Every Captain for Himself!

Ship Ahoy!

‘Tis often said the life o’ a pirate cap’n is a lonely and perplexin’ calling. Sure as saltwater and shiver’d timbers there’s the joy of the treasure-lust and the pleasure of pillaging dubloons from the broken hulls of the boats of the land lubbin’ merchants. The antics of the Dread Pirate Johnny Depp *pthooh* have tainted those pleasures for me however. Recently, when the wind was howlin’ in the yard arm, and the seas are high and whippin’ around the gun’al, l’il Tim our plucky cabin boy looked up at me with his hopeful eyes and asks “Cap’n, we’ll ride this storm out won’t we? We’ll make the shelter of Tortuga ‘fore long?”

I felt as gutted as a catfish a landlubber’s sea legs, for ’twas looking dicey for me ship, the Gangrenous Gull, as the crew were a scurvy lot but short handed with it. Even the tall pirates were short handed. ‘Twas difficult to steer a straight course while trying to compell boarders and get our pirate booty from the hold of the merchant ships. ‘Twas harder still for ship’s cook to fire cannon shot from our 12 pounders on the starb’d side while cooking the grub up in the galley. In me heart I sensed mutiny was not far off.

When we reached the locality of Tortuga and dropped anchor, I gave thought to forming a confederation with the other piratical bucanneers in these here parts. Sure as cuttlefish and canaries it seemed that an alliance under a shared flag was the only way we could properly counter the evil of New Pirates and the various Landlubbin’ confederacies that New Piracy was dipping its wick in. Some form of alliance where we could bring the most vicious and cut throat and skillful of our respective crews together on one boat to wreak havoc on the Main, while the less skilled spent time a-practicin’ their pirating on smaller ships. Yes indeed, this was what I thought was needed. The Confederation of Unified Pirates, Pillagers And Traitrous Evaders of Authority… CUPPATEA.

But then me parrot, Malvolio, piped up that I’d clear forgot that a ship can only have one cap’n and that in an alliance like that I’d soon have to be watching astern for devious malcontents eager to have away with me. As sure as herring and heartbreak such scurvy knaves a-plenty can be found in the company of Pirate Cap’ns. ‘Tis a minimum requirement for the job.

Malvolio reminded me of the great upheaval that occured in years past when the Cap’n and crew of the Yellow Rose persuaded the proud pirateers of the Red Flower to sail under common flag. That was in the days when the Dread Pirate BarbdeRossa was at the helm of the Yellow Rose (long before he decided to become all mercantile and respectable as a landlubber). Indeed Malvolio was right, for ’twas with the ruthlessness and cunning of BarbdeRossa and his firstmate, the Bald Architect (the blacksheep son of a proud merchant family was he) that the crew of the Yellow Rose eventually seized control of the Red Flower and began to sail it on a new course and the evil creed of New Piracy.

He was right o’ course was me parrot. Such a plan would result in in-fightin’ and backstabbin’ as each Cap’n tried to be the Cap’n del tutti Cap’ns as they say in Mediterranian parts. Either that or such an enterprise would inevitably drift towards the scurvy horror of New Piracy and abandon all our traditions of Teak chests buried 10 paces south of a crewman’s body and general piratical pillaging and nautical naughtiness.

So I shot Malvolio and swore off the run ration for a day to banish the humors from me that cause me to think crazy; Timmy the Cabin Boy enjoyed the ‘chicken’ dinner that our scurvy Cook made him.

arrrrh… ’tis a ruthless life as a Pirate Cap’n. But Malvolio knew too much.

Full Sail Ahead!


3 Responses to “Every Captain for Himself!”

  1. 1 Captain Fang 20 April, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Shiver me Timbers!

    ‘Tis talk such as this that keeps the cause of Piracy back on the Isle of Ireland. Why, without a common front against the well-armed fleets of Landlubbers Pirates cannot hope to ever defeat their many enemies.

    You talk of every Captain for himself, but really you would have no Captain succeed, even if it meant success for all Pirates, if you could not be sure it would be you.

    That’s the kind of scurvy, toothless thinking that a cur of a self-styled Captain such are yourself could be expected to spout when in his cups in the lowest taverns of Bristol. I can only say that I be shocked to see it in the annals of the Irish Pirate Review, which I took to be free of such parrot squawking.

    Avast, and beware ye don’t find yourself served with The Black Spot for such bilge!

  2. 2 Cap'n Picard 21 April, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Arr, indeed Cap’n Fang a point you may be havin’. A point o’ me cutlass fer challenging me on d’interwebby rather than in a straightforward pirate cap’n face off in the ports o’ South’ampton or Corrrk.

    That be said, you be right that the amassed landlubber navies do pose a problem for those of us with the bucanneer callin’. I’ve done away with the parrot Malvolio and I now suspect he may have been an agent of the dread pirate Johnny Depp atrying to steer us pirates away from our core values towards New Piracy or landlubbin.

    The Dead Parrot Malvolio’s comments do strike me as being sense though, in the traditional context of a hierarchical Cap’n/Crew relationship where ye swear yer oath to one cap’n and one ship. What would the confederacy of pirates be only a crew made o’ cap’ns which would require a cap’n del tutti cap’ns, which would cause woe and mutiny among the other cap’ns eventually. Fer this is the very model of a modern landlubbin’ navy.

    If what is proposed is a looser co-operative based on a piratical meritocracy based on agreed critiera(wenches kidnapped, d’bloons buried, songs sung ’bout ye, freighters hijacked) with clearly stated common goals and mechanisms for sharing success (booty) and making collective decisions about when to set sail for Tortuga, with each Cap’n havin’ a right to make an collective idea walk the plank if it might put ship, crew or booty in peril then, me hearties, we’d have a plan that would confound the dastardly Pirate Destroyers and their new Cannon.

    But if we cannot set a common compass and course then the landlubbers and the Dread Pirates Johnny Depp and Gena Davis have sunk us without firing a shot.

  3. 3 A. Cabin Boy 21 April, 2008 at 8:05 am

    The scuttlebutt among the cabin boys is that Cap’n Fang often dons the clothes and manner of a dockside wench even when he isn’t engaged in the kind of heroic sneaky escapes from the brig that all pirates would recognise as ‘special circumstances’

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