“Gaaargh, Mick it be not brain surgery,” I spat derisively as I cheerily spun me shiny new wheel to the left. ‘Twere a lovely brass wheel, with moulded grips, arrr she were a pleasure to grasp. But perhaps ye sporty gleam had affected me thinkin’, for over the next few days the air grew overly chill and me ship frosty. Gaargh, I’d probably meant me other left (or port as Mick insists).
Twas the danger in urinatin’ over the side what tipped the lads off to the error in steerin’. I arranged me pens and flipcharts so as to diagrammatically explain that the weight o’ gold in our hull were draggin’ us down the slopion’ side of ye Earth. Now given ye circularity o’ the globe twere as well to continue on our present course. I were takin’ ye long view but in any case, twere too late now.
Ye see, it were as cold as a snowman’s seed, too cold even for Mick’s sweaty palms, and they’d frozen tight to ye wheel – our course were fixed. At least it spared me own arms from hours at the helm. Ye increasin’ly bitter weather turned him blue despite the vast merkins I’d knitted. But in tuggin’ him free his mitts snapped off at the wrist takin’ him from ‘Look – No Hands Mick’ to mere ‘No Hands Mick’. Twere a shame but we all cheered up when his fists proved ideal for puckin’ in ice hockey.
As I were about to thrust Mick’s fist between Billy’s legs and score me third goal, the Grim Bastard lurched violently, tossin’ me mates hither and thither. I hoped we’d struck land- but twere just me stern bein’ ravished by a courtin’ whale. Ye humpin’ whale’s lusty thrusts bumped us onto a sheet of ice where we lay like an ill-used walrus.
The prolonged moanin’ of ye whale were taken up by Herr Doktor Gunther’s surgical plaything, a lad he’d borrowed from a circus upon whom to expand his medical repertoire. His lobotomised lowin’ brought forth a brace o’ sea unicorns to joust for me ship’s booty. The nasal swords clashed in freezin’ spray, occasionally plowin’ into ye Grim Bastard, callin for much pluggin o’ holes. That be a risky matter, and ye lads came out with as many holes as they’d stoppered.
‘Twere then we conceived of danglin’ the howlin’ half-wit over ye bows to distract the bladed sea-beasts whilst we seized their ivory. Arrr, Mick could only toe the line and so the mooncalf plunged into the sea. Twas the divertin’ sport of bobbin’ for the lad which led the narwhals to mortally wound each other. Bravely I ordered me lads to mount the dyin’ beasts and relieve them of their horns and meat before they sank.
An ice floe be a tedious place and I were despairin’ of ever eatin’ somethin’ other than blubber. Even spicin’ it with a lime marinade only pained us with discoverin’ that it were the source o’ the whales’ lust – the knaves of ye Piratical Catalogue had chosen to pickle ye ricket-haltin’ limes in the urine of a lady whale.
For want o’ diversion and a greater share o’ supplies, I encouraged me men to wander ye ice, especially Billy No Mates. He came slidin’ back one day, with news of fat birds dressed as nuns. Yarr, that confirmed why me polar bear patrols’d been so bored. I quietly inverted me compass while reassurin’ the lads they’d now no reason to fear ye dreaded arctic hare.
The discovery of ye penguin-folk ignited a worryin’ gleam behind the tiny dark glasses upon me sawbones nose. “Ha ha ha. I haf ein plan mein Herren, first ve must capture ze flippen-flappen-fischen-birden.” Ordinarily I’d press Gunther for details, but I were tired o’ checkin’ me tackle for icicles, so I led a team o’ burly mates out upon ye ice meself. Ye ice be not designed with a peg leg in mind and it were a perilous journey.
We motivated ye penguins by puntin’ their eggs towards ye Bastard where we leaped upon ‘em and tied ‘em to ye mast. They sank into a foolish complacency once we’d stuffed their eggs back under them – the next generation were the least o’ their worries.
Gunther unveiled his new contraption with a feverish grin: “Viz zis device ve vill hollow out ze penkvin und ve vill escapen ze ice.” I weren’t followin’ entirely, but when the psychotic Teutonic asked for volunteers I took a closer peek. Gaargh, if ye can imagine a man-sized melon baller studded with more blades than a blind barber, then ye’ll understand why I volunteered me first mate, Billy No Mates.
The machine were swift in its evisceratin’: a sheet o’ frozen blood mist cascaded to the deck revealin’ a dazed penguin and a heap o’ steamin’ gore. Arr, we were suprised, ‘specially when Gunther flipped open the penguins beak to reveal Billy within. Aaargh, he also seemed a mite taken aback.
Gunther’s crypto-zoological chicanery were interestin’ but hopefully had a purpose (unlike the unfortunate incident with ye dwarves). He aimed to graft the least popular of me crew into manguins, grantin’ us aqua-mules to haul us from the ice. It seemed a tad extreme, but Gunther swore it’d be a reversible procedure and were our sole hope. After some vicious votin’ we got another five hybrid pengmen into ye water. But before we could even test ye Doktor’s thesis, black fins arose from ye waves.
There was naught we could do – the killer whales each picked up a penguin, and wolfed them down. Gunther looked oddly triumphant at ye eruptin’ foam of blood. I were not best pleased and told him so, though be begged me indulgence. I soon saw his reasonin’ – munchin’ on me mates had ensnared the orcas (I’d wondered at the cutlasses’ purpose). The enraged fish whipped us off our ice floe and back into ye ocean.
It were a noble, if excessive sacrifice that saved most of our lives. I were about to offer a few heartfelt words in memory of Billy when a flipper slapped wetly on ye gangplank. Even though Billy’s survival spoiled me eulogy I’d not the heart to throw him back for despite his fishy scent he were far less irritatin’ in his nunnish birdery. Since I’d forgot the names of our other saviours there were little else to do but celebrate our escape from ye south pole with mugs of whale beer; all the blubber turns to alcohol – or a thick floatin’ scum.