Category Archives: Pirates

Pirates – Out to Sea – Part 4

[This is Part 4 of 4 in Pirates!: Out to Sea. If you’re interested then you may want to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first.]

Marshall could hear that the fighting had stopped. He was weak, he was about to loose consciousness. He took his hands down one more time and dipped it into the blood coming out of his leg and poured it back over his face. His entire body was covered with his own blood. And yet nobody had come, perhaps nobody would come and he would die? He knew that he was very close to the line. The most crucial thing now was to tourniquet his leg. He pulled a sheet towards him and tied the leg as tight as he could. He could feel the bleeding stop. Some of the blood kept dripping down his nose and onto his tongue, each drop tasted like a steel blade, metallic and cold.

Footsteps, there were footsteps, he was sure he had passed out. He tried to keep very still but he could feel that he was moving. It wasn’t the usual rocking and lolling that came from the ship but instead it was… it was… Marshall dared not open his eyes to identify the feeling, it felt very strange. He heard a grunt from somewhere above his right arm. He was being carried, that’s what it was. Suddenly he wasn’t being carried anymore, he was airborne. He knew he would have to act very hard to try and stop himself from exhaling air once he landed, he had been flying with some force. He breathed out before landing so that the air wouldn’t be forced out. He felt a rib crack, and then realised that it wasn’t his own. His fall had been broken by at least one… no three dead bodies. He was on a pile. He tried to lay still, but he was slipping on his own blood. Then he heard it, Pete’s voice…

“These are the dead?”
“Yes sir.”
“How many?”
“10 in total cap’n.”
“Right, see to it that…” Pete stopped suddenly mid sentence, he had seen Marshall lying there, “who did this?”. Pete pointed directly at Marshall.
“Not I sir.”
“I didn’t ask whether you did it. I asked who did?”

Pete was stalking back and forth in front of his five lieutenants. Each in charge of a different part of the attack they were following Pete now waiting for him to dispense gold as reward. They had not been expecting this.

“Perhaps, I didn’t explain to you earlier how important this little conquest was? Perhaps I didn’t mention to you how important it was that we kept this man alive? So,” he turned to a tall man with a thin moustache, “why did you kill him?”

“I didn’t, I swear.”
“You were in charge of the fighting men were you not?”
“Yes but look at him. He has blood all over him he must have been killed by a cannon.”
“Liar!” Pete shrieked. His sword ran right through the sergeant at arms neck. His thin moustache drooped for the last time and he fell to the ground.
“Although,” Pete looked manic now, he could fully appreciate the problem facing him. He was about to be hung by the Dutch. He knew it. He had promised them Marshall alive not dead, and the fear was great in him.

He continued, “Although, he did have a point. Marshall does have blood all over him.” He spun round to face the cannon-master.

At this exact moment, Marshall jumped up from where he was lying and stabbed Pete through the spleen. Blood poured out of the man as he dropped to the floor. Marshall, made sure Pete was dead by cutting his throat. He looked up at the men in front of him.

“I am the ghost of Captain Marshall. I am here to avenge my own death. You have nothing to fear if you were not responsible for my death. The only person I needed to kill was Coalface Pete here. At the moment.” Marshall paused for a second, allowing some blood to drip from his hair onto his face, he knew he must look terrifying. He started again, “I want you to go to the prison and place yourself within, letting the men within out.”

The four looked to each other. The cannon-master rubbing his neck as he did. They ran out of the room, fear painted large in each one of their eyes. Marshall wiped the blood around his face in a failed attempt to clean it, he thought of the wonderful waterfall he had found a season ago on one of the southern islands. He put such comforts from his mind, he looked down at the dead. He was looking for someone in particular. Not seeing him there he called out, “Killen! The enemy are defeated, come here!”

[Marshall will return.]

Pirates – Out to Sea – Part 3

[This is Part 3 of 4 in Pirates!: Out to Sea. If you’re interested then you may want to read Part 1 and Part 2 first.]

Marshall looked and looked hoping for a sign he was wrong. He was a proud man, a man that loved to be proved right. And yet he was also a man who didn’t want to fall into a trap. He looked, and everything on the ship looked normal, absolutely normal, a normal that could only mean that it was being orchestrated. What should he do? He wanted to see Pete, he wanted to know that old Coalface was behind it. But he couldn’t wait for that. He couldn’t. Marshall’s men had just been on leave, they had been just sleeping with women, eating and drinking. They would be fat and lazy, ready for nothing, not his usual ready team he could rely on. This was the opportune moment to attack. He should have been thinking of that this morning and yet he hadn’t. He never, ever, normally didn’t think of the opposition position. And yet… And yet he’d been fucking distracted by fucking a woman. He’d been sleeping with his wife last night for the first time in a year. The first time they’d made bed together. And just as you’d imagine it had been earache from start to finish.

Marshall was still holding the glass to his eye and by the time he saw Coalface Pete disguised as a Merchant Seaman it almost didn’t matter. Marshall was already onto something else. Already thinking ahead. Already planning what he could do.

Marshall, quickly went downship, onto the main deck and found his first mate. “Killen, I have a headache,” Marshall explained, “you get us back on course”.
Marshall vaguely heard the, “Aye Captain”, behind him as he headed into the Captain’s room.

Once their he found the piece of leather he’d been rather unsuccessfully using as a bookmark. He put it between his teeth. Then he unsheathed his sword and stabbed himself in the leg falling back into his bed. The white linen rapidly started soaking up his blood.

Up on deck things seemed to be going even worse. Killen had ordered the ship to turn portwise and the other ship, unseen by Killen had turned to starboard. Before Killen even knew he was in a battle cannon were firing upon him. The pirates of the pirates kept turning and turning and firing upon Marshall’s ship while Killen was too timid to do anything about it, and through it all Marshall stayed below bleeding.

[What will happen next? Tune in next Friday to find out.]

Pirates! – Out to Sea – Part 2

[This is Part 2 of 4 in Pirates!: Out to Sea. If you’re interested then you may want to read Part 1 first.]

“Wait. Turn back.” Marshall shouted.

“Back to port?”

“Back starboard. Belay that last order.”

“Yes Sir, Cap’n sir.”

Marshall wanted to turn back to face the other ship. They hadn’t been plotting that direction. But Marshall was intrigued. He had to see what happened. He wanted it to not be a wreck not simply because it would have been a senseless waste of life, but mainly because he would feel compelled to help. Or at least his crew would. He had control over his crew, but a pirate crew were more apt to mutiny than a regular one. It was something he’d seen, something he’d instigated, too often in a crew. And this was one of those divisive situations. Half the crew would hate him for not helping, half the crew would hate him for helping. Basically the only thing they were united on ended with gold for them. And this had no gold associated. So Marshall hoped it wasn’t something like that.

Most other captains would have sailed the other way. He knew that. Certainly all other pirate captains, but he wasn’t the rest, he knew a signal when he saw it. Or at least he thought he did. If it wasn’t a wreck it was a signal for Marshall. So while he wanted for it not to be a wreck he couldn’t see a good way for this thing to finish. Like he would have said if he could have trusted his crew, he wasn’t happy about this, but he had to know, no matter that everyone else would run away.

The ships were sailing dead towards each other now. There was no doubt that he was falling straight into the trap that the other captain was setting. They wanted him, they knew he would, sail straight towards them, they knew he would have seen him.

It was that moment that Marshall knew it had to be Coalface Peter.

“Bring me my looking-glass.”

[Check back next week for Part 3]

Pirates – Out to sea – Part 1

This is the second story in the Pirates series. The first was called, “The Bunby Bungle“.

Marshall gave the order to cast off and they were away. It was an unusual feeling for Marshall to be leaving a port in daylight and one that couldn’t happen anywhere else in the world as far as he knew. He had got used to memorizing the port map and not having to rely on visual clues like a normal captain would. But Marshall was no normal captain. He was a pirate captain. And he was very very good at it. Three, Two, One…

“One and a quarter turns Starboard” he shouted out.

“Aye Cap’n”

Marshall entertained the possibility of scaring a junior rigger by doing the whole thing with his eyes closed. But there was no point. He couldn’t convince his old bones to have fun like that. His brain was still alive to the prospect of such fun. But his bones feared his brain.

The bones knew it was best, even in a safe port like Santa Dominique, to keep your eyes peeled.

Marshall turned and looked back towards the port. Nothing there. Five, Four, Three… He swiveled back towards the wheel. Two… There had been something… One… Something on the horizon.

“A third turn to Port”.

He wasn’t even listening for the confirmation. His eyes were searching for that glint out on the horizon. A shape that had made him start. A sail in the wrong place. It was not a normal route into port. It wasn’t a tack he’d seen anyone attempt. Or rather anyone else. It was his route into Santa Dominique, his route over the shallow rocks only Marshall had the map for. So either that ship was soon about to go down all hands or something very troubling was going on.

[Check back next week for Part 2 of Out to Sea]

Pirates! – The Bunby Bungle – Part 4

[This is Part 4 of 4 in Pirates!: The Bunby Bungle. If you’re interested then please read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first.]

As Marshall walked back downstairs he found it hard to keep his legs even close together. He’d been given a workout. He was 60 for christsakes, not a good time to discover the wonders of the foursome. He just wished he’d been able to afford the foursome when he was twenty years younger. Although then he hadn’t had to pay for exciting sex.

This was the second time he’d though of Margaret tonight. She would understand. She always had. When they made love it was very different than the sex he had had tonight. Making love was making love a very different thing.

He walked back into the bar, and he turned the stairs. There was nobody behind the bar at this point which was exactly what Marshall had been expecting. He walked back there and poured himself a drink. He left the now open bottle on the counter as an alibi in case he was caught. And then with a simple and practiced motion he opened the till and emptied it into a bag he’d been carrying in his pocket. There was a safe. He knew the combination by now and he opened that as well. Tight little bundles of money lying in the safe, he picked them up and put them inside his coat lining. He now had it all.

He exited the bar, walked round the corner, shouted at Bunby, “How’s it going fella!”

The only problem, Marshall realised later, was that he had thought Bunby must be somebody who needed the wool pulling over his eyes. Whereas Bunby had completely separately and independently been thinking of taking Tawnies. So out of his overcoat he pulled a shotgun, pointed it at the ceiling and yelled, “I’m going to fuckin’ rob you.”

This Marshall thought was a shame. But there was only one way out. And instead of the quiet exit he had planned it was time to make the situation abundantly clear.

And with this thought, Marshall pulled out a gun of his own and fired it at Bunby killing him dead. Luckily people were quickly convinced Marshall was a hero and he was allowed to walk off of the crime scene before the police arrived and noticed that the bar didn’t have any money in it just one day shy of a month of running the most successful gambling den on the islands.

Pirates! – The Bunby Bungle – Part 3

[This is Part 3 of 4 in Pirates!: The Bunby Bungle. If you’re interested then please read Part 1 and Part 2 first.]

It was subtle the way he did it. The way Bunby made the subtle shift. He had been losing hard for 12 hours. That’s 11 hours more than a man like Bunby liked to lose for. He could lose for a bit. He was happy to just to prove how much a winner he was when the fortune turned around. But 12 hours in Marshall had assumed that despite his own best efforts Bunby was in on the whole situation. Marshall assumed so much that he thought Bunby was only there to make sure that Marshall did what was right and paid the correct percentage to the people that controlled this island.

But Marshall didn’t usually work like that. He was respected by other pirates because he pulled the most fearsome deals, and he had done for forty years. The only problem was that he didn’t do very well at the pirately conduct awards. Marshall had never believed in this so called honour among thieves. What was the point. Thieve or be thieved upon – that was Marshall’s whole life.

And he’d been planning to rumble this casino for close to eighteen months. It was a length of time that invited opinion. First up it was important to realise that he did about a job a month regardless of circumstance. But he knew by now how important planning was, but he also knew that he needed to see all of the angles. And so Marshall wanted to see every place for a couple of nights a month for every month for quite a long time before he went in. And at the Tawnies it had seemed perfect. No pirates, not one in all of that time. And yet there was lots of money being traded. Bunby’s appearance moments after he had arrived said that there was a reason that pirates didn’t come in, and that reason was Bunby.

“Right,” Marshall said out-loud and suddenly, “I want a shag. I know what I said, but I’ll pay separate for this. And well. I’ve earned well tonight.”

This wasn’t strictly true but clearly come seven am some of the girls were ready for a second go. Marshall stood up and three of the girls stood in front of him offering their services.

“It seems churlish to choose. I’ll take you all.”

Tune back next week for Part 4 of 4.

Pirates! – The Bunby Bungle – Part 2

[This is Part 2 of 4 in Pirates!: The Bunby Bungle. If you’re interested then please read Part 1 first.]

The Tawnies had a problem. The word had got out. There were two pirates sitting at the bar drinking straight rum. And these pirates had been drinking rum for eight hours straight. The bar had been hoping that eventually they would get drunk enough to go home. But that hadn’t happened. Now they seemed like they were moving in.

“Shall we go to the tables?”
“I…”
“Sir,” the barkeep was still on duty out of fear rather than anything more noble.
“I… Can’t.”
“No Sir can’t.”
“Sir now are we?”
“I well…”
The barkeep, looked upset, “I was just asked.”
“Yes. The only bet I’m laying tonight is that I won’t bet. If I lose I lose, but if I win then I pay out a piece to this gentleman from keeping me from trouble.”
“Marshal.”
“What?”
“You should be beyond such tricks with the staff. You know your destiny is to die at the table. So why do you deny yourself so? You shouldn’t deny your destiny.”
“No. I suppose not Bunby. But on the other hand if I am to die at the table as has been suggested I thought it best to avoid as a pastime.”
“You can avoid all you like. But you know all that will happen is that you won’t have played and enjoyed for years. You’ll just have drunk yourself into a self-hating hole, and then while perfectly innocently walking past a bookies one day fall dead over the table. If it is fated it is foolish to avoid it.”
“You have a point.”
“You’re damn right I have a point. Here’s two pieces,” Bunby through two pieces at the man behind the bar and took Marshal by the shoulder. “Now we play.”

They walked over to the nearest table. The table was full but their presence was enough to suggest simply to some of the players that it would be safest to cash in their chips and leave. Once they sat down they were dealt in quickly and efficiently but clearly that wasn’t enough for Bunby.

“Check or bet?”
Bunby looked at the dealer like he was talking a foreign language. “I can’t decide that,” he screamed, what do you expect of me? Barkeep! Barkeep!”

The bartender limped over, looking very worried at the situation. He seemed more worried to approach Marshall who he knew he had let down.

“Barkeep!” shouted Bunby, “I think this guy is trying to gip us. I can’t be expected to play straight sober. I think he’s trying to dry us out on purpose. You need to keep me and my friend here suitably drunk. Suitably! Do you understand? If we end up sobering our game will be lost. And currently we have no drink. Do you understand? We need to be drunk here otherwise this man will quite naturally cheat us out of all of our hard earned money.”

The bartender made to move away.

“Hold up,” Marshall said. “There is another thing.”
“Another thing.” Bunby assured.
“There is another thing?” The bartender seemed less sure.
“It’s of a private matter,” Marshall said.
“It’s perfectly valid, and I feel it too.” said Bunby. He’d clearly been here before.
“I only,” said Marshall, “can bet well if I’m properly stiff. Half mast isn’t enough anymore. I simply can’t do it. So get me your finest women. Get me them, one for me and one for Bunby here. I want to have two one for each. We can’t have relations, we can’t Bunby, but we must have them here for the sharpening of the senses they provide. So we will pay them for that not the other.”

Drinks arrived seconds later. And after two minutes the finest women of the establishment arrived. They were excited to be there too. A client who would pay without sex. A big difference. That’s why they were the best. One of them had literally unmounted, been swapped out for another girl, because of the unusualness of the situation.

It was that excitement that he thrived on. It was almost like a real date, much more than the sex his wife would give him freely that night.

Tune back next week for Part 3 of 4.

Pirates! – The Bunby Bungle

He was leaning against a wood fence. As he leaned forward the vines came close to his nose. He could see the grapes. They were so bright and shiny that he could see the glint in his own eye within them. Monkeys were running up and down the branches having away with the prime fruit. It was their time, the sun was setting and the people weren’t ready to face the evening yet. He gave his beard a deep scratch. As he did it the fresh salt from the days sailing cut into his hand. It was a pain that had seemed immense the first day it had happened forty years ago but now comforted him beyond any other moment in the day. He always knew he’d done an honest days work when he had salt in his beard. Even if… especially if the day hadn’t been honest by other men’s standards. He knew what hard work was, and he’d never understood why one job was more honest in the eyes of the law than another. As long as you worked hard to get your money, as long as you worked the hardest to get your money then it must be your money.

A beautiful warm breeze fell towards him, the monkeys were chattering in the trees, and there was salt in his beard. This was the life for him. The only thing missing was women and wine. He turned around and walked into the bar.

Although it was quiet compared to his usual kind of establishment, there was murmuring from the tables. He put it down to the playing of cards which seemed quite intense. He approached the bar and sat at one of the stools.

The keep came over, and said, “what’ll it be?”
“The stakes must be high tonight.”
“Always high here.”
“Must be good for business.”
“We do alright.”
“Lucky you.”
“The house always wins, that’s what they say.”
“That’s what they say.”

The keep looked at our man a bit more deeply. He suddenly realised to ask him something, “you don’t know where you are do you?”
“I’m in a bar aren’t I?”
“You’re in the most prestigious bar in all of the Windies. The most famous gambling den of the whole sub-continent. You’re in Tawnies.”
“Tawnies really. Never heard of it.”
“Well your loss,” says the barkeep.
“Not really my loss if I’m here is it?”
“No I suppose not.”
“Now lets get down to business.”
“Betting, drinking or pleasure?”
“Thought you’d never ask.”
“Thought I’d never have to.”
“Drinking first, pleasure later, and you’re to stop me betting at all costs. A piece for you if I’ve not bet by morning.”
“You’re on. So what’ll it be?”
“Bumbo”
“We don’t serve Bumbo here.”
“Well I’m not drinking grog.”

There was talk suddenly from the nearest table. Our man heard the word Bumbo being repeated several times.”

“We,” said the bartender, “don’t serve pirates here.”
“I’m not a pirate,” said our pirate.
“How do we know?”
“Serve me some rum, straight then if you must, but I won’t drink grog.”
“That doesn’t tell me you’re not a pirate.”
“Check my arm.”
“That just means you haven’t been caught.”
“Yes it does. But if you think you’re better than the entire Dutch West India Company then you’ve got another thing coming.”

And just as things looked to be getting ugly a square hat walked in. Rain dripping off his coat. He walked past everyone who had stopped playing cards and were only staring at him. As he walked past the window lightning cracked. highlighting what was left of his face. He made it up to the next door stool to our man and said, “This pirate causing you trouble? Because if he isn’t then I will.”

To be continued, please check back next week for Part 2.