Twilight snuck upon us as a lobster does its pink fleshy prey, its pinchy pincers sneakin’ out in wispy streamers of cloud. Gaargh, we’d good reason to spout purplish in our fear of the night. I’d begun to see a mandible behind every branch, every rock the crusty carapace of horrible doom. Terror had ceased to thrill and I’d only a dreadful lurking fear whenever the moonshine tricked us with shadows.
Ahar! Twelve men and I had been abandoned on this isle following a minor disagreement regarding ship management. Fine; twas a mutiny if ye must have the word. It seemed the quest for me merlass love was not shared by all of me crewmen. Gaargh, our nightmare began within moments of being tossed into the spare long boat. We had front row seats as a krakenish monstrosity rose from the frothy waves, for ye see backwards when rowing forwards. It smashed the ship in two and feasted upon my rebellious crew. We rowed faster.
The isle we hastened towards was naught but a large rock pool – a ring of stony land encircling the blackest water whose depths hid all but the creepiest fronds of anemones and maybe a grinning skull. Twas already fading to dark so we sheltered sleep-wise beneath our boat and suckled from the knitted tuna bag o’ fresh water we’d been allowed. On waking we found to our horror that Alexander Gimpskin’s feet had been nipped off at the ankle. At first we were suprised at his not calling out, for surely twas a thing o’ some annoyance, but then we discovered his head was also missing. Thank goodness that mystery was resolved. The sky was clear and bright – a beautiful day and we were all going to die, for the tuna bag was and without water we were doomed. The prospect quite distracted us from the vastly more pertinent point o’ poor Gimpskin’s noggin pruning.
Daylight revealed a secret what the night had hid: at the pool’s heart was a circular atoll upon which were a heaping of man’s treasures: drink, swords, gold and dainty china crockery. To my finely honed senses it had the scent of a trap. However, our usual caution competed with an abundance of ill temper and thirst. Twas surely not a terrible danger to men such as we pirates. Now a stranded nun and her gelded serf, well they’d probably not even know it for a trap. As I explained to the lads, since we expected it to be a trap then it were no longer a trap – for we knew it to be one. Ye see? Ghostly Steve alone resisted me logic. Gaargh, he was ever troublesome when deciding where to go out for meals as well.
The remainder of our party rowed across, elbows tucked in and rows barely patting the water. Our passage was undisturbed. With caution we probed the barrels and chests. I allowed Billy No Mates to test the water. He gargled a mouthful and snorted it from his nose. (Well if ye know a finer way of testing water’s purity, be sure to share it). We had salted apples, water, swords and rum. Aye we were still marooned but now it felt like a holiday.
We hailed Ghostly Steve across the way with a mug of rum. He took a running dive into the water and began his fateful swim, “Nay,” I bellowed, “We’ll row back for ye.” But it was too late. Perhaps it was his thrashing paddle, or else the gleaming glare of his pallor but he swam only half the distance before a look of pure terror distorted his pasty features. A moment later he was gone – naught remained but a glut of bubbles. I was glad we’d used the boat.
Well that quite dispelled the beach atmosphere. We continued to enrum ourselves (o’ course) but we did so clutching our swords. The moon lingered sickly in the night sky, offering scant light for us poor pirates to which we added rummy brands. A chorus of chitinous chinklings set our nerves a-quiver; the feel of feelers fingering our faces pushed us to breaking point. When they finally came for us we were almost grateful. Massive lobsters bristling with sharp hairs and claws emerged from the black water. Gaargh those terrible click-clacking claws! Even now they disturbs me otherwise bawdy dreams.
They rushed at us, seizing men with rending pincers, flinging them out into the salty water from which they’d not return or squeezing ‘em to popping. Nimble and armoured, they danced around us while our sword points rebounded and we grew desperate. With a mighty bellow, Hamish McMuffin belly-butted one of the beasts, knocking it stunned to the ground. I seized me chance and drove my blade into the gummy scabs between head and neck. I stamped upon the hilt and kicked it through the creature’s brain. When dawn came they retreated and we found we’d traded five mates for two lobsters. If we were to survive another night we’d need of plans – and good ones. Thankfully ye captain’s a veritable Pandora’s box of notions. We’d two of the menacing buggers cracked open before us and a day to fill.
With the tedious repetition of life, night returned and so did the Nefarious Night Lobsters emerge from their hell water. Gaargh, and what surprise for them to meet lobsters in opposition to their cause? We’d spent the day hollowing out their comrades, hauling their shrimpy guts onto the barbecue. No Hands Mick and I then donned the beasts’ shells, swapping ourselves for their organs. Gaargh, ye cannot imagine the sensation – twas like climbing into a gristly sleeping bag reeking of pasteurising cockles.
Ahar! With our armourous extensions we turned the tide on our seeming cousins. We swung our great claws, and darted hitherwise, ripping off eye stalks and whipping them by their curly tails. We pulled ‘em apart and punched them in the nether pits till we stood atop a mound o’ crippled crustaceans, victoriously thrusting our feelers in the air.
No more lobsters crept from the black, and now lumpy waters – we were safe, and yet still marooned. On the morrow we feasted upon lobster-flesh till we’d carapace enough to contain the crew and blubber enough to fill the shells. Full fitted to our crusty suits we dove into the ocean and swam for home. Twas a sea voyage o’ joy and terror in equal parts for we battled Vile Eels and demonic Sea Lettuce across the sea bed, and discovered shockin’ truths about the habits o’ lady lobsters. But tis for another time.
When finally we were trapped in a rock pool high upon the shore we’d lost all sense o’ manhood. A pack o’ children descended upon us armed with poking sticks and the jovial cruelty of youth as we anxiously awaited the tide’s return. We were reborn into humanity mewling, weak and naked in the shattered shells, grimed and reekin’ of lobster grue… Gaargh, twas not me proudest striptease.