By Anji Sandage
Arrrg! Captain One-eyed Zack was in a terrible mood. He had gotten up on the wrong side of his bunk again. “Round up all those smarmy scallywags in the hold!” Captain Zack hollered, “and have them walk the plank!”
“But sir, you already had them walk the plank yesterday sir!” Red-beard Roy, Captain Zack’s first mate, pointed out to the beach where their ship was anchored. Half a dozen ragged men were sitting in the sand twiddling their thumbs and looking wide eyed and frazzled.
“Well, so I did.” Captain Zack growled. Then he brightened momentarily. “Round them up – they can walk the plank again.
The men on the beach grumbled. “Aw, I jest got me-self dried out Cap’n” one of the men complained as he got in line with the others.
Just as the captain began to snarl a response, Red cut in. “Ain’t you gettin’ tired of that Capn’? They a’ready walked the plank 12 times this week.” His eye twitched nervously.
“Arrrgh! Right you are mate!” Captain Zach scratched his chin thoughtfully with a gold dagger. Red’s eye momentarily stopped twitching, and he sighed heavily.
“Then we’ll throw them to the sharks!” Captain Zack roared triumphantly. The men who were now climbing back up the side of the ship paled.
Red’s eye began twitching again. “But sir, there are no sharks here. Besides, who will swab the deck?”
“Right you are again!” Captain Zack wheeled around to face the men who were cautiously climbing back over the side of the ship. “So, we’ll swab the deck first. Then we can go find some sharks!”
The ragged sailors hurriedly grabbed their mops. None of them bothered to point out that the deck had already been swabbed several times that day already.
Red-beard Roy pulled at his straggly red beard. “Ay Captain. We’ve been waiting in this here cove for a week and no sign of a ship to plunder, and no wind to fill the sails.”
Captain One-eyed Zack growled in agreement.
Maybe what you need is some relaxation. Let up on the scurvy blokes a bit? What say ye, Capn’?” Red’s eye twitched.
Captain Zack whirled around. Red jumped. “What do you suggest then, matey? A picnic? Har Har Har!” Captain Zack roared with laughter.
“Why n-n-not Capn’?” Red stammered, his eye now twitching violently. So far Captain Zach had not made him walk the plank. He laughed nervously. “A picnic could be just what you need.”
“WELL THEN WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?” Captain Zach hollered.
Red-beard Roy nearly jumped out of his skin “y-y-yes sir, a picnic it is then, sir!”
He ran over to where the crew was swabbing the deck. “Stow your swabs gentlemen!” Red hollered. “Capn’s orders!”
The sailors stopped mopping.
“To the sharks, then?” asked a pirate known as Hangnail Harry.
“We’re having a picnic. On the beach. Capn’s orders Harry. So go to it lads!” Red growled. He may have been nervous around the captain, but he was still a pirate to be feared.
It wasn’t long before there was a hearty spread, with pickled herring, salmagundi stew, honey cakes, and Jugs of ale all around. Buzzard-toe Joe stoked a huge fire while Rotten Pete organized pirate games, like catch the cannon ball, hangman, and pin the hat on the pirate. (Cross-eyed Carl talked him out of using real pirates and daggers to pin the hats onto.) After the games, Peg-leg Larry and Toothless Tom pulled out a harmonica and a banjo and soon there was dancing around the fire.
Of course Captain One-eye jack won at hangman and got to fire the cannon for ‘catch the cannon ball.’ The next day he was like a new pirate. The wind kicked up and they set sail for new coves and ships to plunder. When they came across a small fleet in the early afternoon, he was even very polite (for a pirate), and while plundering he only took a few prisoners to replace those of his crew lost playing hangman and he didn’t make anyone walk the plank.