"Free Cruise To Tahiti."
-(See Capt. Bob Barnacle)*
*A word of advice: If you read travel ads - remember to read the fine print.
You see, Capt. Bob Barnacle was a pirate, and I had to join his crew to get the free trip to Tahiti. Throwing caution to the wind*, I thought, "How bad can it be?"
*Another bit of advice: Never throw caution to the wind.
Captain Barnacle was a crusty old salt and he struck me as the stereotypical pirate. He had a wooden peg leg, a patch over one eye and a hook where a hand should be. I inquired about his prosthetic leg and he said, "I was once swept overboard and lost me leg to a shark." Before I could ask, he said of his hook, "I lost me hand in a sword fight." When I pointed to his eye patch he exclaimed, "Aaaar! That was most unfortunate. A seagull let loose its droppings right into me eye. It was me first day with the hook."
Well, the Captain began showing me around the ship. Starting on the main deck we went to the stern. The Captain said, "Watch where ye be steppin' back here." When he saw my confused look he said, "It's the Poop Deck, swabby."
Then we came upon a topless female amidships. Although she was quite shapely and attractive, like the captain she too sported an eye patch. When I expressed curiosity about the fate of her eye he responded, "We was a sittin' together and that dam seagull got her too. Like I said, it was me first day with the hook!"
"She be me first mate, and a mighty fine mate at that," he said of her. "But alas, I had to divorce her because she had the toes on both her feet cut off in a battle."
I didn't want to insult him, but I had to know why that was grounds for a divorce. He snarled and replied, "Aaaar! It's like this, I happen to be "lack-toes-intolerant."
Next he took me below decks to the cramped spaces where the crew slept. I was going to ask him why a woman was on the ship in the first place, because I'd heard they were considered bad luck at sea. Before I could ask we came across another female crew member. Sporting a rather skimpy outfit she was very sexy.
Noticing the leer on my face he said, "I'd be careful how ye be lookin' at that one. She be me second mate!"
Later we were at sea and I was busy preparing my bunk to have it ready for when it was time to turn in. Then one my new crew mates walked by with his head covered in paper towels. I asked the man next to me about the man's unusual head wear. He answered, "Oh, they say he has a bounty on his head!"
Some of the crew were sitting around telling sea tales, so I thought I'd sit in and listen, thinking maybe I'd learn something. I listened intently as one old salt spun his tale.
"Last year our captain and his crew were in danger of being boarded by a rival pirate ship. As the crew became frantic, the captain bellowed to his First Mate, 'Bring me my red shirt!'. The First Mate quickly retrieved the captain's red shirt, which the captain put on and lead the crew to battle the pirate boarding party. Although some casualties occurred among the crew, the rival pirates were repelled.I was surprised to see that one of the crew was an old heavy set nun wearing an eye patch. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that she'd also been 'white-washed' in the eye by a seagull. Yep, the Captain still wasn't used to his hook when he had tried to help her.
Later that day, the lookout screamed that there were two more rival pirate vessels sending boarding parties. The crew cowered in fear, but the captain calm as ever bellowed, 'Bring me my red shirt!'. The battle was on, and once again the Captain and his crew repelled both boarding parties, although this time more casualties occurred.
Weary from the battles, the men sat around on deck that night recounting the day's occurrences when an ensign looked to the Captain and asked, 'Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before the battle?'. The Captain, giving the ensign a look that only a captain can give, exhorted, 'If I am wounded in battle, the red shirt does not show the wound and thus, you men will continue to fight unafraid'. The men sat in silence marveling at the courage of such a man.
As dawn came the next morning, the lookout screamed that there were still more rival pirate ships, 10 of them, all with boarding parties on their way. The men became silent and looked to their Captain for his usual command. The Captain, calm as ever, bellowed, 'Bring me my brown pants!'"
They told me that they all called her Sister Graybeard. Since she had no whiskers I just had to ask why she was given that name. One old tar said, "Wait until you're up on deck with her when there is a gale-force storm. When the wind lifts her habit, you'll see why."
About a week later we were nearing Tahiti and the excitement was running high. The ship had been out to sea for three months without a single port-of-call. The men were beginning to feel the tension of being without a woman for so long. It didn't help to see the Captain's first and second mates running around. The men avoided temptation for obvious reasons. We heard that several of the men were involved in a rape. Graybeard denied that she attacked the men.
Some of my crew mates were very helpful and gave me some advice about the women of Tahiti. One toothless buccaneer said to me, "Bring yer pieces of eight to a local grog shop and say the followin’ to the lasses ye be findin’:"
-- Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?Another grizzled old tar offered, "Not all pirates can be old salts when it comes to lasses so if those fails ye, try these:"
-- Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
-- Come on up and see me urchins.
-- Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
-- I’d love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
-- Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?
-- How’d you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
-- Well blow me down?
If all else fails, knock down a bit more grog and try this:
-- Prepare to be boarded.
-- They don’t call me Long John because my head is so big.As we were dropping anchor, my eyes caught one particular wench standing on shore. She was waving and I was certain she was waving at me!
-- You’re drinking a Salty Dog? How’d you like to try the real thing?
-- Wanna shiver me timbers?
-- I’ve sailed the seven seas, and you’re the sleekest schooner I’ve ever sighted.
-- That’s the finest pirate booty I’ve ever laid eyes on.
-- Let’s get together and haul some keel.
-- That’s some treasure chest you’ve got there.
We got together at the local tavern and the first thing she said to me was, "That's a mighty fine cutlass you have there, how would you like to put it in my scabbard?"
It was then that the Travel Section of the newspaper for some reason slipped off my lap and fell onto the floor. I opened my eyes and there stood the missus and she was saying, "Would you mind helping me clean up the kitchen?"*
*Some more advice:
"Never, after eating a full meal, sit down and try to read the advertisements in the Travel Section from your Sunday newspaper while The Pirates of the Caribbean is playing on the television on a lazy cold rainy Sunday afternoon."
Funny, but when I was putting the bread and steak knives into the slots of the wooden counter top knife holder, I could have sworn I heard the wench saying, "Yes, put your cutlass into my scabbard!"