Little Bo Pete and meself had been cast adrift by that treacherous swine, whose name be like a stinking tobacco-soaked hairball I cannot bring meself to retch forth afore ye good folks. The mere though of ‘is name brings me ter convulse with rage. Aye, last time I thought it I near tore meself a new orifice. Gaargh. I begins to rant – ‘tis a tale for another time.
For now ye must know that me loyal crew an’ I, that is meself an’ Little Bo Pete, we’d been cut loose in the spare dinghy at the mercy of Madame Mer. I ne’er saw me good ship Lollipop again. Gaaargh. But I did see that traitor scum one final time – yahar!
We drifted lonesome upon the open sea. ‘Twas gentle with us at first and we passed the time with ye game of ‘Eye Spy’, ‘til Pete grew maddened and violent.
Y’see, ye no bein’ sailors ye prob’ly think that bein’ ‘pon the seas there be no shortage o’ water. And ye be not wrong, but ye may not have heard ye ancient sailor’s plaint, ‘water water everywhere, but gaaargh, there be not a drop to drink’. Young Pete’d no more knowin’ of the sea than a sheep tossed off a cliff.
We got frightful thirsty, an’ for a laugh, I bet Pete that he’d die within a day if he drank of the sea. Being’ a gamblin’ man (which had led ‘im to me crew from ‘is promisin’ Oxford schoolin’), he upped the stakes, reckonin’ on two days o’ sanity before ‘im. An inveterate gambler, I could not dissuade him from his course, the fool. I meself drank only at night, while Pete slept, from the pigskin I always have strapped to me good leg in case of suchlike occurrences.
By the fourth day we was blistered red, or rather Pete were lobstered since ‘e’d left ‘is bonnet upon the Lollipop. I had me fine captain’s crown with its broad, shady brim, which I’d borrowed from the noble Admiral Kneehorn some months before.
By noon that day I adjudged that Pete had won the bet indeed, for he lived still, though he were reduced to the level of the beasts. Gaargh, for the brine’d made ‘im frothy ‘bout the lips as he hollered his nonsense at the gulls. ‘Is ‘igh education came through ‘is madness as ’e explained ter me the jommetry of Euclid and waxed lunatic Shakespearean speeches at the fishies. Gaargh. He was becomin’ a pain to me ears so I clubbed ‘im with me peg leg and got a few hours o’ peace.
As ‘e slept a’twitchin’ the sea began to seethe about us, an’ I caught glimpses of a vast beast flashin’ round and round the boat. Its scaly humps pierced the waves and sank out o’ sight again and again. I must confess ter bein’ somewhat afeard, for the Baltic Straits into which we’d veered have many tales o’ terror about ‘em.
Arrrr! A great tail rose up out o’ the water, studded wi’ spikes like the great pointy spikes of a Caribbean Sea-Mongoose. It dripped salt water upon us for a mo’, and then fell and smashed the dinghy in ‘twain. Bo Pete an’ I was tossed into the sea, naked to the beast circlin’ below. I clung to a plank like a desperate limpet, Pete danglin’ from me shoulder as I slapped him to wake.
The creature reared up before us, revealin’ its brilliant green an’ crimson crest an’ blazin’ eyes with evil feline pupils. Its nostrils were agape wi’ rage and ‘is jaws open to show two dozen rows o’ teeth the size of cutlasses wielded by a Prussian giant. Gaargh! ‘Twere terrible! Me guts turned to dribblin’ jelly and me face were numb with fear.
Not so poor brave, brine-berserk Little Bo Pete. ‘E lashed out at the brute, splashin’ water int’ its demon eyes. The beastie struck at ‘im, engulfin’ Pete with ‘is fearsome maw. Poor Pete – the monster vanished undersea with ‘im, leavin’ me floating cold and alone.
Stunned I was but a moment later (though it felt a lifetime), the beast’s head appeared again, gazin’ at me, its mouth a-bubblin’ wrathful-like. Its jaws slowly opened – prised apart by Pete, who stood upright, a-bracin’ its gob as ‘e stood proud on the brute’s gums. For a moment I though ‘im victorious, and made as if to cheer… an’ then there were a sickenin’ crack, the likes of which I never wish to hear from me own bones, as the beast bit down. Gaaargh.
Now, through some quirk or other – per’aps it were great Neptune ‘imself, seekin’ to lay blessin’ upon an honest pirate – it seemed Pete’s floppin’ corpse ‘ad somehow become lodged an’ the creature could no more close its mouth than I can snap the fingers o’ me left hand. I wasted no time and courageously plunged me plank into its gills and hauled meself astride the beast. Gaaargh. With the wood on me right and me hook in ‘is eye, I turned the beast toward land and urged it onwards.
Whenever I’m adrift on the open sea, followin’ some mutiny or other I often wish I ‘ad Little Bo Pete fer comp’ny. No doubt he be somewhere ‘pon the ocean-wide, a grisly portcullis to the Baltic Beast’s belly. A scholar and a gentleman – I drinks to ye.