that.

Ye ha’ been in the habit o’ staying in your Cabin of late, and my head Ached so that I could not but wish I was asleep, myself. Surely I could not, did not think straight, else I would have, I should have!, checked to see ye for myself. But I did not, to my Shame, both as Mate and Friend. Instead I did take Command in your Absence from the poop deck, and got us out to Sea and running well.

‘Twas then, four bells through the midmorning watch, that the Truth was Revealed. O’Flaherty put Carter on the wheel and called all Hands on Deck. Then he told us that ye had been relieved o’ your Command. He told us that ye had not only Beaten and Whipped a man Unjustly, and tho Shlocksir be unfamiliar to the men, his crime is not mysterious to their thoughts, and so they fear his Fate for themselves, as I did try to tell ye then, Curse me, but also he did say that ye had Lied to us. Ye had withheld vital information, because ye did not trust us to take it like Men, and, he said, ye likely had some Villainous Plot in mind, perhaps to Betray us and take on new crew, men more to your way o’ thinking. I stood to defend ye and your decisions as Captain, but was Silenced by what O’Flaherty said next. We ha’ traveled through Time, he said. Three hundred years, he said, and more. All that we did know then, all is now dust and ashes, and Relicks in a Museum.

We were so stunned by this that we did not object when O’Flaherty took Command, naming Moran as Mate, Burke to Gunner, Carter as the Bosun and Shlocksir as Navigator. He told us his intentions: we would find our way back to our own Time, but first we had to do what ye, in your Cowardice and broken-minded befuddlement, Forgive me for repeating his words, what ye had failed to do. We must take advantage of this strange Miracle which Providence had cast in our way. For we do be the only Pirates in these Seas, the only Pirates in Two Hundred Years! He said the people here do be soft and trusting as Lambs. He did not even need to look at Shlocksir to make his point, for we all knew that he was right. He said we did not even need to Pluck this ripened Fruit that hung all around us; all we need do is open our mouths and let the rich Juices run down our gullets ’til our bellies be filled. Then we would find our way home, and live like Kings.

‘Twas a masterful job, Captain. He scattered our wits with his Revelation, like a grenado cast into our midst, and then in one stroke, he blamed ye for the Devastation he had wrought and also gave us a Way out of it, one which appealed to our Greed as well as offering a chance to not feel the Terror of being 300 years Lost.

Ye should ha’ told us, Nate. Tho the result be not deserved, still ye should ha’ told us. It went poorly when I asked after ye. The men shouted me down and named ye Traitor to the Company for keeping such a Secret. When Moran stood and did swear that ye lived and were unharmed, that he would ne’er spill the blood of his own Cousin, the men were well satisfied, and agreed on the spot to follow O’Flaherty as Captain o’ our Grace.

There were Three, tho, who came to me later and did express deep Misgivings about your loss and O’Flaherty’s gain. We met again, often, o’er the next few days, as our Misgivings grew under O’Flaherty’s Command and Shlocksir’s guidance. When we saw the heading they intended for us to follow, we decided to take Action.

‘Twas miserable, Captain. The only one excited was Shlocksir, who sweated and capered about so you’d think him a young Horse, new-broken and ridden hard and let to Pasture. The crew did question the value in such a simple and unambitious Assault, for we put four men in the boat and rowed ashore at night, and robbed a Store, something named Seven-Eleven. We took their paper money and some small supplies, and Naught else. Aye, ’twas easy and free o’ Risk, but where were the great Rewards promised us? That were the grumbles.

Tho I admit: those Potato Chips are entirely Delicious.

The next night, to Silence those grumblings, our Target was a Grog Shop. Along with more paper, of which Shlocksir seems inordinately fond, we captured crates of Liquor, and had a fine proper Drunkening. The next night we waited until later, and then took a Tavern, just after it closed, using Kelly to burst the door in. We took a grand lot o’ paper that night, aye, and more Rum to keep the crew jolly.

We saw then, myself and my three Companions in Misery, that this would be our Fate: we would run up and down the Coastline, Robbing local shopkeeps o’ paper and Potato chips and Grog. Shlocksir would be happy with his piles o’ green scraps, O’Flaherty with his usurped Command; Burke would surely find opportunities to Exercise his Cruelty (He has already flogged two men, and Savagely), and the men would merely stay drunk, and Complacent Thereby.

We four could not Stomack this. What Pride was there, what Glory, in Midnight raids on unarmed townsfolk? We are Pirates, by God, Gentlemen of Fortune! And Irishmen, too! Half of us joined this crew because we did know that Damnation Kane would give us the chance to spill English blood, and to Fight, in some small way, for our Country against her Oppressors. Who were we fighting now, Seven-Eleven? We found it less than satisfying.

But the men were Drunk. And the course we followed was, if nothing else, Supremely Easy. We made out to Sea at night, fished and lazed during the Day, then sailed to shore after nightfall, cruising until we spotted a Target, when we would anchor and send out the boat, with Shlocksir, Burke, and two men to row. Why would the crew Rebel against that?

We needed our Leader, the Man who could wake up their Blood and give them Purpose again. We needed ye, Captain.

So finally, we four decided to steal the boat, and Make our way back to ye. I agreed to stay aboard the Grace, to watch out for Her so Well as I could. Three nights ago we had our Chance, when O’Flaherty found a quiet cove to anchor in after our petty theft, and Declared we would spend the night at rest, without a watch, so that all could Celebrate the ease of our Success. They did get Masterfully Drunk, and we did steal their boat.

In the morning, when they did find the boat gone, and with it their ability to make these easy raids on townsfolk, our Leaders decided to make an Assault on a Ship.

And here we are.

Now my three Compatriots, young Lynch, your cousin Owen MacTeigue, and Master Vaughn, are gone with the boat, and I know not what has become of them. And I squat in the companionway outside the Mate’s Cabin belowdecks, and listen to the Wailings and Whimpers of two Terrified and Innocent women who are prisoned where once I made my berth. I hope it will not come to Blows if they come for the women, for Kelly and I will stand Honorably, but we will not win, and I hate that Blood may be spilled on our lovely Ship. And I hope that the local Navymen will find us, but will not sink us, for I Dread most of all if these Serpents in the shape of men be allowed to Pillage and Plunder at their will. If they earn some ill Repute for their Beastly deeds and Savage treatment of Innocents, then what show of force, what sort of Ship, what manner of destructive Magick incomprehensible and Terrible to us will be brought to bear? We must not risk that. This cruise must be Stopped now.

God Almighty, let the Risks I take be for the best for my Ship, my Captain, and my Friends. I Beg of Thee.

Ian O’Gallows, Mate of the Grace of Ireland

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Log 16: Elliott’s Beer Run

I can’t believe this. I mean, seriously, I just can’t fuckin believe this shit.

You know in A Princess Bride how Vizzini always says “Inconceivable!” and Inigo finally says “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” That’s how I feel. This shit here is inconceivable. But just like with Vizzini, who says that about shit that’s already happening, which means it’s, like, conceivable, this shit that I can’t believe is happening right now.

I’m on a beer run with a pirate.

I glance in the rearview – which catches me a look at the hole that huge dude Kelly put in the roof with his dagger – and then I stop at a Stop sign. And next to me, this guy Ian – who, no homo, but he’s like the best-looking guy I’ve ever seen, all sparkling blue eyes and curly red-gold hair and tan skin and white teeth (How does a pirate get white teeth? What, did they jack a floss shipment? For that matter, I thought British people all had fucked-up teeth. Whatever: homey’s got prom king genes, that’s all.) – Ian throws his hands up on the dash to stop himself from flying through the windshield, even though I didn’t actually stop hard at all. And he laughs through those shiny white teeth and he’s all “She stops like a horse refusing a fence. How do ye keep from flailin’ about?” in that Irish accent.

Oh, I have got to go clubbing with this guy. Just being seen with his castoffs would up my game, like, ten levels.

I shrug. “You just get used to it, I guess. I dunno. I had to stop for the sign.” Road’s clear, so I step on it. The Kia – which is hot, so I’m a little freaked out about driving it around, but it wasn’t too bad, I had my shit pretty together, until Kelly just whipped out his dagger and punched it through the roof like it was fucking nothing, and then I thought “What exactly did they do with the guy who owned this car, and all those keys and shit they had? And who owns that house? Fucking beach front with a private cove, that place was like two, three million dollars worth of Florida real estate, easy. So where’s the owner? Why did he let a bunch of raggedy-ass thugs dressed up like pirates crash in his crib?” And then I started thinking – maybe they’re not just crazy-looking. And maybe the people who own the house, and the cars and the keys, maybe they won’t be calling the po-po any time soon because they’re, like, buried in the backyard or cut up in pieces and sunk in the ocean, like on Dexter. Then I started getting a little freaked out like: I’m driving around in a dead dude’s car. With the dude who fuckin killed him. Cause that Kelly guy was big, and had no problem stabbing shit, and those four guys we chased down were all thugged up and all – but if any of these guys has ever capped anyone, it’s that Damnation guy. When he was pissed off about his boys treatin him like a bitch – man, just looking at him and you know that muthafucka’s cold-blooded, like ice cold. Him or that crazy fuck with no thumbs. So I’m glad they’re out of the car, and I’m just rollin with Pretty-Boy here.

No homo.

Anyway – what was I saying? Oh, right: the Kia’s actually got some cojones, way more than you would expect from the car that drives those fuckin hamsters around (and I figure maybe the cholos who drive it suped that shit up a little) so it pushes us back in the seats when I hit the gas, and Ian laughs and says “Good Lord of Hosts, this wagon is truly a miracle. It doesna live, and it has na horses nor oxen to pull it. How does it go?”

So I start to tell him – not that I know everything about cars, not a fuckin gearhead or whatever – but you can’t tell this guy anything. I’m all “When I step on this pedal –” and he goes “What’s a pedal?” So I point to the gas and brake, right, and he comes, like, into my fuckin lap to stare down at them, bending over me like he’s about to start polishing my tool. and I’m all “Whoa, back the fuck up, you fag!” and he sits back and says “A lever,” but he says it all weird, like, “LEE-ver,” and I’m all “A what?” and he goes “A LEE-ver, a pedal’s a LEE-ver for your foot.” And then I realize what he’s saying and I nod and shit, and then I say “So when I step on it, it sends more gas to the engine –”
And he goes “What is gas?”

You can’t tell this guy anything. You shoulda heard how he took traffic lights, when we got stuck at a long red on Kennedy Drive. He fuckin thought there were like, monkeys or something inside it, with lanterns, changing the colored lights. You fuckin try explaining computers and automatic timers and shit – fuck, try explaining electricity. Once you get past “It’s lightning,” what the fuck do you say next?

Who the fuck are these guys, anyway?

So we get to Casa de Schluchzer, and we’re in luck – the parentals are both out. Good, because I do not want to explain who my “little friend” is to my mom, and fuck, what if the Depot called here looking for me? Or what if the cops came by? Maybe they think I got kidnapped, I dunno.

Whatever. I leave Ian with the TV, after I show him like three buttons on the remote – and which channel has porn on it – and I go get my shit. First thing is in Dad’s office, in the back of his top right desk drawer – it’s his “emergency” credit card. Well, Pops, this is a fuckin emergency if I ever saw one. Then I bust a quick shower, cause I’m all stankin from running with that bag on my head and sweatin like a mutherfucker when they kidnapped me and shit, and then I go to my room and pack some shit, just the essentials.

And I get my sword. It’s a Crusader broadsword, and it cost me like 400 bucks online, and that shit’s for real. I feel better knowing I’m armed. Then I stash away a nice little boot-knife I got at a Faire, because it feels even better to be armed when nobody else knows you’re armed, am I right? I wish we had a fuckin 9-millimeter, but Mom’s anti-gun and Dad’s a pussy. Whatever.

I think about leaving them a note, but then I think Fuck ’em. Let ’em wonder. I get Ian and we roll out for the liquor store.

I talk to Ian, and he says they got twenty guys back at their crib – well, no, first he says there’s a “score” of ’em, but I’m like “Score? What score? What the fuck’s a score? Like a game score?” and then he says there’s twenty. So I ask what they like to drink, and he says ale and whiskey and grog. And wine for the captain. And I’m all “Aight, what the fuck is grog?” So he says – check this shit – it’s rum mixed with water and fuckin gunpowder. And I’m all “No shit?” and he grins and he’s all like “Aye – it gives it a wee kick. Like a beestung mule.”

So okay, we go in and get like a case of whiskey and three cases of rum, and I get the guy to bring out three kegs of Coors and a tap, and I ask him to pick out, like, a dozen bottles of wine for the captain. And he asks how I’m paying, and I bust out the credit card and my ID – and for maybe the first time in my life, I’m glad I’m Elliott Schluchzer, Junior.

Ian loads all that shit in the car while I’m paying – after I run out to pop the trunk, instead of trying to explain to him how to do it – and then we roll out and head back.

We drive past Home Depot, and I think about stopping in to tell them I quit – maybe taking a table saw as my severance, like – but I see a cop car in the lot, and I’m thinking they might still be looking for the crazy fuckers who stole a couple hundred bucks’ worth of lumber and nothing else. And I’m thinking they might be thinking I was in on it, since I disappeared with them and people around here know I’m into the Ren Faires and pirate festivals and shit. So we drive on by. And I’m thinking I might never be coming back here, if the idea that’s bouncing around in my head turns out, and I think about my job, and my car, and my room, and my computers, and my parents, and my whole life – and I think leaving it all behind would suit me just fine. Fuck all of it.

We get back to the crib, and I stop the car at the top of the driveway, where there’s a wall all covered with ivy and shit and a bunch of tall trees, mostly palms, and I know there’s a rolling metal gate stuck back behind some bushes, and when I reach in and grab it and roll it out, Ian’s all shocked and shit that I even knew it was back there. But I’m all, “Homey, no house like this doesn’t have a gate on the drive.” It just got left open by somebody, probably because it’s not automatic – it’s an old gate, like from the fifties or something, before they had remotes, and whoever lives here probably didn’t want to fuck it up installing a chain drive and sensors and shit. But Ian’s all jizzed up and says the captain will be pleased, and I’m like “Eeeeex-cellent” like Mr. Burns in my head. My plans are coming together.

We drive up to the crib – and when I see it, really see it, with no bag over my head and my thoughts not all fucked up by what’s going on around me, I think Yeah, I could live like this. Even if – no, better if they stole it, even capped the guy who lived here and sunk him in the cove tied to a rock and shit. We drive up and Ian gets like the full hero’s welcome – and that’s before we break out the booze that’s got the Kia’s back end scraping the ground, the shit’s so heavy. Then me and Ian both get three cheers.

And Captain Kane comes out and smiles and slaps us on the back and everything – I hold up for a high-five, but he just looks at me like “What the fuck are you waving at?” and leaves me hanging. But for sure he’s happy to see me, and he says so. He thanks me for doing the liquor run, and for driving to catch up with his boys. So I turn to him, and I go like this, talking all slow and raspy and shit: “Some day – and that day may never come – I may call upon you to do a favor for me. Until that day, accept this as a gift.” And he looks at me all thoughtful and calculating, and then he nods and says, “Done,” and shakes my hand.

And he didn’t even know that was from The Godfather, Part I. That clinches it.

“So Damn,” I say, and throw my arm around his shoulders. “Tell me. What year do you think it is?”

 

 

Captain’s Log

Date: 27 June, 2011.

Location: 2011.

Conditions: All is lost.

We have traveled through time, he tells me. It’s the future, he tells me. He was smiling.

It cannot be true. I must find a reason why Shluxer would lie to me. Then I can kill him and it won’t be true.

Three hundred and thirty-three years. All is dust. Everything and everyone we know is dust, now. All – all is lost.

All is lost.

Categories: Captain's Log, Not-The-Captain's Log | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Log #11: Der Tale of Der Waffenmeister

Ye Olde Tale Of Ye Man Who Wouldeth Be A Pyrate Kyng

by Elliot Schluchzer Waffenmeister

 

When I woke up on that fateful morning, alone and lonesome in my lonely bed, I thought it would be a day like any other.

I was wrong.

Entirely and completely wrong.

Wrong.

But wait! Gentle Reader, let me begin at the beginning. A good place to start, one may perhaps presume, peradventure.

 

Fuck, this is hard. Fuck it: I should just, whatever, say it. What happened.

So I woke up like twenty minutes late or something. I was up late playing Dead Space 2. Oh, not the campaign; I already won that – are you kidding me? What are you, a retard? I beat that shit like three times the first day it was released. Finished on Hard Core. Might have been the first one in Florida, I don’t know, it’s being looked into. But they released new multiplayer maps for Xbox like three weeks ago, and I figure I might write a guide, sell to whoever publishes those, the Dummies or whatever. I guarantee my shit would be better than anyone else they got working on it. I keep my shit locked down tight, you know?

Oh right – my name’s Elliot Schluchzer. Waffenmeister is my handle. It means “Warlord.” You’ve seen it if you’re on XBox Live, all over the leaderboards. Especially CoD. Or on WoW. I’m getting into live action now, the Society for Creative Anachronism, but I just started that like two years ago, so I’m not as known. But I will be: I’m getting into building shit, armor, barding, shields. Maybe siege weapons, if I can find designs good enough for what I’d want to do. I’m good with wood, since that’s my job in the mundane world. I work at Home Depot, mostly in the lumber section. I’m on the table saw a lot. I don’t really like talking to the customers, especially the OJs (Old Jews – Miami’s fuckin filled to the brim with them.), but I like cutting their wood to the size and shape they want. I’m a craftsman, you know? A carpenter, like. At least, maybe a journeyman carpenter. I still work at Home Depot, after all. But I’ll get out of it. I’ll start making furniture or something, maybe carve stuff. Shit I can sell at Ren Faires and pirate festivals. Those guys make bank doing that. Plus there’s, like, acres of chicks at those things, and they all want to be either princesses or saucy tavern wenches, so they either want to get rescued or ravished, or both. I may not look like Prince Charming, but if I got the doubloons, right? I mean, Donald Trump looks like a fuckin gargoyle with a bad toupee, but that dude marries models. And who knows what he’s got going on the side.*

Anyway, I woke up late, so I had to hurry to get to work. That’s okay, it just means I skip the shower this morning. Back in the day they only showered like, once a year, so whatever. I still had time to take a dump and eat breakfast, though I had to eat those shitty generic PopTarts my mom keeps buying, so it was like I was just pushing shit out to make room to put shit in.

Heh. That’s pretty good. Garbage in, garbage out, right? I learned that in my programming class at Miami Dade Community College. I finished almost two semesters there before I dropped out, what, four years ago? Five? Well, in real life it’s, shit in, shit out. Then again, donuts in, Taco Bell in, fuckin pulled-pork Cuban sandwich in, it’s all shit out. So what does it all matter, anyway?

So I make it to work, and only two minutes late, which wasn’t my fault at all, but only because my fuckin Subaru wouldn’t start. My dad said he was going to take it and get it checked out this last weekend, but did he? Nooooo. Too busy going to temple and mowing the fuckin lawn. I swear, I gotta do every fuckin thing myself. Isn’t it enough that I work full, well, almost full-time? I buy my own stuff, never ask for money. I even kick down for groceries sometimes, when Mom doesn’t buy enough Pringles or Dew or something. Or frozen pizzas – she always buys the wrong kind. It’s all about the Tombstone, baby. I mean, really, I’m their child, they’re supposed to pay for me. If they couldn’t afford me, they shouldn’t have had me. Besides, I’m their only kid, so without me, the family name would die out. They should be grateful to me. Not that I’m looking to have kids any time soon. And dude, not like Schluchzer is a name that needs to live on. The only cool thing about it is it means, like, “sob” in German. So I figure, nobody would take the name “Sob” because they cry a lot, right? You’d take the name if you MADE people fuckin cry. So I think we’re descended from, like, torturers or Nazis or something. Which is badass. Even if we are Jewish.

So yeah, I got to work like two minutes late, three minutes tops. Maybe five. If I had a supervisor who knew what he was doing, it wouldn’t even be a problem. See, a guy who knows what he’s doing knows the most important thing is this: you gotta keep the Man off your back. The key to keeping the Man off your back is knowing when you’re being watched, and when you can just chill out. So at Home Depot, like, there’s a store manager, a guy who wears a suit and stays in the office upstairs. He’s in charge of the floor supervisors, and he’s on the phone all day kissing Corporate ass. So if that guy – in my store it’s a Cubano named Randy Martinez, if you can believe it – if Big Randy knew what he was doing, he’d just keep feeding Corporate a line of bullshit, and then, because Corporate never actually comes to the store, he’d run the store however he wanted, because he knows he’s not being watched. Then, most important, he could let all his employees do whatever they wanted. You should always keep your employees happy. Happy employees work harder, and get shit done faster, so they have more time to just relax after. Then the customers are happy, because the employees are happy, and everything’s perfect. That would be best. It would be so primo if the whole store was just laid back like that. But see, even if it couldn’t all be that sweet – even if Randy is a giant fuckin tool, which he is – then the floor supervisors could do the same thing, only smaller. Because Randy never really comes out on the floor, and when he does, he just wants to know that every customer has been asked if he needs help. So when he comes down from upstairs, which he does, like, once a month or something, he walks around and asks every customer he sees, “Are you being helped? Did someone in an orange apron come by and offer to help you with that?” Okay, so the floor supervisors get reamed – reamed by Randy, hah – if the customers aren’t being helped, yeah. But a floor supervisor who knew what he was doing could handle it, instead of just reaming all of us regular employees out after Randy gets done with them. They’d find a way to distract Randy, or maybe find out in advance when he was going to come down, so we could, like, blitzkrieg the whole store, run down all the aisles asking if anyone needs help. Something, you know, to handle it, just to take the pressure off, keep the Man off our backs, so all us regular people can relax a little bit, and not have to spend all fuckin day walking around in this ass-hot warehouse asking “Do you need any help? Do you need any help?”

Fuck, they want us to help a lot.

So here’s my idea, and I know I’m off topic, but whatever, this is my story, shut the fuck up, okay. You put like an employee mini-lounge – make a permanent display of lounge chairs or something – right by the front doors, and just ask every customer right when he comes in if they want any help. And if they say no, just be all, “Okay, well you know where to find us if you have any questions.” Then they can shop without being hassled by the Orange Apron squad, and all the employees can hang out. Then if Randy comes down from his throne atop Isengard (Not that Randy’s badass enough to be Saruman the White. But maybe he could pull off Wormtongue.) and roams the store, asking people if they’ve been offered help, they all have to say yes. Then we could just relax and play XBox, or something. Then this job would be sweet. If we had a boss who knew what he was doing.

But we have Randy. And Mr. Zuckow.

“You’re late, Elliot. Again.”

And I want to bust out a bo staff and hit him like 35 times in 3 seconds, and then stand over his writhing, crying busted-ass body and be all, “The name’s Waffenmeister, you corporate scum.” But I guess if I could do that, I wouldn’t be fuckin working here, would I?

“Sorry, Mr. Zuckow.” That’s what I say instead.

“Go hit your locker and sweep the section. Then set up the Makita table saw and the scroll saw. You’re giving the demo today, remember. Ten o’clock.”

Fuuuuuuuuck. “Okay.”

See, even if what happened hadn’t happened, I was still wrong when I woke up and thought this would be a regular Monday. Because it’s not: it’s a Demo Day. Fuck my fuckin life.

We do a demo every day, here at Home Depot. Take some of the big, shiny tools out front, and from ten til noon, we have to build shit. Or fix shit. Or turn shit on and off. Or assemble shit. Or take shit apart. And the whole time, the sun’s just beating down on you like Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor. And when you work in lumber, like I do, whenever it’s your turn you have to do woodworking shit, of course, and so you’re sucking sawdust and getting splinters the whole time. Then, when it’s over, you gotta clean shit up. I mean, what the fuck.
But the worst part? It’s the OJs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully not anti-Semitic. Fuck, I am Jewish. My dad’s an OJ, so’s my granddad and my uncle Peter. I’m down with the old Jews.

But those guys love to talk. They live for it. And they want to save money by doing their own home repairs, but they don’t know shit about shit. So they ask questions. A neverending stream of questions, question after question after question. “Where do you get that?” “What does that button do?” “Can I get that in pine?” “If I use one of these, can I do the same thing as that?” “How much did you say that is? Oy! What about with a senior discount?” And all you can do with all these questions is smile, and answer every. Single. One. Because when you’re out front doing a demo, every boss in the place is right up your ass, and you better fuckin smile and you better fuckin talk to all the customers, and you better fuckin help em all. Unbelievable.

So all right, this sucks. It’s my turn to do demo day. I spend an hour or so sweeping, and then I start hauling out the saws, and the lumber. I bring out an extra big pile of lumber, so I’ll have plenty to work on and won’t have to go back in for more. I paste on my happy smile, and at 10:00, maybe a minute or two late, I start sawing. I know I’ll have to stop the saws and talk to the OJs, but maybe I can, what is it, minimize that shit: the more I saw, the less I’ll have to talk. Maybe I’ll get lucky and there’ll be a big sale on bagels or something, and they won’t come by today. I can hope, right? Maybe I’ll get lucky. For once.

But that’s not what happens.

What happens is the craziest fucking thing that could ever happen to me.

What happens is my whole life changes, in less than a minute.

So I’m sawing, right? I got this OJ in front of me, and he’s trying to ask me a question but I just keep sawing, and smiling, and trying to pretend I can’t hear him. And then I hear something else. I hear shouting. Loud shouting, not like somebody-got-in-a-fender-bender shouting, but like asteroids-are-falling-from-the-sky-and-blowing-shit-up shouting, the kind of sheer, total volume that goth kids pay bank to hear in concert and all the rest of us avoid at all costs. So I stop sawing, and I turn around to look where the sound’s coming from.

Charging from around the corner, where the Garden Center guys have their tree-and-shrub display, come like ten guys. At first, I think it might be the SCA pulling a joke raid or something, but it only takes maybe two seconds for me to realize: this is not the SCA, and this is not a joke. These guys are nothing like my medieval-reenactment brothers.

These guys are fucking scary.

They’re filthy, blackened with soot and dirt and old bloodstains from head to foot. They are – disfigured is the only word for it: I see fingers missing, eyes missing, parts of noses and whole ears missing. Jesus, that one guy in front, spinning black chains around like some crazy-ass kung fu movie, is missing both his thumbs. And they got scars everywhere, livid red-brown scars, raised ridges and deep trenches in their skin, like they’ve never even seen Neosporin and a Bandaid, let alone a doctor. And they are armed, with cutlasses and battle axes and old flintlock pistols, and I’ve seen replica weapons, I spend a lot of my time with replica weapons, and just by looking at these, I can tell: these are the real fuckin things. And their eyes are wild and crazy, and they are screaming louder than I’ve ever heard a person scream.

And they’re all coming right at me.

I barely have time to back away and say, “No – please!” in a shaky voice when one of them vaults over my table saw and plows into me, putting the haft of his two-handed axe right into my chest, throwing me back five feet into my pile of lumber. That crazy fucker with the chains swings one down into my table saw, and the blade snaps right out of its housing and goes flying like some giant shuriken, and I’d yell Watch out! but I think I’ve had every breath I’ve ever taken in my life knocked out of me, and I won’t be saying anything for quite a while. Chain Guy keeps spinning the other chain in a circle by his left side, and he snarls at the OJ – I mean actually snarls at him, growling like a fuckin dog – and the OJ doesn’t even say a word, he just turns and runs off into the parking lot.

Then this other one, this older one with a gray-streaked beard and the most seriously broken nose I’ve ever seen, he starts barking orders, telling the others to grab as much of my lumber pile as they can carry, starting with the widest planks. And he comes up to me and bends down and smiles at me with brown teeth and he says, “I’d be obliged for the favor of your services, good squire.”

Then somebody puts a bag over my head, and they tie my wrists together. They make me stand up and run, with my hands holding onto somebody’s belt, and somebody else shoving a gun barrel in my back and telling me to stop, and duck, and go faster – or they’d kill me.

And I am so scared. So very scared.

We run, and duck, and hide, and run some more, and it seems like it takes hours, but who knows how long it takes time to pass when you’ve got a bag over your head, and you’ve already pissed yourself, and you know that these guys are terrorists, fuckin Islamic jihadists – though that sounded like an Irish accent, maybe, but whatever, that’s like some ex-IRA guy who’s now a mercenary or some shit – and as soon as you get where you’re going, they’re going to sit you in a chair and cut your fuckin head off and put it on YouTube.

What I’m saying is, you can’t estimate time or distance when you know you’re about to die.

And then, after forever of running and my legs are killing me and my hands are throbbing and burning from the circulation being cut off (and all I can think is “Ligature marks. CSI will find ligature marks on my wrists.”) and I feel like so much sweat has poured out of my head inside this bag that now it must be blood I feel running down my face and neck, and this bag stinks and I can’t breathe and my lungs are collapsing, and ah, God, they’re going to cut my head off – they slow down. I hear some shouting back and forth, and then everything goes quiet, except for me whooping for air and trying to get enough breath to beg for my life. Then they yank the bag off.

The sunlight hurts, at first, but we’re inside a house or something, so it isn’t too bad, and I can breathe. When my eyes adjust and I can blink some of the blood-sweat out of my eyes, I see that I am standing in front of an honest-to-God, no-shit, Jack Sparrow pirate, everything from the tri-corner hat to the sash with the sword and the flintlock pistols in it to the turned-down leather boots. He’s looking at me, and he looks pissed. Pissed on a scale I don’t even want to think about, like not like Mr. Zuckow’s going to yell at me, but more like Captain Jack is actually going to take out those guns and shoot someone in the face; like this guy’s temper already goes to 11, but right now he’s on 26.

He points at me, looks at Gray-Beard, and he says, “What, in the name of Satan and all the saints he’s burning, have ye done, O’Flaherty?”

 

 

*Author’s note: I’d just like to point out that I originally wrote this in 2013. Just sayin’.

Categories: Not-The-Captain's Log | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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